When we go into a pet store and see crabs some of us will take a closer look and become fascinated. The others who just walk by should stop and take a closer look, maybe something will change....
Those of us who do become fascinated get the urge to take one of these crabs with us, and give him/her a new home in our tank.
Choosing a crab:
Take time to do.Look at the tank where the crabs are offered.Is there all they need? Fresh water,some land,hiding places.If possible, try to find out what they eat in the store. If it's enough , it isn't nessacary to offer food imediatly in their new home.
Adult crabs look handsome and splendid, but remember that the life span of younger ones is much longer and that acclimatizing is easier for youngsters. So it's better to choose the little crabs.
Make sure both claws are there and not too many of their legs are missing. Don't worry, if they are lacking one or two legs, they will grow back. Most important is that the eyes look clear and there are no white spots anywhere on the crab. This could be the sign of an infectious disease. Some have some black spots.A few of them doesn't seem to harm the crabs. Make sure, that there are not deep wholes in the carapace.
Until now I've seen only healthy crabs offered in the pet stores.
Taking your crab home:
Of course, it doesn't kill the crab putting it in a pet store plastic bag and going home, but this way may causes a lot of stress for the crab. Because they are very sensitive to stress we should make taking them with us as stress free as possible.
Darkness, for many excited or frightened animals, works to calm them down. So put the crab in the plastic bag, with a little bit water and air. Then put the bag inside a closable and therefore dark box, the little guy will be much more calm and can begin the voyage to it's new home without stress. When it's cold outside wrap a scarf or blanket around the box. Make sure that there is enough space inside when transporting more than one crab. Males must always be transported separately.
Introducing your crab to it's new home:
First we have to make sure that the environment in our tank is right for the new tank mate, otherwise we need to change it before adding the crab by adding, for example, some land.All crabs are loving Drift woods.
When arriving at home, try to ease the transition for your crab. Cut off half of the plastic bag.Don't let the water out of the bag inside the tank.Do it anywhere else.
Offer something to eat in the tank. Some frozen Red Worms maybe or a piece of an apple. When there is more than one crab, offer the food in different places. Then add the new tank mate(s) carefully to where the food is in the tank.
Sometimes the critters don't get enough food in the pet stores, or not the right food. So they may be very, very hungry. Sometimes because of that the hungry crabs, stressed about the transport and the strange environment burst out and attack anything that is moving around. When crabs are stressed other tank mates can be attacked. Such incidents are why crabs are considered to be aggressive and not suitable for tanks with other critters. When the crabs are handled without stress incidents like this can be avoided and tank mates will not be harmed. Avoiding stress with a full belly is much easier. While the crabs are eating they can have some time to orient themselves and the existing critters can have a first look too.
Fortunately the care for crabs in most petstores grows slowly better. If you always remember that crabs, with their high developed sensory system, are aware of their world, you can make things easier for them, and in turn less stressful for both you and your new pet.