Crayfish Aquaponics System – Everything You Need To Know

Crayfish Aquaponics

There are no doubts about it – most people rely on fish when it comes to aquaponics. However, there are more aquatic creatures that you can bring into your environment. If you want to come up with something different – but also beneficial, crayfish (also referred to as crayfish or crawdads) could be an excellent idea. However, a crayfish aquaponics system will be different, so it requires a bit of research before spending your money.

Crayfish can be found pretty much everywhere – as long as there is fresh water, there is a decent chance you will find these creatures too. Their popularity is far behind fish, and there may not be so much information about these systems, but you can grow them without too much hassle. They are readily available, and they will not cost you a fortune. Plus, they provide a bit of variety to your unique environment.

More species of crayfish

There are lots of species of crayfish, but not all of them will thrive while in captivity. Some species do survive and can multiply without too much work, though. From this point of view, there are a few varieties you should actually focus on.

The Miami cave crayfish has a self-explanatory name. It is native to Florida, and it has a beautiful appearance – a mix of yellow and orange in different intensities. In terms of sizing, the variety is quite small – only three inches only or smaller. However, it is extremely tolerant to other species, so you can add even more diversity to your system.

The red claw crayfish is just as attractive. It is more common in Australia, but it has been brought to other parts of the world too. Its colors are quite varied and may float from green and black to blue. Some individuals have spots, while others feature yellow lines. Compared to the Miami cave crayfish, this specie is bigger and will require a large tank – about eight inches.

Finally, the dwarf orange is native to Mexico, but again, it has been brought all over the world. This is one of the top choices among beginners for a crayfish aquaponics system. It is easy to tell why – the small size makes it easy to fit some individuals in a small tank. Then, the color is orange, and the overall appearance is quite bright and attractive. With a low level of aggression, it is excellent for newbies.

Mexican orange crayfish
Mexican orange crayfish

Requirements for a thriving crayfish aquaponics environment

Any creature you bring into your aquaponics environment will have some requirements, and crayfish will not make an exception either. For instance, crayfish will require some space to move. In terms of density, one crayfish will require about five gallons. A large species will require up to 20 gallons of water.

Then, you have the size of the tank, which is directly proportional to the density requirement. How many crayfish do you want in the system? If you want five small crayfish, you will need a tank taking 25 gallons. Crayfish do climb, so your tank should be rather taller than longer. Hiding places are also mandatory for this environment.

The water temperature should range between 70 and 75 degrees F. As for sunlight, these crustaceans do not require any. The tank should be well shaded or at least create many hiding spots. There are obviously some requirements for the water pH too – anywhere between 7.2 and 8.2.

It is worth noting that crayfish requires plenty of oxygen. You need an airstone or a filter. Otherwise, the craywish will climb out to get the oxygen they require. If they cannot do it, they will simply die. The ppm requirement for the water should be two. Keep an eye on the dissolved oxygen, and make sure your creatures have plenty of it.

Food is just as important when thinking about a crayfish aquaponics environment. Since crayfish are omnivorous, your options are quite varied. Your crayfish can have lots of plants, but also snails, worms, mussels, and so on. You can also feed them pellets for shrimps – they love them. In fact, this is one of the easiest options out there because you can get them from the store.

As for the frequency, a small amount of vegetables or a few shakes of pellets will do. Get rid of the leftovers once they are done.

Best plants for a crayfish aquaponics system

Just like any other creature, the crayfish will do better with certain plants and may dislike others. There are more options out there, but some of them stand out in the crowd. Peas will work wonders in such a system. The same goes for herbs. Whether you are after marjoram or dill, there is nothing to worry about – your plants will thrive in such a system. Celery is just as good to grow.


Mixing with other breeds

Crayfish may not always work with other breeds. If you throw them in, fish could attack them – especially the young individuals. After all, many anglers rely on crustaceans to catch fish. But then, crayfish can easily live with all kinds of species. Whether it comes to catfish or perch, crayfish should not cause any problems – make sure they are big enough, or they might be eaten.

On the same note, crayfish may also attack fish, especially if they are smaller. If you want to make such a mix, you need to ensure they are at the same size, and they will stay like that.


As a short final conclusion, a crayfish aquaponics system can be excellent for a change. Whether you love these sophisticated creatures or you want something different than fish, crayfish will make an excellent choice. Just like any other creature you will use for the system, they do have some requirements, but they are not too big. A little attention to small details will keep these crustaceans happy in your system. In terms of efficiency, they are just as good as fish if the environment is well maintained.

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