What Foods Do Crayfish Eat?

Topic: I’m going to go find a crayfish to have as a pet. I need to know what they eat in order to have one as a pet. I’m hoping you guys that seem to know a lot about these crustaceans could tell me about having this animal as a pet. My dad says its “crawfish” and not what I say. He thinks he is funny but he isn’t. Thanks in advance.

*Awarded Answer
Reply from Nick JIn natural river like environments, the crayfish feeds on all types of things. They are actually omnivores meaning they eat both sides of the food chain. They eat live plants, decaying plants, dead fish or insects or anything they can get their claws on haha. What a lot of aquarium owners do is leave a dead fish at the bottom of their aquarium or else put a goldfish down there that is already dead for the crayfish or crawdad in itself. Goldfish only cost fourteen cents so it doesn’t hurt you in the wallet or anything.

They really love eating dead fish and plants (this is their main food source). The crawdad is a super lazy hunter and you will find that it will not work hard to get it’s next meal. Owners sometimes worry that the crawdad will kill their aquarium fish but that’s only the case if the fish are pretty darn slow and … stupid to be frank. A smart fish isn’t going to just hangout right in front of a pinching crustacean with pinchers if they have half a brain.

My family has kept lots of crawdads and the important thing is to keep aqua scape for them to hide under. I highly advise that you have sand as your tank liner or substrate because thats the best for them to burrow under and some good flat rocks or decorations so they can hide enough. If they can’t hide during the day, they get insecure and its not healthy for them to be in that state. Keep up with their feeding too. I used mainly dead fish but small ones because they are not Huge eaters but they do keep busy. Hopefully that helps you some. Good luck!

Reply from David T.
If you have a special bond with any of your fish I would NOT put the crayfish in with them. Once and a great while the crayfish will catch live fish. All of a sudden you will come home from work and look in your tank for what is now … gone! I say this because it happened to me. He actually killed one of my angel fish. I was pretty down about it and wouldn’t think he would take down an angel fish. What was disturbing was you could see some of the remains.. I won’t go into details.

Reply from Respondent:
I don’t plan on keeping any of my pet fish with him beside just little minnows I pick up from the bait store for him to feed on. But holy crap I can’t believe he took down a angel fish!?! I must say that would make me angry but its wrong to get angry considering its just how Mother Nature works. I’ve been told if the fish is a faster swimmer that it will do better.. versus in your instance a angel fish.. sorry to hear about that loss. Mother nature is a bear sometimes but thats the story of the book.

Reply from David T.
Lets just say I got rid of the crayfish and put him in a small tank for my nephew to take home to care for. I couldn’t get over it whenever I looked at it. I guess I learned a good lesson of the day though huh.. Kind of a drag but what can you do.. I found this picture of some of them feeding on a large fish in natural habitat if that helps you to believe of what they eat.

You seem to have the right attitude about what happened though I must say. I may have just killed it because I’m not as mature as you it seems. Maybe in a couple of years of age though. I’m only 19 years old so its hard to keep my anger straight at times. ** Thats a super cool image though and it gets me excited to see what mine will be feeding on. What are some of the common dead fish you guys fed your crawdad to eat? Do goldfish work or can I just use minnows or what are some of what you guys used?

Reply from David T.
Well what would getting mad of done? Bring the fish back or what?.. Nope. Nothing I could do would change the scenario. I’m over it and I guess maybe it is mature. It will come to you with time I guess. I used goldfish just because they were cheap and I have a small child that always loves his goldfish tank and I fill it with the small goldfish and a couple die here and there. I am not happy to say they die but they are just stupid goldfish. They gobbled those little guys up like brownies! Very fun to kind of watch. Wish I would of got some cool video of them eating.

Reply from Tina G.
Killing a crayfish just because it wanted to eat its next meal is pretty childish your right. I guess the first step would be admitting it and you just did it. They do eat live fish people need to remember. If anything, blame the fish owner for not researching them enough an having that happen. I have always got mine by catching them (here is a link) with our kids at our cabin and tossed them in my tank.

Reply from Respondent: 
Let’s just drop what the entire topic of what he said on loosing his angel fish. This thread isn’t about morals but what crawdads eat. I don’t want to waste time on what he did was wrong or right because I did notice the Moderators close threads very fast around here that get off topic. I still need some answers on what fish would be the best as far as using? I’ve heard that goldfish are useless FEEDER FISH when it comes to giving other fish nutrition and such so some people buy live bearers. Is that the same case for crustaceans?

Reply from Pete:
I think any fish will do because you have to figure that they are also feeding on the decaying matter and bacteria that form around the dead fish too. That bacteria has a ton of protein and they are getting that no matter what. If I were you, I would change the type of fish up every once in a while. The saying “too much of anything isn’t healthy” goes for a lot of stuff. Change it up and also feed them plants and get them some variety in their diet.

Lol I’ve never kept crawdads before although I’ve always wanted to. I once caught a big one at a lake that was about 5 inches…I fed it to my turtle and there were guts everywhere… my turtle rips everything to pieces and sometimes he doesn’t even eat it. Lol I know that they eat fish. Mostly dead ones or ones that are stupid enough to sit around a large clawed predatory animal :p. They probably also eat vegetation. I would imagine them to be “everythingavores” like my Triops was. This probably wasn’t very helpful but i guess it put some thoughts in your mind that made you want to eat some spaghetti or lasagna or something. XD I don’t know!