Can betta fish live with crayfish?

In this post, we will learn a little about the relationship between Betta fish and Crayfish, as well as discuss their requirements and biology.

Can betta fish live with crayfish?

Yes. But you have to be careful with the amount you put in the tank. Perhaps you have heard that betta fish cannot be maintained alongside any other fish. This is generally true. Nevertheless, there have been occasional success stories with bettas kept among tiny invertebrates such as dwarf crayfish. There are a few more measures necessary to ensure that a crayfish and a betta fish coexist happily.

Betta fish

Betta fish are a very popular freshwater fish. They are quite popular due to their range of shapes and colors. Due to the enormous diversity seen in betta fish, they are often classified according to their colors, patterns, and tail type.

Their aggressive nature is sometimes intimidating to newbies to the pastime. However, as long as you are fed and cared for correctly, you should have no difficulties.


Betta fish, often known as Siamese fighting fish, are a popular type of aquarium fish. They are commonly known as bettas and are members of the gourami family. They are well-known for being territorial fish that would ‘fight’ if two of them become merged or if they see their reflections. The betta fish was discovered in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Typically, betta fish attain a maximum length of 3 inches. Their lifespan is typically between two and five years. They have brightly colored fins and diversity of tail types. Red, blue, black, white, and orange are the most often utilized colors. More unusual colors include metallic, copper, and turquoise. While some betta fish are solid colors, others are vibrant and frequently have one-of-a-kind tail appearances.


Crayfish are rather prevalent in the aquarium trade and come in an array of vibrant color variations, ranging from camouflaged green to electric blue! Some are only an inch long when completely developed, while others exceed a foot in length. They are all affable and more than happy to employ their enormous pinchers.


Crayfish resemble saltwater lobsters, and the terms Crayfish and Lobster are frequently used interchangeably in many regions of the world. They are actually close relatives of lobsters, belonging to the infraorder Astacidea, and share a similar biological niche.

Crayfish are bottom-dwelling scavengers and opportunists who will devour almost anything organic. It makes little difference whether an animal or a plant is alive or dead to a Crayfish as long as it is incapable of fighting back. Some are even cannibalistic, eating on their own kind if captured during a molt when they are fragile and defenseless.

Types of aquarium crayfish

Crayfish are a fairly varied group, however, the three most popular varieties of aquarium Crayfish are as follows:

  • Dwarf Crayfish (Cambarellus sp.)
  • American Crayfish (Procambarus sp.)
  • Freshwater Lobsters (Cherax sp.)

Compatible species

These are the two primary dwarf crayfish species that you’re likely to encounter at aquarium stores and which may be the ideal fit for your betta tank:

  • Brazos Dwarf Crayfish
  • Mexican Dwarf Crayfish

Brazos dwarf crayfish (Cambarellus texanus)

Brazos dwarf crayfish are quite popular for raising alongside betta fish. These crayfish are very attractive in their blue version (Cambarellus texanus var. “Blue”). They occur natively in a small area in central Texas, between the Lavaca and Brazos rivers.

Although little is known about their preferred habitats, they appear to favor shallow environments with emergent plants where they may be protected and feed on debris.

These crayfish remain exceedingly small and often attain a maximum size of 1.0-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8 cm). Their natural coloring is a range of grays and tans, creating a camouflaged-marbled appearance. While these crayfish have been identified mostly as detritivores, they have been recorded in aquariums pursuing smaller invertebrates such as ghost shrimp.

Mexican dwarf crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis)

The Mexican dwarf crayfish is popular among crayfish keepers due to its captive-bred orange variation (Cambarellus patzcuarensis var. “Orange”). Although these dwarf crayfish are mostly found in Michoacán’s Lake Patzcuaro, they have been discovered in neighboring springs in Chapultepec, Opopeo, and Tzurumutaro.

The natural color of the Mexican dwarf crayfish is tan and brown, and it grows to around 1.5 inches (3.8 cm); however, the aquarium hobby has deliberately bred the species to show a vibrant orange color while keeping its adult size.

Fish Temperament

As you are well aware, bettas frequently have an aggressive disposition, it is essential to choose tank mates who are tolerant of this. You’ll want to pick a tank buddy who is calm yet will not tolerate bullying. And, despite their little size, dwarf crayfish undoubtedly fall under this group. As you approach your tank, you may observe your dwarf crayfish raising his claws to demonstrate his lack of fear.

It’s adorable, but it will also serve to scare away your betta if he does anything. However, because of their small size. They will, however, cause no harm to your betta due to their small size and are more likely to retreat and hide than to attack.

(If your betta is constantly attacking your dwarf crayfish, you will need to remove them and reintroduce them.)

So, if you wish to keep more than one dwarf crayfish alongside your betta, make sure your tank is large enough. Fortunately, in a 5-gallon aquarium, one dwarf crayfish and one betta can cohabit (A great tank for dwarf crayfish and bettas is the Fluval Spec 5 Gallon).

However, if you intend to have more than one, you will require a substantial amount of additional room. Dwarf crayfish are quite territorial, and if your tank is too small, they will fight.

What are the optimal tank conditions for cohabitation of Betta fish and crayfish?

Fortunately, dwarf crayfish and bettas will require comparable settings. They will quickly develop anxiety if left alone in an empty barren aquarium. Dwarf crayfish are found in the wild in lakes, streams, and slow-moving rivers. Bettas, on the other hand, prefer to dwell in rice fields, water basins, and slow-moving rivers.

The following variables are critical for the safety of both fish:

Water requirements

When keeping a betta and a dwarf crayfish together, it’s also important to maintain proper water conditions. Fortunately, the conditions required for dwarf crayfish and betta survival are extremely similar. Dwarf crayfish require a pH range of 6.5–8, while bettas want a pH as near to 7 as feasible. Between a more alkaline pH (7 or more) and a more acidic pH (7 or less), choose the more acidic pH, since your betta prefers it. Simply ensure that it does not dip below 6.5. 

Another important factor is the water temperature.  Bettas like water that is 78°F, but will tolerate temperatures between 76 to 80°F. Dwarf crayfish are far more tolerant to extremes in water temperature. They can live in water temperatures ranging from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, as long as the temperature is suitable for your betta, it will be suitable for your crayfish as well.

When caring for dwarf crayfish, one thing to keep in mind is the water quality. If there is an excessive amount of ammonia or nitrite in the water, it will rapidly become lethal. That is why you should make water changes in your tank on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Tank setup

Most essential, while building up your tank, ensure that enough hiding areas are included. You should add several living plants to ensure the well-being of your dwarf crayfish and betta. Additionally, ensure that there is plenty of driftwood and tunnels for your crayfish and betta to hide in. Java moss is an excellent plant to add to your aquarium since it provides cover for your dwarf crayfish.

Finally, the substrate should be either sand or extremely tiny pebbles. Because your dwarf crayfish will spend their whole lives on the substrate, you want it to be pleasant for them. If you obtain stones that are too big or too sharp, your crayfish may suffer a cut. Additionally, if the stones are too large, their legs may become stuck in the spaces.

Tank size

A 5-gallon (18.9 L) tank is generally suitable for a single betta. However, when adding a dwarf crayfish to a tank, it is advisable to provide as much room as possible to avoid them having to contact one another excessively; if they do not see each other frequently, there is less chance that they may hurt one another!

A minimum of a ten-gallon aquarium is required for one betta fish and one dwarf crayfish (37.9 L); in these circumstances, a higher tank is preferable over a long tank in order to create a physical height difference between the two.


Due to the fact that dwarf crayfish are omnivores, you will need to give them a combination of plant and meat-based foods. Additionally, dwarf crayfish are scavengers. Thus, whatever food your betta does not consume, your crayfish will consume from the substrate. However, this does not imply you should neglect to feed your dwarf crayfish.

As a treat, you should provide dwarf crayfish and betta live food on a regular basis. Bloodworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp are also excellent alternatives. Ensure, however, that you offer them a balanced diet; otherwise, they will grow unwell.

As long as you provide the proper nutrients for your betta and dwarf crayfish, they will remain healthy.

How To Keep Bettas And Dwarf Crayfish Together

If you’re planning to grow dwarf crayfish and bettas in the same tank, an appropriate tank setup is crucial. The issue will be with your betta, not your dwarf crayfish. Therefore, ensure that you provide plenty of hiding spots for your crawfish.

Providing them with several hiding spots will decrease the likelihood of your betta attacking them. They’ll also require these hiding spots during their molt when they’re most vulnerable. Additionally, the larger the tank, the less likely it is that your betta will attack your dwarf crayfish.

Especially if you have a tall tank. Additionally, ensure that you are purchasing the correct species of dwarf crayfish. You should purchase just the Cambarellus species. They are non-violent and non-aggressive. If you purchase larger crayfish, they may assault your betta.

Can dwarf crayfish coexist peacefully with betta fish?

In a nutshell, maybe. There are several debates about which tank mates are compatible with betta fish and which are not. Regrettably, this is frequently done by trial and error and results in a lost invertebrate or an injured betta. However, a significant number of hobbyists have successfully kept betta and dwarf crayfish in the same tank.

At the end of the day, compatibility is mostly determined by the fish and crayfish’s personalities. Even if everything appears to be going swimmingly for a long length of time, there is always a chance that one of them may go missing from the tank.

There are a few strategies to improve your chances of success, including selecting the suitable dwarf crayfish species, designing your tank with both species in mind, maintaining optimal water conditions, and making modifications as soon as symptoms of problems appear.


In this post, we learned a little about the relationship between Betta fish and Crayfish as well as discussed their requirements and biology.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can betta fish live with crayfish?

Can crayfish coexist peacefully with bettas?

Fortunately, in a 5-gallon aquarium, one dwarf crayfish and one betta can cohabit (A great tank for dwarf crayfish and bettas is the Fluval Spec 5 Gallon). Dwarf crayfish are highly territorial, and they will fight if your tank is too small. 

Can crayfish be kept in a communal tank?

Because crayfish are not known to harm other fish, they may be kept in most community aquariums. They coexist well with other fish species. Because crayfish like to congregate towards the bottom of the tank, there is no need to be concerned about territorial disputes. You may also wish to avoid tiny invertebrates.

Dwarf crayfish are aggressive?

Dwarf orange crayfish do not exhibit violence except during brief territorial squabbles with their own species. They are even compatible with shrimp. Pursue only calm fish and avoid anything that might fit a crayfish in its jaws.


Roberts, 2020. Keeping Freshwater Aquarium Crayfish: The Complete Guide

Guide To Keeping Dwarf Crayfish And Bettas

 Dwarf Crayfish & Betta Fish: Peaceful Tank Mates