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Crustacean Information

Last Updated: 4/20/12

Introduction
Crayfish and Lobsters
Crabs


Introduction

Freshwater shrimp, crayfish, lobsters, and crabs are becoming more and more available to aquarium and pond enthusiasts. These animals add an entirely different world to an aquarium or pond. Most of these crustaceans live off of live or dead animals and fish food but some also will eat algae.

I have seen all of the listed shrimp and kept all but the bumble bee, clam, and wood shrimps. There is a lot of conflicting information on the identity of the Amano, ghost, and rainbow shrimps because stores do not use scientific names or use the wrong ones.

Many of the so-called medications for fish are deadly to shrimp and other crustaceans and other invertebrates. Such products should say, "May be harmful to invertebrates" or "Do not use if invertebrates are present." Some parasitic medications and those with metals such as copper (usually as copper sulfate) are most deadly and should be avoided. Antibiotics are usually safe for shrimp.

Many shrimp keepers believe that iodine is essential to help freshwater shrimp complete their molt. In tanks with low iodine, molting shrimp turn white and die. Adding iodine (as iodide) can help prevent this. Those in the now defunct shrimp group recommended using half the recommended dosage of Kent Marine Iodine with water changes. I got some and used it the first time on 3/9/02 in my 40 gallon tank only to test it. At the time, there was one ghost shrimp (who was carrying eggs but dropped them before dying) becoming opaque (just starting). The iodine did not save her though as she was dead on 3/11/02.

There was a major explosion of beautiful species of freshwater shrimp being made available in fish stores as of 2002 that were never there before. Check out Frank Greco's page for one place to order some of these neat crustaceans! Local fish stores also are selling more and more freshwater shrimp.


Crayfish and Lobsters

Crayfish and prawns can be added to ponds as scavengers. They are also kept as aquarium pets or to be used to feed larger animals. Although they mostly eat plants, they will keep extra fry and small fish in check by eating them too. Growing up to five inches, these species will also eat dead fish and other animals. More than 200 species of these crustaceans make various habitats in North America their home. Other parts of the world contain hundreds more species, many of which are sold in the USA. For a list of at least five links to crayfish sites, go to Patrick Timlin's Aquaria Page.

Aquarium stores often sell fancy lobsters now that stay the size of crayfish. Some are blue, some are red, and some are other colors. These lobsters do best on live foods and will eat small fish. Caring for them can be difficult.

Crayfish Links:

Crayfish Home Page
Crayfish World
The Crayfish Corner


Crabs

Sometimes fiddler crabs or other crab species are sold for aquariums. Most require brackish or even salt water. Few thrive in freshwater. Most require live insects, worms, and/or small fish to eat. They can harass or kill other small animals in the tank with them. Many have nasty pinchers. For this reason, they are best suited to a setup solely for them. Almost all of the crabs sold for "freshwater" tanks require a haul-out spot. The water level must be low enough to allow them to get in and out of the water with ease. If denied the ability to get out of the water, they will eventually die. They most likely also require full spectrum lighting over the basking site but studies probably have not been done on this. Fiddler crabs and similar species stay relatively small at a few inches in size. For a list of at least nine links to fiddler crab sites, go to Patrick Timlin's Aquaria Page.

I now have a page on hermit crabs here. While they are considered terrestrial by most, they actually spawn in salt water. Hermit crabs are not true crabs.

This section is about freshwater and brackish water crabs. I also have the following pages on saltwater crabs in the marine section of my site:
Aquatic hermit crabs
Emerald mithrax crabs
Unknown crab


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See the master index for the crustacean pages.


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