I have seen many questions about the average time it would take for a crayfish shell to be hardened after Molting and I decided to make this article to provide an accurate answer to this query. Crayfish is a crustacean and all crustaceans do Molt from time to time as they grow, and they have a stipulated time to fully do this and return to their normal self.
How long does it take for a crayfish shell to harden? After Molting, a crayfish will develop a new shell that is very soft and fragile, and this shell will take between 2 days to 1 week to harden.
Molting process and time is one of the weakest moments of any crustacean, including crayfish.
This is because after shading off the former skin ( exoskeleton) the new shell will be very fragile and soft.
At this period, you will notice that your crayfish is missing because it is hiding under substrates, rocks, caves, etc.
They could normally hide from everything including their fellow crayfish after Molting.
This is because anything could kill them at this period, including their fellow crayfish and even some smaller animals that they normally kill might kill them now.
This is because the new shell is very very weak and vulnerable to protect them from anything and everything around them, so, they tend to hide to get the shell to harden.
Although naturally, it could take between 2-8 days for this new shell to become strong enough to protect them, the time this shell will harden depends on some factors such as the diet or nutrition the crayfish involved eat.
What hardens their new shell is the amount of iodine and calcium in their body.
These nutrients help to harden the shell faster, so when I said it depends, this is what I mean.
For instance, the time frame a crayfish that is being fed these foods to harden their shell will be different from those that lack these nutrients.
So it’s recommended to provide your Molting Crayfish with food that has enough calcium, iodine, and vitamins too to speed up their shell hardening process.
Another fact is, that smaller crayfish tend to Molt and harden their new shell much quicker than large ones, so, the time frame could greatly depend on these factors.
Why Is My Crayfish Shell Soft?
Crayfish shells are normally soft when they Molt newly.
This is because their normal old exoskeleton has been removed and a new one has grown.
This new one needs enough time and enough nutrients to harden and become like the old skeleton.
So, If you happen to notice that a crayfish shell is soft, then know that that crayfish just molted.