How to Raise Crawfish in the Backyard

Nothing beats that unique, rich flavor of crawfish.

Well, did you know that you can enjoy this delicacy from anywhere without having to fly out to the south?

All you need to know is how to raise crawfish in the backyard of your home. There are several ways you can do this. Let’s find out.

How to Raise Crawfish in the Backyard

How to Grow Crawfish in Tanks

This process involves raising crayfish in an aquarium tank. Going for this method allows you to set up the tank to match the landscaping of your backyard. You can put the tank to blend in with your garden or add décor to your patio space. 

Alternatively, you can opt for indoor crawfish farming. Simply place the tanks in an enclosed patio as part of the décor elements.  When raising crawfish in a tank, avoid keeping aquatic plants in the tank as the crayfish will end up eating them.

How To Raise Crawfish In Tanks

Tools Needed

  • 1ft x 2ft tank or a large barrel
  • Gravel
  • Rocks and tiles
  • Decorative items such as flowerpots and plastic dividers to create hiding spots
  • Fish tank bubbler
  • Litmus paper
  • Baking soda
  • Thermometer
  • Fish tank water heater with thermostat
  • Crayfish (at least 20)
  • Fish food or vegetable leftovers such as lettuce, peas, and carrots

Step 1: Prepare The Tank

The first step involves preparing the tank. If you can afford to access a tank, you can opt for raising crawfish in a barrel. After all, both methods are the same. Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the tank. Pair it with another layer of rocks and tiles.

Distribute the decorative items across the tank. Fill up the bottom with the decorative items, but don’t cram them up. Hiding spots aren’t just for décor. Crawfish can be territorial. Thus, creating a hiding spot offers a great way to separate them.

Step 2: Create The Right Environment

Attach a fish tank bubbler and add water to fill up the tank. The bubbler helps to aerate water which aids the crayfish in breathing through their gills. Use litmus paper to check the pH of the water. The PH should constantly be neutral or slightly alkaline with a pH of at least 7.0 to 8.5.

If the pH isn’t on this scale, add some baking soda to balance it. Lastly, attach a thermometer and water heater to maintain the ideal temperature. Temperatures in the tank should always be around 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to help promote healthy growth.

Step 3: Start Growing Crawfish

Start Growing Crawfish

Add the crawfish into the tank. You can get your crawfish from any pet store or source them from a pond, creek, or stream. If you choose to source them yourself, you can easily catch them along the shores or in moving water using a minnow net. You can also find them under rocks or branches.

Step 4: Feeding

Feed the crayfish daily as much food as they will consume on a single feed. As they begin to breed, separate smaller crawfish into groups of twenty in a separate tank.

How to Raise Crawfish in a Pond

If you have more backyard space, integrate a crawfish pond as part of your backyard landscape.

How to Raise Crawfish in a Pond

Tools Needed

  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • PVC drainage pipe
  • Water hose
  • Gravel
  • Mixed concrete
  • Trowel
  • Paddlewheel
  • Netting
  • Stones
  • Plants
  • Bird netting
  • Crayfish (at least 20)
  • Fish food or – plankton for babies and freshwater crayfish pellet for adults

Step 1: Set Up a Pond

Use a shovel to dig out a rectangular water pond or hire help to do so. The pond size should be at least 16 feet long, 16 feet wide, and about 3.5 feet deep. Create a gradual slope on one side of the pond as a drainage pathway (it should be about 4 inches deep).

 On the opposite side, dig a deep hole that connects to the water supply, attach a drainage pipe and cover it with the dirt. The drainage pipe leads into the pod’s floor. Have a water company establish the water supply system.

Step 2: Fill up the Water

Create a V-shaped pond by adding dirt you dug out on either side of the walls (pack the dirt to about 2 feet). Smoothen out the walls using the shovel for a clean finish and use a water hose to fill the pond. As you add water, spray it on the soil to help compact it. You can add some gravel for a more compact finish as well. Alternatively, get a small construction company to help out.

Step 3: Pond Finishing Touches

Dig out a few inches of space around the drainage pipe opening and pour mixed concrete around. Use a trowel to smoothen this space out.

Step 4: Aerate the Water

A simple fish tank bubbler will not work, so you must invest in a paddlewheel-style aeration device. Follow the manual’s setup, place the device in the center of the pond, and power it up. You want to run the aerator at least for 30 to 60 minutes daily.

Step 5: Create Hiding Spots

Attach nylon nets to plants, rocks, and stones, so they sink to the bottom of the pond. Spread them across the center of the pond. Cover the pond with bird netting to prevent the crawfish from falling prey to birds.

Step 6: Add and Feed Crawfish

Add and Feed Crawfish

Lastly, add the crawfish and continue feeding once a day until they grow and breed! Your gender ratio should be four males for every female. Harvesting can be done by draining the pond.

How Long Does it Take to Raise Crawfish?

If grown in the right environment, it takes three to four months to grow crawfish to a harvestable size. Always make sure the water temperature is ideal since this is the most critical growth factor. Add a mesh cylinder around the concrete after it has dried to act as a flow trap. This helps to stop the crawfish from being drained when you drain water.

How Long Do Crawfish Live?

Crawfish typically survive for two to three years. Whether you opt for crayfish farming in tanks or on a pond, their lifespan is the same.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to raise crawfish in the backyard gives you access to fresh supplies anytime. You can never run out of food ideas for when you host friends or family. Plus, you can even turn this hobby into a side hustle!