A fiddler crab walking in the picture.

How To Keep Fiddler Crabs Alive: Everything You Must Know

Fiddler Crabs Basics:

Before we go to how to keep fiddler crabs alive, Let’s discuss what Fiddler Crabs are. Fiddler crabs are a popular pet choice and for good reason. They are relatively low maintenance and can be quite entertaining to watch. Keeping fiddler crabs alive requires providing them with the necessary environment, food, and supplies to ensure a healthy, long life.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of what fiddler crabs need to stay healthy and alive:

Identify the species of fiddler crab:

It is a zoom out picture of fiddler crab

There are more than 100 species of fiddler crabs living in tropical climates around the world. Different species can vary significantly, both in size and color. All fiddler crabs have two large claws that they use for feeding, burrowing and cleaning their shells. These claws typically differ in size, with the larger claw being used for defense and as a tool for courtship displays.

When selecting a species of crab to keep as a pet, it’s important to identify appropriate species based on your environment. If you live near estuaries or salt marshes, you’ll likely find Fiddler crabs living in both salt and brackish water habitats. Even though Fiddler crabs are an omnivore, some species prefer a diet that is more vegetarian while others eat mainly insects.

Researching the characteristics specific to the type of Fiddler crab you plan on keeping can help ensure that you provide your pet with proper nutrition and an environment that meets its needs.

Understand the size of the tank needed:

In order for fiddler crabs to thrive, the correct tank size is very important. It is recommended that a minimum of 10 gallons of water is needed for every two crabs. Even better, provide an environment with 20 gallons or more so as to provide plenty of swimming and roaming areas.

The larger the tank, the more hiding places and areas you can create with branches, rocks and ground covering. A good rule of thumb when deciding how much living space each crab will have is by providing 2-3 gallons per crustacean which should cover all their needs.

Also, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Fiddler crabs are freshwater aquatic creatures so a proper tank filter must be used to keep water regulated;
  • Keep different sexes separated as male fiddler crabs have claws nearly twice the size of females;
  • Make sure there’s an adequately sized dry area at one end of the tank so your crabs can leave the depths occasionally;
  • Choose a location that doesn’t receive direct sunlight as it may cause rapid temperature fluctuations which can cause damage or death to your pets;
  • Finally, keep in mind that overcrowding can lead to territorial disputes and agression among other crab species you may also be housing in your aquarium.

Learn about the substrate and decorations needed:

Fiddler Crabs prefer to inhabit subtropical wetlands, and when kept in aquariums, they need a great deal of substrate and decorations to make them feel at home. A combination of sandy substrate and objects that can provide accessible burrows or crevices is considered essential for creating an appropriate environment.

The type of substrate you use should be made up of refined, natural beach sand or play sand with no added chemicals. The idea is to create as natural an environment as possible, so it’s best to avoid substrates with quartz-like particles in them (like Safechoice), as these can damage crabs’ feet.

In addition to the right type of substrate, adding decorations is important for providing hiding spots for Fiddler Crabs. For example, adding live plants gives the crab a place to hide from stressors located outside the tank such as too much light or activity from family members playing around the tank. Choose live plants like Java ferns or Anacharis which require very little care and have no need for soil. Driftwood or rock formations are also good additions, making sure that there aren’t any sharp rocks that could injure the crabs easily. When it comes time to clean the tank down the road, do not disturb these decorations if possible – your Fiddler Crabs will thank you!

Tank Setup:

Creating the right environment for your fiddler crabs is important to keep them alive and healthy. The tank size, substrate, and decorations all play a part in the health and wellbeing of your fiddler crabs.

A good tank setup will provide your fiddler crabs with enough room to burrow, climb and explore. This section will help you understand how to create the best tank setup for your fiddler crabs.

There is a fiddler crab storage tank having everything needed in it describing how to keep fiddler crabs alive and healthy.

Set up the tank with the right substrate:

Fiddler crabs are semi-terrestrial animals, meaning they spend time on land and in water. To provide them with optimal health and happiness, the tank must be set up to allow them to move between land and water. An ideal substrate is one that creates a smooth transition from wet to dry parts of the tank and provides a comfortable surface for the crabs to explore.

The ideal substrate should consist of a mixture of potting soil and fine sand. Make sure to mix them evenly in order to create the best environment for your fiddler crab. The potting soil should be spread first, followed by an even layer of sand. If you want, you can add a small amount of aquarium gravel as well for decoration, but avoid using anything too large as it could cause injury if your crab crawls or falls on it accidentally.

Once you have spread the substrate evenly across the bottom of the tank, set up things such as plants, hiding places or decorations that will keep your fiddler crabs safe from potential predators or curious tank mates. Additionally, make sure that these items are easy for them to navigate around in order to avoid potential injury from sharp edges or uneven surfaces poking into their delicate exoskeletons; so always cover sharp edges with plastic or aquarium-safe silicone sealant before introducing any decorations into your crab’s habitat!

Add the decorations and plants:

When it’s time to add the decorations and plants to complete your tank setup, selecting the right items will make your aquarium look attractive and provide an environment suitable for thriving aquatic life. To start, choose decorations that complement your fish species – for example, if you’re keeping community fish with big personalities, plastic plants with bright colors and bold shapes may be better choices than live plants. Rocks and driftwood can help create a natural-looking environment while providing hiding places for shy or territorial fish.

If you decide to include live plants in your tank setup, do some research on each species before adding them to your aquarium. Not all plants are compatible with all fish species and water conditions. For example, some slow-growing species require more light than other kinds of tank environments can provide. Also be aware that live plants need regular maintenance; pruning away unhealthy leaves will help keep them in good shape and prevent algae from taking over the aquarium.

Make sure the water temperature is right:

Maintaining proper water temperature is key to keeping your fiddler crabs alive and healthy. The ideal water temperature for most fiddler crabs is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 27 degrees Celsius). If the temperature drops too low, they can become sluggish or even die. It’s best to use an aquarium heater to ensure the right temperature levels. Make sure you set it up correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and check on it regularly.

You should also check on the water quality regularly as warm weather can cause an increase in harmful bacteria which will then effect the crabs.

Additionally, you should have multiple thermometers installed in your tank so that you can accurately monitor different areas of your tank as fiddler crabs tend to take refuge in different places depending on their ideal temperatures. If temperatures vary inside the tank, some areas may be too cold for them and some might be too hot which could result in sickness and death.


It is important to provide a healthy diet for your fiddler crabs, as this will ensure their good health and long life. Fiddler crabs do not need a lot of food and are scavengers, so providing them with a variety of food sources is the best way to keep them healthy and happy. Knowing what to feed them, when to feed them and how often to feed them is the key to providing correct nutrition.

Keep reading to learn more about feeding your fiddler crabs.

Identify what types of food fiddler crabs eat:

Fiddler crabs, also known as calling crabs, belong to the family Ocypodidae and are found in the United States along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. They are characterized by their single enlarged claw, which males use to make a “fiddle” sound with which they attract females or defend their territory.

In terms of diet and nutrition, fiddler crabs are omnivores that forage for both plant- and animal-based foods. On land, this includes leaves, fruits, seeds and insect larvae. In water they will consume algae, diatoms and other unicellular organisms like protozoans. Fiddler crabs may also be heard tapping on rocks while searching for small invertebrates such as mollusks or worms hidden beneath them.

Provide a variety of foods:

When it comes to providing a healthy diet for your family, it’s important to offer a variety of food choices. While some foods we think of as “good”—like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats—should be included, there are also other nutritious options like low-fat dairy products and snacks, which can add variety to your meals.

Fruits and vegetables are essential parts of any balanced diet and provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Be sure to offer a variety of colors and textures of both fruits and vegetables so that you can take advantage of the different nutrients that each type provides. Fruits are also great ways to satisfy a sweet tooth while still providing much-needed fiber.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, proteins are an important part of every family’s diet. Fish, chicken, beans or protein-based plant substitutes such as tofu can offer healthful alternatives for those who don’t eat red meat or poultry. To make these meals enjoyable for picky eaters try incorporating sauces or spices that may enhance the flavor but not detract from the nutritional benefits the meal provides.

Though carbohydrates often get a bad reputation when it comes to nutrition they do have their place in any balanced meal plan. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains found in breads or cereals can provide sustained energy without too many calories in one serving whereas simple sugars like honey found in some cereals or most desserts bring quick energy with accompanying calories much more quickly than complex carbs do without lasting energy benefits.

Dairy products offer considerable health benefits due to their rich calcium content which is crucial for strong bones throughout our lives but especially during younger years when bones reach their peak density levels. Low-fat dairy products like skim milk provide needed nutrients while giving preference over higher fat versions since caloric intake should remain within certain standards depending on age and growth rates among other factors.

Finally sweets should be enjoyed but should not be unnecessary sources of sugar in large amounts; treats such as desserts at dinner or sugary snacks after school should be limited so that chips, pretzels, crackers, etc., may become alternatives which still satisfy cravings while offering nutritional value from the grain content contained within them. With thoughtful planning it is possible to satisfy your family’s craving for variety while still maintaining balanced meals that keep everyone healthy, strong, and full!

Ensure there is enough food for all crabs:

It is important to provide enough food for all of your fiddler crabs in order to keep them healthy. Feeding time should take place once every day, or every other day depending on the size of your tank. Try to provide a varied diet so that your crabs get the nutrients they need.

Add a few pellets of ReptoMin® Floating Food Sticks when you feed them – these will give them essential calcium, vitamins and other minerals. You can also add Freeze-dried Tubifex Worms, Spirulina Flakes, Repashy SuperVeggie™ gel food and other live worms to their diet as well. Make sure the portions provided are modest – overfeeding can lead to health problems too!

When it comes to additions like vegetables and fruits, offer cooked greens like spinach and kale that have been chopped into pieces small enough for the crabs to eat. You should also remove any uneaten vegetables after 20-30 minutes in order to prevent mold or bacterial overgrowth in the tank. For fruits, thinly sliced apples can be added – but make sure you remove any uneaten pieces as soon as possible because rotted fruit will contaminate the water in the tank. In addition, limit fresh fruits and vegetables because too much of it can cause stomach upsets due to its high sugar content.


there is a picture of fiddler crab tank with everything it needed. there is water, sand and a light blue light. It is to show how to keep fiddler crabs alive and tank maintenance.

Keeping fiddler crabs alive requires the maintenance of their tank. This includes regularly checking the water temperature, salinity, pH levels, and oxygen levels. You should also clean their tank to remove algae and, if needed, replace the water.

Other aspects of maintenance include:

  • Feeding your crabs a balanced diet.
  • Providing them with hiding places.
  • Keeping up with tank maintenance.

Clean the tank regularly:

It is essential to keep a fiddler crab tank clean in order to ensure that your crabs can live in a healthy environment. You should clean the tank at least once a week, removing uneaten food and molted shells. Any other waste, such as feces or larger pieces of debris should be removed immediately.

It is important to use a gravel vacuum to remove waste from the substrate and ensure that you are not accidentally ingesting it by cleaning it with your bare hands. Additionally, tanks should be scrubbed with non-toxic aquarium-safe cleaners and rinsed thoroughly with warm water before introducing new crabs or new tankmates into the habitat.

It is also important to monitor ammonia levels regularly and check for signs of mold or pests before releasing any new additions.

Check the water quality:

Prior to introducing fiddler crabs into the tank, it is recommended to test the water quality. The ideal water conditions for fiddler crabs are:

  • Temperature: Between 75°F (23.8°C) and 82°F (27.7°C).
  • pH levels: 6.2 to 8.0.
  • Ammonia levels: less than 0.25 ppm (parts per million).
  • Nitrate levels: less than 20 ppm (parts per million).
  • General Hardness number: less than 10 dGH (degrees German hardness scale).

These parameters are recommended by experts and can be tested in pet stores or with a home water quality tester kit, which is easier and inexpensive to get online or in pet shops.

Additionally, the usual sign of bad quality water is when a white film appears on the glass walls of the tanks, this indicates nitrogen compounds being produced in low pH levels; use an algae scraper or a cloth to wipe it off every week but also test for ammonia regularly as not all of it will be seen clearly with the naked eye due too high pH levels and extreme lighting conditions from external sources such as sunlight that can interfere in the image of these molecules on glass surfaces.

Monitor the temperature and humidity:

Maintaining proper temperature and humidity is essential for keeping fiddler crabs alive. Fiddler crabs require environmental conditions of about 24°C (75°F) and air humidity between 60-80%.

Monitor the temperature and humidity daily with a thermometer/hygrometer to ensure these areas are kept within optimal levels. Place the thermometer/hygrometer in a central location of the habitat, away from direct sunlight or artificial heating or cooling sources, as they can give inaccurate readings.

If needed, use an aquarium heater or misting spray bottle to adjust temperatures or maintain optimum levels of air humidity. Test water temperatures periodically throughout the day to ensure it remains within optimal ranges. Additionally, empty and refill your crab’s water dish with dechlorinated, freshwater weekly to provide the essential minerals they need to survive.


There are many stored, carefully handled and frozen fiddler crabs in the picture after one another.

The proper handling of fiddler crabs is very important in order to ensure their long-term health and wellbeing. It is important to be gentle when handling these creatures to avoid injuring them, since they are quite fragile.

Using your hands, scoop up the crab from the top and bottom, and move it slowly and carefully. When carrying it, make sure you have a good grip and keep it away from any hard surfaces.

Keep reading for more tips on how to keep fiddler crabs alive:

Learn how to safely handle fiddler crabs:

Fiddler crabs are fascinating and unique creatures, but they can be delicate, so it’s important to learn how to handle them safely. Here are a few tips for handling fiddler crabs:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the crab. Fiddler crabs are especially sensitive to bacteria and must be handled with clean hands.
  • Wear protective gloves when handling the crab, as it is easy for their claws to become sharp.
  • Gently pick up the crab using two hands: one placed underneath its body, and the other around its shell. Hold it close to your body in a comfortable position, so that you have full control of the movements of your hands while minimizing stress on the animal.
  • Move slowly: rapid movements may scare or harm your fiddler crab.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of distress such as aggressiveness (claw waving), trying to escape, or lack of movement. If this happens, put down the fiddler crab immediately and give it some time in its tank/terrarium before trying again.
  • Place them back in their tank water after handling is completed by holding them over an area where they can easily move back into their habitat.

Be aware of the signs of stress:

In addition to being alert to the environmental conditions and adjusting them as necessary, you should also be aware of the signs of stress in your fiddler crab. These can vary depending on the species you have, but some signs of stress include:

  • Moving more slowly than normal
  • Unusual stillness or lack of activity
  • Staying at the bottom of the tank for long periods of time
  • Difficulty swimming or having a curved posture in water
  • Digging and burrowing under the substrate

If you spot any of these behaviors in your fiddler crabs, you’ll want to take steps to reduce their distress as soon as possible. This may include cooling down the water temperature or providing more hiding places in the aquarium. If stress persists for an extended period, you’ll want to reach out to a qualified vet for further advice on how to best manage your crabs’ environment.

Know when to put the crabs back in the tank:

In order to keep your fiddler crabs alive, it is important to know when it is time to put them back in the tank. If you have taken them out to interact with them or observe them, you should make sure that they are returned within an hour. This amount of time will prevent cyclic hypoxia caused by low oxygen levels in the water.

When the crabs are out of the tank, keep a damp cloth or sponge nearby so that you can help support the crabs and keep their gills wet. Always remember to place them back in their aquariums before they dry out too much as this could cause injury or death. When handling them, pick them up delicately with two hands and make sure not to squeeze too hard as they have very fragile exoskeletons.

Take special care when transferring back into your tank – make sure that none of your other fiddlers will pinch a leg or claw off of an entering intruder! When returning the crabs back into their home, one at a time using your wet cloth or sponge for support will help ensure safety over a dramatic jump into the tank’s water environment.It is also important that their water quality remains balanced – between 72–84 °F (22–29 °C) and 7-8 pH – as any change can be fatal for these small creatures!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Fiddler crabs need a tank with a sandy substrate, access to both land and water, and temperatures between 68-77°F to survive.

Fiddler crabs should be fed once a day, and should be given a variety of foods such as algae wafers, bloodworms, and brine shrimp.

Yes, fiddler crabs are social creatures and should be kept in groups of at least 3-5 individuals.

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