Crayfishes love to dig. It’s their natural instinct. And for that, they need a good substrate. However, by good substrate I don’t necessarily mean expensive substrate. Good substrate for crayfish can be very cheap!
Here, I’ll talk about the substrate options for crayfish.
When it comes to crayfish, the substrate choice can be pretty much anything. You just need to make sure that the crayfish can dig through the substrate. So, I wouldn’t recommend very large size gravel as they can potentially harm the crayfish.
You can choose small size gravels for crayfish tank. However, I like to use sand.
Why I Prefer Sand?
I think sand is perfect for digging. It is easier to dig and also clean with a siphon. Sand doesn’t pose any imminent threat to the crayfish. Also, they are very cheap!
You can get a bag full of pool filter sand very cheaply. There is a deal on Amazon where you can get 50 lb white pool filter silica sand in less than 30 bucks! Can you imagine the value for bucks? Check out the deal here.
Any Color Preference?
Your crayfish actually doesn’t care about the color of the sand. The color depends on your preference. However, if you want to enhance the color of the crayfish, it is better to go with a dark colored substrate.
There is no evidence that dark colored substrate enhance the color of the crayfish. However many hobbyist said that they saw an improve in the coloration of the crayfish after using a dark substrate.
How To Prepare The Sand Before Using?
It doesn’t matter from wherever you get the sand, you must rinse it thoroughly before using in the tank. Sand can be extremely dusty and they’ll surely cloud the water if not cleaned properly. Even if the packaging says ‘pre-rinsed’, clean the sand again & again. I can’t stress how important cleaning the sand is.
However, don’t get carried away and clean the sand with soap water or any other detergent. This is a big NO NO. Just thoroughly rinse the sand under running water.
I’ll suggest doing this in your lawn. The job gets much easier this way. If you don’t have any lawn, just wash the sand inside your bathroom. Rinse the sand under running water at least 5-6 times until the water runs clean.
Even if you rinse the sand perfectly well, it is normal to see the water gets cloudy after putting the sand. Don’t worry.
If you did a good job cleaning the sand, then the cloudiness will go away with 24-72 hours.
How Much Deep The Substrate Needs To Be?
This is an important topic. When setting up the substrate, you need to remember that the crayfish will dig inside the substrate. So, we need to put enough substrate so there is space inside to dig.
However, too deep substrate can be harder to clean and maintain. And too thin layer will be impossible to dig for the crayfish. So, we’ll need to find a sweet spot.
Personally, I think 3-4 inches substrate depth is perfect for crayfish. It is enough deep for the crayfish to dig.
One thing you need to keep in mind is, there is no need to put 3-4 inches deep substrate throughout the whole tank. You can just put more substrate to the back of the tank and less substrate on the front. It will create more surface area and a natural aesthetic look.
When the substrate gets deeper gradually from the front to the back, the crayfish can find its sweet spot for digging. So, you don’t need to worry about too much or too little substrate! It’ll also save you some extra bucks from buying too much substrate.
Can I Keep Crayfish In A Bare Bottom Tank?
You can’t keep crayfish in a bare bottom tank. Crayfish needs substrate for digging. It is their natural instinct and they feel much safer this way. So, I’ll highly suggest some type of substrate for a crayfish tank.