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How to Raise Red Claw Lobsters

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Large Aquarium

  • Aquarium Shelter for the Lobster

  • Aquarium Heater

  • Fresh Hard Water

  • Fish Food

Easy to raise, red claw lobsters pose a unique opportunity for anyone with the desire to nurture something unusual. Red claw lobsters, also known as crayfish, are a fresh water crustacean that are inexpensive to care for and fun and can be raised for food, reselling, or pure family enjoyment.

How to Raise Red Claw Lobsters

Purchase a large aquarium with a filter. Red claw lobsters grow larger than some other types of crayfish and need room to stretch out. To keep the red claw lobsters happy place bits of pipe, decorative rocks, and other items in the tank to be used for shelter. If you have a large group of red claw lobsters, you will need a lot of shelter since each lobster will need their own little home.

A filtration system will also be needed to keep the water clean. Even though red claw lobsters are tough and can usually survive a bit of neglect (forgetting to change water) a filtration system will make your life easier. When choosing your system, make sure it will not keep you from closing the tank, which would give the opportunity for your red claw lobsters to run away.

Add fresh water to the aquarium and be sure it is properly heated. To grow and thrive, red claw lobsters need water that is hard, has calcium, and is at least 72 degrees. Use an aquarium heating lamp to help keep the temperature of the aquarium constant, especially during the winter. To make the water hard and increase calcium levels, add limestone flour, sold at aquarium stores, and buy a testing kit to measure pH levels. Try to keep the pH levels to 7.3 for healthy lobsters.

Purchase red claw lobsters from aquarium stores or local suppliers. Check your state laws first since a few states do not allow red claw lobsters to be sold or kept as pets or for reselling. Red claw lobsters can cost between $15.00 and $30.00 each, depending on your location and the time of year that you buy them. It is possible to purchase red claw lobsters in pairs for breeding purposes for $60.00 and $90.00 per pair.

Introduce your red claw lobsters to their new environment. If you are planning to raise several red claw lobsters at a time you should introduce them to the aquarium at the same time. While red claw lobsters do get along well as groups, introducing them to the aquarium singly will result in conflict and possibly the death of one or more lobster.

Feed your red claw lobsters regularly and watch out for sickness. Since red claw lobsters will turn on each other if they get hungry enough, you should be sure to feed them often. Feeding them tropical fish flakes or shrimp pellets instead of live food is recommended since it will help keep the water clean.

Watch your red claw lobsters for sudden listlessness or missing legs or claws. If the water becomes too dirty or cold, red claw lobsters will slow down and eventually die. When your red claw lobsters become less active than usual, check the water temperature and the filtration system. When claws or legs disappear (this is caused by molting) and do not grow back, check the water's pH and calcium levels. Low calcium and soft water will prevent a red claw lobster's shell from hardening.


  • If you are planning to keep red claw lobsters for long periods of time, purchase only one or two.


  • Red claw lobsters will attack and eat each other if not fed often enough. Feed red claw lobsters at night to help avoid fights over food.