The different sizes of the Marbled Cray during growth makes it ideal to feed various sizes of aggressive aquarium fishes, both freshwater and salt water (marine). From cichlids to lionfish and moray eels, the crayfish is a delicacy that is a very good, nutritional food for pets needing live food, including some amphibians and reptiles.
This is also true for the sports fisherman – using various size frozen crays as bait is very tempting for bass, crappie, catfish, trout, ocean redfish, and other sport fishes. Being a freshwater cray, it makes an ideal LIVE bait for salt water fishing – as it would not survive for more than a couple of hours in salt water, which would prevent ecosystem problems.The angler needs to be careful though, to not introduce buckets of leftover live crays into our FRESHWATER streams and lakes. Since this animal reproduces by itself, THEORETICALLY it could cause great potential harm in nature by creating an imbalance in the freshwater ecosystem. (Realistically, the young and adult size crays would be an ideal food source for all the species of fish and reptiles in natural lakes, streams and rivers. Even in warmer southern states in the USA, it is most likely that the Marbled Crayfish will not be able to survive a winter season (or freeze) in the wild. But to be on the safe side, we recommend using FROZEN crays in freshwater fishing.
For the same reason, it is NOT a good idea to raise this species of crayfish in outdoor ponds at ground level. Both rain-based overflows and birds carrying them off pose the risk of introducing them into a natural environment. This species is CLAIMED to be invasive in Europe but not in the USA. Again, I believe a whole bloom in crawfish would only provide food up the food chain for fishes, reptiles, amphibians, raccoons, and more. Makes more sense than hysterical articles about “posing threats” having new species introduced into local nature. Historically, most animals on earth find their way to other continents naturally, where the “invasive species” adapts to the location. This includes birds, bugs, and other animal species. “Invasive Species” is a scary sounding phrase which helps politicians and journalists gain recognition. Very few “invasive species” are actually harmful (ie Zebra Mussels in lakes).
If you want to raise these for bait, we have tried buckets and styrofoam boxes (and heard of folks trying to raise them in horse troughs), but we find that to get the best yield of babies in regular cycles, you really need an aquarium. And the bigger the better. Some fishermen have garage setups of one or two tanks larger than 55 gallons, dedicated to raising bait crays. For these, I recommend the same as mentioned in detail here in the CARE section – with undergravel filters, lava rock, outside canister filter too, and some stacked PVC “apartments”. Its pretty low-maintenance once set up correctly. You get new babies every 5-7 weeks after the babies reach 6 months of age and start making more babies! So in a few months to a year, you have an ongoing supply of crayfish for aquarium feeders or fishing bait. We want to emphasize that all Marbled Crays should be dead and frozen to use as fishing bait!
It is rumored that the government of China has begun to farm the Marbled Crayfish as a cheap source of human food. The FDA and USDA takes no particular stance on this animal, and has not tested it for safety to humans to eat.
We occasionally will offer Marbled Crayfish from our personal stock for re-homing and genetic research. See the Comments (Testimonials) from folks who brought our crayfish into their homes recently! We do not ship to locations outside the USA, because of a perceived threat to ecosystems in the U.K. (of course, these recycled news stories receive more than their fair share of British scare-tactic press). These crays are fully legal to keep in most states of the USA, with the exception of Nevada & Oregon. Please check your state “illegal species” list before making a purchase inquiry.
We are not a commercial breeding operation. We only have occasional species available for re-homing. We offer Marbled Crayfish raised in highest quality conditions. If you would like to acquire these species from our private stock, please email us for a personal reply at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please contact us if you have any questions which are not already covered in the CARE section here.
The statements provided in this website reflect the personal experience of the owner, not the results of academic research per se.