Although it may seem strange, crabs as pets are gaining ground among lovers of exotic animals. The vampire crab is a popular species among aquaterrarium enthusiasts, as it has quite striking aquatic and terrestrial habits.
This freshwater crab belongs to the genus Geosesarma , a group of crustaceans native to Malaysia and Indonesia that includes 59 species. They are small and very colorful invertebrates, which is why many guardians are attracted to them. If you want to get hold of a group of vampire crabs, read on.
The vampire crab and other Geosesarma crustaceans
These types of crabs are small – about five to seven centimeters – and have a colorful body : dull red, fiery red with yellow, orange, violet, blue claws and many other shades. The typical vampire crab is deep red and black in color.
The species presents sexual dimorphism because, like the rest of the crabs, the males have larger claws than the females and these have a larger abdomen, with a convex shape. The abdomen of males, however, is narrower and pyramid-shaped.
Geosesarma crab care
Geosesarma crustaceans – like the vampire crab – inhabit the banks of streams and streams , therefore, they require fresh water and a very humid environment to live. Luckily, they are easy animals to keep and their behavior is calm, but they are usually quite shy with humans.
These species are not evaluated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), so they are not included in CITES —an Convention for the Protection of Endangered Alien Species—. Despite this, the specimens found in pet stores almost always come from captive breeding.
Always acquire exotic pets responsibly , always going to trusted sources that sell animals born in captivity. On the other hand, never release these pets, no matter how small or innocuous they may seem, as this action can have very harmful consequences for the native species of the ecosystem.
Once all these initial considerations have been clarified, we will tell you what the care of vampire crabs is in the following lines.
How should the terrarium be?
Some dimensions of 20x20x20 centimeters facility for a couple of individuals are suitable, although this should be bigger if you ‘re going to get more crabs in the terrarium. Keep in mind that males are territorial and there can be conflicts between them if they don’t have enough space or food.
The humidity and temperature conditions have to be as faithful as possible to those of its natural environment. For this reason, these crabs need a semi-aquatic habitat , so the terrarium must have both an aquatic part and one or more terrestrial ones. These types of enclosures are called paludariums or aqua terrariums.
You can submerge a part of the terrarium imitating the bank of the stream and another part, somewhat drier – humid but not soggy – with rocks, logs and shelters where the animals can hide .
The aquatic part of the paludario is very important, since in it the animals carry out activities such as molting or spawning. In the terrestrial zone, choose a substrate that retains moisture — such as coconut fiber or peat — and is abundant enough for the crabs to burrow.
Finally, put enough shelters in the terrarium, especially if several specimens are going to live together. Also, you can add different types of aquatic plants, such as floating plants, algae or mosses.
Environmental conditions to care for the vampire crab
Ambient humidity should be kept around 80 – 100% and the temperature between 24 to 28ºC during the day, which can drop to values between 20 and 24ºC at night. The vampire crab is a nocturnal species, so it is important to monitor both temperature changes and the photoperiod, which should be 12 hours.
- The tropical temperature can be achieved by placing a heating blanket on one side of the terrarium, always outside the glass.
- The high humidity will be maintained thanks to the evaporation of the water, but still, you should spray the land area with water a couple of times a day. The substrate should always be moist to the touch, but not soggy.
What do these crabs eat?
Geosesarma crabs are hunters, so live insects such as fruit flies, small snails , collembola, mealybugs, silverfish, earthworms, or small crickets can be offered to them . They will also eat dead animals or fruits, vegetables and fish food, since we are facing an omnivorous species.
Finally, do not forget that calcium and iodine are essential for these crustaceans to be able to successfully molt or exchange the exoskeleton. Introduce substances that contain these elements into the paludario – such as a cuttlefish skeleton – or, failing that, sprinkle the food once a week with specific powders for exotic animals.
Breeding vampire crabs
The reproduction of these crustaceans is not difficult if you have specimens of different sex, but keep in mind that they need an aquatic area available for the females to spawn in the water . If so, after reproduction the mothers usually release about 50 or 60 eggs per clutch.
Young are born looking similar to adults, only darker and much smaller. To feed the new crabs, you can also offer fruit flies, brine shrimp and collembola, food pellets for fish and crustaceans or even small pieces of fish.
Getting to know the Geosesarma crabs
It is becoming more and more common to find this type of crab in the shops of the branch. Under the trade name of vampire crab or “Red Devil” they usually correspond to the species Geosesarma dennerle and Geosesarma hagen respectively.
The geographical distribution of this genus is wide, there are species that inhabit the islands of Southeast Asia, the Philippines, the islands of Indonesia, the Indian coast to the Solomon Islands. They are small crabs, with a shell just over a centimeter wide, whose life cycle is exclusively freshwater, but their habits are mostly terrestrial. Therefore, an installation that combines fresh water and a larger emerging area is required. The German brand Dennerle illustrated it very clearly with a banner.
The facility where these crabs are kept must have a number of characteristics:
- Mixed urn or aquaterrarium, an aquatic area and a larger area emerged, the connections between both areas must be accessible to crabs.
- A suitable layer of substrate, they are burrowing crabs and build their own burrows and dens.
- High relative humidity (RH), higher than 80%. It gives good results in a system of rain and downspouts to keep.
- Ideal temperature between 24º to 26º C, it should not drop below 20º C we must remember that they are crabs from tropical habitats. We can achieve this with heaters or thermal blankets.
- Abundant vegetation, woods and / or rocks. It favors the appearance of various hiding places, in addition to having a natural appearance it is more satisfactory, it will also allow us to maintain a healthy colony and an aesthetic urn since they do not touch the plants.
Some examples of aqua terrariums for Geosesarma :
Both in this blog and in crustaforo.com or in the domestic zootechnics blog you can find more information
about types and assembly of aquaterrariums.
Regarding its diet, it requires an adequate diet that is predominantly composed of live foods (small snails, springtails, mealybugs, silverfish, grindal, earthworm, micro-cricket, drosophila, etc.) to complement we can try some types of fruit such as banana or tomato , frozen food such as mosquito larvae and some commercial protein-rich pellets.
Easy to maintain and reproduce, this species can be bred in captivity with remarkable success. It all begins with the night in the female’s molt, the copulation in which the male is placed on top, turning and immobilizing the female with his forceps.
Muda or exuvia
The female, once fertilizes the eggs, virtually disappears in its hiding place for three or four weeks, once the young hatch they have the same shape as the adults, and the replicas of these are small, except for the coloration they present in a composition. Mimetic enough to blend in with the surroundings. Juveniles, at first, are more associated with the intersection with the aquatic zone, they grow rapidly as long as they have a large amount of food, especially collembola, later other larger prey are incorporated, if there is not enough food they can give cases of cannibalism.
How do I know if my crab is male or female?
It is very simple, before looking at the size of the forceps or their coloration it is better and 100% reliable to look at her abdomen, the abdomen of the female, folded under her shell, occupies almost all of it and has a convex shape, the of the males, however, it is narrower in the shape of a pyramid.
The photos are of Pseudosesarma, another genus of crab but the dimorphism is very similar and they are
easier to photograph, keep the secret lol
The truth is that they are a very attractive genre for the hobbyist, although it is true that they are nocturnal and can be shy, they have more pros than cons, paying attention to the tropical temperature and humidity whoever wants to can debut in the world of crabs of aquaterrarium. Basic guidelines such as humidity and temperature mentioned above, and some recommendations such as availability of substrate to dig, dry leaves, wood can turn an urn into a good Geosesarma crab colony .
Many species of crabs of the genus Geosesarma or that are attributed to this genus are not yet described in what in many aspects are not protected, the information that is accessible is small, although it is true that it can be an easy species to reproduce in water dulce it has become our duty to inquire about whether the specimen has been bred in captivity or taken from its habitat, however this reflection is applicable to all species of interest to the aquarium hobbyist.
To end this post, I would like to thank you, the reader, for having come here to see these beautiful crustaceans. Here are some photos.
The fascinating and mysterious vampire crab
Vampire crabs get their name from their ghostly appearance, as they have bright yellow eyes that contrast strongly with their purple or orange abdomen, they have become popular pets, although their origin has always been shrouded in mystery. So far, because a team of researchers has followed them in Southeast Asia and discovered that the two most sought-after species are new to science.
People in the aquarium trade have known about the two species of crabs described in the report for at least a decade.
The problem for the scientists was that it was not clear where the crabs originally came from, making it difficult for researchers to name them and describe the characteristics of species in the wild.
Christoph Schubart, a co-author of the study, suspects that many species of vampire crabs remain undiscovered on the Indonesian islands. Since they do not go to the ocean at any point in their life cycle, but instead remain in the same place, the islands have their own species of crabs. His lifestyle was also greatly influenced by the evolution of his bright colors. Expert explanations, visual communication on land is much more important.
The two species, Geosesarma dennerle and Geosesarma hagen, were found in separate valleys on the Indonesian island of Java. The first is purple with cream-colored spots on the back, while the second has bright orange claws and strong yellow eyes. The striking colors of both species explain the attraction they pose to aquarium owners. In addition, their small size makes them perfect to have them in medium-size tanks.
These two species are confined to the same basin, which makes them more vulnerable to fishermen, for whom it is their livelihood. They catch the ones they can and export them, says Schubart. Some collectors breed them, but most still come from Indonesia.
6 types of freshwater aquarium crabs
If you want to get a freshwater crab for your aquarium, there are a few crabs you can consider.
1. red claw crabs
Red claw crabs are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium crabs you can get. These crabs are great starter options because they don’t require extensive care.
Red claw crabs can grow to about 2.5 inches and can easily live for up to five years. All you have to do is feed them properly and make sure they have a clean habitat.
Like many freshwater crabs, red crabs are omnivores. For nutrition they can eat pellets, flax or a combination of both. They can eat other crabs and fish too, so be sure to find compatible friends.
Red claw crabs also need a place in their tank where they are not submerged in water. Crabs like to come to land for a while, so be sure to include a dry area in your aquarium where they can climb.
2. Fiddler crabs
The next type of freshwater crab that you can add is the fiddler crab. The fiddler crab is also very easy to care for and only requires a few needs. Regular feeding times and a clean environment are essential for these crabs.
Fiddler crabs are smaller than other freshwater crabs, but they are still just as beautiful. These grow up to two inches in size, so you need to keep an eye on the tank.
You don’t have to worry about the aggressive behavior of fiddler crabs. These crabs live well with many other species of crabs and fish, making them good neighbors.
They like to hide in decorations, so be sure to include lots of different places for them to do this.
3. Thai Devil Crabs
Third on the list is the Thai devil crab. Don’t be fooled by the name! These crabs are very soft and will make a great pet.
Thai devil crabs grow to be around two to three inches in size. These come in a variety of colors, even vibrant purple.
Thai devil crabs are very active members of the tank, so leave plenty of room to clean the bottom.
For a diet, these crabs enjoy eating plants and animals. They can eat small fish and insects in brine. For plants, they prefer seafood and dried fruits and vegetables.
Thai devil crabs also need an area in their tank where they can rest on dry land. Make sure to include a sandy area with plenty of places to hide and dig. They like to come up from under the water every now and then, so it is definitely a must for them.
4. gold claw crabs
Gold claw crabs are some of the most unique looking crabs that you can add to your aquarium.
These crabs are so named because of their large “golden” claw. It’s not exactly gold, but it’s pretty close.
Gold Claw crabs enjoy harvesting from the bottom of the tank. They like to dig in the sand and occasionally dig it. These crabs definitely need a sandy area of the aquarium to do this.
It is also important to understand that these crabs, like most crabs, are very good at escaping from tanks. They can scale just about anything, including tubes and pipes, and have been known to escape often. Be sure to secure its lid every time you open it for feeding or cleaning.
5. vampire crabs
If you want something a little more exotic and rare, you should try to find a Geosesarma-type Crab.
These are also the focus of crabs and roast blood-sucking burn fireplace crabs because of their color massage. Their eyes are bright yellow body purple.
The vampire crab is not that popular because it is difficult to find. These crabs are also very small in size, barely growing to an inch. This he does, in itself, it has a good, if it is either too small for a small amount of fish in the tank.
The Vampire Crab is an omnivore, so it eats any food that is suitable for crabs, from crickets to algae. Because they are nocturnal, they prefer to eat at night, which is another reason for their name.
The vampire crab is definitely more difficult to buy than other crabs due to its rarity. They are also much more expensive. But, if you don’t mind spending the extra time and money, they make great crabs for your aquarium.
6. panther crabs
Last but not least, we have Panther Crab. Patter crabs are a popular choice because of their popular markings. They are bright orange colors with speckled black spots on them, hence the name.
Panther crabs are generally very friendly crabs, but they become aggressive if they are fed the wrong way. It’s important to keep your panther crab (and any real pets) fed on time and in the right amount. If not, these crabs will attack and eat slower fish around them.
Panther crabs are also very good at escaping. You want to make sure you have a tight lid on your tank to reduce the chances of a leak.
It’s important to give them a good place to rest from the water, you don’t want them running around your house.
How to care for crabs in an aquarium?
Many crabs will not be trapped in the aquarium, trampling on the footsteps of new art history lovers. They worry that they are too difficult to maintain.
But taking care of your freshwater aquarium crabs is more difficult than taking care of any fish.
As with any pet, you must provide them with basic needs so that they can thrive. This includes a good environment for them to grow and live their entire lives in.
Freshwater aquarium crabs are no different. Start by buying a good quality tank that is no less than five gallons in capacity. Anything smaller is too small for your crab friends.
You want to mimic its real habitat in the wild as much as you can, so make your tank more homey. Keep it at a constant temperature; Usually 72-82 degrees F is comfortable for them.
Add decorations like sticks, rocks, and moss to get your crabs up and down. It’s also a good idea to have a tank net setup so your friends don’t accidentally get away.
Fill the aquarium, but be sure to leave an area that allows your crab to sit out of the water. This is good for resting as well as digging and digging.
Aquarium crab tank mates
When you add your crabs to the tank, make sure they are compatible with the fish that are already there. Fish like cichlids are known to be aggressive towards crabs.
Also, keep in mind the fish that your crabs are likely aggressive as well. Small fish, frogs, and other scavengers may not be the best friends for your crabs.
Most crabs are omnivores, so be sure to feed your crab a balanced diet of plants and animals. It is a good idea for them to keep your diet fresh.
When you first get your crab, it can take a while to learn what they like to eat and what they won’t touch. What you should try to do is change some ingredients or change the foods that they do not like.
Fish can help cancer is going, or protein in the face. They also enjoy ‘meat’ like flies, bloodworms, and small brine fish. Include vegetables in your diet with steamed vegetables cut into smaller pieces.
It is also important to eliminate any uneaten food after three days. You may not know the difference between crab food or rotten food, so help them.
Once you add a crab to your tank, you won’t be able to imagine life without it! These little critters add a beautiful touch to your tank and keep things interesting.
With proper care and diet, aquarium crabs are sure to keep your tank full of life for many years.