MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Care for Crayfish

Date: Tue Dec 15 13:38:32 1998
Posted By: J.M. Wingert , RM(ASM), Staff, Comparative Pathology Department, Baylor College of Medicine
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 913343119.Zo

Hi there,

 You can go to the site to 
view images on the external morphology of male and female crayfish
 Regarding the care for crayfish, Doug Collicut wrote an excellent
article on crayfish which I have taken the liberty to include below.
I hope it answers all your questions regarding the care and raising
of crayfish.
  Crayfish make excellent Class Room Critters! They are
  easy to feed and care for, and they are fascinating to
  watch. They play an important role in aquatic ecosystems
  as scavengers, cleaning up dead plants and animals for
  their food. And, in turn, providing food for many other

                              Crayfish in aquarium

  Crayfish are easy to catch. Look for them under rocks or
  logs in small streams or along the edge of rivers and even
  in shallow lakes. Go on! You can do it! Get your boots
  on and head out to your local creek. Minnow traps are
  another great way to catch crayfish. Lobster traps work
  on the same principle: a narrow funnel leads into the
  baited trap -- its' easy to get in, but hard to find the way
  back out. Just place a bit of meat or fish into the trap (dry
  dog food works well, too) and place the trap near some
  underwater structure, such as rocks, a log or footings of
  a dock. (Technically, to use a minnow trap in Manitoba,
  you should have a valid fishing license.) Check the trap
  daily for whatever you may have caught. Just remember
  to watch those pincers! The best way to pick up a
  crayfish, for your and the crayfish's sake, is to grasp it
  firmly by the sides of the thorax, just where the chelipeds

                      How to hold a crayfish, safely!

  You can keep your crayfish in an aquarium or large jar.
  Be sure to keep the water well aerated, if you are
  planning to keep the crayfish more than a few days. This
  is more to keep the aquarium water clean and
  fresh-smelling, than to provide the crayfish with oxygen.
  They are fairly adept at surviving in water that is low in
  oxygen. I learned that the hard way when I lost a whole
  tank full of fish after a pump failed. The fish all died from
  oxygen deprivation, but the large crayfish in the tank was

  It's usually best to keep crayfish separately. They are
  aggressive and cannibalistic towards their own kind,
  especially if there is a significant size difference. Large
  crayfish will eat smaller ones! It's OK to have 2 or more
  together as long as they are nearly the same size. Also,
  don't put a crayfish into an aquarium with live fish, unless
  you don't mind the crayfish feeding itself! In the confines
  of an aquarium, crayfish are pretty good at catching fish.
  Fish might be safe in an aquarium where they are quite a
  bit larger than the crayfish, but then the risk might end up
  being for the crayfish! Most fish will be happy to make a
  meal out of a crayfish, if it will fit in the fish's mouth.

The easiest thing to feed your crayfish is bits of cut-up
  fish. Buy a small bucket of bait minnows and you've got
  enough food for one crayfish for a year! A piece of fish
  about the size of the crayfish's pincer should be enough
  food to hold it for a week. When you feed it, spend some
  time watching how deftly it uses its pincers to hold and
  tear the food, while using its walking legs (pereopods) to
  place bits into its mouth. Crayfish are omnivores, though,
  so they can be fed with a wide variety of things.
  Pelletized (not flakes) fish-foods are a clean and easy
  food, as well.

                                 Crayfish feeding

  Crayfish will probably survive well in a class room
  aquarium for a long time, but when you do decide to
  return it to the wild, release it at the same location that
  you found it. And do so at a time of year when the
  crayfish still has time to properly adapt back to the wild
  before winter.


Current Queue | Current Queue for Zoology | Zoology archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Zoology.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-1998. All rights reserved.