Freshwater aquarium crabs make a great addition to any fish tank.
These freshwater crabs are usually small in size and come in different colors.
Aside from their beauty, freshwater crabs also play an important role in the tank.
They work to clean up the leftover fish food, as well as remove the residue from everyday fish tank use.
Freshwater aquarium crabs add a great amount of beauty and cleanliness to your tank. Plus, they’re very affordable and easy to take care of!
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6 Types of Freshwater Aquarium Crabs
If you want to get a freshwater crab for your aquarium, there are a few good starter crabs you can consider.
1. Red Claw Crabs
Red clawed crabs are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium crabs you can get. These crabs make great starter options because they don’t require extensive care.
Red claw crabs can grow up to be about 2.5 inches and can easily live for up to five years. All you have to do is feed them properly and ensure they have a clean habitat.
Like many freshwater crabs, red claw crabs are omnivores. They can eat pellets, flakes, or a combination of both for nutrients. They might also eat other crabs and fish, so make sure to find compatible friends.
Red claw crabs also need a place in their tank where they aren’t submerged in water. Crabs like to come onto the land for some time, so make sure to include a dry area in your aquarium where they can come up.
2. Fiddler Crabs
The next type of freshwater crab you can add is the fiddler crab. The fiddler crab is also very easy to take care of and just requires a few necessities. Regular feeding times and a clean environment are necessary for these crabs.
Fiddler crabs are smaller than other freshwater crabs but are still as beautiful. They grow up to two inches in size, so you may need to keep an eye on them in the tank.
You don’t have to worry about aggressive behavior from fiddler crabs. These crabs live well with many other species of crabs and fish, so they make good neighbors.
They like to hide in decorations, so make sure to include lots of different places for them to do this.
3. Thai Devil Crabs
Third on the list is the Thai Devil crabs. Don’t be fooled by the name! These crabs are very gentle and would make a great pet.
Thai Devil crabs grow up to be around two to three inches in size. They come in many different colors, even vibrant purple.
Thai Devil crabs are very active members of the tank, so leave plenty of room to scavenge along the bottom.
For a diet, these crabs enjoy eating both plants and animals. They can eat tiny brined fish and insects. For plants, they enjoy dried algae and fresh or dried fruits and vegetables.
Thai Devil crabs also need an area in their tank that they can rest on dry land. Make sure to include a sandy area with lots of hiding and digging places for them. They like to come up from under the water every so often, so this is definitely a must for them.
4. Gold Claw Crabs
Gold Claw crabs are some of the most unique-looking crabs you can add to your aquarium.
These crabs are named so because of their one very large ‘gold’ claw. It’s not exactly a golden color, but it’s pretty close.
Gold Claw crabs enjoy scavenging along the bottom of the tank. They also like to dig into the sand and occasionally burrow in it. These crabs definitely need a sanded area in the aquarium to do this.
It’s also important to understand these crabs, like most crabs, are very good at escaping tanks. They can climb almost anything, including tubing and pipes, and are known to sneak out often. Make sure to secure your lid every time you open it for feeding or cleaning.
5. Vampire Crabs
If you want something a bit more exotic and rare, you should definitely try to find a Geosesarna- type Crab.
These crabs are also known as Vampire crabs because of their stunning colors. They have a deep purple body with bright yellow eyes.
The Vampire crab isn’t that popular because it’s hard to find. These crabs are also very small in size and barely grow up to be an inch. That makes them ideal for if you have very small fish or a small tank.
The Vampire Crab is an omnivore, so it eats any crab-friendly food, from crickets to algae. Because they are nocturnal, they prefer to eat at night time, which is another reason for their name.
The Vampire crab is definitely harder to buy than other crabs because of its rarity. They are also much more expensive. But, if you don’t mind spending extra time and money, they are great crabs for your aquarium.
6. Panther Crabs
Last, but not least, we have the Panther crab. Panther crabs are a popular choice because of their beautiful markings. They’re bright orange colors with black spots speckled on them, hence the name.
Panther crabs are generally very friendly crabs, but become aggressive if fed improperly. It’s important to keep your Panther crab (and any pet really) fed on time and the right amount. If not, these crabs are almost certain to attack and eat slower fish around them.
Panther crabs are also very good at escaping. You want to make sure that you have a tight-fitting lid on your tank to reduce the chances of escape.
While it’s important to give them a good place to rest out of the water, you don’t want them running around your house.
How to Take Care of Crabs in an Aquarium?
Many new aquarium enthusiasts shy away from getting crabs for their tanks. They worry that they’re too difficult to maintain.
But caring for your freshwater aquarium crab is no more difficult than caring for a fish.
As with any pet, you need to provide them with basic necessities for them to thrive. This includes a good environment for them to grow and live their whole life in.
Freshwater aquarium crabs are no different. Start by buying a good quality tank that’s no less than five gallons in capacity. Any smaller is too small for your crabby friends.
You want to mimic their actual habitat in the wild as much as you can, so make your tank homier. Keep it at a consistent temperature; usually, 72-82 degrees F is comfortable for them.
Add decorations like sticks, rocks, and moss for your crabs to climb on and under. It’s also a good idea to have a tank net setup so your friends don’t accidently escape.
Fill up the aquarium, but make sure to leave an area that allows your crab to sit outside of the water. This is good for them to rest on, as well as burrow and dig in.
Aquarium Crab Tank Mates
When you add your crabs in the tank, make sure they’re compatible with the fish that are already there. Fish like cichlids are known for being aggressive towards crabs.
Also, be aware of the fish that your crabs are likely to be aggressive too. Small fish, frogs, and other scavengers may not be the best of friends for your crabs.
Most crabs are omnivores, so make sure to feed your crab a balanced diet of both plants and animals. It’s a good idea to keep their diet fresh for them.
When you first get your crab, it may take some time to learn what they enjoy eating and what they won’t touch. Changing up a few ingredients or switching out food that they don’t like is something you should try to do.
Freshwater aquarium crabs can eat protein or algae-based pellets. They also enjoy ‘meat’ like flies, bloodworms, and tiny brined fish. Include vegetables in their diet with steamed veggies cut into smaller pieces.
It’s also important to remove any uneaten food after three days. Your crabs won’t know the difference between food or rotten food, so help them out there.
Once you add a crab into your tank, you won’t be able to imagine life without it! These small creatures add a beautiful touch to your tank and keep things interesting.
With the proper care and diet, aquarium crabs are sure to keep your tank bustling for many years.
Sorry snails says
Crabs are great for the tank BUT they eat snails…do not add snails if you have crabs.
Will they eat nuisance snails?
they havent eaten snail i have could it be the type of crabs and snail you have?
Yes alot if these crabs will eat snails!
A Crab Expert says
There is bad info on redclaw crabs in this article. They are NOT freshwater crabs.
Red claw crabs can survive in freshwater, however in order to thrive these crabs require brackish water (1-2 tbsp. of Marine Salt added per gallon of freshwater).
Fiddler crabs are not fresh water crabs. They will die. They need brackish water.
Will they really die
I have had 2 fiddlers for 3 months in freshwater and they are thriving. Maybe a fluke but they are great
Have you got a dry place in the aquarium forvthem
VAMPIRE CRABS ARE NOT FULLY AQUATIC!!! They need about a 50/50 land/water ratio. They cannot survive fully underwater and need a good bit of land space. They are mostly terrestrial crabs that go into the water to molt and breed! Hope this helps.
I’ve heard that fiddler crabs need at least brackish water to do well, they really aren’t meant for fresh water.
You should have mentioned pom pom crabs.
I OWN FIDDLER CRABS!!! THIS ARTICLE IS WRONG. FIDDLER CRABS ARE N O T FRESH WATER CRABS!! They need brackish water and plenty of land or they will DIE! Bad info.
Fiddler crabs are occasionally kept as pets. The fiddler crabs sold in pet stores generally come from brackish water lagoons. Because they live in lower salinity water, pet stores may call them fresh-water crabs, but they cannot survive indefinitely in freshwater.
I am a aquarium novice , I would like to keep crabs with my fish , which ones are the best please and how do I create a dry space for them in my tank . Thank you
Does anyone have 60 gallon tank with freshwater crab? I really want them in mybtank and I csnt keep them alive, they’ve got a floating station and a plant on a whole side to climb up to.. and feed them crab cuisine. HELP PLEASE!!
Anastasija Bondarenko says
Do they need land?
Blu Berrie says
ARE THE CRABS PERSONABLE? ID LIKE TO TALK TO THEM. THANK YOU
hyunjin Kim says
Hello. My name is Hyunjin Kim from Korea.
Is it possible to import vampire crabs from Indonesia?
I kept crabs in my 60gal brackish tank… we didn’t know they needed time out of the water. They escaped the tank regularly, until they ultimately died from the fall. It was very unfortunate that pet stores don’t educate! This was in the 80’s before we had google (or computers for that matter).
This article was written by a fool who had no idea what they were talking about. All of the crabs listed on this article either require land or brackish water to survive long term. They are better suited to Paludariums than actual aquariums. It’s also important to mention the best fish to coexist with crabs are species that don’t spend time on the ground level of the tank. Fancy bettas such as in the image shown will have their fins shredded by crabs whilst they sleep.
The best crab for home aquariums is the Thai Micro crab (Limnopilos naiyanetri). They are tiny crabs, but thrive in planted aquariums alongside shrimp. They only require freshwater and do not need any land to survive. They are however an enigma as of right now. Nobody who knows how to breed them has made it public yet.
If you wanted a more diverse colour variety, but Tai Micro Crabs aren’t what you’re looking for I encourage you to look into the Dwarf Mexican Crayfish. There are many species and colour variants in existence. You can find Oranges and blues most commonly. They will live alongside shrimp and nano fish quite easily. I would avoid mixing them with bottom dweller fish or anything with fancy fins though. Anything with claws for pinching isn’t suitable for housing with fancy finned fish.