Angelfish and Crayfish

In this post, we will learn more about the relationship between Angelfish and Crayfish. We will also discuss the Crayfish general biology and requirements, in addition to the best tankmates for them. 

Angelfish and Crayfish

Angelfish are not recommended to be placed in a tank with Crayfish. Crayfish are known for having some social issues in community tanks. Thus, choosing the right tankmates for them is a quite challenging task.

Cichlids, in general, are non-recommended fish to put with Crayfish. They are too small that could be eaten by the Crayfish, too delicate, or too large that could eat the crayfish. For this reason, Cichlids is a group of fish that should not be considered as Crayfish tank mates.

What you should know about Crayfish

Crayfish have their body divided into a cephalothorax and a segmented abdomen. They have 5 pairs of thoracic appendages (pereiopods), the first pair in the form of large, well-developed, symmetrical claws. They also have long and flexible antennas. They also have other 5 pairs of locomotion appendages (pleopods).

Adults are usually darker than young ones. They can come in various colours, from brownish-grey to yellowish-orange and blueish-green. Although the wild red variety is the most common, there are several others, such as blue, white, orange, and black. 

Their abdomen may show a darker, wedge-shaped spot and their claws have bright tubercles. They can reach a maximum length of 15 inches and live for up to 8 years in ideal care and tank conditions.

The best way to distinguish between males and females is through the analysis of the ventral region of the abdomen. In males, the first two pairs of pleopods are well developed, adapted as copulatory organs. In females, the first pair is vestigial, and the second has no modification. 

There are other differences, such as the copulatory hook in males during the reproductive phase, and the genital openings, but they are more difficult to assess.

Like other crustaceans, they carry out moults (ecdysis) for growth, abandoning their old carapace/shell. Moults are more frequent in juvenile individuals, at first, they carry out moults every 5-10 days. 

Adult individuals carry out moults only once or twice a year. Before ecdysis, the Crayfish acquires a darker colour and stops feeding. A light-coloured band also appears between the cephalothorax and the abdomen.

Crayfish most popular species

There are several Crayfish species, each of them has specific requirements and characteristics. The top 5 most popular Crayfish species for home aquariums are:

–       Louisiana Crayfish (Procambraus clarkii): easiest Crayfish to keep, highly adaptable and tolerant. Grow up to 6 inches. Colour: Red;

–       Florida Lobster (Procamarus alleni): Grow up to 3 inches. Colour: Brown or Blue;

–       Australian Crayfish (Cherax destructor): they are not destructive as their name suggest. Grow up to 8 inches. Colour: Blue;

–       Shufels’d Dwarf Crayfish (Cambarellus shufeldtii): One of the most pacific species of Crayfish. Grow up to 1.5 inches. Colour: Red-brown or grey;

–       Orange Dwarf Crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis): Also one of the peaceful species. Grow up to 1.6 inches. Colour: Orange.

What do Crayfish eat?

Crayfish are omnivores, they appreciate meat and plant food items. In the wild, they eat leaves, roots and moss. They also hunt smaller crayfish, frogs, and small invertebrates.

In a tank, they can be fed with snails, mussels, shrimp, and worms. It is also possible to offer them some fresh vegetables such as carrots and cucumbers, and industrialized fish food, like flakes and pellets.

Building a Crayfish tank

Tank size

The size of the Crayfish tank will depend on the organisms and the features you will plan to keep. In addition, the Crayfish species is also extremely important information to consider when setting up a tank.

Smaller species of Crayfish, as the Dwarf should be successful in a 10-gallon tank. Larger species as the Marron and the Red Claw should be in a tank with 30-gallon capacity or even larger.

With more space, safer would be the Crayfish tankmates as they would have enough room to swim around without crossing each other’s way.

Water parameters

High-quality water and its parameters should be controlled and stable as not all the Crayfish species are hardy, such as the Louisiana Crayfish.

Temperature varies according to the Crayfish species requirements. IN general, temperature ranges between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, we suggest further research about species-specific information about ideal temperatures.

pH levels should be as neutral as possible. This is required due to the Crayfish shell composition. Neutral pH or slightly alkaline will guarantee the shell integrity. Calcium concentration is important for Crayfish growth and reproduction. 

Plants, Substrate & Décor

Keeping plants in Crayfish tanks is also a very challenging task as these animals would go for them. If you decide to add some plants, opt for the floating species or the ones which use rocks and driftwoods as substrate.

Some plant species that could resist Crayfish are Anubias, Java fern, Java moss, African water fern and Dwarf Baby tears.

Crayfish require plenty of crevices and dens to hide in. Substrate should be sand with some crushed shells. Crayfish like to dig the substrate.

Filtration system

Filtration equipment is extraordinarily essential in a Crayfish tank. These animals produce a lot of waste, and thus, could contaminate easier the water with toxins. 

What fish can you put with Crayfish?

Since choosing tank mates for crayfish requires extremely careful decisions. We now will list a few fish species that can be tank mates to Crayfish with fewer chances of being eaten. However, all of them are at risk of being devoured at some point:

White Cloud Minnow

White Cloud Minnow or Tanichthys albonubes is a small schooling active fish species. They are peaceful and occupy mostly the middle and upper areas of the tank. They can grow up to 1.5 inches and have a soft temper.

Red Tail Shark

Red Tail Shark or Epalzeorhynchos bicolor is a bottom-dweller fish species that can coexist with Crayfish. These fish tend to be aggressive and territorial, for this reason, they will defend themselves from the Crayfish bullying. The Red Tail Shark can grow up to 6 inches.


Hatchetfish (Gasteropelecidae) are top-dwellers, they spend most of their time on the surface part of the tank. They are peaceful and schooling fish that grow up to 3 inches.


Danios (Danios sp) have great choices to survive in Crayfish tanks. There are several Danios species. Thus, it is possible to match their sizes with the Crayfish species. They vary in size from 1 to 5 inches. They are also very peaceful schooling fish.

Bala Shark

Bala Sharks (Balantiocheilos melanopterus) are also schooling fish. They can grow up to 18 inches and are related to Danios and Red Tail Sharks. 


In this post, we learnt more about the relationship between Angelfish and Crayfish. We also discussed the Crayfish general biology and requirements, in addition to the best tankmates for them.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Angelfish and Crayfish

Can crayfish live with angelfish?

No, it is not recommended to have a community tank with Angelfish and Crayfish together. They will potentially bully each other, small Crayfish will be eaten or bullied and large Crayfish will bully the Cichlids, in general.

What fish can live with Crayfish?

Crayfish in community tanks is a quite challenging task. Some fish have more chances of not being disturbed and persisting in a tank with Crayfish. Some of them are Danios, Bala sharks, Red Tail sharks, and Minnows.

How long does a crayfish live?

In general, Crayfish individuals live between 5 and 8 years in captivity.

What do Crayfish eat?

Crayfish are omnivores. Thus, they can be fed with animal and plant items. It is possible to offer them some worms, mussels, shrimp, snails, fresh vegetables (carrots and cucumbers), and also industrialized fish food, such as flakes and pellets.

Can I keep more than one Crayfish?

It depends on the species you have. In the case you decide to go for a more social Crayfish species, you can go for the Miami Cave Crayfish and the Dwarf ones. They tend to be more tolerant. Avoid more than one individual of larger species, they are prone to be more aggressive towards conspecifics and may develop hierarchy during feeding times.


Jason. 2020. 10 Awesome Crayfish Tank Mates (compatibility Guide).

Freshwater Crayfish Care: The Only Guide You Need. 2021.

Jason. 2020. Keeping Freshwater Aquarium Crayfish: The Complete Guide.