Matano Crab Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re looking for a unique and interesting addition to your aquarium, the Matano Crab might be just what you need. These crustaceans are native to Indonesia and are known for their striking appearance and fascinating behavior. However, caring for Matano Crabs requires some specific knowledge and attention to detail.

Matano Crabs require a tank size of at least 10 gallons, water temperature between 75-82°F, and a pH range of 7.5-8.5. They are omnivores and need a varied diet of high-quality pellets or flakes, vegetables, and occasional live or frozen foods. They also require a hiding place and a substrate that allows them to burrow. Regular water changes and tank maintenance are important for their health.

First and foremost, it’s important to provide your Matano Crab with a suitable habitat. These creatures require a tank with plenty of hiding places, as well as a sandy substrate for burrowing.

They also need access to both fresh and saltwater, as they require a specific balance of salinity to thrive.

When it comes to feeding, Matano Crabs are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods. However, it’s important to avoid overfeeding, as these creatures are prone to obesity.

Additionally, Matano Crabs are known for their tendency to escape from their tanks, so it’s important to ensure that your tank has a secure lid.

Species Summary

If you’re looking for a unique and fascinating addition to your aquarium, the Matano Crab might just be the perfect pick for you.

This species is known for its striking appearance and interesting behavior, and with proper care, can make a great addition to your aquatic collection. Here’s everything you need to know about Matano Crab care.


The Matano Crab is native to the Lake Matano region of Sulawesi, Indonesia. This species is found exclusively in freshwater environments and is known for its adaptability to a variety of water conditions.


Matano Crabs have a relatively short lifespan, typically living for around 2-3 years in captivity. However, with proper care and a healthy diet, some individuals may live longer.


The Matano Crab is a visually striking species, with a unique appearance that sets it apart from many other freshwater crustaceans.

These crabs have a distinctive, flattened body shape, with long, spindly legs and large claws. Their shells are typically a dark, almost black color, with a glossy, metallic sheen.

Color and Color Form

The Matano Crab’s coloration is typically uniform across its body, with a dark, almost black color being the most common.

However, some individuals may display variations in color, with shades of brown, green, or even blue being observed in some specimens.


Matano Crabs are relatively small compared to other freshwater crustaceans, with adults typically reaching a maximum size of around 2-3 inches in diameter, including their legs.

Growth rate

The growth rate of Matano Crabs can vary depending on a number of factors, including water quality, diet, and overall health.

However, with proper care, these crabs can grow relatively quickly, reaching their full size within a year or two.

Behavior & Temperament

Matano Crabs are known for their interesting and often entertaining behavior. These crabs are active and curious, and will often explore their surroundings and interact with other aquarium inhabitants.

They are generally peaceful and can be kept with a variety of other fish and invertebrates, although they may become aggressive towards other crabs or similar species.

Male vs Female

Distinguishing between male and female Matano Crabs can be difficult, as there are no obvious external differences between the sexes.

However, females may be slightly larger than males, and may also display a rounder, more swollen abdomen during breeding season.

Overall, the Matano Crab is a fascinating and unique species that can make a great addition to any aquarium.

With proper care and attention, these crabs can thrive in captivity and provide years of enjoyment for their owners.

Tank Setup

Setting up a proper tank is crucial for the health and well-being of your Matano crabs. Here are some important factors to consider:

Tank size

The size of your tank will depend on how many Matano crabs you plan on keeping. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 gallons of water per crab.

Make sure the tank is big enough for them to move around and molt comfortably.


Matano crabs do not require any special lighting, but it’s important to provide a day/night cycle. A timer can be used to simulate natural light and dark periods.

Filtration & Aeration

A good filtration system is essential to maintain water quality. Aeration is also important to provide oxygen for your crabs. A hang-on-back filter or a sponge filter can be used.


Matano crabs require warm water temperatures between 75-82°F. A submersible heater can be used to maintain a consistent temperature.


A substrate of sand or a sand and gravel mix is ideal for Matano crabs. Make sure the substrate is deep enough for them to burrow and molt.


Provide plenty of hiding spots and caves for your Matano crabs to explore and feel secure. Rocks, driftwood, and PVC pipes can be used as decorations.


Live plants can be added to the tank to provide shelter and help maintain water quality. Java fern and Anubias are good options that can tolerate brackish water conditions.

Remember to monitor the water quality regularly and perform regular water changes to keep your Matano crabs healthy and happy.

Water Quality

When it comes to caring for your Matano Crab, maintaining good water quality is essential. Here are some important factors to consider:

Water Temperature

The optimal water temperature for Matano Crabs is between 75-82°F (24-28°C).

It’s important to keep the water temperature stable, as sudden fluctuations can be stressful for your crab and may even lead to illness or death. You can use a heater to maintain a consistent temperature.

Water pH

Matano Crabs prefer slightly acidic water, with a pH range of 6.5-7.5. You can test the pH of your water using a water testing kit, which is available at most pet stores.

If the pH is too high or too low, you can adjust it by adding pH adjusters, which are also available at pet stores.

Water Hardness

Matano Crabs require moderately hard water, with a hardness level of 6-12 dGH. You can test the hardness of your water using a water testing kit.

If the water is too soft, you can add minerals to increase the hardness. If the water is too hard, you can dilute it with distilled water.

Water Changes

It’s important to regularly change the water in your crab’s tank, as stagnant water can lead to poor water quality and bacterial growth.

You should aim to change about 25% of the water every week, using a siphon to remove any debris from the bottom of the tank.

When adding new water, make sure it’s the same temperature as the existing water to avoid shocking your crab.

Personally, I’ve found that maintaining good water quality is key to keeping my Matano Crab healthy and happy. By regularly testing and adjusting the water temperature, pH, and hardness, and performing regular water changes, you can ensure that your crab has a clean and comfortable environment to thrive in.


Matano crabs are omnivorous creatures, meaning they eat both plants and animals. In order to keep your crab healthy and happy, it is important to provide them with a balanced diet.

What To Feed

Matano crabs can be fed a variety of foods, including:

  • Algae wafers
  • Small pieces of fruits and vegetables, such as cucumber, zucchini, and apple
  • Small pieces of cooked meat, such as shrimp or fish
  • Small pieces of boiled egg

It is important to avoid feeding your crab any foods that are high in fat, salt, or sugar, as these can be harmful to their health.


Matano crabs should be fed once a day, preferably in the evening. You should only feed them as much as they can eat in 10-15 minutes, as overfeeding can lead to health problems.


Here are some tips to keep in mind when feeding your Matano crab:

  • Provide a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet.
  • Remove any uneaten food after 10-15 minutes to prevent it from spoiling and polluting the water.
  • Make sure the food is small enough for your crab to eat.
  • Consider using a feeding dish to make it easier to remove uneaten food.

I have found that my Matano crab especially enjoys eating small pieces of boiled egg. It’s important to experiment with different foods to see what your crab likes best.

Tank Maintenance

Keeping your Matano Crab’s tank clean and well-maintained is crucial to their health and happiness. Here are some tips on how to keep your crab’s tank in top condition:

First, make sure to clean the tank regularly. This means removing any uneaten food, feces, and debris from the tank on a daily basis.

You should also do a partial water change every week, replacing about 20% of the water in the tank with fresh, dechlorinated water.

Second, keep an eye on the water temperature and pH levels. Matano Crabs prefer water temperatures between 75-82°F and a pH between 7.5-8.5.

You can use a thermometer and pH test kit to monitor these levels, and adjust them as needed with a heater or pH adjuster.

Third, provide your crab with plenty of hiding places and substrate to burrow in. This will help them feel secure and reduce stress.

You can use sand, coconut fiber, or a combination of both as substrate, and add in rocks, driftwood, and other decorations for them to hide under.

Finally, don’t forget to replace the filter media regularly. This will help keep the water clean and clear, and prevent any harmful bacteria from building up in the tank.

You should replace the filter media every 2-3 months, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Overall, maintaining a clean and healthy tank is key to ensuring your Matano Crab thrives in captivity. By following these simple tips, you can provide your crab with a safe and comfortable home that they will enjoy for years to come.

Personally, I have found that keeping a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule helps me stay on top of my crab’s needs. By setting aside a specific time each week to clean the tank, I can ensure that my crab’s environment stays healthy and enjoyable for him.

Tank Mates

If you’re looking to add some companions to your Matano Crab tank, it’s important to choose the right fish species. Here are some things to consider:

Compatible Fish Species

Some fish species that can coexist peacefully with Matano Crabs include:

  • Neon Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Otocinclus Catfish

Incompatible Fish Species

Other species may not be the best fit for a Matano Crab tank. Avoid fish that are known to be aggressive or territorial, such as:

  • Betta Fish
  • Cichlids
  • Gouramis
  • Angelfish
  • Tiger Barbs

How Many Matano Crabs Should Be Together

It’s important to keep in mind that Matano Crabs are territorial creatures, and they may not get along with other crabs of the same species.

As a general rule, it’s best to keep only one Matano Crab per tank. However, if you have a large enough tank and want to keep multiple crabs, you should introduce them to the tank at the same time and provide plenty of hiding places and territories to help prevent conflict.

When I first started keeping Matano Crabs, I made the mistake of introducing two crabs to the same tank without properly preparing their territory.

They ended up fighting and one of them didn’t survive. So, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re providing the best environment for your crabs to thrive.

Common Diseases


Matano crabs are generally hardy creatures, but they can still fall prey to various diseases.

Some of the most common diseases that affect Matano crabs include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasitic infestations. These diseases can be caused by poor water quality, inadequate diet, or stress.


If your Matano crab is suffering from a disease, you may notice a range of symptoms. These can include lethargy, loss of appetite, discoloration, and abnormal behavior.

In some cases, you may also notice physical signs of disease, such as lesions, growths, or abnormal growth patterns.


If you suspect that your Matano crab is suffering from a disease, it is important to take action quickly. The first step is to isolate the affected crab to prevent the disease from spreading to other animals.

From there, you may need to administer medication or other treatments as directed by your veterinarian. It is also important to address the underlying cause of the disease, such as poor water quality or inadequate nutrition.


The best way to prevent disease in Matano crabs is to maintain a clean and healthy environment. This includes providing a balanced diet, monitoring water quality, and keeping the tank clean and well-maintained.

It is also important to avoid over-crowding the tank and to quarantine any new animals before introducing them to the tank.

Personally, I once had a Matano crab that developed a bacterial infection. I noticed that it was becoming increasingly lethargic and was not eating as much as usual.

After consulting with my veterinarian, I isolated the affected crab and administered medication as directed. Within a few days, the crab began to show signs of improvement and was soon back to its normal self.

Signs of a Healthy Crab

When it comes to caring for your Matano Crab, it’s important to know what to look for to ensure your crab is healthy and happy. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Active movement: A healthy crab will be active and move around their enclosure frequently.
  2. Shiny shell: A shiny, smooth shell is a sign of a healthy crab. Dull or rough shells can indicate a health issue.
  3. Clear eyes: A healthy crab will have clear, bright eyes. Cloudy or sunken eyes can be a sign of illness.
  4. Healthy claws: A crab’s claws should be intact and free of any cracks or injuries.
  5. Proper appetite: A healthy crab will have a good appetite and eat regularly.

It’s important to note that some crabs may naturally have a darker or lighter shell color, so don’t be alarmed if your crab doesn’t have a shiny, bright-colored shell.

However, if you notice any significant changes in your crab’s behavior or appearance, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets.

Personally, I remember when I first got my Matano Crab, I was worried about whether or not it was healthy. I remember checking its shell and eyes constantly to make sure everything was okay.

But after a few weeks of observing its behavior and eating habits, I felt more confident in my ability to care for it. Remember to be patient and observant when caring for your crab, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

Signs Your Crab is Sick

If you’re a proud owner of a Matano crab, you want to make sure they’re healthy and happy. However, sometimes crabs can get sick, and it’s important to know the signs to look out for. Here are a few indicators that your crab might not be feeling well:

  • If your crab is not moving or is moving very slowly, this could be a sign of illness. Healthy crabs are active and move around their habitat frequently.
  • Another sign of illness is if your crab is not eating. If you notice that your crab hasn’t eaten in a few days, it’s time to investigate further.
  • Discoloration is also a sign that your crab might be sick. If you notice that your crab’s shell is changing colors or if you see any discoloration on their body, it’s time to seek medical attention for your crab.
  • If your crab is not responding to stimuli, this is another sign of illness. Healthy crabs will respond to touch, light, and sound. If your crab is not reacting to any of these stimuli, it’s time to take action.

It’s important to note that these signs could be indicators of other issues, so it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals if you’re concerned about your crab’s health. Remember, early detection and treatment can make all the difference in your crab’s recovery.

Personally, I had a scare with my Matano crab when I noticed he wasn’t moving around his habitat as much as usual.

I immediately contacted a veterinarian who was able to diagnose and treat him for an infection. Thanks to the quick action, my crab made a full recovery and is now back to his active and curious self.

Molting and Molting Process

Matano crabs, like all crustaceans, molt their exoskeletons periodically as they grow. Molting is a crucial process in the life of a crab and requires careful attention to ensure the crab’s health and survival.

The molting process begins when the crab secretes enzymes that break down the old exoskeleton. The crab then absorbs the calcium carbonate from its old shell to create a new, soft exoskeleton underneath.

During this time, the crab is vulnerable to predators and must hide in a safe place until its new exoskeleton hardens.

It is important to note that during the molting process, the crab may appear lethargic or weak. This is normal, and you should not disturb the crab during this time.

After molting, the crab’s new exoskeleton will be soft and vulnerable to fungal infections. To prevent infection, make sure to keep the crab’s environment clean and dry. You can also add a small amount of iodine to the water to help prevent fungal growth.

It is also important to monitor the crab’s carapace during the molting process. If the carapace does not come off completely during molting, it can lead to deformities in the crab’s new exoskeleton.

If you notice any issues with the molting process, consult a veterinarian or experienced crab owner for advice.

When I first started caring for Matano crabs, I was nervous about the molting process. However, with proper care and attention, my crabs have successfully molted several times.

Remember to be patient and provide a safe, stress-free environment for your crab during this important process.

Endangered Status

If you’re considering getting a Matano Crab as a pet, it’s important to understand their endangered status. The Matano Crab is listed as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This means that the species is at risk of becoming extinct in the wild.

The primary reason for the Matano Crab’s endangered status is habitat loss. The lakes in which they live are being drained for agriculture and other human activities. In addition, pollution and overfishing have also contributed to their decline.

If you do decide to get a Matano Crab as a pet, it’s important to make sure that it was legally obtained and not taken from the wild. By purchasing a captive-bred crab, you are helping to reduce the demand for wild-caught specimens and supporting conservation efforts.

I remember the first time I saw a Matano Crab in the wild. I was on a snorkeling trip in Indonesia, and I was amazed by their unique appearance and behavior. It’s heartbreaking to think that future generations may not have the opportunity to see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.

By learning about the Matano Crab’s endangered status and taking steps to support conservation efforts, you can help ensure that this species survives for years to come.


Breeding Setup

To breed Matano crabs, you will need a few things. First, you need to have a large aquarium tank with a capacity of at least 20 gallons.

You will also need a heater to maintain the water temperature at around 78°F, a filter to keep the water clean, and a substrate for the crabs to burrow in.

Additionally, you should provide hiding places for the crabs, such as rocks or caves.

How To Breed

Breeding Matano crabs is relatively easy. You need to have a male and a female crab in the same tank. The male will fertilize the female’s eggs, and she will carry them under her abdomen until they hatch.

Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will be released into the water, where they will go through several stages of development before becoming juvenile crabs.


When breeding Matano crabs, it is essential to provide them with the right conditions. Ensure that the water temperature is consistent and that the water is clean.

You should also feed them a varied diet of algae, vegetables, and protein-rich foods such as shrimp or fish. Additionally, you should monitor the crabs for any signs of illness or stress, such as lethargy or loss of appetite.

I have found that breeding Matano crabs can be a rewarding experience. Watching the tiny larvae develop into juvenile crabs is fascinating, and it is satisfying to know that you are helping to preserve this unique species.

With the right setup and care, you can successfully breed Matano crabs and contribute to their conservation.


Now that you have read this article, you are well-equipped to take care of your Matano Crab. Remember to keep the water temperature between 75-82°F, maintain a pH level between 8.0-8.4, and provide a diet of algae and other aquatic plants.

If you notice any unusual behavior or symptoms in your crab, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a veterinarian or aquatic specialist. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your pet.

Overall, caring for a Matano Crab can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. These unique creatures bring a touch of the ocean into your home, and with proper care, can live a long and healthy life.

Personally, I have found that owning a Matano Crab has been a wonderful addition to my aquarium. Watching it scuttle around and interact with its environment is truly fascinating. I hope that you too will find joy in caring for these amazing creatures.


If you’re considering getting a Matano crab as a pet, you may have some questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about Matano crab care:

Q: What do Matano crabs eat?

A: Matano crabs are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods. They enjoy eating algae, shrimp, fish, and even fruits and vegetables. It’s important to provide a balanced diet to ensure their health.

Q: How often do I need to clean the tank?

A: You should clean the tank at least once a week. This will help to remove any uneaten food, waste, and debris. You should also do a partial water change at least once a month to keep the water clean and healthy for your crab.

Q: Can Matano crabs live with other fish or invertebrates?

A: Matano crabs are generally peaceful and can live with other fish and invertebrates. However, they may eat smaller fish and invertebrates, so it’s important to choose tankmates carefully. You should also provide plenty of hiding places to reduce stress and aggression.

Q: How often do I need to feed my Matano crab?

A: You should feed your Matano crab once a day. It’s important to provide the right amount of food to prevent overfeeding and to keep the water quality good.

Q: How big do Matano crabs get?

A: Matano crabs can grow up to 3 inches in size. They are relatively small compared to other crab species.

Overall, Matano crab care is relatively easy as long as you provide the right environment and diet. By following these tips and guidelines, you can ensure that your Matano crab stays healthy and happy.

Personally, I’ve found that my Matano crab is a fascinating pet to watch. It’s amazing to see how he interacts with his environment and other tankmates. With a little care and attention, your Matano crab can be a great addition to your home.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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