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11 Awesome Freshwater Crabs for Your Aquarium (With Pictures)


Freshwater crabs are a number of the most attention-grabbing species you may preserve in your aquarium, palms down.

When most of us take into consideration crabs, we image saltwater environments. Nevertheless, there are a number of forms of brackish and freshwater crabs that may thrive in your freshwater tank.

These freshwater aquarium crabs are usually moderately small, which is why chances are you’ll hear them usually known as “mini crabs.”

Crabs are scavengers, and it’s enjoyable to look at them make their method across the tank amassing no matter goodies they discover floating round. It’s not simply amusing, both. Crabs can precise assist preserve your tank clear as properly!

On this information, we cowl a couple of of our favourite forms of freshwater crabs and train you easy methods to preserve them in your aquarium at house!

Kinds of Freshwater Aquarium Crabs

Whereas most individuals determine which form of crab they need primarily based on seems, take a second to find out about every one earlier than committing. Every one is barely totally different, with various traits and necessities.

1. Purple Claw Crab

Marrabbio2 [CC BY-SA 3.0]

It’s not unusual to see a Purple Claw crab in freshwater aquariums; they’re one of many extra well-liked and available freshwater crab species. Purple claws develop to be round 2-4 inches and may dwell for as much as 5 years when stored in perfect situations. The title, in fact, comes from their signature red-colored claws.

Within the wild, Purple Claw crabs dwell in brackish water. Nevertheless, some breeders and even some pet shops preserve them in freshwater. If you wish to give this species the most effective probability of dwelling an extended and wholesome life, create a brackish water habitat for them.

All crabs are climbers, however Purple Claws are identified for being notably adept at scaling rocks and different tank decor. They’re additionally wonderful escape artists, maybe much more so than different crabs.

2. Fiddler Crab

Fiddler Crab

Fiddlers are fairly small and normally don’t develop any bigger than 2 inches, however they’re extremely putting to have a look at.

One claw is proportionate to the crab’s physique, small and delicate. The opposite claw, nonetheless, stands method out and is dramatically bigger than the opposite. This outsized claw can also be brightly coloured – typically a vibrant yellow or gold.

Fiddler crabs normally aren’t very aggressive. The do wish to journey in pairs  or small teams, so buy not less than two of them at a time. Like most crabs, these little critters love to cover out. Since they’re so small, you’ll have to look behind rocks and aquarium decorations to seek out them typically.

Fiddlers dwell comparatively lengthy lives within the wild, however usually have a lifespan of just some years in captivity.

Remember that the time period “Fiddler Crab” encompasses some 100 particular person – however related – species.

3. Thai Satan Crab

Regardless of the title, the Thai Satan Crab is definitely fairly angelic so far as aquarium pets go. They’re positively on the extra docile aspect, making good companions for different peaceable tank-dwellers.  

Thai Satan crabs usually measure about 2 -3 inches at maturity, though sure varieties could get to be round 4 inches.

Thai Satan crabs are available a wide range of wealthy colours, together with deep reds and purples. They’ll dwell as much as 15 years (although that’s positively on the upper finish of the size, since many solely dwell 5 years or so).

4. Vampire Crabs

vampire crab
Eumeldingens [CC BY 3.0]

Vampire crabs are a very enjoyable species to maintain. They’re additionally pretty uncommon and certain harder to seek out than different forms of freshwater crabs. They arrive in a wide range of colours, normally vivid shades of orange, purple, or pink.

The scary-sounding title comes from the truth that they’ve distinctive yellow eyes which are typically described as “glowing.” In case you have been hoping for a blood-sucking crustacean, sorry to disappoint.

Vampire crabs are small, measuring in at round an inch broad. They usually dwell for as much as 3 years when lovingly cared for.

In case you’re enthusiastic about getting some Vampire crabs, be aware that you just’ll want to supply a really particular habitat. This species will not be totally aquatic. Actually, they want extra dry land of their tank than water.

Like most crabs, Vampire crabs are scavengers and can eat a number of issues – so remember to present them a various weight loss plan with each plant matter and animal protein.

5. Freshwater Pom Pom Crab

Pom Pom crabs are additionally considerably uncommon, having made their debut within the captive breeding circuit lately. Within the wild, these crabs are sometimes seen scuttling round with anemones clasped of their claws.

This makes them look a bit like they’re holding tiny pom poms, which is actually lovely – and in addition how this freshwater crab selection will get its title.

Pom Pom crabs are very small, with particularly delicate exoskeletons. Many will solely attain 1 inch at maturity, although some could get as huge as 1 ¾ inches. They’re a very aquatic species of freshwater crab and never tough to take care of.

6. Thai Micro Crab

Thai Micro Crab
Sean Murray from Edinburgh, Scotland [CC BY-SA 2.0]

The Thai Micro crab is typically known as the False Spider crab. These names are apt, since this species is so extremely tiny. They measure at about 1 centimeter (lower than half an inch!) in diameter.

They’re normally brownish or grey, with lengthy spindly legs – very like an precise spider. They’re additionally coated in very small hairs, which serve the vital objective of serving to them collect meals that floats by within the water.

Thai Micro crabs are very delicate to modifications in water situations.

Since they’re so small and fragile, there’s not a lot they’d be capable of do if confronted by a predatory neighbor. That’s why it’s vital to maintain them in tanks with solely probably the most docile companions doable.

Small invertebrates can typically dwell peacefully with Thai Micro crabs. Some species of small education fish can also cohabitate properly with them.  

Micro crabs aren’t notably outgoing, they usually could spend a great a part of the day hiding out.

Freshwater crabs are identified for escaping enclosures. After they’re this tiny, the chance is even higher.

Take further precautions to make sure there aren’t any small openings in your tank that would function an escape route for a wayward crab.

7. Panther Crab

panther crab
LaesaMajestas [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Panther crabs can get to be greater than 3 inches broad at maturity. They been identified to dwell for as much as 5 years in captivity.

Panthers are fairly a bit extra aggressive and territorial than the opposite aquarium crabs listed right here. They’ll typically struggle amongst themselves, in addition to with different tankmates.

In case you place them collectively, it’s greatest to decide on a male/feminine pair or perhaps a harem as two males will nearly certainly struggle.

Panther crabs are named due to the jungle cat aesthetic of their shell, which is yellow with black or brown recognizing.

8. Marble Batik Crab

Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, CC BY 4.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons

Originating from Southeast Asia, the Marble Batik Crab is a semi-terrestrial species, that means that they want entry to each land and water and can spend their time between the 2. Its putting coloration and customarily peaceable temperament make it an ideal alternative for paludariums.

The Marble Batik Crab is omnivorous, so that you’ll have to feed a combination of plant-based and meaty meals. They’re wonderful scavengers and can thrive on a mixture of high-quality pellets and frozen meaty meals.

They’re usually bought within the 1-2 inch vary, however will develop to 3-5 inches in captivity. In case you plan on protecting this species, a bunch of three is advisable (1 male and a couple of females) which requires a 20-30 gallon enclosure.

9. Blue Spider Crab

The Blue Spider Crab (Neosarmatium rotundifrons) is one other semi-terrestrial species, so that you’ll want a paludarium is you propose on protecting this species.

This species is very uncommon, so don’t be shocked is you’ve gotten a tough time discovering them on the market. In case you do by some means handle to seek out them on-line or in an area retailer, they need to be stored in teams of three+ ((1 male and a couple of females) in a 30 gallon or bigger setup.

Like most different species on this listing, the Blue Spider Crab is a scavenger and fairly simple to feed. An omnivorous weight loss plan with a combination high-quality dried meals together with meaty frozen meals.

The Blue Spider Crab is normally peaceable with different members of the identical species, however is commonly aggressive with different forms of crabs. In case you plan on protecting these animals, they shouldn’t be combined with any tank mates.

10. Purple Spider Crab

The Purple Spider Crab (Neosarmatium smithi) is a semi-terrestrial species native to the Indo-Pacific area. They are often discovered all through the mangroves and spends most of their time on land, though entry to water can also be required.

Not like most different species on this listing, the Purple Spider Crab does greatest in a brackish setup as a substitute on freshwater (though can survive in freshwater as properly).

This species is thought for being an ideal climber, so ensure that your paludarium doesn’t have any routes for escape.

11. Purple Apple Crab

The Purple Apple Crab (Metasesarma aubryi) is one other semi-terrestrial species, so entry to each land and water is critical. They’re native to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand and spend most of their time on land round streams and ponds.

This species is comparatively small, rising to solely 2″ at maturity. Like most others species on our listing, the Purple Apple Crab is omnivorous and want a gentle supple of plant-based and meaty meals in its weight loss plan to thrive.

Caring for Freshwater Crabs

This part incorporates some basic care pointers for freshwater crabs. Take into account – every species is exclusive. In case you plan on protecting freshwater crabs, ensure that to do further analysis about that particular species.

Whereas it may appear intimidating, taking good care of freshwater aquarium crabs isn’t extremely tough. Actually, crabs are simpler to take care of than many forms of fish.

Setting Up a Correct Habitat

Earlier than inviting a freshwater aquarium crab into your private home, get all the pieces you could present a wholesome, snug dwelling house to your new good friend.

  • First, get your self an appropriate tank. Absolutely the smallest aquarium it is best to use is 5 gallons; 10 is healthier. Actually, it’s greatest to get the most important aquarium that may match within the house you’ve gotten obtainable. That method, your crabs received’t be cramped as they develop – and also you’ll have room to include extra tankmates afterward.
  • Most aquarium crabs will not be 100% aquatic, so that they want a little bit of dry land of their tank. Generally, a great ratio is 2 components water to 1 half land. This will differ by species, although. You should utilize sand, rocks, and different parts to construct a dry space inside your aquarium. One simple methodology is to easily pour sand into the tank, piling it a lot larger in a single space to create a bit seashore to your crab. Conversely, you should buy ready-made setups on-line and in pet shops.In case your tank will completely home Freshwater Pom Pom crabs and/or different totally aquatic species, you don’t have to create a dry space within the aquarium.
  • Place your tank in a heat space that’s not underneath direct daylight (which will be dangerous to aquarium crabs. When you’ve constructed up a dry space, you may fill the aquatic part with water.If the water turns into soiled after pouring it into the sand, simply give permit a while for it to settle earlier than putting any crabs inside.In case you favor, you may place a big container within the decrease part of the tank and fill that with water as a substitute of pouring it instantly into the aquarium.
  • It’s essential to use water that has been filtered. That is extraordinarily vital as a result of faucet water incorporates chlorine, which will be harmful to crabs.

Water Circumstances

Crabs like hotter water, normally between 72 and 82 levels. This may be monitored by putting an aquarium thermometer within the water-filled part of the tank. Ask the breeder or pet retailer for particular temperature necessities whenever you buy your crab. Some crabs are extra adaptable to a wider vary of temperatures than others.

If the aquarium will likely be set in a spot that tends to be on the cooler aspect, chances are you’ll want to make use of a heater.

If the species of crab you’ve chosen requires brackish water, you’ll have so as to add a small quantity of marine salt. Seek the advice of the instructions on the bundle to be sure to get the ratio of water to salt proper.

Tank Components

Since crabs wish to climb and discover, indulge them by offering some objects to play on. Sticks and rocks can do the trick, and it’s also possible to purchase enjoyable ready-made decorations from pet provide web sites and pet shops. Some folks wish to put sections of piping (corresponding to PVC pipe) within the tank for crabs to crawl on and conceal inside. Simply ensure that there aren’t any sharp edges that would harm your pets.

Introducing Crabs to the Tank

As soon as your habitat is prepared, you may put the crabs inside! Listed below are some suggestions to assist the method go extra easily.

  • Ideally, it is best to have the tank able to go earlier than bringing your crabs house. In case your crabs arrive earlier than their new house is accomplished, don’t depart them in a packaging container. Use plastic buckets or bins with a little bit of filtered water in them to quickly home your crabs. Keep in mind so as to add an applicable quantity of marine salt when you’ve got brackish water crabs.
  • Take care to not let your crabs escape whereas they await placement within the aquarium. As soon as a tiny crab will get out of your sight, it’s extraordinarily tough to seek out – and it’s unlikely the crab will survive lengthy after escaping.
  • In case you’re placing a couple of crab within the habitat, observe their conduct for some time to make sure they received’t get too aggressive with one another. In the event that they actually don’t get alongside, you’ll have to take away one to a separate tank.

Feeding Your Pet Crabs

Freshwater crabs wish to eat each plant and animal matter, and they’re going to fortunately gobble up no matter natural matter is floating within the tank. You might also determine to complement their weight loss plan with store-bought meals. Listed below are a number of the issues most aquarium crabs will eat:

  • Algae wafers
  • Flies
  • Bloodworms
  • Seaweed (including seaweed could trigger algae to develop within the water, which isn’t a foul factor since crabs like to snack on algae)
  • Brine shrimp
  • Cooked zucchini squash
  • Peas (cooked)
  • Crab meals formulation from pet provide retailers
  • Small items of fish (some crabs could even eat dwell fish, if they’re sufficiently small – preserve this in thoughts when vetting tankmates)

Utilizing a calcium complement can also be a good suggestion, as crabs want sufficient calcium to molt and develop wholesome new exoskeletons.

While you feed your crabs, watch fastidiously to see which meals they get pleasure from and which they don’t eat. Additionally, remember to take out any outdated meals that’s been lingering across the tank for greater than a few days. A hungry crab could properly nibble on some rotted meals; this might probably trigger sickness.

On the subject of feeding, it’s higher to begin with only a bit and add extra as wanted. Including an excessive amount of meals may cause probably unhealthy situations to your pet. It will possibly additionally make your aquarium look and scent dangerous – and no one desires that.

Discovering Appropriate Tankmates

Most freshwater crabs are non-aggressive, and will be positioned with different peaceable fish and crustaceans. Small freshwater shrimp are sometimes good neighbors for aquarium crabs. Simply don’t put aggressive fish like cichlids in the identical tank as your crab.

While you buy a brand new crab, speak to the breeder or pet retailer about which aquatic creatures they advocate putting together with your pet. All the time watch intently after introducing a brand new animal into your aquarium.

Sustaining the Tank

Preserve your crab’s habitat clear and wholesome by performing common water modifications. Any time the water seems or smells soiled, eliminate it and add recent (filtered) water as an alternative. You also needs to change the sand as wanted.

Warning Indicators of Well being Issues in Freshwater Crabs

Monitor your crabs for indications they is probably not wholesome. Listed below are some issues to be careful for:

  • Decreased or nonexistent urge for food
  • Continuous consuming
  • Lethargy
  • Unusually gradual or uncoordinated motion patterns
  • Fading coloration not associated to molting, or unusual new markings on shell

The most typical causes of illness and sickness in freshwater aquarium crabs embody unsuitable water situations, poor weight loss plan, and call with sick tankmates.

About Molting

Like different crustaceans, freshwater crabs shed their exoskeleton as they develop. The shed layer is changed with a brand new one in the course of the course of. That is regular, pure, and crucial. Listed below are some indicators to look at for, so you may inform your crab is making ready to molt.

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Exoskeleton seems pale and lightened
  • Digging underneath substrate, tunneling, and hiding
  • Consuming a number of water, soaking in water dish, purposely spilling water dish onto dry areas
  • Decreased exercise

Molting crabs must be left alone as a lot as doable. Throughout this era, your crab will need to withdraw into its personal little world and won’t be very sociable with you or its tankmates. Simply give it time, and your little good friend will likely be again to its outdated self as soon as the shedding course of has accomplished. Resist any urge you’ll have to the touch the crab throughout molting, and by no means try and peel or choose at any of the shedding “pores and skin.”

Your crab could eat its shed exoskeleton. Don’t be grossed out; that is truly a method for them to get sufficient very important calcium.     

You might be aware that a number of the indicators of molting are much like the indicators of sickness. In case you’re undecided whether or not your aquarium crab is sick or simply molting, have an professional take a look at your pet to assist information you.

A Few Remaining Notes About Freshwater Aquarium Crabs

  • Completely wash all the pieces earlier than you introduce to your crab tank. If you buy a used aquarium, wash and sanitize it earlier than organising the habitat.
  • Crabs can regenerate lacking legs and claws, so don’t be too shocked in case you discover one is lacking. It will possibly take a couple of molting intervals for the limb to full regrow.
  • While you learn in regards to the dimension of a freshwater crab, know that the measurement usually contains solely the carapace – which is the shell overlaying the primary physique of the crab.

Whereas these freshwater crabs will not be precisely a excessive upkeep pet, being a great crab keeper means spending time (and a few cash!) to ensure your pet has all the pieces it must dwell its greatest life. In return, you’ll have a charming little companion who is unquestionably definitely worth the bother.


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