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These conspicuous red coloured critters, which have similar sized claws, are sold in pet shops as RED CLAWED CRABS. They are members of the SESARMIDAE family. This family contains 140 species like Sesarma bidens or S.johorensis. Most of them look very similar, so differentiating will sometimes be impossible. Because of that, many variations with the 'Sesarma' name will be found. Red Clawed Crabs have their natural home in the brackish waters of tropic mangrove swamps. The cultivation of adult crabs in freshwater presents no problems. These small crabs are very strong. They will reach 4 to 5inches in size and have a life span from 3 to 5 years.


If attention is paid to some basic needs and the crabs are doing well, they will show us their funny and clever characters in an entertaining way. In my local pet shop I was amazed watching these lovely creatures and just had to have one of them. I soon realized that there is a lack of information about the care of crabs. I'm very sure my first crabs died after a short time because of this. It's not as easy to take care of crabs as we are sometimes told. They are very clever and have use of highly developed sensory organs, so that a somewhat special environment is needed. But it's no more difficult than an aquarium with tropical fish. Unfortunately there is little knowledge about crustaceans in the world of aquariums. Crabs are individuals and different dispositions can be recognized. So they must be handled sensitively and be observed often. Then we can study their exact behaviour and discover what they need to survive, to feel happy and fill your tank with a special kind of life. Most sickness and death can be prevented. The biggest enemy to crabs is stress; this can kill them. Although they are small they need some space to live, along with some other crabs. Clean water with lots of oxygen is very important. Because of their amphibian way of life there must be some areas of land and enough hiding places in and out of the water. Finally to get your crabs healthy offer them a well balanced diet every day. Until now I just wanted to share my experiences with Red Clawed Crabs, but now that I have learned more about them I would like to offer you some basic instructions on the elementary care of Red Clawed Crabs in your aquarium.

No one can say this or that is the only way. So start discovering for yourself your crab's world. And please, feel free to email me your experiences, ideas, criticism or whatever. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

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© by Annette Berkelmann
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