Red Crabs: How mean are they?
I posted this question in a post on the Ancient Fish page, but I thought I'd post it here, too. My girlfriend has a 20g tank with a school of 7 young tiger barbs, 1 oto catfish, and three dwarf puffers. All of the fish get along great. We regularly get pest snails from the LFS to act as puffer food. I wouldn't want to put mystery snails in, as I fear the puffers would torture them to a slow, painful death. We had some ghost shrimp to serve as puffer food, and over time they've disappeared, too.
The Oto does a great job of taking care of the algae, but even doing weekly 25% water changes/gravel vacs doesn't seem to take care of the brine shrimp and bloodworm debris the puffers leave behind. The ghost shrimp used to do this job just fine. We were thinking about adding one or two of those small Red Crabs to the tank. They're too big for the puffers to bother, but will they eat the puffers or snap at the tiger barbs? I'm also worried that they'd go after the Oto, since it's stationary much of the time.
I also have a 29 G with two Kribensis, 2 Black Mystery Snails, 3 Peppered Cory Cats, 2 Dwarf Gouramis and 5 Zebra Danios. How would those crabs do in that tank? I don't *need* them since the Corys and snails are a pretty good cleanup crew in that tank, but those little red crabs just look so cool.
Chances are the crabs you are refering to are fiddler crabs, which do best in brackish water, but are not compatible with fish. You are correct to think they will damage fins and attempt to eat any fish available. Fiddler crabs do better with something like newts or salamanders if kept in freshwater, alone if kept in a nice arragonite sandbed for tunneling and brackish water. There are numerous types of fiddler crabs, the common red ones would be the type for a newt or amphibious set up. Another thing with the crabs, they need to be able to get out of the water, and they can climb like you wouldn't believe, so are escape artists as well.
If you want the crabs I would suggest another tank and a species only, amphibious (1/2 land 1/2 water) setup with lots of wide leave amphibious plants.
I was talking about Red Claw Crabs, not fiddlers.
However, it appears they do prefer brackish water and would need to be able to climb above the water line, which is a condition I don't think I want to meet in any of my tanks.
Oh well, guess I'll just stick to shrimp.
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