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fiddler Crab Care


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#1 Guest_Cid_*

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 08:53 PM

Fiddler Crab care sheet

Fiddler crabs have been one of the neatest crabs I have owned. If you ever have the chance to own one or a few please feel free to look at some of the information below :)
If anyone has any extra questions please feel free to as in this thread. Also, if you feel free to add advice, please do the same and post below :)

Fresh water or SW?
Well a lil bit of both :) Most pet stores will house their fiddlers in freshwater only. They will be okay for a while but in a few weeks the crabs seem to slow down and just drop off.
fiddler crabs are found on ocean beaches or at brackish water mouths.. (where fresh water meets ocean water via streams from the inland)
Some can be found in brackish water swamps.

How to make Brackish water?
Here is a snippet from About.com. I really suck at explaining it.. lol

"Providing Brackish Water"
Because most of these crabs are naturally from brackish waters, most experts recommend putting salt in the water. The ideal amount of salt to add is controversial, but it is probably best to get a hydrometer and add enough salt to the water to attain a specific gravity of around 1.005 - 1.010. Hydrometers are not all that expensive and can be found at pet stores and also home brewing shops. Alternatively, your package of aquarium salt may have instructions for producing brackish water conditions. It is okay to vary the salt concentration/specific gravity slightly as these crabs would naturally experience some variations in salinity."


Do not use regular aquarium salt, please put in the extra money for a marine Mix.

Tank Size:
I would personally recommend min 5 gallon tank.(bigger is better) With at least 2 gallons per crab. I would also suggest 1 male to a few females just so quailing stays at a min. The fiddlers shouldn't breed for you until about a year old.
Your tank should have a tight fitting lid with no openings, fiddlers are not wonderful climbers but if determined can climb up and out of your tank via decor or hardware.

Sexing:
Male fiddlers will have a large and small claw and females have two small sized claws. Males will wave their claw often at other crab-mates.

Filtration:
Don't fall short in this area or you might find your crabs dying off. Inverts in my opinion are sensitive to fouled water. My favorite filter was an internal unit that I could lay on its side.
Hagen makes this type
Also, if your filter doesn't have a venturi or create some air bubbles in the water its a great idea to add a bubbler stone. Stagnant (low O2 water) smells.

Lighting:
I love UV lighting and would recommend it if you choose live plants. Incandescent provides a bit of a hot spot. I used these and it worked out well. You can also get screw in Power compacts as well.

Land/decor:
These guys need a place to come out of the water. So it is important to landscape your tank with a "shoreline" Sand or small gravel works nicely. You'll only want to fill up your tank about 50% so you can leave some shore space.
You can use fake or real plants. Some aquatic plants are brackish tolerant. I never got around to using real plants.
Large stones also help create the shoreline you want to have, just make sure that all stone work is snug and will not topple over by curious crabbies.
All sand substrate is ideal as it will hopefully promote burrowing. Its hard sometimes however because the burrows are so deep and most of us run out of tank space. :)
Rocks with holes and caves will become a favorite spot for the crabs.

Temperature:
75-85 (24-29c)
If you cant get the temps you need, you might wish to install a heating pad under the tank. (shore side) It is very important to pick up a dimmer switch or a rheostat. Most heating pads don't have a temperature control so you'll end up cooking your crabs.

Feeding:
Fiddlers are scavengers so you will see them picking most of the time at the ground. What they are eating is microscopic organic matter. When you feed them you really don't need to feed very much at all. If you do that could foul the tank in no time.
They will take sinking crab pellets, (which have good stuff in it to aid molting such as calcium, iodine etc etc) Bottom feeder pellets and frozen daphnia or zoo plankton work well.

Molting comes along with growing crabbies. you'll see an exactly copy of your crab in the tank from time to time. Just leave it in there so they can nibble on it. Its a great source of calcium.

Breeding:
Not an easy task at all. You'll need to set up a separate full marine tank and raise the larval crabs, they molt many times until they eventually look like mini crabs. Its is extremely challenging and can be costly. Oohhh and if you do raise all the crabblets... do you have homes for them all?
....but.. if anyone wishes to try it. Let me know.. LOL

Some quick Tips:
  • Always dechlorinate your water
  • Never mix your crab species and most fish do not work well in crab tanks
  • Have a secure lid
  • Fiddlers are a watch and no touch pet
  • Try to not over feed, keep tank clean and aerated :)
Real crabbie on the left, exoskeleton on the right :D
Posted Image

I do hope this sheet helps you, please remember I am always learning myself so if you see something missing let me know. Any questions please feel free to ask :)

#2 Psybock

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 06:36 PM

I've owned a few of these interesting little critters. Here are some tips from my experiences...

-As mentioned a tight fitting lid is a must, if they can merely get a leg hooked around a rim they can escape in no time.
-Frozen foods, shrimp pellets or really any bottom feeder food, crab foods, and live foods fit the bill for these guys. They will also eat dead fish (don't ask)...
-Varied degrees of Salinity will do, just try to maintain brackish conditions and moderately hard to hard water, which is usually achieved by marine salts anyway.
-They do like to climb all over decorations. I've housed them in tanks as small as 1 1/2 gallons (though I wouldn't recommend it). 5 gallons or more should be the rule of thumb to remember. They are a thigomatic species (meaning they like to have surfaces to climb on). A beach area makes a great place for them to roam and look for food, also rocks jutting out of the water are great as well. Sponge filters seem to be fine for these guys, although like Ciddian said, an underwater internal filter would be better. Just remember to close up the space where the cord comes out. You could actually position the outflow to create a "wave on the beach effect", but remember that, that will erode the "beach" unless you use rocks instead...
-From what I've seen, they can be housed with snails, but not shrimp (oddly enough) and don't generally bother fish other than to scare them away.
-Java moss, Java fern, and to a lesser degree anachris will work in their tanks. Anachris might or might not last, it was a 50/50 when I tried it.
-Like some shrimp, I don't believe it would hurt to add a little iodine or calcium (seachem makes great reef chemicals) to further aid in the health of the crabs.
-The males sport the large claw but it is nothing more than show, they can't really pinch you with it, really it's almost like a peacocks feathers, just to show who has the best show. Females don't have claws big enough to pinch hard.
-If you wanted you could put feeder guppies with them (just be sure to gradually acclimate them to brack conditions) just to give some more variety in the tank, and create some movement in the water aside from the crabs.
-Lastly, cleanlieness is key, they do stink very bad when their water is polluted, the smell is absolutely wretched.

I know this is somewhat redundant, but hey, just trying to help out with more hands on experience...

Kevin




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