Signs That A Crayfish Is Dying

Signs That A Crayfish Is Dying

The crayfish is a hardy creature and then belongs to the crustacean family.

They could be very nice pets to keep in an aquarium, but they are natural hunters and agile always.

keeping Crayfish is a fun and easy thing to do, but sometimes problems might start to occur which involve your crayfish showing signs of death.

In this article, we will explain the signs that they show when they are about to die and what could cause their death, and the possible solutions too.

The fact is, there is no how a healthy and well-cared-for crayfish will be showing signs that it’s about to die.

Signs That A Crayfish Is Dying

signs Crayfish display when they want to die

They will stay in one place most of the time, even at night and they will be uninterested to roam around the tank for food.

The crayfish will show no interest in food.

Its movement will be very dull and It will move very slowly.

Sometimes after a bad molt, the crayfish might flip over.

These are some of the signs that a crayfish will display when it’s about to die.

So, if your crayfish is exhibiting any of these characteristics, first, make sure it’s not molting.

If it is Molting, then it will be okay, but if it’s not, then there is a serious problem.

Here, we always advise you to get the attention of a veterinarian if you notice strange behaviors from your pets, so contact a doctor.

Now you have learned the commonest signs these animals will display when they are dying, then let’s educate you on what the possible causes of your crayfish death are and the possible solutions, so that you can at least keep yours happy and healthy too.

signs crayfish is dying

Why Crayfish Might Die

Many factors could lead to the loss of your pet crayfish, although few are natural factors and there is nothing you can do in that case.

Old Age: One of the reasons why crayfish die is old age.

Old age is the most popular factor that kills old crayfish.

This happens when a crayfish is very old and has reached its lifespan.

Although such crayfish might be normal, moving about and eating very normally, once it’s at the end of its lifespan, it might die through Molting.

During the Molting process, almost all the crayfish that have reached their age limit will die because the Molting process requires a lot of strength and agility, which old crayfish do lack.

Because of a lack of strength to molt successfully, the Molting process will normally go wrong, and the crayfish involved will die in the process.

Old age is a natural factor that normally kills old crayfish through Molting, so there is nothing you can do about it, as it’s natural.

Lack of enough Oxygen: Crayfish, just like other aquatic animals do make use of gills for breathing, so, they do breath oxygen with the help of their gills.

Sometimes they could lack the proper oxygen to keep their body working, and this might lead to them showing signs of death, like flipping sideways or upside-down or even being motionless, etc.

Lack of oxygen is mainly caused by keeping crayfish in a big tank and having a lot of water in it, thereby limiting the level of oxygen at the bottom of the tank.

This can go a long way to affect the overall health of the crayfish because they are heavy consumers of oxygen.

So, if your Crayfish is showing signs of death, then you might have to check the amount of water they are in, change the water and reduce the level to slightly cover their back like an inch or a little more.

Again crayfish being good consumers of oxygen will need an air pump, caves that the tops are on the surface, or islands, where they will sometimes come out to get air, and again make sure the tank is planted too.

Providing all these for your crayfish, we promise you won’t have a slight issue with oxygen.

Wrong Water Parameters: Wrong water parameters are one of the factors that could easily kill your crayfish if proper care is not taken.

If you happen to notice that they are displaying signs of dying, then you should check your water parameters to find out if anything is wrong with their water.

That’s why we always recommend having water testing kits.

When you notice any sign of death, first of all, test their water to know what is wrong.

What you should be looking out for are Chlorine level, Nitrate level, and ammonia level.

The Ideal water parameter range for crayfish is:

Ammonia, Nitrite, 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

So, when you see an atom of these chemicals, you must change the water and replace it with treated water and not tap, unless it’s treated.

Again make sure they are in their comfortable temperature as mentioned above, so you should get them a heater to keep their water temperature normal.

Again put in place a filter to continue to keep their tank clean and the water fresh to avoid things that will help harden the water even more and accumulate these harmful chemicals.

Have the tank planted too, so, that the plants will help to reduce the number of Nitrates in the tank by consuming them.

Unsuitable Tank Mates: Another thing that could easily cause the death of a crayfish or crayfish displaying signs of death is unsuitable tank mates.

It can be dangerous to keep any animal in an environment with its enemy.

There are so many fish and other non-fish aquatic animals that could easily harm, eat or stress crayfish to death.

Some of these undesirable mates could harm your crawfish in many ways, either by killing them, stressing them, or even grabbing their food, making them starve to death.

So, next time you see your crayfish displaying signs of death, check their tank Mates and remove the aggressive one.

To help you more, here is the list of some suitable tank mates for crayfish:

Betta fish
Big Shrimps
Red Tail Shark
Hatchet Fish Plecostomus
Rosy Red Minnows
Rainbow Darters
Other Crayfish

These are the possible suitable tank mates for Crayfish, although you still have to be careful because their behaviors might change sometimes too.

So, avoid putting unsuitable mates with them, and also have many hiding places such as caves, etc in their tank once they have any tank mate, whether suitable or unsuitable, you never can tell.

Poor Feeding: Your pet crayfish might be showing signs of weakness etc because it’s starving, or the food quality is not suitable for it.

So, when they starve they lack the proper nutrients, and they might begin to lack enough strength to swim and act normal like before.

So, feed them properly, at least once a day, and also feed them with good quality foods that are very rich in nutrients.

Sickness: Sickness could make them start acting as if they are about to die anytime sooner.

Many kinds of diseases may affect them and make them sluggish and weak.

Again we advise you to contact a vet when you notice this and have them checked to know if they are sick.

Un-cycled Tank: One of the mistakes many aquarists make is to keep their animals in an un-cycled tank.

This could be a very dangerous decision to make because this could easily kill your pet.

Although crayfish are hardy, make sure that the tank is cycled once it’s new to avoid any possible problem that might arise.

Molt: The molting process could also make your crayfish start displaying signs of dying, like refusing to eat, not moving, etc.

Molting is the process by which crustaceans shade off their old body and grow new ones to continue growing.

This could be a serious challenge to them and they need a lot of strength to do this, also sometimes it could lead to their death.

So, if yours is displaying the above signs, find out if it wants to molt by checking its skin to see if it’s cracking. Give a few days and don’t try any sort of disturbance.

This is one of the natural factors why your crayfish may be displaying signs of death.

Do Crayfish Float When They Die?

Sometimes you might see your crayfish floating and you will want to know if they are dead.

Do Crayfish Float When They Die? Yes, they will float for some time when they die, and will later sink to the bottom. Sometimes they do float when they’re Molting too.

Normally a crayfish will float for some reasons Wich Molting and death are inclusive.

So floating is one of the signs that your crayfish is dying unless it’s floating because it wants to Molt.


These are some of the most common factors that might drive your Crayfish to show those signs, so find out what the actual problem is first before taking any action.