5 Reasons Why Your Crayfish Is Floating

Why Your Crayfish Is Floating

Do you know that crayfish sometimes behave very funny? They might sometimes float, either on their back, sideway etc. If you are reading this article, it means you are looking for information on why your crayfish is floating. Well, you will find out soon.

Why is my crayfish floating? Your crayfish could be floating because it has air trapped under it’s shell, it is Molting or it’s dead.

I know you might find it very funny and at the same time shocked seeing your crayfish behave that way.

Related: 9 reasons why your Crayfish could stop moving

Well, the simple truth is, crayfish don’t just behave like that, unless there is something wrong.

Crayfish does not just float on water nor is it a back swimmer neither is it a sideway swimmer.

Related: How do Crayfish breath?

Once your cray exhibits this character, it is very important you know the cause.

Some of the common reasons why your crayfish might be floating are:

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– It might have air trapped under it’s shell: You might be surprised, and will be like ‘how?’ well this is how.

Although crayfish can survive for some days on a dry environment without moisture in the air which do help them breath on land, but in the case where they lack that air moisture, what will happen?

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Well, they could still manage for some days, but something might have gone wrong.

When an aquarium crayfish escape to a dry land and stay for some time, there is every possibility that air has entered under it’s shell, and if you take him back directly to water, the result will be your crayfish floating.

Related: Do Crayfish bite?

Crayfish floating on water is popular among lost and found crayfish. And most people that complain about this are mainly victims of a lost and found crayfish (lol). But they don’t understand why.

Although there are some very rare occasions when crayfish do float, especially on their back.

Related: Why did my Crayfish stopped molting?

That’s when they climb, maybe pipe of plants in the aquarium, but this is very rare and it lasts for a very short while.

If your crayfish escaped and you found it, don’t put it back immediately in the aquarium.

Related: 6 reasons Crayfish could die while molting

You will need to turn it upside down on the water surface ( closer to water surface) for some time, at least 30 minutes or 1 hour.

After that, put it in a small water that is different from the aquarium, leave it there for some hours, then put it back in the aquarium.

Related: Can Crayfish share a tank with Snails?

With all these process, the air trapped under the shell will go off and it won’t have to float again, even when it gets back in the aquarium.

– Your crayfish may carry the white spot symptom virus (WSSV): This virus could kill crayfish.

Related: Can Crayfish change color?

They sometimes get this virus from eating infected shrimps.

When they become infected, they may begin to float and do all kinds of odd behaviors like floating on their back, sideways etc.

Related: Do Crayfish poop?

When this happens, all you need to do is to meet a vet or any specialist to advise you or even quarantine them if possible.

– Water parameters could cause this: But it’s not very common. When the water pH, hardiness is not suitable for it, or when there is nitrite or ammonia in the water.

Related: 11 reasons why your Crayfish could try to escape

It’s a know fact that nitrites and ammonia are very harmful to crayfish, and if they are in their water it might be very fatal to them.

So examine their water, and if there is any of these compounds in it, change the water.

Related: Are Crayfish and Goldfish good tank mates?

Cold temperature could contributes to this behavior, especially for crayfish that stay in a temperate environment. Although they might tolerate coldness, but not too cold.

– Your crayfish may be dead or dying: Sometimes if your crayfish is floating, especially if it is motionless or seems very very weak, then there is a chance that it is already dead or dying.

Related: Are Crayfish and crab suitable tank mates?

Floating crayfish

At this juncture, I don’t really think there is any thing you could really do than to remove it from the water.

If there are other creatures in the tank, you might want to remove the water, and maybe find out why the crayfish died first, inorder to know how to quarantine others in that tank.

Related: Are Hermit Crabs suitable tank mates for Goby fish?

– It may be caused by molt: We all know that crayfish do molt on a regular basis. (5-10 times in their first year) They do this by removing their old shell and letting a new shell inside the old one to grow. They do this to grow.

During Molting process or when they are about to do it, you might sometimes notice that some of them are floating.

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During this period, they are normally calm and very weak. This is very normal.

You have absolutely nothing to worry about, and also you have nothing to do other than to leave them and allow them to molt in peace.


From my experience, these are some of the possible causes of crayfish floating.

Related: Can African dwarf frogs live with Shrimps?

Like I always advise, always meet your pet specialist if there is anything complicating about your pets.