March 4, 2024

Vampire Crabs - A Fascinating Addition to a Paludarium

Vampire crabs have recently experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity within the pet industry. Their vibrant coloring and engaging behavior has attracted the interest of many enthusiasts.

Vampire crabs feed on insects and plant detritus found in their natural environments, as well as dried flakes, pellets and algae wafers. A diet rich in calcium-rich foods such as spinach and broccoli should be provided.

Life Cycle

Vampire crabs make for fascinating additions to paludariums, yet these semi-terrestrial creatures require special care in order to live a long and fulfilling life. Since these opportunistic feeders eat aquatic and terrestrial plants along with small insects and crustaceans, to support their health provide them with a varied diet as well as hiding spaces that resemble their natural environment.

Vampire crabs exhibit unique behavioral characteristics that set them apart from other aquatic animals. They prefer hiding beneath rocks, foliage or other surfaces during the day before becoming active at night when more active. Although usually peaceful creatures, vampire crabs can be aggressive towards tankmates or other vampire crabs when stressed or competing for territory.

Male vampire crabs display bright claws during courtship rituals to attract females. Once an alliance is made, males climb atop her to fertilize her eggs; after mating she then stores 20 to 80 fertilized eggs inside a brood pouch until they hatch after about one month - looking like miniature adult vampire crabs!

A 10-gallon aquarium makes an excellent home for a single vampire crab and two females, providing ample room for hiding spots as well as ample area of water. A fine substrate like gravel, sand or earth is necessary to avoid damaging its shell and claws; water parameters should be maintained between 6.5-8.0, with 6-10dGH and 3-6dKH being optimal; humidity can also be maintained through daily misting as well as using humidifiers or lids to minimize evaporation loss.


Vampire crabs are freshwater crustaceans found throughout Indonesian forests, rivers, and lakes; specifically on Java and Riau islands. First discovered in 2006, these exotic creatures can now be kept in aquariums or non wire-top terrariums with at least 20-gallon capacity for aquarium keeping or as terrarium inhabitants.

An ideal tank should contain rocks, wood and plants for shelter as well as hiding places, with an adequate filter installed to clean and oxygenate the water for your crabs' benefit. They require humid environments so a humidity gauge should be utilized to ensure you maintain 75% relative humidity in your environment.

Aquarium substrate should consist of both inert material, like Zoo Med Hermit Crab Sand or Carib sea sand, and organic material like leaf litter, coconut fiber and PVC pipes. As crabs can be expert escape artists, a tight lid is necessary. They may cohabit the tank with fish provided it's large enough; care must be taken not to fight over territory between species so it would be wiser if kept with Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios or Cherry Barbs are suitable.

Vampire crabs are omnivorous animals, eating both plant matter and live foods in the wild. When kept as pets in captivity, however, they should be fed a variety of items including bloodworms and brine shrimp from live tanks, dried algae flakes, worms, plant matter pellets or commercial fish pellets for variety in diet. It is especially important that male vampire crabs receive enough variety; otherwise their mood could change and they will stop eating altogether! Although male and female vampire crabs look alike at first glance you can easily tell apart male from female by their abdominal flap; males typically sport thinner flaps which indicate difference.


Vampire crabs are omnivorous predators, feasting on both meat-based foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms, crickets and grasshoppers as well as plant detritus such as plant detritus or dry commercial food such as flakes, algae wafers or specialty pellets. As these colorful crustaceans are sensitive to calcium deficiency they should also receive plenty of high calcium foods such as cuttlefish bones, green leafy vegetables or broccoli to support their molting processes.

As much as males and females may appear similar, it's usually easy to distinguish them by looking at their abdominal flaps. Males typically feature thinner, more pointed flaps while females usually sport wider oval-shaped flaps. Males also typically possess larger bodies as well as having longer claws.

These captivating creatures make a fantastic addition to any aquarium, but require special care in order to remain healthy. For optimal care and health, aquarium environments should meet certain conditions that ensure their survival.

Establishing the ideal tank may seem daunting at first, but once complete, vampire crabs make for relatively low maintenance pets. All that's necessary to care for these amazing creatures in captivity is monitoring water parameters and providing a varied diet - their lifespan could reach two years in captivity!


Vampire crabs are beautiful animals that make an intriguing addition to a paludarium. Easy to care for and adaptable to various tank environments, vampire crabs thrive when provided with proper diet for growth, disease resistance, and post-molting strength of their exoskeletons.

At least 10 gallon tanks should be provided as housing for these crabs, providing plenty of hiding spaces that replicate their natural environment. Since most of their time is spent on land, this should feature heavy substrate and only contain about 25% water; driftwood pieces provide excellent places for perching and resting.

These crabs are omnivorous, accepting most forms of food. Their natural diet includes plant debris, insects and small animals from their environment in nature; in captivity they may be fed bloodworms, brine shrimp, earthworms or meat-based treats as treats; they will also eat dry commercial foods such as flakes, pellets or algae wafers for variety and support healthy shell development. Additional high calcium foods may also be added for further support.

These crabs should be housed in groups of six to eight, as they tend to be non-aggressive and will usually ignore each other; mating season may bring out fighting between males. For optimal behavior, two females per one male should be purchased as this will keep aggression levels down.

Passionate and knowledgeable aquartist. Aquariums have always fascinated me. I enjoy sharing and learning about the wonders of a fish tank.

Justin A