Welcome to my little piece of hyper space. The purpose of this page is just to give another view on keeping Red claw crabs which are becoming very popular in aquarium shops these days. When I first purchased my 3 crabs I undertook a search for information on the internet and found many sites that all give differing and sometimes confusing information. I decided to put this site up to document the experiences that I have had with my 3 Crabs.
Scientific Name : Sesarma Bidens
Common Name : Red Claw Crab
Ph : The Ph in my tank is quite acidic at around 6.4 but looking at other sites this may be a bit low but the crabs seem fine.
Size : can grow up to 4cm
Temp Range : have kept them in ranges from (72 - 80F) (22 - 26C)
Diet : Omnivorous
All the red claws I have had have always wanted access to fresh air, I don't know whether this is true of all specimens that you may purchase but it is probably a good idea to give them this access. In my 4 foot community tank this was simply the heater guard positioned such that the crab could climb up to the top of the fluval pump.
I have now set up a tank just for the crabs with some neon tetras in it this is a 3 foot by 18" deep by 12" wide. I had originally set the tank up as a terrarium with about 6" of water with a large rock ledge built with slate backing up the dry land part of the tank which was just 6-7" of gravel at this point there were no neon's.
One of the problems with this tank was that the crabs seemed very timid and would dart into the rocks at the slightest moment - you would hardly know there were crabs in the tank. After some experimentation I believe that the crabs feel safer if they have deeper water to scurry about in and hide. I have now changed the tank to a deep section and a medium section of water with the deep section being 15" deep and the medium section being about 8" deep.
Air access for the crabs is provided by means of a large bog wood branch that runs up the back of the tank.
As mentioned above the tank has many caves built from slate that the crabs can use for cover. As well as these I have put in a few pieces of bog wood for the crabs to use as cover as the crabs match the color of these very well. Along with the rock and bog wood I provide plenty of extra cover by using a variety of aquatic plants such as ferns and leafy plants which the crabs love to climb. I now have a clan of neon tetras and 3 zebra danios to add that extra splash of color to the tank.
One major point to note with these crabs is that if they find a way out of the tank they will be off. You must ensure that plants and decorations do not allow these critters to escape as they do require water to survive. I lost my first crab in this manner :(. Also note that these crabs can swim short distances I am not sure how far they can swim but I have seen mine swim from the top of plants to the powerhead pump - about 5 inches.
From what I have found with my own crabs they will eat a wide variety of foods. Foods that I have gave have been -
This is defiantly not an exhaustive list I believe they will try most things once. There are 2 things I have noticed with them One being that they do seem to need some greens as I have had friends who have kept these crabs and they have not lasted as long and I believe one of the differences is that I have live plants in the tank. The other point I have noticed is that the crabs seem to pick and eat at the bog wood
One thing I have seen on other sites is that crabs will not bother community fish, this is not the case in my experience and have seen young crabs grab and kill buenos aires over twice their size. This was one of the reasons I moved the crabs out of the community tank. This may seem bad as I now have neon's in beside the crabs but as one friend put it 'Neon's are the Shock Troops of the fish community' and as such provide some sport and good nutrition for the crabs (the neon's do become wise eventually)
As with all aquariums regular water changes will help ensure that your crabs should live happily. One thing with crabs is that they must molt every few months and you must ensure good water conditions for this as high ammonia or nitrite can kill the newly molted crab.
Another point to note is that of certain water treatments that contain copper sulphate. As with most invertebrates copper sulphate will kill your crabs
A note on molting - you may wake up one morning to find 2 crabs where there was only one the night before, this is ok one of them will be the old skeleton that the crab has shed. be careful not to handle a crab that has just molted as the skin will be very soft for a few hours. Also leave the old skeleton in the tank as the crab will eat this to help provide calcium to aid hardening of the new shell.
The pictures are not great quality as I only have a digital camera on my mobile phone. They are mixed pictures of some of the fish I own and crabs.
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If you have any comments on this site please email me at Stuart Clark
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