Freshwater Pom Pom Crab Care, Lifespan & Tank Mates

Are you interested in adding unique and eye-catching crustaceans to your freshwater aquarium? Look no further than the Freshwater Pom Pom Crab.

These small but striking creatures will add exotic and personality to your tank. But what do you need to know before bringing them home?

This post discusses everything from their care requirements to their potential tank mates.

Whether you’re a seasoned aquarium owner or a newcomer to the hobby, read on to discover the joys of keeping Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs.

Species Summary

Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs are incredibly cute crustaceans that have become increasingly popular in the aquarium hobby due to their hardiness and unique appearance. Although there is limited information on these unique creatures, they are known to be fully aquatic and can be found in tropical areas such as Taiwan, China, and India.

Their tiny size, unique pom poms on their claws, and ability to coexist peacefully with other creatures make them great additions to community tanks. These crabs are more active than most crab species and can often be seen scavenging for food and burrowing into the substrate.

Owners should be cautious of their active nature as they are excellent climbers and require a secure, tight-fitting lid to prevent them from escaping. Like all crustaceans, Pom Pom Crabs undergo molting, shedding their old exoskeleton to grow a larger one.

Average Pom Pom Crab Size


Pom Pom Crabs are tiny and cute crustaceans that are becoming increasingly popular in the aquarium hobby.

These fully aquatic crabs spend their entire lifecycle submerged in fresh water and don’t grow bigger than an inch. The size of a Pom Pom Crab varies slightly between individuals, but they typically measure between 0.6 and 1 inch in width. In rare cases, they can grow over one inch with exceptional genetics.

Despite their small size, Pom Pom Crabs have long, slim legs and a broad shell. You can easily differentiate between male and female Pom Pom Crabs by examining the length of the hair on their claws and the shape and size of their apron.


Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs have a relatively short lifespan, with most individuals living no longer than a year in captivity. Even in the healthiest of environments, the lifespan can vary dramatically.

However, providing them with the best possible care is essential if they are to survive for longer. Owners should ensure that their living conditions are adequate to prevent them from falling ill or experiencing other health problems.

While their lifespan may be limited, it is still important to provide them with excellent care and attention for their lives.

These small and hardy creatures are undeniably cute and can make great tank mates in a community. They are peaceful, and your Pom Poms will ignore other tank mates.

It is important to note that molting occurs in all crustaceans regardless of the species, and this process of shedding old exoskeletons to develop a larger one to fit a growing individual takes a few days to complete.

During this time, the crabs will be particularly vulnerable due to the lack of a hard shell, so it is important to provide them with hiding places to limit the risk of injury.


Freshwater Pom Pom crabs have a unique and adorable appearance that sets them apart from other aquarium inhabitants. Their signature pom poms are tufts of hairs growing from their claws that resemble cheerleading pom poms.

The hairs are dense and lengthy in males while barely noticeable in females. The crab’s shell is broad for its size, and they have long, slender legs. Most specimens take on a pale yellow or brown color with speckles of darker brown.

Telling the difference between males and females is simple; males have a thin and narrow apron, while females have a wide and curved apron.

Freshwater Pom Pom crabs are small, but their unique appearance and active behavior make them an excellent addition to aquariums.

Pom Pom Crab Care

These freshwater Pom Pom Crabs are quite hardy, making them easy to care for. They can tolerate slight changes to water chemistry without getting too sick, but it’s best to ensure the aquarium is always in good condition.

Regular water changes are essential for keeping it clean and free of excess algae. Check the water parameters with a testing kit each week too.

It’s important to ensure the aquarium is properly secured with a tight-fitting lid, as these crabs are excellent climbers. You don’t want to lose them to an unexpected escape attempt!

Avoid adding copper chemicals, which are toxic to most crustaceans and could even cause fatalities in high concentrations.

It’s best to leave the crabs alone during molting as they’re vulnerable. Once molting is finished, remove the old exoskeleton; otherwise, it’ll break down and affect the water chemistry.

Diseases are rare in Pom Pom Crabs; however, if you suspect something is wrong, quarantine the individual and research possible illnesses.

Tank Size

Freshwater Pom Pom crabs are relatively small creatures, ranging in size from 0.6 to 1 inch in width. Therefore, a suitable tank size is necessary to provide these little crabs with a comfortable environment.

A minimum of 5-gallon tank size is recommended for keeping a small colony of Pom Pom crabs. However, opting for a 10-gallon aquarium is better for comfort and well-being.

Remember that crabs are quite active, and Pom Pom crabs are no exception. They will wander around the tank, dig into the substrate, and potentially climb on equipment. Thus, it’s essential to ensure the tank is secured with a tight-fitting lid to prevent escape.

Moreover, they need sufficient water to swim and move around comfortably, and the water should be well-filtered and free from toxins. Suitable tank size and environment are crucial for the freshwater Pom Pom crab’s health and well-being.

Water Parameters

Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs thrive in a specific range of water parameters. The temperature should be kept between 72-80°F (22-27°C), and the pH levels should be between 6.2-7.2.

They also prefer moderate water flow and regularly changing water of around 10-20% per week.

A good filtration system is essential for their well-being. A sponge or HOB filter works well if the water flow is not too strong. Make sure the water is well-oxygenated using an air stone or a bubbler.

The water should also be free of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels should be kept below 20 ppm. Monitoring these water parameters regularly is crucial to ensure a healthy living environment for the Pom Pom Crabs.

Remember that sudden changes in water parameters can cause stress and adversely affect their health. Therefore, it is important to maintain a stable and consistent environment.

By providing a suitable living environment, it is possible to extend their lifespan and ensure their well-being.

Setting Up Their Tank

Freshwater Pom Pom crabs are a delightful addition to any aquarium, but the proper set up of their tank is essential to ensure their long-term health and happiness.

Cover the bottom of the tank with sand or fine gravel substrate to promote natural habitat.

They enjoy hiding away, so provide hiding places such as rocks, caves, or driftwood. They also like to burrow, so ensure that the substrate is deep enough to allow them to do so.

A tight-fitting lid is a must to prevent these little escape artists from crawling out of the tank.

Additionally, keeping the water clean with regular filters and partial water changes is essential to prevent the buildup of harmful toxins and maintain a healthy environment for the freshwater Pom Pom crabs to thrive in.

Potential Diseases

Freshwater Pom Pom crabs are not immune to diseases. Owners should observe their crabs closely and be on the lookout for any unusual behavior or physical symptoms.

One of the most common problems for Pom Pom crabs is bacterial infections. These infections can be caused by poor water quality or injuries to the crab’s exoskeleton. Symptoms may include lethargy, loss of appetite, and discoloration of the crab’s shell.

Another issue that Pom Pom crabs face is parasites. Parasites can attach to the crab’s body or be ingested through contaminated food. Symptoms of parasitic infection can include excessive scratching, abnormal behavior, and weight loss.

Lastly, fungal infections can also affect Pom Pom crabs. Improper water quality or poor diet can lead to fungal growth in the crab’s body. Symptoms may include discoloration, changes in behavior, and lesions on the crab’s shell.

Prompt action and treatment are necessary to combat potential diseases and ensure the health and longevity of the Pom Pom crab.

Food & Diet

Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs are omnivores and will eat animal and plant matter. In the wild, they feed on algae, bacteria, small insects, and other aquatic organisms.

In captivity, they can be fed various foods, including shrimp pellets, algae wafers, flake food, worms, and small vegetables such as zucchini or spinach.

A varied diet is important to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. Some of their favorite foods include bloodworms and brine shrimp.

Avoid overfeeding your Pom Pom Crabs, as they have a small appetite, and overfeeding can lead to water pollution. Feed them in small amounts several times a day rather than one large feeding.

Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs are opportunistic feeders and will scavenge for food at the bottom of the tank, so cleaning the substrate regularly is important to avoid a buildup of waste.

Behavior & Temperament


Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs are active and peaceful creatures that make great tank mates for various aquatic species. They have a curious nature and are often seen wandering around the tank, searching for food.

Though they are good climbers, they rarely cause any harm to other tank mates. Males may occasionally display to each other, but this behavior rarely results in injury.

These tiny crustaceans are also excellent diggers, and they use their claws to move sand around and burrow into the substrate. This digging behavior can sometimes be a problem for aquarium owners, but it does not in any way compromise the crab’s health.

During molting, they can become more vulnerable, and they are likely to hide in caves or even burrows to limit the risk of damage. To keep them healthy, owners must provide a tightly fitting lid for their aquarium to prevent them from escaping.

In conclusion, Pom Pom crabs are active, peaceful, and enjoyable creatures to care for in an aquarium setting.

Tank Mates

Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs make excellent tank mates due to their peaceful nature. They will generally ignore other aquarium inhabitants and are compatible with various species.

They are often kept with small fish such as guppies, neon tetras, and rasboras. However, it is important to note that they may view smaller fish as prey, especially during molting when they are particularly vulnerable.

Shrimp are also frequently kept with Pom Pom Crabs, but there have been reports of them catching and eating the shrimp. Therefore, keeping larger shrimp species such as Amano or Ghost shrimp with them is recommended.

Other compatible tank mates include snails and small freshwater crabs, as long as enough space and hiding places are available for all inhabitants. It is important to avoid keeping them with aggressive or predatory species such as cichlids, large catfish, or aggressive crustaceans, as they may harm the Pom Pom Crabs.

Pom Pom Crabs can greatly add to a community tank with proper care and caution.


Breeding Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs is an extremely difficult task. Although adults live in freshwater, their larvae require brackish/saltwater for their growth. To try this, you must have a separate tank setup for the larvae and carefully time the transfer between the two.

Also, it’s important to have a male and female crab. You can tell them apart by examining their undersides; males have a V-shaped section, bigger claws, and filter fans. To make the most of your situation, it is necessary to keep your tank clean and have the perfect conditions for them to mate.

To help with this, you can try adjusting the temperature up to 82°F. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge about their development makes raising the larvae hard.

There are no records of successful breeding in captivity, so if you manage to do so, please share your experience!