Mexican Dwarf Crayfish – The Complete Practical Care Guide

Last updated on December 24th, 2022 at 11:05 am

Mexican Dwarf Crayfish, one of the most popular freshwater aquarium members, will add life and color to your treasured tank. They look like tiny lobsters and have a matching bright color.

The inclusion of invertebrates in freshwater aquariums has become very popular. These little creatures fit this bill well. They have wonderful, dynamic, and quiet personalities.

In this article, we will explore how to own a Mexican dwarf crayfish or Cambarellus Patzcuarensis. We cover behavior, appearance, breeding, tank requirements, and more.

Quick Stats

  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 Gallons (45 Liters) 
  • Water Conditions: 6.5-8.0 pH 
  • Temperature: 68-77 °F (20-25 °C)
  • Maximum Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Care Level: Moderately Hard


Mexican Dwarf Crayfish are also known as Dwarf fish or Mexican mini-lobsters. They are found mainly in lakes, rivers, and streams of southern Mexico and the United States. Their Small size and quiet nature make them more suitable than their larger relatives.

When they become habitual to a much larger type of tank mate than the larger crab fish can keep with them, they are known to live an average of 2 to 3 years.

Dwarf Crayfish can live in variety of freshwater aquariums. They can keep with other habitats you love to take as a hobby. They are immobile when it comes to maintenance needs. But like all aquarium residents, they should only be placed in tanks with at least one filter. These are very active creatures who like to explore and do not spend all their time under rocks. They are also known for keeping tanks clean and free of debris. 

If you are thinking to keep these with other Crayfish species or large fishes or invertebrates, putting them in tanks with hiding places. Crayfish are vulnerable when they are shedding their exoskeleton, so landscaping tanks with living plants, driftwood, rocks, and caves are significant to their survival. It is common for a crayfish to eat its exoskeleton after melting.

Typical Behavior

Although Mexican dwarf crayfish love to hide around caves and rocks and plants, they enjoy exploring their environment around them; you will enjoy watching them. Those hiding places are necessary to protect them when they are melted and weakened.

Female Crayfish need less space to lay eggs as they incubate them. You will find that the Crayfish is a pleasant character who can probably show you his pupils and enjoy hanging out together, and sometimes with other fishes.


The bright orange color of the Mexican dwarf crayfish stands out in your community aquarium, and sometimes also the red color. They also have black stripes and spots of orange on their upper body.

We mentioned earlier that these little creatures look like little lobsters, with a tight shell body and a long tail, making them great swimmers. With 19 pairs of organs across the 2-inch body, you can see why they melt so often. Mexican Dwarf Crayfish has multiple legs!

In addition to the 19 organs, they have an antenna that helps them smell food and find their surroundings. They also have black eyes that come out.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

You make sure that your Mexican dwarf crayfish has enough room to watch your aquarium community freely, especially if you keep many dwarf Crayfishes.

As with any freshwater species, you want to make sure you have a good filter and cycle the tank before adding Mexican dwarf Crayfish to your community.

They adapt too many habitats but keep in mind that they are small, so you should create conditions in which they grow. You should provide them hiding places and keep the tank free of large organisms.

Aquarium Size:

The minimum tank size for a Mexican dwarf crayfish is 5 gallon tank, but if you have other aquarium community members, a 10-gallon tank is a must.


The average age of the Mexican dwarf crayfish is 2-3 years. To maximize their life expectancy, provide them with a high-quality environment. Make sure that the water in the aquarium meets the appropriate qualifications, and it increases their habitation.

Check and maintain the tanks regularly, and provide them with various vegetables, herbs, and enough protein.


Dwarf Mexican Crayfish eat any food, for example, tank plant debris. Cleaning gets even easier if you keep Crayfish in a community tank. 

Pills and pellets for catfish are the best foods in this case. Bloodworm and brine shrimp will also be good. If you like, you can give some delicious food, like a slice of cucumber, squash, and carrot. The main thing is that food goes to the tank bottom, and they pick to eat it all.

Do not forget that Crayfish is a hunter. So, what if some fish die while you are away? Here comes a crayfish! They will eat its body quickly and will not allow the tank water to pollute and deteriorate.


Mexican Dwarf Crayfish are thankfully not affected by ICH, a parasite that recognizes the white spots of the fish it lives on.

However, many ICH treatments contain copper, which is deadly to Mexican dwarf crayfish. If you are treating Crayfish for this disease, check the label before adding it to your crayfish-dwelling tank.

*The ICH (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) infection condition is known as ICH, Ick, and white spot disease.

On the other hand, Crayfish are treacherous, with plague Crayfish and every mysterious thing in your aquarium. Crayfish plague is caused by water mold, but it is not a disease developed in your aquarium community. Only when you introduce pre-infected Crayfish into your tank will you have trouble. 

Crayfish plague is contagious, so avoid adding wild dwarf fish to your already established aquarium community.

Tank Mates

Aquarium enthusiasts prefer a community that includes top water fish. Because dwarf Crayfish live mostly under tanks, they are less likely to face and have fights with large and aggressive fishes. Not a good fit. A full-sized crayfish will warm the Orange Dwarf, and the Cichlids will likely eat them.

Encounters with Smaller Creatures:

Crayfish are usually pretty peaceful, but they have their personality to become aggressive. Whenever they are in a group, they get a little bold.

If you have dwarf shrimp or small snails, they could be the target of Mexican dwarf crayfish.

These Crayfish work well with small, fast-moving fishes, like the rainbow fish, celestial pearl danios, and the neon tetras, but they look for food, so we can’t rule out the small possibility that they’ll try to pinch the fish’s fin with little claws. But they do not eat fish. 

Better Tankmates For Dwarf Crayfish:


Dwarf crayfish breeding is often compared to dwarf shrimp breeding. After mating, the female will carry the eggs in a pouch under her back legs. Dark-colored eggs indicate that the eggs are fertilized and will hatch within 3 to 4 weeks. Like shrimp fry, dwarf crayfish babies born as miniature versions of their parents, thus fending themselves.

However, it is more important to have plenty of hiding places for frying, as they are very dangerous when they are small. The fry will eat the leftovers food, but they can eat each other if they don’t get the right food.

Is Mexican Dwarf Crayfish Right for Your Aquarium?

The orange color of the Mexican dwarf crayfish makes your community aquarium pop out. They enjoy being in the tank, as often show bravado by matching their claws for the show. 

These dwarf Crayfish are generally calm, and they help keep your tank clean. They do not pose much of a risk to other community members, although you may want to avoid adding them to a tank that contains dwarf shrimp or snails.

However, because they are so small, large creatures can prey on them. You need to assess the benefits and risks of incorporating these small Crayfish into your established community.

If you are currently thinking of setting up an aquarium, this would be a great center for building a community around the dwarf crayfish.

Do you think the Mexican dwarf crayfish is a wonderful addition to your fishing community? We will love to hear from you in the our comments box!

1 thought on “Mexican Dwarf Crayfish – The Complete Practical Care Guide”

Leave a Comment