How to Raise Crawfish for Fish Bait

How to Raise Crawfish for Fish BaitMany anglers prefer to use live fishing bait such as crawfish (which bass love). Instead of trying to figure out which lure or commercial bait will best entice a fish, using the fish's natural food source takes out all the guesswork. Many anglers have much more success with live bait. Instead of setting traps and catching crawfish for each fishing trip, raise the crawfish at home in an aquarium. Then you will always have live crawfish bait ready when you are.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Two 10-gallon fish tanks
  • 20-gallon fish tank
  • Crawfish food
  • Aquatic plants
  • Fish tank décor or logs
  • 3 Filters
  • 3 Tank heaters
  • Tank gravel
Step 1
Use two 10-gallon tanks for two (a male and a female) crawfish. Set up a 20-gallon tank as the nursery. Fill the tank about three-fourths full. Crawfish will climb out if they can reach the top of the tank.
Step 2
Keep the water clean with a filter and regular water changes. Also, maintain a temperature of 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and pH of 6.5 to 8.5. Water hardness can range from medium to hard. Overall crawfish are tolerant of water fluctuations.
Step 3
Give the crawfish lots of hiding places by planting thick aquatic plants and putting in tank decorations or logs. Use gravel for the bottom of the tank.
Step 4
Put the female into the male's tank. Remove her after the two have mated. Usually you will only need to leave the female in the tank for a day or two at the most.
Step 5
Place the female into the 20-gallon tank and expect her to develop eggs under her tail within a month. Within two months of mating, the eggs should hatch. If she does not develop eggs, place her back into the male's tank.
Step 6
Remove the female as soon the young crawfish have left the mother to her own 10-gallon tank.
Step 7
Feed all the crawfish a variety of food such as fish pellets, commercial crawfish (or crayfish) pelleted food and slices of vegetables. Feed baby crawfish fish flakes, frozen brine shrimp and pellets.

Tips & Warnings

The female crawfish may hide while she has eggs. She does not need to be fed at this time.
Male crawfish have longer and thinner claws than the females.

Article Written By Lynn Anders

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.

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