Crabby Pix with Crabby Comments
Some of the various crabs that pop up from time to to time
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Freshwater Crustacea – Crabs, mostly. Only a few of the Crustacea – hard shelled critters – work out well in your community tank. Beware. Crustacea eat fish and vice versa. Crustacea taste pretty good. We eat the saltwater ones ourselves: shrimps, lobsters, and crabs.
All of the crustaceans taste good to fishes. However, the larger ones grow tougher shells and big enough pincers to impose a threat even to some of the larger fishes. We’ll go through some of them in order of size.
Peaceful Scavengers include the smaller guys. You can mix these in most tanks without someone getting eaten IF you mix similar-sized specimens. Otherwise, they eat each other.
Mini-Crabs. Not easily confused with Alaskan king crabs, the fiddler crabs in this corner weigh in at about 50 to 80 to the pound. They live along the edges of the water and serve as the shore-side clean up crew. They eat whatever washes up -- no matter what condition they find it in. Think of them as scavengers or the original beach combers. They do not like deep water.
Fiddler Crab males sport one big claw to wave at females and to fight other males with. Females get along just fine with two small claws. Crabs who lose their claws in fights or carelessly leave them at the movies, will re-grow them when they molt.
Fiddler Crabs really do better in terrariums than completely underwater. They like to climb out on the land most of the time. They earn their name from the one large claw the male waves around to attract the female. Females grow two normal-sized claws. In spite of their claws, they’re not much of a threat to fishes.
Gold Claw crabs all (both sexes) carry that great big waving claw. Females wave at males and who knows what. They look very similar to fiddlers. Fiddler males sport a white-edged claw. The difference is probably much more important to the crabs. They get along fine in the same group.
Many Names: Many closely related species appear on the market. They come in as soap dish crabs, Columbian crabs, moon crabs, and patriot crabs (because of the colors). They will not allow fish to live in their tank. Many also like to fight each other.
Hermit Crabs: Several species of these guys abound. They do not mix in fish tanks. Saltwater hermit crabs live in seawater. They eat or destroy anything they can reach. The pet hermit crabs live in trees. Give them something to climb on.
Soap Dish Crabs: Importers ship soap dish crabs individually in (oddly enough) soap dishes. This keeps them from killing each other. They are not good mixers.
Soap Dish Crabs eat fish and anything else that gets close – including each other. You cannot mix them with anything. They’re beautiful and come in four colors: red, yellow, orange, and purple. Just remember that these colorful crabs are efficient killers. Keep them by themselves. They get their names from the way they’re shipped into our country. Each one gets packed into its own, individual soap dish. That’s the way their captors keep them from killing each other.
Rusty Crabs: Also great at pinching, these little guys will survive in deep water. Do not trust them around fish. Kinda drab little critters.
Mosaic Crab. We know little about these guys. They just showed up recently. We can’t see the “mosaic pattern.” Maybe it’s like the Mosaic code. We treat them like red Thai crabs.
King Crabs are a new crab to us (2005). They pinch. They stay small. They argue/fight with each other. They eat whatever you give them -- just like nearly every other crab. They are drabber than most crabs and not as economical as most crabs..
Red Thai Crab. You probably suspect where these little inch and a halfers come from. They can easily snag your fishes. They will snag you also. Handle them carefully. Pretty pincers.
Last Words. As you can see, the freshwater crustaceans offer a wide array of interesting critters – something for every “taste.” Some are tastier than others. Try some soon. But be careful -- many crustaceans like to eat fish and vice versa. They also eat each other. LA.
Stephen West, Canada, July 3, 2010
A: Sounds like a success story to me. Also sounds like my kind of kid. I'll add your input to my mini-crab page. Thanks. LA
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