Orange Dwarf Mexican Dwarf Crayfish - Care Guide

These little crayfish have a gorgeous and eye-catching bright orange coloration that will add a burst of color to your tank! Their distinct appearance and lively behavior make them a thrilling addition to any aquarium and are a great way to get into invertebrates if you haven't joined the craze already!




 Dwarf crayfish are also called Mexican Dwarf Crayfish or Mexican Mini-Lobsters because they are mainly found in the lakes, rivers, and streams of - you probably guessed it - Mexico, as well as southern areas of the United States. The small size and fairly peaceful nature of these crayfish make them more suitable for community tanks than their larger relatives. While they get along with a much larger variety of tankmates than large crayfish, they may still pick on snails and very small fish or shrimp. They have been known to live up to 2 to 3 years on average.

Dwarf crayfish can live in almost any freshwater aquarium and are among the toughest freshwater tank inhabitants available to the hobby. They are undemanding when it comes to care requirements, but as with all new aquarium inhabitants, they should only be placed in tanks that have at least one filter and have been cycled. These are very active creatures that love to explore and do not spend all of their time under rocks. They are also well known for keeping tanks clean and free of waste. 

If you are planning to keep these little crayfish with other crayfish or other large types of fish and invertebrates, is important to keep them in a tank with plenty of hiding places. Crayfish are vulnerable when they are shedding their exoskeleton, so landscaping the tank with live plants, driftwood, rocks, and/or caves is vital to their survival. Also, it is normal for a crayfish to eat his/her exoskeleton after molting.  



Cambarellus patzcuarensis



1 to 1.6 inches in length


Recommended Tank Parameters

  • pH level range: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Temperature range: 60° to 75° F
  • Water type: kH 1-15; gH 3-25; TDS 100-500
  • Notes from the owner:
    • Crayfish are one of the hardiest freshwater specimens we have to offer, and thus tend to handle shipping and the acclimation process quite well.
    • Though the CPO crayfish is small enough not to be a threat to most other tank inhabitants, they have on occasion gone after dwarf shrimp, so we don't recommend keeping them in the same tank.



Dwarf crayfish will typically eat whatever they can catch, but their small size and slow mobility renders them unable to harm most types of fish or invertebrates (though they may munch on snails or slow dwarf shrimp). They will eat leftovers, dead tank mates, and even fish waste, but their diets can be supplemented with foods like invertebrate pellets, algae wafers, fish food, or blanched vegetables (such as zucchini, carrots, and spinach).


Warning! Avoid any food product, medication, or plant fertilizer that contains Copper of any form. Copper is toxic to invertebrates. Many commercial fish foods, medications, and plant fertilizers contain copper or more commonly copper sulfate. Always look at the ingredient list for any product going into the aquarium to ensure they are copper free.



Breeding dwarf crayfish is often compared to breeding dwarf shrimp. After mating, the female will carry eggs in a pouch underneath her back legs. Dark-colored eggs indicate that the eggs are fertilized and should hatch within 3 to 4 weeks. Like shrimp fry, dwarf crayfish babies are born as miniature versions of their parents and are thus able to fend for themselves. However, it is extra important for the fry to have plenty of hiding places, as they are very vulnerable when they are that small. The fry will eat waste and leftover food, but they may eat each other if not enough food is available to them.


What to Expect from Us

We generally ship young crayfish that are around 1 inch in length. They will already be a brilliant orange color, but their color should intensify even more as the crayfish matures and grows a bit larger.  

We ship the dwarf crayfish in breather bags that allow for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide while the animals are in transit. We typically add in some strands of hornwort or java moss, which they can munch on and cling to while they are being shipped.  

All Aquatic Arts brand plants and animals come with a 100% live arrival guarantee, plus free email support directly from the owners! All that we require is that you send us a clear, digital picture of the unopened bag of DOAs, and we will replace them free of charge.



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