How Long Can Crayfish Live Without Food?

How Long Can Crayfish Live Without Food

If you are going on a vacation, it is normal to wonder how long can a crayfish live without food. I need to go on tours quite often, so I did some research and here’s what I came up with.

A crayfish can live without food for up to a week. The crayfish needs to be properly fed before it is left without food for a week.

There are also some preparations you need to follow before going on the vacation. Also, after coming home, you’ll need to do some other maintenance jobs in order to make sure the crayfish stays fine.

crayfish closeup
Owner: Anthony Schemel

How Crayfish Can Last A Week Without Food?

Crayfishes are natural scavengers. They can eat organic dead matters, plants, worms, dead fishes, etc. When there is a shortage of food, the crayfish comes out for hunting. It is their natural instinct.

Also, as a crayfish tank can get quite dirty with organic matters, there’ll be plenty of food for the crayfish to go on for a week.

However, you need to properly feed it before going on the vacation. Also, some food can last quite long and sustain food for the crayfish for a few days.

Is There Any Food That Can Last For A Week?

Yes, there are 3 types of food that you can throw in the crayfish tank. These will sustain for a longer period of time without harming the water quality too much.

1. Raw & Tough Vegetable

Crayfishes love vegetable. Generally we boil the vegetable until it softens and then feed it to the crayfish. However, you can also just throw in the raw & tough vegetable.

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The crayfish won’t be able to eat the tough vegetable right away. As time passes by, the vegetable will gradually get softer and the crayfish can eat it little by little.

Some good options can be:

  • Raw Broccoli
  • Dried beans
  • stalk of the broccoli, etc.

Remember, the vegetable needs to be tough. Otherwise, the crayfish will eat it just within a day!

2. Cheap Aquatic Plants

Cheap aquatic plants can be a great option for long-lasting food. They’ll stay fresh and won’t deteriorate the water. You can buy them from any local fish store extremely cheap!

Just put the plants inside the substrate and your crayfish will enjoy them for a long time!

Some cheap aquatic plants:

  • Hornwort
  • Densa
  • Cabomba
  • Guppy grass
  • Micra, etc.

Remember to wash the plants well under running water before planting. These plants can carry snail eggs. So, you need to be careful!

Otherwise, soon you’ll see pond snails lurking around the crayfish tank (another food source for the crayfish!).

gorgeous crayfish coming out of hiding spot
Owner: John Cottrell

3. Live Food

If you want, you can also keep a couple of live feeder fish in the tank. The crayfish will catch them when hungry. However, I don’t like this option as it can deteriorate the water quality too much.

Cheap gold fishes are a good option as feeder fish. If you want to go with this option, make sure the feeder fish looks healthy and doesn’t contain any sickness, parasite, etc.

Preparations Before Going On A Vacation

Here are some of the things you can do before going on the vacation:

  • Feed the crayfish well. If the crayfish is well fed, he can comfortably go on without food for a week.
  • Do a small water change. It will ensure decent water quality throughout the whole week!
  • Make sure the filter, air pump, etc. is running smoothly. These equipment should run 24 x 7.
  • Crayfishes are excellent escape artist. So, their tank needs to be covered with a lid. This is a must. Make sure your crayfish tank is escape proof!
  • If you can, ask a family member or a friend to check on the crayfish once or twice a day while you are away.
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Things To Do After You Come Home

Here are the things you need to do after you arrive home:

  • Check on the crayfish immediately. Hopefully he’ll be doing fine!
  • Feed the crayfish some decent food. He’ll appreciate it!
  • Do a 60-70% water change. It will restore the water quality.
orange berried crayfish with eggs on white substrate
Owner: Mary Kot

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my crayfish not eating?

There could be several reasons why a crayfish is not eating. Some possible reasons include:

Molting: Crayfish will stop eating before they molt, so if your crayfish is not eating, it may be preparing to molt.

Illness: If your crayfish is sick, it may lose its appetite.  

Water quality: Poor water quality can stress out crayfish and cause them to stop eating.

Diet: Crayfish need a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter. If your crayfish is not eating, it may be because it is not getting the right nutrients.

Stress: If your crayfish is in a stressful environment, it may stop eating

How long do crayfish live in captivity & wild?

Crayfish can generally live for 2 to 3 years in captivity. However, some species can live up to 5 years or even longer with proper care.

In the wild, some species of crayfish can live for up to 20 to 30 years, while others may live for only a few years.

There are also a few species, such as the Tasmanian giant crayfish, that can live as long as 40 years.

What do crayfish eat in captivity & wild?

Crayfish are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. In captivity, crayfish can be fed a variety of foods, including commercial pellets, vegetables, fruits, and live or frozen foods such as shrimp, and worms. It is important to provide a varied diet to ensure that the crayfish is getting all the necessary nutrients.

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In the wild, crayfish eat a variety of foods depending on their habitat and availability. They feed on aquatic plants, algae, detritus, insects, small fish, and other invertebrates. They are also known to scavenge for food and will eat dead animals if they come across them.

Can crayfish live out of water?

While crayfish are not adapted to living out of water, they are able to survive for short periods of time in a moist environment. Crayfish can live out of water for 5-7 days in a humid and marshy environment.

How often do crayfish need to eat?

The frequency of feeding crayfish depends on several factors, including their size, age, and activity level. In general, adult crayfish should be fed about once a day, while younger crayfish may need to be fed more frequently.

It is important to not overfeed crayfish, as this can lead to health problems and poor water quality in their environment. It is recommended to feed them small amounts of food at a time and remove any uneaten food after a few hours.

Do crayfish need to eat everyday?

While crayfish do not necessarily need to eat every day, they should be fed regularly in order to maintain their health. As I mentioned earlier, adult crayfish should be fed about once a day, while younger crayfish may need to be fed more frequently.

If you are unable to feed your crayfish every day, it is recommended to provide a larger meal every few days instead.

Final Words

So, this is how you can prepare for going on a vacation. Don’t worry if you’ll be away for 4-5 days. Nothing will happen in such a short time. However, if you’ll be away for more than a week, then take proper precautions so the crayfish stay safe & healthy!

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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