Vampire crabs are one of the most interesting creatures to keep as pets mainly due to their beautiful colors. However, don’t let their name scare you. Their name isn’t connected with their feeding behavior but with the large yellow eyes that are located at the top of their heads.
So if you are planning on keeping these creatures, here’s what you need to know about them including how big they get before their lifespan is over.
Description and Appearance
Vampire crabs are freshwater creatures mainly found in India, Hawaii, the Solomon Islands, and Southeast Asia. Since this type of crab was introduced recently to aquarium environments, there may be multiple misinformation out there, so be careful and try to meet their care requirements.
Their appearance is one of the most interesting things that prompts multiple people to keep them at home. They can act as decorations to your aquarium, all thanks to their dark bodies mixed with white patterns as well as their stunning yellow eyes.
Another good thing about vampire crabs is that you can handle them appropriately without fear of getting hurt since they have smaller pincers, unlike other types of crabs.
How Big Do Vampire Crabs Get?
To begin with, vampire crabs normally have a maximum lifespan of 2 years, though this can be affected by various factors. During this period, the average size of a vampire crab is around 2 inches wide which includes the measurement of 10 legs. This means that vampire crabs are tiny creatures with their carapace (main body) measuring only 1 inch wide.
As vampire crabs grow bigger, they tend to experience molting which forces their exoskeleton to fall off and grow a new and larger one. Even though this process occurs monthly, it may occur often when these crabs are younger as they mature and grow rapidly.
It is advised to monitor these crabs during molting since they tend to hide as they feel fragile. In addition, try not to disrupt them when they are hiding away since you may inflict harm.
Caring for Vampire Crabs
Are you looking forward to keeping these stunning creatures at home but don’t know how to care for them? Luckily, caring for vampire crabs is not a difficult task.
With that said, let’s check out some of the requirements you need to provide for your crab to thrive perfectly.
Vampire crabs are very tiny, but this does not mean that you can keep them in any tank of your liking. These crabs need extra space to move freely and enjoy their new home. For this reason, it is recommended to use a 10-gallon tank which is ideal for keeping around 6 vampire crabs.
Vampire crabs are extremely susceptible to changes in water conditions. Since they are freshwater creatures, it is advised to use warm and slightly alkaline water. This means you should always change up to 40% of the water every month.
Moreover, stick to pH levels of 7.5-8.0, water temperatures of 70°F-82°F, and water hardness of 0-10dKH.
It is essential to try and recreate the habitat of vampire crabs while they were in the wild. Therefore, begin by adding fine sand at the bottom of the tank since vampire crabs enjoy burrowing under the sand.
Next, add live plants since this type of crab prefers feeding on dead plants. Due to that, you are totally free to use any type of plant. In addition, vampire crabs love hiding, so it is important to build hiding places for them. It’s ideal to use driftwood and rocks to create caves.
The setup of the tank is never complete without adding a filter since it gets rid of debris and toxic materials. A tank heater and humidifier are also essential since they help maintain temperature and humidity levels.
The Diet of Vampire Crabs
Luckily, vampire crabs are not picky eaters, so you don’t have to worry when it comes to feeding them. They are omnivores, and in the wild, you will find them feeding on plant detritus and insects.
For a healthy meal, you can opt for live or frozen foods, some of which include bloodworms, brine shrimp, larvae, earthworms, and more.
Alternatively, you can also choose to feed them dried foods like pellets, algae wafers, and flakes. Just ensure that you combine them with live or frozen foods.
It is also recommended to feed your vampire crabs meals that are rich in calcium including spinach, broccoli, peas, and any other green vegetable. This will allow them to develop tougher shells.
How to Breed Vampire Crabs
As mentioned before, vampire crabs were recently introduced to aquariums, so not much information is known about their breeding period. Due to this, it is impossible to predict when your vampire crabs will start breeding. So, you simply have to wait until they start breeding at their preferred time.
The first step of breeding will begin when a male vampire crab climbs on top of the female where the eggs are fertilized. After that, the female will carry about 20-80 eggs for about 30 days. The eggs will then hatch, and you may notice fully mature babies running around.
An important point to note is that vampire crabs sometimes exhibit cannibalism features, so it is recommended to separate the babies from the mother immediately. The good thing is that the babies are independent and don’t need the protection of their mothers.
Ideal Tank Mates
If you want to be on the safer side, you should try keeping these crabs with other vampire crabs. But if you desire to keep different species, then try to include similar-sized creatures like neon tetras, cherry barbs, and more.
You can also include other invertebrates like some types of shrimp and large snails.
Vampire crabs are stunning creatures that will add color and life to any room. On top of that, they are very simple to care for, which makes it easier for them to grow quickly and increase their lifespan.
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