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FAQs on Brackish Water Crabs, other Crustaceans

Related Articles: Fresh to Brackish Crabs, Invertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Hermit Crabs,

Related FAQs: Hermit Crabs, Freshwater Crabs,

Crab reproduction question     12/15/14
I hope you can help me?
I have a tropical fish tank, with approximately 15 fish, along with one crab . ( which I believe is a red Thai crab) .
<Perisesarma bidens; a common species in the hobby. Actually a brackish species, but lives a few months to a year in freshwater without problems.
Not a community animal though, which I hope your retailer explained. Needs land, brackish water, iodine drops for successful moults, sometimes attacks fish, highly territorial.>
I have recently noticed, a baby crab! I'm very confused though as we have only ever had the one crab. Nothing has been added to the tank for over 6 months, so I don't understand how this crab has reproduced alone?
If you're able to respond with any suggestions I would be very great full?
<Crabs like these don't have babies. They produce eggs that they send off into the sea (they live on seashores and mangrove swamps) where the larval crab can develop in the plankton. Eventually the larvae metamorphose into miniature adults, crawl out onto a beach somewhere, and grow up through a series of moults. So a baby Perisesarma bidens that was "born" in your
aquarium is not probable. On the other hand, there are tiny Thai Micro Crabs (Limnopilos naiyanetri) in the trade, and you might have got one with some plants or something like that. It's also true that crayfish produce miniature baby crayfish, and these can survive in communities. Furthermore, parthenogenesis is known from some crayfish, meaning a female can produce youngsters, effectively clones, without a male being present.>
Thank you
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Crab reproduction question     12/15/14

Hi Neale
Thank you for your quick response.
I may have the breed of crab wrong, we were never actually told what breed it is, I've just looked on Google images and this is the closest match I could find.
<Indeed. Red Claw Crabs are the commonest "freshwater" crabs in the hobby (despite not being freshwater animals... hmm...). They are cheap and cheerful, though as I say, don't breed in freshwater.>
The plants in the tank are not living, so came from the shop in a sealed plastic box. There is literally nothing else that has been added in the last six months....?
<Curious. Are you sure it's a baby crab then? Neale.>
Re: Crab reproduction question       12/16/14

Yes, definitely a baby crab. Myself and my partner both saw it on Saturday, although we haven't seen it since and unfortunately didn't think to take a photograph...
<Well, there are crabs that have "direct development", which means the females hold large eggs under their tails from which emerge fully-formed young. These are in the family Potamonidae. But the family Sesarmidae, from which come the Red Claw Crabs, do not have direct development and instead produce planktonic offspring of the type described earlier. It's unlikely these would survive in an aquarium. So that's the context. Without a photo of the "baby crab" it's hard to say what it is. Cheers, Neale.>

White ooze and legs/pincers falling off a red clawed crab 11/19/11
White ooze around joint and legs/pincers falling off...what is this?
<Decaying flesh.>
I own 3 red clawed crabs, all males. They live in a 28 gallon freshwater tank with fish, live plants, and lots of hiding spots but no access to land. I have had these crabs for about two months. 2 have moulted successfully. Each has found/created his own cave and I've never seen them fighting; everybody still has all their legs. I feed the tank a combination of fish flake food, blood worms, and shrimp pellets. Just yesterday, I was searching for a fish and was moving some of the rocks around. This startled the largest crab who scuttled out from under the rock - I think he had just moulted 2 days ago. As he ran away I noticed that there was white fluid/pus around many of his leg joints and mouth and this white stuff came off in the water in clouds. A few minutes later he was in a corner of the tank and had dropped both is pincers and a few legs. I reached down to clean the dead limbs out and as he attempted to move away, a few more limbs came off! Within a few minutes another crab was prowling around and I did want it to eat him and get sick too so I pulled the sick one out an euthanized it. I just tested and water quality and it's good: ph 7.6, nitrates are less than 0.25. Temperature is around 26C.
<What is the salinity? Red-Claw Crabs, Sesarma bidens, are brackish-water crabs. Aim for about one-quarter normal seawater, SG 1.005 or thereabouts, i.e., 9 grammes marine aquarium salt mix per litre (1.2 oz per US gallon). They are amphibious and extremely territorial.>
What was this plague of white stuff? Do I need to treat the tank so that the other crabs don't get sick? If so, what would I treat for/with?
<White goo = decaying flesh.>
Any other suggestions - I don't think I can add salt because of the live plants.
<Then don't keep a brackish water crab species. Simple as that.>
Is access to land essential?
<Yes, they're amphibious, and the less there is for them to climb on, e.g., only a power cable to a heater, the more they'll fight over it. If you have three crabs, then three islands with clear, blue water between them makes a big difference to success.>
If so, I could add a floating log for them to climb onto.
Thank you for your help
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Mixed crab tank 1/9/11
I currently have a thirty gallon tank set up for my five Purple Pincher hermit crabs.
<Coenobita clypeatus>
The tank is about seventy five percent land, with a large pool of fresh water and a small pool of salt water, seventy five percent humidity, and averages seventy three degrees. The highest point of the tank has about one and a half feet of substrate. Half of the tank is covered with leaves and branches, and the other half is sand sloping down towards the water, like a miniature coastline. The tank cools down to about sixty five
at night. Hermit crabs regulate their salinity requirements instinctively, therefore I don't measure the salinity of the salt water in the dish. I just add a small amount of marine sea salt to the dish after I change the
I would like to add either Fiddler or Red Clawed Crabs
<Mmm, these are all non-social animals... too likely to eat each other really>
to liven up the tank when the lights are on, and I know they require salt just like hermit crabs do. Will they regulate their salinity requirements like the hermit crabs, taking in enough salt water and fresh water from the two dishes, or will they suffer from a lack of purely brackish water in the tank?
<Can regulate to a point. I'd provide a shallow basin of both>
If the salt water dish has a salinity level that is too high, will it harm the Red Claws or Fiddlers?
<Not too likely, unless very salty>
One last question, will the main body of fresh water needed to be heated to accommodate the crabs?
Thank you very much. I have found this site to be a great help in every aspect of aquarium keeping I have
undertaken, and I wish to do the best job I can at creating a functional and comfortable habitat for my crabs.
<Again... I'd make a physical barrier to separate these species. Your tank has a sufficiently large "foot print" to do this. Perhaps a cut piece of eggcrate, or scrap acrylic... Bob Fenner>

Molting 12/4/10
Hello, a few weeks ago I asked for help with my Thai Devil Crab. A few days ago he stopped eating and stayed in his cage 24/7. This concerned me because he is usually crawling all around his cage. Turns out he was just preparing for a molt, I attached some pictures.
<Very cool! But please, do scale down your images before sending them, to around 500 KB or so each. On a Macintosh, the built-in (and default image viewing) application Preview does this nicely; just open the image, choose Adjust Size from the Tools menu, select 640 x 480 from the Fit To pull-down menu, and then click OK. The result will be an image ideally sized for use on e-mails and web pages. I'm sure similar tools exist for other operating systems such as Linux, Windows, etc. It's a small thing for you, but makes our life massively easier because full-size images clog up our limited file space for e-mail attachments, eventually causing other e-mails to be bounced back unread. I'm sure you'd be pretty annoyed if it was *your* message bounced back as undeliverable! It also makes it easier for us to quickly download your images and view them without having to wait a minute or two.>
The one on the left is the actual crab. This is the first time I've had a crab successfully molt (probably due to the brackish water). Anyway I do have a question. My blue lobster/crayfish also molted on the same day (what a coincidence), but he also molted about a month ago. I didn't think adults molted this often.
<Oh, they certainly can, do moult monthly given the chance. As the crayfish matures the gap between moults will increase, so while moults every 4-8 weeks during the first year are not uncommon, there will be far fewer moults in the second year, and perhaps none at all once the crayfish enters its third year.>
I had him about 5 months without molting then he did and then he did again a month later. Also, his claws seem to have almost doubled in length but not width. The only change I can think of is I started feeding him an occasional algae wafer in addition to his staple of shrimp pellets. Could this in anyway accelerate his growth?
<Yes, moulting is affected by growth rate, inasmuch as a well-fed crayfish will grow quickly and so need to moult more often than a starved one.>
Any help would be appreciated.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Clawed Crab Question... BR, gen., sys., fdg. 11/29/09
I've had my red-clawed crab for over a year now, but when I looked in the tank the other day I noticed that she was out in the open, which was odd for her.
<Why odd? These amphibious crabs are very active indeed when kept properly.
While they cannot be kept in a regular aquarium, they scamper about on land happily enough, dipping themselves in the water to wet their gills periodically. Most problems with this species come from assuming they're underwater animals -- they are not. They need the same sort of conditions as you'd provide an amphibian: lots of land, some branches to explore, and a shallow pool of water (an inch or two is fine) for them to bathe in. They spend 90% of the time on land, and normally try to escape if forced to stay underwater.>
I haven't changed anything in the tank except a 10% water change (like usual), and added 2 new fish.
<Oh! These animals shouldn't be kept with fish. I can't think of any reason to do so. Since these crabs are more land animals than underwater ones,
you'd need a huge tank to provide them with all the land they want as well as enough water for happy fish.>
The tank only has 5 adult fish (2 Cory catfish and 3 mollies) in it and it's a 10 gallon.
<Ten gallons isn't nearly enough for these species, and Corydoras catfish cannot be kept in brackish water. Do, please, read up on the needs of animals prior to purchase. You essentially have three species -- one crab, one catfish, one livebearer -- than each need different conditions.
Corydoras need fairly low-end tropical temperature freshwater conditions and about 15-20 gallons upwards; Mollies at least 20 gallons, realistically more, brackish rather than freshwater and warmer water than Corydoras; and Red-claw crabs need brackish water to bathe in, but otherwise humid, land conditions like you'd provide for tree frogs or newts.>
She later was found upside down on her back barely moving, and when I got close she waved her claws at me a little, but otherwise made no attempt to get away from me.
<Is this crab being kept underwater all the time? They simply aren't meant for such conditions. Regardless of what the retailer might suggest, Perisesarma bidens is a land crab that feeds and socialised on land.>
I set her upright, which I know I should have probably not done, but I just wanted to make sure that she wasn't just stuck. Found her this morning upside down in a different spot, barely moving still. The salinity is 1.004 like suggested, temperature 76 degrees F, and she has been eating on a regular basis to my knowledge (mostly the roots of my plants I put into the tank).
<Food needs to be more than this. A mix of meaty seafood plus some soft fruits (e.g., banana) works very well. Supplementary iodine, as used in marine tanks, but at 50% the recommend dose, also seems to be critical for
long term health. Kept properly these crabs are very hardy, and most problems with them come down to inappropriate maintenance.>
She's a part of the family and I don't want to lose her! Please, if you know of anything, let me know! Thanks in advance.
<Hope this clarifies the situation. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red Clawed Crab Question 11/29/09

I actually keep several pieces of wood outside the water for her to climb up and bask in the heat of the light or just get out of the water.
<Honestly, this isn't enough. It needs 90% land, 10% water. I know you're desperate to convince yourself that this crab is happy where he is, but he honestly isn't. I get angry knowing that pet shops sell them as "aquarium crabs", usually not even telling people they need brackish water, let alone a terrestrial environment. >
As for the fish, the Cory catfish thingie is an albino species that I was told was adaptable to brackish if you acclimated them into it,
<You were misinformed.>
which I did 6-8 months ago, and the mollies were a gift which have bred successfully about 15-16 times in the tank.
<The saline conditions should ensure good Molly health.>
The main diet I have fed Pinchy (my RCC) has been fresh shrimp, peas and green beans, with the occasional kelp wafer sliver and shrimp pellet or fruit piece.
<Sounds good.>
She likes to uproot my plants and eat the roots after, even if she eats otherwise.
<That is their nature.>
Last, I stopped with the iodide for molting because I was told that I can actually. shorten their lifespan because it causes them to molt.
<Who told you this? It's rubbish. The lack if iodine could be precisely why this crab is sick. Moulting happens on a schedule influenced by various factors, including temperature and growth rate. If there's sufficient iodine in the crab's system, it'll moult properly. If there isn't, the crab can't moult properly, and all sorts of problems can develop.>
I have been trying to run a more natural tank, but it seems it might not work. I'll try to obtain additional space with a larger aquarium or donate them, but is there anything else that I have said that may give a better picture?
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Sea or land crabs? Perhaps a little of both? - 06/30/06 I just recently went to Florida, where my son bought a couple of hermit crabs at a store. They have reddish legs, and I assume they are land crabs. We also found hermit crabs on the beach in shallow water. We picked up some and brought them home. Their legs are more brown and grayish. Are these sea crabs? Do they need to be kept in salt water? Thanks, P. Monroe <Not possible to state with the descriptions offered. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm and the linked files on this page. Bob Fenner>

I Have These Crabs... 12/2/05 Hi my name is Kymberly Williams, <<Hello Kymberly. My name is Marina (like where you park a boat).>> and I received 4 crabs but can't identify the kind that they are. They are a dark brown with white polka dots and they seem to have no shell. <<This is confusing, all crabs have shells, even hermit crabs who live in the shells of others.>> I have been feeding them Betta fish food and they seem to be eating it. Is this bad for them and what kind are they? <<Not being sure of what you're talking about, I can't say if it's good or bad for them, much less venture a guess at what they are. Can you get a clear photograph of them? If you can, just make sure that the attachment size is no more than 1kb (or, resize to 300 pixels a side). Then we might be able to help you better. Marina>>

Crays and Crabs? Nope. How 'bout Coldwater Flounders? - 11/27/2005 Hello. <Hi.> I have been thinking about setting up a 10 gallon aquarium for a blue Marron. I would like your advice on whether the crayfish would be compatible with one or more fiddler crabs. <Nope. Fiddlers all require fully marine conditions to survive long-term. It is truly a shame that they are sold (doomed) as freshwater animals. Though they'll keep tickin' for a few months with only freshwater access, it's not something that can last. More importantly, though, they absolutely MUST have land access.> I am also wondering if the two species are fairly easy to keep and if they are hardy since the blue Marron is very expensive in my area. I do have one more question for you Mr. Fenner. <Whups, you got me, Sabrina, today. Bob's out of the country right now.> I have purchased a fresh water flounder (very small less at most 1/2 inch long) today at my LFS and the worker told me it was from British Columbia. <Mm, I find this rather unlikely. The "flounders" available for sale in the aquarium trade are typically tropical animals, though a quick search on freshwater flounders of BC brought me this: Oregon State University piece . Here's the fishbase on this animal: Fishbase on a flounder. But probably, your animal is one of these: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwflounders.htm . If it IS the fellow from BC, an aquarium in your refrigerator might be ideal - this animal would not survive long at all in the temperatures needed for tropical aquaria.> She also told me it will only grow up to 4 inches long. <Better be hoping it's not that P. stellatus, then. That fish gets about three feet in length. I'd keep your fingers crossed that it's the one species of actually freshwater tropical flounder that we see often in the trade.> My question for you is do you know what this fish will eat, what kind of environment it likes, if it truly is like she said a freshwater flounder and finally if it will kill the rest of my fish (tetras and white clouds minnows)? <If it isn't obvious yet, please understand that you really must research an animal PRIOR to purchase, so you can be prepared for these things. The tropical flounders offered in the trade rarely take anything other than live foods, though you might have some luck getting them onto frozen meaty foods like bloodworms. As to its environment, I'd recommend you look at the species mentioned in Bob's article above and look them up (in Fishbase, Google, wherever you like) to find out more about each.> Thank you for your time. <Sure thing.> -Marcin. PS. I would like to clarify that the worker in the store told me that the flounder is interesting because it can be acclimated to freshwater, brackish water, and marine water. I did not take this too seriously because it sounds like this is highly unlikely. <Apparently the fellow from BC starts in freshwater, but by the time it's several inches in length, prefers increasingly brackish conditions. Again, I'm holding out a hope that it's not a large coldwater animal, or it and all the others the store is selling are, like the fiddlers, pretty much doomed. Please learn, and pass on the information you find so that others may learn - soon, you may be teaching the folks at your fish store. All the best to you, -Sabrina>

Freshwater Crabs? - 11/27/2005 Hi, my name is Sarah Prince and I realize you are busy people, but I am trying to find a local place in the UK Manchester area to buy a freshwater crab for my class at school as I am a teacher. <You might try our Chat forum - I know we have a few UK folks that frequent our Freshwater board.... http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk > Can you recommend anywhere? <I'm afraid not, having never been to your area....> Or give any advice? <Now, THAT I can do. Nearly all crabs sold in the aquarium trade as "freshwater" crabs are neither freshwater nor aquatic. Most/all of them will die if forced to live completely underwater in a freshwater aquarium. There are a few (a couple Cardisoma sp., some Gercarcinus sp., Pseudosesarma moeshi (formerly Sesarma bidens) that will get by without saltwater, but all of these absolutely require land access. The easiest to accommodate would be the "Red Claw Crab", Pseudosesarma moeshi. This little animal is somewhat social, stays relatively small, and is relatively active. You could keep, say, half a dozen or so in a 20 or 30 gallon tank with half land half freshwater. They need a lot of "cover" (sticks, rocks, leaves, cork bark, and so forth) in their land area, which should be sand or soil, and enough cover in the water section to have places to "get away" from each other when they moult. The larger Cardisoma and Gercarcinus crabs would need about a 30 gallon tank per male/female pair, and again, a LOT of cover. I'd go with the little Red Claws, if you're looking for a fun, somewhat active pet for the classroom.> Thank You! <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

"Ruby Red Thai Crab" - 11/03/2005 <Likely Cardisoma sp. or Gercarcinus sp. ....> I bought this crab on Nov. 1, he was quite active when he first went into the tank. Now he is less active and his eyes have turned completely gray. I have not noticed any change in his shell or claw color so I don't think he is molting. <Mm, actually, some of these animals normally have gray eyes.... Or it could be a sign that he needs to moult.... But I suspect worse.> Help?! What is wrong with my crab? I don't want to take him out of the tank if he is still alive but it is hard to tell. I think my Algae eater is moving the crab around when he swims around him but not sure. The crab is staying with in a small area. Once again, Help! <The most important matter to address here is that this and all other crabs currently sold as "freshwater" crabs in the US are actually land animals, or brackish to marine animals. Some Cardisoma and Gercarcinus crabs do not require brackish or marine water, but DO absolutely require a land mass. In fact, they are more land animals than aquatic.... Though they need enough water to fully submerse themselves, they need plenty of land area to dry out, clamber about, and dig around. Keeping them fully submerged all the time will ultimately kill them. I suspect your crab is just needing some time out of the water. Please try to modify your tank to accommodate it for now, and perhaps consider a system with a much larger land mass (say, 50% of the tank or so; a 20 gallon "long" tank would be great) for him.> Thank You, -Kimmers <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Hermit crab advice for classroom care 9/7/04 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in his stead> As new hermit crab parents, we were very impressed with your website and we learned a lot about how to care for our hermit crabs (Dion, Duncan, Lucy, and Henry). We are also new teachers and our hermit crabs will be our class pets. They will be living in our classrooms. We read that they must be sprayed daily with water, <yes... very important for their good health... even breathing> but we were wondering what we should do on Saturday and Sunday when we are not in our classrooms. <hmm... they will survive. But do spray them well weekdays without fail... particularly Friday and Monday of course> Also, should they be fed daily as well, or is it okay to leave extra food on weekends? <less is better in some cases... avoid feeding heavily. A few times weekly is fine: Monday Weds and Friday> Is it possible for them to survive without our care over the weekend? <yep... no worries> Please respond ASAP as school is starting on Thursday. Thanks for all your help! Sincerely, Candice and Sarah ( <with kind regards, Anthony> Hermit Crabs My daughter and I found some hermit crabs off the shore of Biloxi, MS. Can you direct me to a location on how we can care fore these in our home? Thanks Dave <Hey Dave, I wish I had more info for ya. I would start with the links below for care sheets and forums on hermit crabs. http://www.landhermitcrabs.com/ http://www.hermit-crabs.com/ I hope it gets you off to the right start. Best Regards, Gage>

Land Hermit Crabs... Greetings and Salutations! <Hello to you Ms. Haywood> I've been reading your site for a few months now (in preparation for a reef setup we plan on starting early next year). I've noticed that you guys receive more than a few questions about the care of land hermit crabs... I'm by no means a know-it-all... but I'd like to recommend some very informative reading at these sites (I've successfully kept many land hermit crabs for quite some time thanks to the info here): http://www.landhermitcrabs.com/ http://www.hermit-crabs.com/ The information is accurate, and there are also additional message boards for those with in depth questions about land hermit crabs. Just more info for those who may be interested! Thanks to all of you for such a fabulous site! Mary Sarasota, FL <Outstanding. Thank you for this information. Will post with our hermit crab sections. Bob Fenner>

On the dry side Hello, <Hi! Sabrina here on this one, to try to help out....> First let me say that your site is full of great information, and very well put together! Really awesome. <Thanks kindly!> I get the impression that the site is mostly concerning marine and freshwater aquariums, <A very accurate impression.> however I was hoping that you would be able to help me with some land crabs. I have a large cage, (18 inches wide, 18 inches high, 8 feet long) which currently has deep sand as a substrate. I am keeping hermit crabs in it now, but they're not really what I wanted. I plan to sell the hermits back to the store, and get some species of land crab with their own carapace, not a discarded shell dweller like hermits. <Wow. Land crabs, eh? Not quite my area, but I'll at the least try to find you some references....> I need help deciding what species to look for. I want to put together a colony of a number of crabs. I had heard of one species in particular, the "Atlantic Land Crab", Cardisoma armata. Do you know anything about the care of them? <Try doing google searches for "Cardisoma armatum" and "Cardisoma guanhumi"; I couldn't find anything for C. armata, but these other two did show up. Unfortunately, I really don't know much of anything about these or other crabs; the one thing of note that I'm finding in researching this is that even 'land crabs' are amphibious, and should have access to water. If your crab house is water-tight, you might consider filling with a good six inches or so of water, then sand on one side sloping down into the water, so they can have a half land/half water or 3/4 land/1/4 water to work with. The other thing of note that I've found is that they need enough cover and hidey holes that they can 'get away' when they shed to somewhere safe. Lots of driftwood, flowerpot caves, stuff like that.> I was hoping I could find a crab that would be able to live with large containers of fresh water in the cage with them, or I could add salt to the water if that is required. I had read a little on fiddler crabs as well, but I was not sure if a container full of salt water would meet there water requirements? <Here's a couple of websites for you to play with: http://www.shrimpcrabsandcrayfish.co.uk/Shrimp.htm?landcrabs.htm~mainFrame and http://www.wirbellose.de/arten.html - the latter is in German, and is my favorite shrimp site, seems to have good viable info on crabs, too, just scroll down to "Krabben", browse through the species pics and info. You can use Google's language tools to help you translate: http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en . I know this really isn't a lot, but I hope it's useful. -Sabrina> Thanks in advance for any help you can provide! ~Kyle Naeve

Land Hermits <Hi Alex, PF with you tonight> Well I want to know if purple crab pinchers and Ecuadorian crabs get along? <I'm no expert on land hermits, which is what I'm assuming you have. My advice would be to go here http://www.hermit-crabs.com/ and learn about your charges.> I just recently noticed that one of my crabs is a purple pincher and he or she is always mad when I try to pick him up <Many animals don't like being picked up.> ex. picks up his or her shell. I won him or her at a carnival and decided to buy him or her a companion. So I did but I found out that the companion is a Ecuadorian. will they ever reproduce? <Well, since they're different species, the odds are really, really, low, not to mention hermit's have complex life cycles.> thank you Alex <You're welcome Alex, pls follow the link, lots of good advice on hermit care there.>

Molted crab >One of our hermit crabs molted late last Dec. (we thought he had died) We have learned a lot about how to take care of it and have him separated from the others. Just last week he started to grow his claws back. A few days ago I thought he had died. His "pincher bubbles" looked pale and dull, not the darker almost red globby look. And his antennae's look "droopy". He is also just kind of hanging half out his shell, where as he had been inside of it. I have placed water and food in shells near him. >>I'm sorry, but I think this is a land hermit? I don't know very much about them at all, I'd always heard that they are easy to keep. If he's hanging out of his shell it doesn't sound as though he's doing very well. You've done what I would do, provide food and water nearby, along with a new shell or two. >Please help. Is he doing ok and is there something different I should do? I read about leaving him alone and letting nature take it's course and I'm glad for the knowledge. I just want to be sure that there isn't something I'm missing. >>I'll be doing a Google search here, hopefully I'll find you some links. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustfaqs.htm http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/vanessap/hermit/cs/cs_gender.html >>Try these! This second link has TONS of information for you, good luck! >Thank you for your help. >>You're quite welcome, sorry I couldn't be of more help, though. Marina

Land Hermit crab has died Hello, We recently bought some land hermits for my kids about 2 weeks ago. Unfortunately, we had our first casualty this morning. These are the first crabs we've ever owned so we have no idea what to expect and are caretakers learning on the job. The crabs are fairly large(?), around 4"-5" long. We "played" with the crabs whenever possible, coaxing them to poke their heads and pincers out enough to get to know each other. The one that died was the friendliest most active and we are wondering what we have done to bring this about. We tried to keep fresh distilled water in their cage all the time and misted them frequently. Their cage is an approximately 1 1/2' circle and approximately 1' high, but it is a cage which we were told would be fine by the man who sold them to us. We also kept food in the cage at all times. We found the crab this morning after noticing an odor coming from the cage. My daughter (and wife) are heartbroken. Help! Thank you. Chuck Guy <Hey Chuck, sorry about your loss. Not quite sure what would have caused his death, I would focus on trying to meet all of the needs of the remaining crabs. The link below has some good information on taking care of hermit crabs. Best Regards, Gage http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/vanessap/hermit/cs/ >

Question about hermit crabs Hi <Hello!> I was doing a school project on hermit crabs and I was wondering if you know how long hermit crabs can live for. <In the wild they can live for 10+ years but in captivity the average lifespan is 1-4 years. Good luck with your project! Ronni>

Red Asian Crab Hi, I love your web site. Could you give any web sites that could give me more info on the Red Asian Crab. They have some at our local pet store and I would like to get one. Thanks very much. Keith Payne Picton, Ontario Canada <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/fwbraccrabs.htm Is this a Cardisoma species? Do place this genus and the common names listed in your search engines. Bob Fenner>

Re: Land Hermit Crabs My neighbor just went for a vacation and left me with her hermit crab. <not the best company> They didn't explain how to feed it very well and it hasn't eatin in a long time. Can you e-mail me with directions on how to feed it? Thanks. <check out the links below for more info on land hermits. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcrustfaqs.htm I do not know who this Vanessa person is, but she sure loves her hermits, I like this page as well. http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/vanessap/hermit/cs/cs_feeding.html Hope this helps, let us know if you have any further questions. -Gage>

Land Hermit Crabs eating tank decorations Hi Bob (or whoever has email duty today), <Gage here, sharing in the fun this evening.> We have 6 land hermit crabs in a 10-gallon tank with the usual sand, climbing branches, extra shells, sponges, and 2xday misting, plus a Hot Rock for warmth. We noticed that they are eating the tillandsias (air plants) that are tied to the climbing branches. <I think we are talking about these: http://www.greenfingers.com.au/services/digging_deeper/tillandsias.htm > Is this okay? <I am not familiar with the tillandsias, as long as they are not toxic I do not see a problem, but it might be best to check with a plant expert/garden center/botanist/ someone along those lines.> We used to have a pot of hen-and-chicks in the tank, but they burrowed into the soil and threw the plants around the tank (little vandals!). <they certainly are.> Thanks for your help, <sorry I do not have more info. Best of luck, Gage> Robin Banes

Our first new hermit crab To Whom It May Concern: <Gage here this morning, er after noon> I just purchased my daughter her very first hermit crab today while at the mall. I know this probably wasn't the very best place to purchase one, but we stopped to look at them and the one we picked just seemed to leap out at us to take home. The ironic thing is, the guy who was selling them or someone, has painted all of their shells different colors and I didn't know if that would harm ours in any way. <probably not, he will need new shells as he grows, a good opportunity to pick something a little more stylish> Plus he (we are assuming - the crab) is just moving and crawling all around and doesn't seem to like his new aquarium that we got for him and he doesn't have a friend either. <Probably just exploring, I would recommend a few friends, they are social creatures.> Should we get him a bigger cage and a friend to have some company and what exactly do you put inside their aquarium to climb on? <not sure how big the current tank is a 10gal should be about right.> I bought him a tree with some food sea shells attached and he seems to be getting stuck up in the tree, <they like climbing> I am assuming that he's trying to tell me to get another aquarium and he does have a good size water sea shell bowl. How often am I to wet his shell to make sure he stays moist and not dry out? <it is best to keep his tank humid with occasional misting> As you can see this is our first little burger and are delighted to have him. My daughter has named him James <a fine choice> and over all he seems to be okay, just a lot of climbing and scratching in the sand. Speaking of which, how much sand should I keep in his aquarium and how often should I change it along with his food. If you could please answer my questions at your earliest convenience, I sure would appreciate it, since this is all new to us. Thank you. Sincerely, Ashley Baker <Try using google.com to search for info on hermit crabs, there is a ton out there, I came across the link below last time I searched, seems to have a lot of good information. http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/vanessap/hermit/cs/ There is also some information on our site http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitfaqs.htm Best Regards, Gage>

Ocypode spp.. Ghost Crabs Dear sir, Are Ghost Crabs of the genus Ocypode also suitable for a freshwater-Amazon and beach aquarium? <Good question. I ran a search on the family and the Amazon, Brazil... no one mentioned the use, physiological plasticity of these Crabs and total freshwater... they of course do make the transition between terrestrial and marine to brackish habitats.> I have had so far about 14 different species of crabs alive in this tank over the past years. All of them did very well and seemed healthy. But I am planning to make the tank suitable for Ocypode-crabs, but I am not quite sure if the can survive in a freshwater tank. I suppose they could, since they are semi-land crabs. Do you have any information about this? And if so, is it possible to get ghost crabs from certain aquarium shops? <I have occasionally seen the ocypodids collected, sold in the ornamental trade. You might ask your local/national import dealers re species availability. Bob Fenner> Thank you and regards, Steven Campbell

"A Craw-Fish by any other Name would Chew Plants..." Mr. Fenner: I am in the early stages of preparation for building my first community tank. I am planning a 35-Gal tank with many live plants and two species of schooling middle fish, one species of surface fish, and an additional species of bottom-feeding/pleco-type fish. Is this feasible? <Sure> My main concern is this: I feel that in the future I may be unable to defend myself against the irresistable charms of lobsters and crayfish. <They are delicious... prepared properly!> Is there a place in a perfectly harmonic community tank for one of these invertebrates? <Mmm, no, not really. There are some fresh to brackish crustaceans that are "better"... please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpfw.htm> I hear that they have picky tastes in water pH and temperature, are destructive to aquatic landscaping, and can be determined to bust out and go AWOL. Is there a way to have fish AND yabbies? <Again... not really... their tastes are actually "too cosmopolitan", and many species are known to be quite "eury" condition... adaptable to widely varying conditions... but most all what folks call "lobsters", crayfish, crawdads, ditch "bugs"... are all too destructive, fish-eating to be "harmonious" in a community tank... Maybe two tanks? Bob Fenner> Please advise.

Freshwater crabs Hello, I want to try keeping freshwater tropical crabs. The species that is often on sale in the uk, small red crabs. I can't find any books or articles on keeping them. I would like to know; 1. what they like to eat, 2. how many to a tank, 3. if I can keep a few fish with them as well, 4. how long they live, 5. what sort of tank (plants, rocks, shelter, etc), 6. ph of the water, 7. filtration, 8. how much oxygen, 9. and how simple they are to look after. Thank you <Hmm, I suspect it is Sesarma bidens you are referring to. Please start with this site: http://wrongcrowd.com/~aquaria/crab/ and use your search engine with the common and scientific names to find more. Some general husbandry information can also be found on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/brcrabs.htm Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

I just got from our pet store tiny red claw crab now I cannot find out much about them & how to care for them they are not hermit crabs but red crabs I looked up res carribean crabs found nothing I need to know more what they need thanks sharon >> Not enough information, I'm afraid. Maybe call, go back to the store, and ask them to check their invoice for the scientific name of these decapod crustaceans... And do keep your eye on the crab... Some get quite big, and many are opportunistic... eaters of other livestock they can get their claws on Bob Fenner

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