Everything to know about freshwater crabs

If you are wondering whether you can keep crabs in your tank or not? Do not worry because you are not the only one. Many people cannot decide if they should keep crabs or not and which types of crabs they can get.  Continue reading if you want to know some information about freshwater crabs and get to know some of their species.

Freshwater crabs can be found in tropical and sub-tropical areas in the world. Most of these crabs are omnivores, thus meaning that they can be fed with any types of food. These crabs develop due to egg hatching with the larval stage passing through the eggs.

There are more than 2000 species of freshwater crabs which belong to four super families and eight families. These families are:

Super family Trichodactyloidea with the family of Trichodactylidae (found in Central America and South America)

Super family Potamoidea with the families of Potamidae (found in Mediterranean Basin and Asia), Potamonautidae (found in Africa, including Madagascar), Deckeniidae (found in East Africa and Seychelles) , Platythelphusidae (found in East Africa)

Super family Gecarcinucoidea with the families of Gecarcinucidae (found in Asia), Parathelphusidae(found in Asia)

Super family Pseudothelphusoidea with the family of Pseudothelphusidae (found in Central America and South America)

In this article we are going to talk about some fresh water crab species like Thai micro crabs, Phanter crabs, Ptychognathus barbatus crabs, Tanganyika crabs and Vampire crabs.

Thai micro crab

Thai Micro Freshwater Crabs

These are the smallest types of aquarium crabs. These species are found in fresh waters of Thailand.

Thai micro crabs are very shy types of species that need to have many hiding spots in the tanks.

For these crabs the aquarium should be at list 19l and needs to be filtered. And plants are preferred as well, as mentioned above they love hiding. So they can hide in plants too.

These crabs are omnivores, thus you can feed them with anything try giving them frozen foods. Also they eat micro-organisms, as well as any food particles floating around the tank.

Also, Thai micro crabs should be kept with calm tank mates as they are very fragile. So preferably keep them with small fish and shrimps. They may be hard to find in fish stores as they are new to the market but you can still find them.

If you have decided to breed Thai micro crabs, then you should know that it is not the easiest task, as many hobbyists say that after the egg hatching the young ones tend to die. So if you are an experienced in crab keeping you can give it a try.

Panther freshwater crabs

Panther Freshwater Crabs

These crabs are found in Sulawesi and are a bit difficult to keep in a tank. But if you like challenging yourself then these crabs will be great for you.

These are rather big species of crabs. And it is recommended to keep them in bigger tanks, especially if you have multiple crabs of the same species. Panther crabs are a bit aggressive, so the larger tank will give them enough space to control their aggressiveness. Also, it is not recommended to keep too many males together.

Panther crabs require land area, such as a rock or something else that can reach to the surface of the water. Also, like many other crab species, Panther crabs need hiding spots, especially at molting period.

Ptychognathus barbatus crabs

Ptychognathus barbatus is their scientific name, they are also known as freshwater pom pom crabs. The name comes from their filters on their claws that look like pom poms.

These are very peaceful crab species and there are no special tank mate requirements for them. As these species are still new as aquarium crabs, they can be a little bit hard to find. But if you want to have an interesting addition to your tank, then it is highly recommended to keep one of these crabs.

Tanganyika crabs

These crabs are found in Lake Tanganyika and that is where they got their name from.

It is recommended to keep them in larger tanks with many hiding spots, as they, like many other crab species like to hide especially during molting period.

These crabs eat anything that they can get into their claws. So it is not recommended to keep them with weak species of fish and snails, as they will probably eat them.

Yet there is not much information about these crab species as they are new for hobbyists. But if you are an experienced aquarium owner then you can try and keep one of these crabs.

Vampire crabs

Vampire Freshwater Crabs

These crab species are called Vampire crabs due to their eyes that are yellow and look as if they are glowing. These are not completely aquatic crab species, but they still need to spend some of their time in fresh water. But you also need to provide them with land.  The land are should be planted with moss and many other types of plants. The water needs to have a high level of pH. These crabs are omnivores, so you can feed them with vegetables, frozen food and any other types of food.

Usually some crabs are sold as freshwater crabs in aquarium shops, like fiddle crabs, red claw crabs and many more. But it is just a misconception these are not freshwater crabs and they have their specific requirements which aquarium shop worker are not following.

So hopefully this article answered some of your questions related to freshwater crabs. Overall we can see that these crabs are still not common for aquarium keepers, as it is not so easy to get hold of these crabs. But if you have experience keeping freshwater crabs then you can easily try to keep the species mentioned above and maybe try to tell us your experience of keeping them. Maybe after some time when more people will keep these crab species we will be able to get more information about them. Check out the rest of TheAquariumGuide for more information about fishkeeping.

1 thought on “Everything to know about freshwater crabs”

  1. Could you help me identify what species my crab is? It is about 3cm. It has black legs. Its back is black with white spots white there is a orange patch near the eyes. It has a pretty huge pincer that is white at the end but the other is a bit grey.


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