What Do Crayfish Eat: Wild vs. Household Pet Crayfish Diet Differences

Have you ever wondered what do crayfish eat in order to grow and survive living? These little crustaceans that have similar appearance to lobster, but in a mini version, can be easily found in fresh waterbody, such as ponds, streams, or marshes. Many people across the globe considered them as delicious food. Beyond that, however, they are also kept as pets in a lot of households.

There are various things that come up when you’re looking to the answer of what do crayfish eat, as they are classified as omnivore animals, and thus have a diet that consist of both plant and meat food. According to where they live, however, crayfish may consume slightly different types of food.


What Do Crayfish Eat If They Lived in Wild Nature

Wild crayfish inhabit rivers, streams, and swamps. In the natural settings, they can be found mostly at the bottom base of the freshwater body as they’re not exactly capable to swim to the surface. So, next time you’re trying to discover crayfish in the open environment.

So, what do crayfish eat when they live in such a rich surrounding that allows them to get access to extensive food sources? Here is what they usually consume:

  • Animal matters: As mentioned in prior, crayfish in not the strongest species of swimmers out there. Therefore, they usually look out for small-sized animal food such as small fishes, small frogs, tadpoles, worms, or insect larvae, which are located or sink into the bottom of the water area. It is also common for them to seek out for food at night, since they’re mostly active during that time.
  • Green matters: These are the food items that are easily accessible for the crayfish. Green matters include algae, live plants, or biofilm that’s stuck into twigs or rocks, and detritus worms.
  • Decaying matters: The omnivore side of crayfish not only accepts plants and animals for food, but also decaying matters. These are said to be what do crayfish eat mainly when they live in the wild. Crayfish can effortlessly shred decaying plants and decomposing animals by using their sharp and large claws.
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This might or might not be surprising to you, but crayfish is known to engage in the age of cannibalism when they encounter food rarity or to survive in overcrowded living settings. These decapods won’t have hesitation to clasp and pin their prey or enemy with their powerful claws to demolish them.

What Do Crayfish Eat If They Lived as Household Pets

If you have crayfish as pets, it won’t be hard to feed them, as they will eat nearly anything. You don’t need to go to ponds to find decomposing plants or go fishing to catch small fish or worms. You can simply use sinkable pellets that are available widely commercially. Most of the brands would include fish, algae, and kelp as the primary ingredients. Some of the instances of pellet components are broccoli stems, zucchini slices, and carrot chunks.

So, just because the simple answer of what do crayfish eat as a pet is almost anything, does it mean you may care less about their diet and feed them whatever you’d like? Of course, it is NO. Some food types have higher nutrients, thus are more beneficial compared to others. This is especially worth to pay attention to if your crayfish pets are on their peak growth period. Here are some of the recommended foods to feed these little pets of yours:

  • Manufactured Foods

Making sure that your crayfish consume a balanced and varied diet that consists of plant and animal matter is necessary, so you can know for real that they gain all of the nutrients required to thrive, such as minerals, vitamins, fiber, and protein.

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The best manufactured food sources are dry pellet and frozen food. Majority of them are available in good quality, with high standard preparation, rich ingredients of vitamins and protein, and ability to sink to the bottom part of the aquarium.

  • Live Foods

Small animals are also great sources for crayfish. These include feeder fish, shrimp, detritus worms, and snails. Preying on live animals will help to maintain their hunting instincts and skills to be efficient. That being said, as crayfish are not natural predator, animal food should be kept as supplementary food sources only.

  • Vegetables

What do crayfish eat that can make them feel full but also healthier? The answer is none other than vegetables. Vegetables contain vitamins and nutrients. Some of the best instances would be spinach, lettuce, carrot, and cabbage. What’s better is that decaying vegetables will still make a pretty good and nutritious food for the crayfish.

  • Calcium Supplement

When crayfish is physically growing, they experienced skin shedding or skin molting, which involves their hard exoskeleton. When the process is completed, their metabolism requires calcium to help with shell hardening. The calcium supplement will help them generate new, healthy, and strong shell.

what do crayfish eat

What Do Crayfish Eat during Different Life Stages

Regardless of the age, crayfish like to hide inside caves and under rocks during daylight. When the night comes, they’d crawl to seek for food, so you need to make sure you provide your crayfish pet with sufficient amount of food before you go to bed at night.

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When they are younger, crayfishes should be fed with animal-based protein food rather than plant-based diets. They will naturally take more and more interest in eating plant foods as they grow mature and older. Thus, if you wonder what do crayfish eat when they’re still younger, it is recommended to give them fewer vegetables and more pellets instead. You may adjust the balance between these two types of foods to match with their feeding intensity.

In addition to the recommendations of what do crayfish eat, you need to consider the amount as well. Based on suggestions from crayfish experts, it is recommended that each of the individual require 5% food from their total weight. For household pets, it is ideal to give food serving about a half of their carapace.

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