How Big Should A Crayfish Tank Be?

How Big Should A Crayfish Tank Be

There are many confusions regarding crayfish tank size in the Internet. Every source says something different. Beginners can easily get confused seeing this. Hopefully, after going through this article, you’ll have a complete idea.

One Crayfish needs at least a 10 gallon size tank. 15 gallon or 20 gallon tank will be even better for a single crayfish.

Don’t order a tank yet! There are many more things to understand before you should get a tank for crayfish.

Surface Area Matters

Crayfish needs about 2 square feet of surface area for living happily. In wild, crayfish explores and look for food. They are natural scavengers.

So, exploring is one of their natural instincts. That’s why, the more surface area the can get to explore, the better they will be in the long run. So, when thinking about a tank for the crayfish, we need to think about the surface area it provides.

Let me give an example. Here are the dimensions for 2 tanks:

  • 24 x 12 x 16 cubic inch
  • 30 x 12 x 12 cubic inch

Both tanks hold 20 gallons of water. We know 20 gallon is perfect for keeping a single crayfish, right? However, one of these tanks is less suitable for keeping a crayfish. Can you guess which one?

If you’ve guessed the first one, then you’re right. The first one is less suitable for keeping crayfish. Why?

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The first tank will offer you 288 square inches of surface area. On the other hand, the second one will have 360 square inches of surface area.

As I’ve already said, larger surface area is better for crayfish. That’s why the second one will be more preferable for a crayfish tank.

Size Recommendation For Different Types Of Crayfish

10 gallon size for 1 crayfish is only a rule of thumb. If you want to get more specific about the tank size, you’ll need to know what type of crayfish you’re going to have.

Some crayfish gets quite larger whereas some are dwarf. The size recommendation will differ depending on how large your crayfish will get in the long run.

Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered!

I’ve provided two tables below. The first table will tell you about the size and tank recommendation for different types of crayfish.

The second table will help you to figure out which type your crayfish belongs to!

Size and Tank Recommendation for Different Types of Crayfish

Scientific GroupMatured SizeRecommended Tank Size
Procambarus4 – 5 inches30 Gallon
Cambarellus0.5 – 1.6 inches10 Gallon
Cherax3 – 6 inches30 Gallon
Macrobrachium2 – 3 inches20 Gallon

To Which Type Your Crayfish Belongs?

Procambarus Cambarellus / Mini Lobster CheraxMacrobrachium
Ghost CrayfishOrange CPO Dwarf MexicanZebra CrayfishTaiwanese Long Claw Prawn
Electric Blue CrayfishBrazos Dwarf CrayfishSupernova Aka Blue Moon Crayfish
Neon Red CrayfishCajun Dwarf CrayfishBlue Pearl Crayfish
Self-cloning Marmorkreb CrayfishAlabama Dwarf CrayfishThunderbolt Crayfish
Christmas Tree CrayfishWild Color Dwarf Mexican CrayfishEmerald Fire Crayfish
White Specter CrayfishBlue Brazos Dwarf Mexican CrayfishApricot Crayfish
Scarlet CrayfishBlue Cajun Dwarf CrayfishIndigo Blue/Black Scorpion Crayfish
Orange Ghost/Fireball/Firecracker CrayfishRed Chili/Red Brick Crayfish
White Tubercled CrayfishBlue Kong/Blue Claw Zebra Crayfish
Waccamaw CrayfishSnakeskin Blue Moon Crayfish
Sapphire CrayfishTricolor Blue Moon Crayfish
Yellow Sun/Yellow Arm Blue Moon Crayfish

How Much Additional Size For 1 Extra Crayfish?

Now you know how much space is needed for 1 crayfish. But, what about if you want to keep 2 crayfishes together?

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For each additional crayfish, you’ll need to double the space needed for 1 crayfish. Let me explain further:

Suppose, you want to keep an Orange CPO Dwarf crayfish. From the second table, you can figure out that Orange CPO belongs to the Cambarellus group.

Now, according to the first table, Cambarellus crayfishes need at least 10 gallon size tank for living happily. So, if you want to keep two Orange CPOs, just double the amount.

As a result, for keeping two Orange CPOs, you’ll need at least a 20 gallon tank.

However, just a 20 gallon size tank is not enough to keep 2 crayfishes peacefully. As crayfishes are extremely aggressive & territorial, it is not recommended to keep more than one in a single tank.

9 out of 10 times they’ll fight with each other to gain territory. Here are some more things you need to be aware of when keeping multiple crayfishes:

  • I’ve said for keeping 2 crayfishes, just double the amount of space needed for 1 crayfish. However, that doesn’t mean you can 3x the amount and keep 3 fishes. Crayfishes are very aggressive and it is never recommended to keep more than 2 in a single tank, let alone how big the tank is. Even 2 crayfishes can fight with each other to gain territory. So, don’t make this mistake!
  • Keep lots of hiding places in the tank when there are 2 crayfishes. I’ll suggest at least 5-6 hiding places and visual barriers in the tank. The more hiding places there are, the less chances of the crayfish fighting with each other.
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You can check out my article on keeping 2 crayfishes together to learn more about the cautions you need to follow.

What Happens When You Keep Crayfish In A Too Small Tank?

Will the crayfish die if it is in a too small tank?

Probably no.

Will the crayfish live happily and grow properly in a too small tank?

Absolutely NO.

If you are stuffed into a cupboard, fed twice a day then you won’t be dead, right? But will you be happy? I don’t think so.

Same goes for the crayfish. Though it ‘might not die’ in a small tank, it won’t grow properly and happily either. If you want to grow your crayfish properly and don’t want to torture it, then provide the correct & ideal setup it needs to grow.

As a pet keeper, we have a huge responsibility. Our pets are our responsibility. We are responsible for what happens to them, how they are treated and so on.

If you are not up for that responsibility, don’t bring the pet home. You’ll just cause it suffer.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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