Red Claw Crab: Care, Tank Setup, Diet & More

Red Claw Crab

Love to keep something that’s a bit different? Red Claw Crabs could be the perfect pet for you! Not only are they beautiful, but they are full of life, too.

But preparing them before taking them in is essential, so we created this comprehensive guide.

We’ll tell you all you need to know about setting up the ideal tank environment, what to feed them, and what type of tankmates they can live with.

Plus, you’ll find out how long they can live – so you can enjoy their company for years.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and get a Red Claw Crab, our guide is here to help.

With the right care, these amazing creatures will bring you joy!

Scientific Classification

  • Scientific Name: Perisesarma bidens
  • Common Names: akategani, red-clawed crab, Grapsus haematocheir, Sesarma haematocheir
  • Genus: Perisesarma
  • Family: Sesarmidae

Species Information

These unique creatures are native to Asia and can be found in shallow rivers and estuaries that meet with the sea.

While they may look like freshwater crustaceans, it’s important to note that they actually require brackish water to reach their full life expectancy.

If they live in a freshwater tank, these creatures will survive, but they won’t be able to reach their full life expectancy. To do that, they require some salty water to thrive in.

Red Claw Crabs are fascinating little critters full of character.

They tend to exhibit shy and defensive behavior when threatened but become active once they acclimate to their new environment.

Regarding conservation status, these crabs are not listed as endangered or threatened.

However, it’s always essential to provide optimal habitat requirements for all animals under our care, including the proper water conditions for them to thrive.

Life Expectancy

For Red Claw Crabs kept in captivity, the average lifetime is between two to two and a half years.

As mentioned in the previous section, providing the best environment is key to ensuring a longer lifespan for Red Claw Crabs.

Water conditions, air access, and salty water can greatly affect their health and longevity.

There are several ways to increase the life expectancy of your Red Claw Crab:

  • Maintain proper water parameters: Regularly test and adjust the water temperature, salinity levels, pH balance, and ammonia/nitrate levels.
  • Provide ample space: Make sure your tank is large enough for your crab(s) to move around freely without feeling cramped or stressed.
  • Offer a varied diet: A balanced diet consisting of commercial crab food, fresh vegetables/fruits, and protein sources like shrimp or fish can ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.

Reducing factors that negatively impact their lifespan is equally essential.

Avoid overcrowding in tanks, overfeeding them, or exposing them to extreme temperatures.

By implementing these practices, you’ll be able to enjoy more time with your beloved Red Claw Crabs.

Physical Characteristics


Red Claw Crabs’ striking physical characteristics make them stand out from other crustaceans.

Their bodies are usually brown with spots for camouflage, but they also have large patches of dark black on top of their heads.

The Red Claw Crab is a ten-legged creature. Its front eight limbs are designed for traversing sandy terrain.

They are sharp and usually take on the same coloration as the rest of their body.

The most defining characteristic of these crabs is their claws! It’s not hard to tell, as these claws are a vibrant red hue.

Aside from their appearance, Red Claw Crabs have different behavioral patterns based on gender differences.

Males tend to have meatier claws than females and are generally more vivid in terms of coloration.

Conversely, females have a broad and round flap underneath their bodies compared to a triangular or pointy one in males.

These differences can also affect habitat preferences since males might need larger spaces to move around because of their bigger claws.

At the same time, female crabs could require enough space for reproduction.

Overall, understanding the physical features and behavioral patterns of Red Claw Crabs is essential when caring for these fascinating creatures.

Knowing how they differ between male and female specimens can help you tailor your tank setup accordingly and provide optimal conditions for your pet’s health and happiness.


Red Claw Crabs have a leg span of about 4 inches, but their carapace is much smaller, around 2 to 2.5 inches wide.

The growth rate of Red Claw Crabs varies depending on several factors such as diet, water quality, and habitat conditions.

They generally grow faster during their juvenile stages and slow down as they approach adulthood.

Additionally, male and female crabs exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males typically being larger than females.

Proper care and maintenance can ensure your crab reaches its full potential size while living a healthy life in captivity.

Proper Red Claw Crab Care

These crabs are omnivores, which means they eat meat and plants.

They enjoy a varied diet that includes commercial crab food, vegetables such as spinach or kale, and small amounts of protein like shrimp or fish.

It’s important not to overfeed them since uneaten food can lead to poor water quality in the tank.

Another crucial aspect of Red Claw Crab care is understanding their molting process.

As these crustaceans grow, they shed their exoskeletons periodically.

During this time, they are vulnerable to attack from other tank mates and need extra protection.

You can provide this by adding hiding spots in caves or tunnels for them to retreat into until their new shell hardens.

Environmental enrichment is also essential for healthy Red Claw Crab care.

This involves providing stimulation and interest in their environment through decorations like rocks, driftwood, and live plants.

A well-decorated tank will keep your crab active and engaged, reducing stress levels and promoting overall health!

Remember that caring for Red Claw Crabs requires attention to detail regarding feeding habits, molting processes, and environmental enrichment.

By following these guidelines carefully, you’ll have healthy crabs swimming around in no time!

Ideal Tank Size

A 10-gallon tank is a minimum for one male and a few females. However, it’s always better to provide more space if possible.

Crabs need plenty of space to stay happy and healthy – it’s essential for their territorial nature and to avoid aggression.

Investing in a paludarium is an even better idea.

These tanks are specially designed to provide underwater and land environments and should be around 24 inches wide.

When considering tank dimensions, remember that these crabs are excellent climbers and require enough room to explore horizontally and vertically.

Filtration options are also important as they produce quite a bit of waste, and a good filter will help maintain water quality and reduce the frequency of water changes needed.

Regarding substrate choices, natural sand or gravel works well if it doesn’t have sharp edges that could harm their delicate legs.

Remember, when setting up your crab’s home, give them plenty of hiding spots, such as rocks or driftwood.

These will also serve as areas where they can molt without disturbance from other tank mates.

Providing ample space with appropriate filtration and substrate will ensure happy and healthy Red Claw Crabs in your aquarium.

Necessary Water Parameters

Maintaining the necessary water parameters is key to keeping your red claw crab happy and healthy.

Water quality is paramount, so testing methods must be implemented regularly.

The ideal pH level for these crabs is between 7.5 to 8.5, while the water hardness should range from 8 to 25 dGH.

A specific gravity of around 1.005 will also help replicate their natural habitat.

Adding a salty element is the most essential step in the puzzle. By adding marine salt, you will create a slightly salty environment, which is much less salty than the ocean, only a sixth as salty.

You’ll need a good filtration system to ensure that the water in your tank remains clean.

This can involve using both mechanical and biological filters as well as regular water changes.

Consider investing in an aquarium test kit to regularly monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

By prioritizing these factors, you’ll create an environment where your red claw crab can thrive!

Setting Up The Tank And Decorations

Start your aquarium by adding some sand. It’s perfect for Red Claw Crabs because they love searching, digging, and hiding, and the sand makes it easy and safe for them to explore.

It’s also an ideal material since it’s easy for them to move around. So why not give your little scuttlers the best environment possible?

Driftwood and rocks are great options as they provide these crustaceans with hiding spots and a sense of security.

Plants can also be added, but remember that they may get shredded by the crab’s claws.

If you add plants, ensure they’re hardy enough to withstand damage.

Creating a natural habitat is important to keep your Red Claw Crab happy and healthy.

To mimic their natural environment, consider adding sand as substrate so they can scavenge, dig, and burrow easily.

A strong filtration system is necessary, along with regular maintenance, to ensure clean water quality.

The ideal environment for a crab should have a ratio of three parts water to one part land.

This allows the crab plenty of swimming room, balanced with a few areas of solid ground, to get some rest.

Keeping the water-land ratio in check is key for providing a comfortable habitat for your crab.

Keep the tank lid secure because these crabs are escape artists!

Your Red Claw Crab will thrive in its new home with proper care and attention.

Common Diseases And Prevention

As much as we love our Red Claw Crabs, they are not immune to diseases.

Like humans, they need health maintenance and prevention measures to avoid getting sick.

The good news is that preventing these creatures’ diseases is simple.

To keep your crabs healthy, ensure their tank is always clean with regular water changes.

Nevertheless, bacterial and fungal infections are not uncommon for them. Parasitic infestations can also occur, but fortunately, such cases are rare.

Overall, we can be relieved that these problems rarely arise.

Avoid overcrowding the tank or putting them under unnecessary stress.

Keep an eye on the temperature of the water and ensure it’s within a suitable range for your crab species.

If you notice any signs of illness, such as lethargy or loss of appetite, take action immediately by isolating the affected crab from others and contacting a veterinarian if needed.

If medication options are necessary, consult a vet experienced in treating crustaceans.

Do not attempt self-medication without proper knowledge or guidance; it can do more harm than good.

Prevention is vital to keeping your Red Claw Crabs healthy and happy!

Feeding And Diet Recommendations

The feeding habits of red claw crabs are quite diverse.

They are omnivorous creatures that can accept any food you offer them.

However, being territorial animals, they tend to display predatory behavior toward each other.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that these crabs receive a varied diet of protein and vegetables.

Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and chunks of uncooked fish or shrimp make a tasty snack for them. Vegetables can be offered too; try offering blacked spinach, peas, or any other leafy green.

Commercial food is a good option if you’re looking to feed your crabs, and algae pellets and sinking fish food are incredibly suitable for them.

But in our experience, they enjoy the other options even more!

Nutritional requirements for red claw crabs vary depending on their size and age.

Younger crabs require more proteins than older ones as they undergo growth spurts during this stage.

Providing your crab with the proper nutrients in every meal is crucial, as excessive feeding may lead to obesity or malnutrition.

Meal frequency must be determined based on age and activity level.

Adult crabs generally do well with one meal twice daily, while young ones might need up to three meals daily.

In short, providing a healthy balance between proteins and vegetables will go a long way in keeping your red claw crab happy and healthy!

Behavioral Traits And Temperament


Admiring Red Claw Crabs can be a delightful experience – if they let you get close enough to do so!

These crustaceans are renowned for being quite skittish, so you’ll likely find them doing most of their explorations during the night.

But, over time, many owners have seen these critters become more comfortable in their environment, leading them to become more active and visible during the day.

You can observe them searching for food and digging around the substrate.

Just keep in mind that these crabs can display aggressive behaviors.

They are known to be very territorial and will fiercely defend their space if any other creature gets too close.

If the crab feels threatened, it may retreat or lash out, so be cautious of what you place in the tank. They have been known to harm or even kill other animals.

And, like many other invertebrates, Red Claw Crabs will shed their shells as they mature. This process is known as molting, and it’s something else to be aware of.

Understanding these behavioral traits is crucial when caring for Red Claw Crabs.

Compatible Tank Mates

When selecting tank mates for your Red Claw Crabs, you need to be mindful of their social behavior and potential aggression towards other species.

As mentioned earlier, these crabs are territorial creatures known to fight with one another.

When it comes to Red Claw Crabs, it’s best to just stick with a few. Ideally, one male with one or two females is the best way to go.

However, don’t put multiple males in the same tank because that can cause problems.

When choosing compatible tank mates, it’s best to stick with peaceful, fast-swimming fish that stay at the top of the aquarium.

Fish like Flagfish, Mollies, and larger Gobies have shown success in coexisting with Red Claw Crabs.

However, it’s important to note that each crab has its personality and may react differently towards certain fish.

Monitoring their interactions closely and immediately removing aggressive individuals is always a good idea.

By immediately removing aggressive individuals, create a harmonious environment for all inhabitants of your aquarium.

To reduce aggression, provide the largest tank possible and include plenty of hiding places. Each crab should have its own private space, allowing it to be alone.

Breeding And Reproduction

Raising Red Claw Crabs in captivity is almost unthinkable.

Some aquarium hobbyists have seen the creatures breed in tanks, yet the eggs seldom ever survive.

Even those that do make it past that stage tend to perish shortly after.

These crabs start as larvae, making them highly susceptible to harm. In most cases, the adults feed on the young crabs; they show no parental behavior whatsoever.

With the confined nature of an aquarium, the odds of survival for Red Claw Crab babies are close to nil.


Overall, the red claw crab is a fascinating and unique addition to any aquarium.

These crabs, like other brackish creatures, need a little more work and understanding if you want them to survive and thrive. But with the right know-how, they will thrive in their new home.

While they require specific care and tank setup, their vibrant colors and active personalities make them enjoyable pets to watch.

With proper feeding and maintenance of water quality, these crabs can live for several years.

However, it’s important to remember that red claw crabs are unsuitable for aquariums or tanks with certain fish species.

It’s crucial to do research before adding a red claw crab to your aquatic community.

You can enjoy watching these intriguing creatures thrive in your home aquarium by providing the appropriate environment and care.