Freshwater crabs are a great thing to add to a fish tank. They come in different sizes and colors.
Apart from just adding them to your tank for fun, they play a great role in cleaning the pond by eating the leftover food, and also remove the residue every day from the aquarium. Freshwater aquarium crabs are easy to maintain and they are affordable.
Freshwater Aquarium Crabs
In this article, we would be discussing the different types of Aquarium crabs, their features, how to care about them. We are sure that we would answer most of the questions that you have in mind after reading this article.
Freshwater Pom Pom Crab (Ptychognathus barbatus)
The crab is a true gem and everlasting nano aquarium specimen! This freshwater pom pom crab is a rare freshwater crab that has proven to be a very lovely, interesting, and durable member in the freshwater community.
The origin of the crab is Madagascar, Taiwan, and New Caledonia. The Freshwater Pom Pom Crab (Link to Amazon) is an omnivorous scavenger that can feed on almost anything ranging from items that collect on their “pom-pom”.
They also feed on algae and detritus in the aquarium and will also feed on food that are rich in plant matter.
The POM POM crab can grow up to 1.5 to 1.75 inches. The freshwater crab is very active and they are peaceful in their relation towards other tank mates. They are amply aquatic and are easy to feed.
The Minimum tank size required for the freshwater crab is 5 gallons and the required water temperature is 68° – 78° F (20° – 25° C). They must live in a suitable condition for them to live well.
Thai Micro Spider Crabs (Limnopilos naiyanetri)
Thai micro crabs are a fully aquatic crab that is a perfect fit for small tank aquariums, they are peaceful and they do not disturb other tank members. The minimum tank size for the micro crab is 5 gallon.
The required water temperature is 71.5-82.5 °F/22-28 °C. Thai micro crabs (Link to Amazon) are tiny brown-greyish crabs. They have a maximum cuticle size of around 1 cm. They have long and thin legs
Thai micro crabs are very peaceful in their relationship with their tank mates, they do not attack their tank mates and, most importantly, they are practically defenseless.
Because of this characteristic, they are very much suitable for a peaceful environment. So if you want something cool and peaceful, the thai micro crab might be the best way to go.
When preparing them with other organisms, they can put them is groups of at least 5. They can also be paired with peaceful fish such as pygmy corydoras and some small invertebrates like cherry shrimp.
It has not been easy to breed the Thai micro crabs; people have always recorded very low chances of success.
They are also called calling crabs. They can be found across the world in some sides of Atlantic, Eastern Pacific and the Indo-pacific. Fiddler crabs in these areas enjoy mangroves and muddy places. These habitats are coastal habitats with brackish water.
In the perfect condition, they can live up to 2-3 years, they are easy to maintain so it is easy for starters to keep them. Keeping them in a suitable condition will help to increase their life span.
The fiddler crab has an important survival skill which is the ability to survive both in and out of water. They have both gills and a primitive lung, which lets them breathe whilst in water and air.
One of most important structures that they have is their claws. Their claws can be used for courting the female fiddler crabs.
It can also be used for digging burrows as shelter or fighting with other male fiddler crabs over territory. They should be provided with multiple hiding places because they are territory, you can use rocks to give them somewhere to hide away.
Behind their claws are four more pairs of legs that are used for locomotion. This feature will amaze you; they molt in every eight weeks, leaving their old exoskeleton. A lost limb will be replaced at this point.
If you want to add any fish to the tank to form a community, the fish you include needs to be fast enough to get away from a rare attack of a claw. It is usually recommended to keep crabs on their own to protect the fishes.
Panther Crab (Parathelphusa pantherina)
Panther Crabs (Parathelphusa panthernia) are aquatic crabs that stay in water alone, they are fully immersed in water so they are perfect for a freshwater aquarium. They are predatory crabs; they may try to feed on other fishes, snails, and shrimp.
The panther crab (Link to Amazon) is an omnivorous scavenger and it requires a varied diet of mostly meaty foods like sinking pellets and some other frozen foods such as bloodworms. Calcium supplements (such as cuttlebone) are also not bad; this will help to maintain the health of their shells.
The Panther Crab is a little bit territorial, so you might need to provide them with some hiding places, most especially when they are kept with their kinds.
They might make an attempt to feed on slow-moving fishes. When you want to pair them with tank mates, they need to be kept with fast-moving species. Attempts to breed the Panther Crabs have proven negative. The adult species grow up to 4 – 5 inches in diameter.
The Panther Crab is known as an escape artist, so you need to provide the aquarium with a safe cover to prevent escape. The panther crabs are beautiful with their spotted pattern, they can be used as an alternative to crayfish, and they are one of the few aquatic crabs out there.
Purple Matano Crab (Syntripsa matannensis)
The Purple Matano Crab (Syntripsa matannensis) is also a fully aquatic freshwater crab; they live all their life in water. They are originated from Sulawesi in Indonesia. The Purple Matano Crab is one of the crabs that are perfect for your home aquarium.
They are omnivorous scavengers that can feed on almost anything suitable for them. They are good scavengers; they are also active and are unique in their appearance and behavior. They are usually scarce in the aquarium market, so you might just be lucky to have one.
The minimum tank size is 20 gallons and the required water temperature range is 80° – 85° F (26.7° – 29° C). The adult can grow up to 4-5 inches (11 cm) in diameter.
If you are looking for something purple and beautiful to add to your collection, the Purple Matano Crab is just the perfect match for you. Because they are territorial, remember not to pair them with sluggish fishes.
Red Claw Crabs
The Red Claw Crabs originate from Asia. They are both land and aquatic organisms. They can alternate between living in water and on land for air. The Red claw crabs do not have a backbone and are regarded as Arthropods.
They have an exoskeleton which performs the duty of protecting them from predators. The Red claw crabs grow with time and they get bigger, so they need to shed off their exoskeleton to allow them to grow. They need to hide in caves for a few days to allow their new exoskeleton to grow.
They can grow up to a length of 10cm in diameter. The males have larger and brighter red claws while the females have dark red claws which can be helpful when you want to identify the sexes.
The Red Claw Crabs are omnivore species, so they can eat both plants and protein. Examples are spinach, cucumber, brine shrimp, bloodworms and fish flake food.
When they shed their exoskeleton, they can even eat it, and this provides them with calcium which helps to strengthen their new exoskeleton.
The Red Claw Crabs can live up to 3-4 years when kept properly in good conditions. They can be kept within a community with other fish. These crabs are recommended for many reasons.
They help to clean up the aquarium, removing the fish leftover food, plant matter and some other materials. Be careful about keeping the lid on tight, because the red-clawed crab may try to escape.
Thai Devil Crab
Thai devil crabs are species that people now use as aquarium pets. The Thai devil crabs originate from Southeast Asia, especially the forests and rivers of Thailand. These freshwater species can grow up to 4 inches.
The most interesting thing about this is that they are very easy to maintain and they can live up to 5-10 years.
All you need to do is to get a healthy habitat for them and tend to their daily needs. You need to spice up your aquarium, why not consider adding this invertebrate to your collections.
The Thai Devil Crab is an important addition to freshwater because they are natural scavengers.
They work more than the algae-eating species of fish because they feed on leftovers, you just need to supplement their diet sometimes with plant matter, pieces of fish and they will do great.
The Vampire Crab is believed to be an undescribed species from the genus Geosesarma. The Vampire crab lives up to its name, it seize unsuspecting organisms unaware so you need to be careful about their tank mates.
The Vampire Crab are omnivorous crabs, they can feed on all kinds of dry food. They also feed on freeze-dried animals as well as earthworms and springtails. Sometimes, you can feed them with crickets. Vampires are nocturnal, which means they are active at night then in the day.
The vampire crab is one of the several crabs attracting a lot of interest right now and it is found on an island off the coast of Sulawesi.
They are being shipped regularly to Europe by making use of Jakarta. The organism has not been scientifically described, so there is no much information about the vampire crab for now.
The Vampire crab belongs to the genus (Geosesarma). The adult grows to a length of 2-3 cm /0.8-1.2inches. They are small and are perfect for small aquariums because they do not take much space.
Female Vampire crabs carry eggs about every six months and, they hatch 50 to 60 young crabs. The water temperature should be at 22-28°C/72-82°F.
They have low maintenance cost and they can live for 2-3 years.
Gold Leg Matano Crab (Parathelphusa ferruginea)
Looking for something colorful? Look no further! The Gold Leg Matano Crab is really colorful. The origin of the Gold Leg Matano Crab is the Lake Matano in the Sulawesi lake system of Indonesia. The crab is a fully aquatic freshwater crab that spends all its time in the water.
It has a purple carapace that is balanced with golden legs and sometimes might be lilac in color. In aquariums, the Gold Leg Matano Crab often grow to be around 3 inches, but they live long and they continue to grow slowly throughout their entire lives.
They usually prefer to spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank. You need to be conscious so that they would not eat the small fishes. The Gold Leg Matano Crab can tolerate a wide range of water conditions but this does not mean that they should not be well treated.
These crabs can live in a tank size of 20-30 gallon. The males show more color than females. Breeding these crabs have not lead to any success.
White Claw Sulawesi Crab (Syntripsa flavichela)
White Claw Sulawesi Crab (Syntripsa Flavichela) are aquatic crabs that stay in water alone, they are fully immersed in water so they are perfect for a freshwater aquarium. They are predatory crabs; they may try to feed on other fishes, snails, and shrimps.
The White Claw Sulawesi Crab is an omnivorous scavenger and it requires a varied diet of mostly meaty foods like sinking pellets and some other frozen foods such as bloodworms.
Calcium supplements (such as cuttlebone) are also not bad; this will help to maintain the health of their shells.
The White Claw Sulawesi Crab is a little bit territorial, so you might need to provide them with some hiding places, most especially when they are kept with their kinds.
They might make attempt to feed on slow-moving fishes. When you want to pair them with tank mates, they need to be kept with fast moving species. Attempts to breed the White Claw Sulawesi Crab have proven negative. The adult species grow up to 4 – 5 inches in diameter.
The White Claw Sulawesi Crab is known as an escape artist, so you need provide the aquarium with a safe cover to prevent escape.
The White Claw Sulawesi Crab is beautiful with their spotted pattern, they can be used as an alternative to crayfish, and they are one of the few aquatic crabs out there. Those that have one are very lucky.
How to care for your aquarium pet Crab?
As with any other pet, your freshwater aquarium crab needs to be provided with the necessary items needed for them to live in their artificial habitat. Examples in this category include a suitable environment, good water quality and the perfect food for them.
To start with, you need to get a good tank, the size of the tank is dependent on the type of crab you want to keep, and your budget.
The minimum size you can get is a 5-gallon tank. (You can get our other articles on the types of fishes you can keep with a 5-gallon tank).
You need to check the temperature, this is to make sure that you are making the tank as natural as possible. A temperature of 72-82 degrees F is perfect.
You can then spice up the tank by adding some decorations like rocks, stones, sticks, and plant materials. You need to cover the tank to prevent the crabs from escaping.
The next step is to fill up the aquarium with water of good quality. This is very important because it directly affects their health. All you need to do is to maintain the aquarium and enjoy.
Having discussed the different types of freshwater aquariums crabs, let us have a look at some questions that you might need answers too. Please read along!
Can Crabs live with fish?
There are five types of invertebrates that are common in freshwater aquariums: shrimps, snails, crayfish, clams, and crabs. These organisms have a different temperament .
The Fiddler crab is the most popular ‘freshwater’ crab for home aquariums. They are also called mini crabs. The answer to that question is yes. Crabs can surely live with fishes.
However, some crabs tend to prey on slow moving fishes. If you want to bring in fishes as one of the tank mates, make sure they are fast moving and smart fishes.
Or else, the crabs will turn them to their meal for the day. Please also note that when you add your crabs in the tank, make sure they can combine well with the fish that are already there.
Some Fish like cichlids are known for being aggressive towards crabs. You need to do your research to see if the tank mates would be compatible.
What do Freshwater crabs eat?
In the descriptions made earlier in this article, most freshwater aquarium crabs are omnivores. It is always recommended and advised to feed your crab a balanced diet of both plants and animals.
It’s a good idea to keep their diet fresh for them. Do not make the mistake of changing or switching their food.
Freshwater aquarium crabs can also eat protein or algae-based pellets. It is important to remove any uneaten food after three days. Your crabs might not know the difference between food and rotten food, so it is just better to keep it out of reach.
Can I put a crab with my betta?
Bettas are referred to as “fighting crabs”. Some fish should never be used as a tank mate for betta fish. These include crabs, which might harm the fins of bettas or even kill them.
The crab is an omnivorous animal, it can eat anything and if it gets hold of your betta fish, it will eat it. They are not good tank mates.
We hope this article has enlightened you on the best types of freshwater aquarium crabs that are available.
Now you have more insights about the freshwater crabs that you can keep in your aquarium. Just note that it is important for you to keep them in a healthy environment.