Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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tf1265 04-16-2012 01:37 PM

Info wanted on freshwater crabs
I recently saw a couple varieties of small freshwater crabs at my LFS. One variety was called "red clawed crab" and the other one wasn't labelled. Big surprise. They did instantly make me want to add one to my tank though.

Can anyone give me some basic information on these types of small FW crabs? Or what varieties might work well for me? I have a couple 10 gallon tanks with non-aggressive fish in them, however both have bottom feeders (various cories).

Are they aggressive? What types of fish can or can't they be kept with? What is the recommended tank size? Preferred water conditions? I'm sorry I can't be more specific about species, I don't even really know what's out there!



After doing a little research on my own, I of course learned that these crabs aren't truly freshwater, nor are they truly aquatic. They all need brackish water and some access to land. No crabs for this lady!

Olympia 04-16-2012 05:10 PM

It's common for fish stores to fill you with lies about these lovely crabs. Even my store filled with knowledgeable fish people still sells these as freshwater.
The other crab type is probably a fiddler crab, males have one large claw for sparring.
The sad truth is both of these species are in fact brackish water animals, and require a salt content of 1.005-1.01, with proper marine salt, not just freshwater aquarium salt. When left in freshwater, these crab species both become weak and barely survive more than a few months, while in proper conditions should live several years.
They will eat fish, and they also need to have a lot of land access, the ideal tank having a gradual slope of sand going into water. They like their food sprinkled across the sand so they can naturally forage.
In a 10 gallon, you could fit in 2-3 fiddlers. No fish. All males, or all females. Or you could do a mix, but you always have to have more females than males, as females will start killing "extra" males. Not sure about the red claws, haven't looked into them much.

Info on these guys is incredibly sparse considering how common they are, and I've been interested for a while now, if you're still interested, I'll try and help you out, I don't think anyone on here keeps these wonderful animals.

tf1265 04-16-2012 08:18 PM

Thanks for the info and offer to help. The truth is that my tanks aren't even close to a good fit for these guys, and I'm not in a position to start another one or totally revamp the ones I have just for the sake of having a little crab. I'm disappointed to hear that the ones I saw at the pet store will all probably die because they'll be sold to people who didn't research them first OR they'll die in the pet store because not one of them had access to land and they were all in fresh water. So sad.

Thanks again!

Olympia 04-17-2012 05:32 AM

If you're set on a crab, you could look into micro crabs. They are kind of creepy looking, but fully aquatic. They are rather small, bodies around 1cm, but the legs stretch out more. So no large fish!
Thai micro crab, Limnopilos naiyanetri | Features | Practical Fishkeeping

Another non-crab option would be a mexican dwarf crayfish (CPO). They are a tiny crayfish that doesn't bother fish at all. They usually sell for quite a bit though, the orange morph that everyone wants doesn't breed true so they can be hard to find.

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