9 Reasons Why Your Crayfish Stopped Moving

Why Your Crayfish Stopped Moving

Have you been monitoring your crayfish for a while and you seem to notice that it is not moving or hasn’t moved in a while, I mean for some hours or a day?. If you have crayfish in your aquarium, you must have experienced this at one time or the other. I guess you did be shocked and wondered if it was dead. Your question would be, ‘why is my crayfish not moving?. Well, I will explain some common causes of this act.

Why is my crayfish not moving? Crayfish might stop moving because it is Molting, it is stressed or the water parameters are not suitable.

Although the above mentioned are some of the common causes, but there are some other causes which I will explain in this article, and how you can correct or take care of them when it happens.

I have noticed this strange behaviour of crayfish so often because I have one, and I know other people that do have one too.

So it’s a common thing to me, but if it’s your first time noticing this, you did be shocked and confused and might think it is dead, well, I understand. But sometimes, it might not be a serious issue, but a normal crayfish character or nature, so find out first the cause of the stillness of your crayfish.

Related: 3 reasons why your Crayfish stopped Molting

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Some reasons crayfish might stop moving are:

– It is Molting or about to Molt: Do you know that crayfish do remove their shells sometimes and grow back new shells? well, now u know.

From time to time, crayfish will have to Molt, and before they do this, they will have to eat alot, and at some point will entirely stop eating.

You might start noticing that the behaviors of your cray have drastically changed, one of those changes is staying still for a long time, moving very slowly, inability to eat anything and hiding.

Related: 6 reasons Crayfish could die while molting

You might notice that the shell is somehow peeling off!.

All these are very normal and so, does not call for any alarm.

Don’t worry, after the molt and when the new shell becomes strong, your cray will go back to it’s normal life and become very active again.

Related: 11 reasons why a Crayfish might try to escape

Normally, Molting process takes up to 24hours for small crayfish to complete, and up to 5days for bigger crayfish to complete.

In this case, there is nothing wrong with the cray, you just need to let it be, and provide nutritious foods, especially calcium for it after it’s done Molting.

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– It’s possible you are seeing the lifeless shell, not the main crayfish: I know this might sound a little bit weird and confusing, but it normally happens.

When a crayfish finish molting, the old shell ( exoskeleton) won’t just disappear into tin air, it will still be in the water, and it often looks exactly like the crayfish.

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Sometimes some people mistake it for being their cray, maybe thinking that their cray is dead or sick, without knowing it is just a lifeless old shell of their crayfish.

The fact is, once it is done with molting, it will go and hide anywhere it could.

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All crayfish do this after they molt.

This is just to regain backs their strength and allow the new shell to harden and also to hide from other tank mates, as they are very vulnerable at that stage.

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The exoskeleton might get you confused, thinking it is the crayfish.

No!, just give it a gentle poke to find out, if it could walk/swim at least a bit

Related: Can Crayfish share a tank with Crabs?

– Your crayfish might not be moving because it is Nocturnal: Do you know that crayfish are normally active or should I say more active in the night?, well that’s the fact.

There is every possibility that you are only monitoring your pet cray in the day time, and it do seems to be dead.

Related: 7 reasons why African clawed frog could stop eating

If that is the case, you will have to watch it at night and see if it becomes active.

There is a chance that it might be sleeping the moment you are watching it , to find out if it is still okay, stroke it gentle and see if it could move.

Related: 8 reasons why African dwarf frog will try to escape

– Your crayfish maybe stressed:

Crayfish doesn’t like getting stressed and might become inactive if stressed.

Although they are hard creatures, but one of the easiest ways to render them inactive for some time or even kill them is to have them stressed.

Related: 5 reasons why your frog is upside down

They are aggressive and territorial, so they rarely tolerate tank mates, that’s why it is hard to find suitable tank mate for them, not even their fellow crayfish.

Sometimes tank mates like Tuttle, monster fish such as cichlids, etc could even kill them, and that may be why yours is hiding and staying still there.

Related: Why is my Crab eating sand?

If you notice that your crayfish is in hiding for a very long time, and not moving, or it is just in one place and quiet, then you might consider relocating it or it’s tank mates to another tank.

– Wrong Water Parameters:

Every aquatic animal you can think of requires their own water parameter ranges to live happily.

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When you find out the specific water parameter range, you will have to replicate it at home for that animal.

If the water parameters do not fall within that range or change drastically, it can seriously stress out the animal.

In the case of crayfish, it is the same.

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Lack of specific water parameters for them could cause stress to them and have them stay inactive.

Here are the specific water parameter ranges for crayfish:

Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate Close to 0 ppm
Temperature 65 to 80 Degrees Fahrenheit 19 to 27 degrees Celcius
pH 6.5 to 7.5
GH 4-10 ppm
KH 3-10 ppm
TDS 100-300 ppm.

It is important to avoid ammonia or nitrite in the water, as this can be very fatal to crayfish.

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Always check your water parameters, and if you at any chance notice ammonia or nitrites, kindly change the water very quickly.

It does affect crayfish health and could be the cause of your crayfish’s inability to move.

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– The crayfish is new to the environment:

Sometimes, nothing is necessarily wrong with the crayfish, just that it is new to the aquarium.

This is mostly exhibited by newly bought crayfish.

They normally remain calm and quiet in a new place, till they could be able to master the environment.

Related: Are Betta fish and Tiger Barbs good tank mates?

This is very normal if your new crayfish does that, just leave it, It will start being active soon.

– Maybe your crayfish has nowhere to hide and rest: Many people make this mistake, of keeping a crayfish aquarium, without providing with them places they could hide and rest.

This normally causes stress to them, and could lead to them being inactive for sometime.

Related: Can Sunfish live with Cichlids?

There are many ways to prevent this from ever happening, such as building or buying them an artificial cafes, stones, even PVC pipes and fittings substrates where they will burrow.

Without giving them these, or at least some of these, they will always get stressed which is bad for their health.

Related: Can Crayfish and Angel fish live together?

– They might be sick:

Sometimes having a crayfish that is not moving for a very long time, and is not Molting too could mean it is sick.

There are many diseases that could infect crayfish, which I won’t discuss here.

To find out if it’s sick, and if it is, removes any possible tank mate and call your pet specialist for possible medications.

– Your crayfish may not be moving because it might be dead:

This is the greatest fear of every pet lover.

If you notice it has stopped moving and is in the same position for days and not showing any sign of movement, even after being poked, it may mean it’s dead.

All you have to do is to remove it from the aquarium and change the water before it starts smelling, which will hurt it’s tank mates.


Am just an experienced pet lover and not a vet, please contact your vet if you are not entirely okay with you pet’s behavior.