Panther Crab Care 101: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

If you’re looking for a unique and fascinating addition to your aquarium, the Panther Crab is an excellent choice. This small, freshwater crab is native to Southeast Asia and is known for its striking appearance and active personality. However, before bringing a Panther Crab into your home, it’s essential to understand the proper care requirements to ensure it thrives in its new environment.

Panther Crabs require a tank size of at least 10 gallons, water temperature between 72-82°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.

One of the most crucial factors in Panther Crab care is maintaining the right water conditions. These crabs are sensitive to changes in water parameters, so it’s crucial to keep the water clean, well-filtered, and at the appropriate temperature.

Additionally, Panther Crabs require a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter, so it’s essential to provide a balanced diet to keep them healthy.

Another essential aspect of Panther Crab care is creating a suitable habitat.

These crabs are active and require plenty of space to move around, so it’s crucial to provide a tank that’s large enough to accommodate them comfortably.

Additionally, Panther Crabs are skilled climbers, so providing plenty of hiding places and climbing structures is essential to keep them happy and engaged.

Species Summary

If you’re considering getting a Panther Crab, it’s important to know all about their care requirements. Here’s what you need to know about this fascinating species:


The Panther Crab, also known as Parathelphusa pantherina, is native to the freshwater rivers and streams of Southeast Asia. They are found in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.


Panther Crabs can live up to 5 years in captivity if they are given proper care. However, their lifespan can be shorter in suboptimal conditions.


These crabs have a unique appearance, with a dark brown or black shell covered in white spots that resemble a panther’s fur. Their claws are relatively large and powerful, and they have two small eyes on stalks that can move independently.


Adult Panther Crabs can grow up to 2 inches in size, with males being slightly larger than females.

Growth rate

The growth rate of Panther Crabs can vary depending on their diet and environment. They typically grow at a moderate pace, reaching full size in around 2 years.

Behavior & Temperament

These crabs are generally peaceful and can be kept with other non-aggressive species. However, they can become territorial and aggressive towards other Panther Crabs if they feel their space is being invaded.

Male vs Female

Male Panther Crabs can be identified by their larger claws and a triangular abdomen, while females have a broader abdomen and smaller claws. Males are also generally more aggressive than females.

Personally, I’ve found that Panther Crabs make great additions to any freshwater aquarium. They are fascinating to watch and relatively easy to care for, as long as their basic needs are met.

Just make sure to provide them with a suitable environment and a varied diet, and you’ll be rewarded with years of enjoyment.

Tank Setup

Tank size

You will need a tank that is at least 10 gallons for one Panther Crab. If you plan to keep multiple Panther Crabs, you will need a larger tank. A 20-gallon tank is recommended for two Panther Crabs.


Panther Crabs do not require any special lighting. However, you can use a standard aquarium light to enhance the appearance of your tank.

Filtration & Aeration

You will need a filter to keep the water clean and clear. A hang-on-back filter is a good choice for a Panther Crab tank. You should also consider adding an air stone or bubbler to provide additional aeration for your Panther Crab.


Panther Crabs are tropical animals and require a water temperature between 75-82°F. You will need a heater to maintain a consistent temperature in your tank.


A substrate of sand or fine gravel is recommended for a Panther Crab tank. Avoid using large gravel or rocks that could injure your crab.


Panther Crabs are active and curious creatures that will appreciate a variety of hiding places and climbing structures in their tank. You can use rocks, driftwood, and aquarium-safe decorations to create a stimulating environment for your crab.


Live plants can provide additional hiding places and help to maintain water quality in your Panther Crab tank. Java fern, anubias, and mosses are good choices for a Panther Crab tank. However, be aware that Panther Crabs may uproot or damage live plants.

Overall, a well-designed tank setup is essential for the health and happiness of your Panther Crab. By providing a suitable tank size, appropriate lighting, filtration and aeration, heating, substrate, decoration, and plants, you can create an ideal home for your Panther Crab.

I personally found that my Panther Crab loves to climb on the decorations and hide in the plants, so make sure to provide plenty of options for your crab to explore.

Water Quality

Proper water quality is essential for the health and well-being of your Panther Crab. Here are some key factors to consider:

Water Temperature

The optimal temperature range for Panther Crabs is between 72-82°F (22-28°C). Keep the water temperature stable and avoid sudden fluctuations, which can cause stress and illness.

Water pH

Panther Crabs prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of 6.5-7.5. Test the pH regularly and adjust as needed with a pH stabilizer.

Water Hardness

Panther Crabs need moderately hard water with a hardness level of 8-15 dGH. Soft water can cause molting problems, while hard water can lead to shell damage. Test the water hardness regularly and adjust as needed with a water conditioner.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are crucial for maintaining good water quality. Aim to change 10-20% of the water every week, using a gravel vacuum to remove any debris and uneaten food. Avoid changing all the water at once, as this can cause stress and shock to your crab.

Remember, maintaining proper water quality is key to keeping your Panther Crab happy and healthy. By monitoring the water temperature, pH, hardness, and performing regular water changes, you can ensure a thriving environment for your pet.

Personally, I have found that keeping a consistent water change schedule has helped me to maintain the water quality in my Panther Crab’s tank. By doing weekly water changes, I have seen a noticeable improvement in the health and activity level of my crab.


Proper diet is essential for the health and well-being of your Panther Crab. In this section, we will cover what to feed your crab, how often to feed them, and some tips for ensuring they are getting the right nutrition.

What To Feed

Panther Crabs are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. You can feed them a variety of foods, including:

  • High-quality crab pellets
  • Algae wafers
  • Frozen or live brine shrimp
  • Frozen or live bloodworms
  • Frozen or live daphnia
  • Frozen or live krill
  • Frozen or live mysis shrimp
  • Frozen or live plankton
  • Fresh vegetables such as spinach, kale, and zucchini
  • Fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, and grapes


Feed your Panther Crab small amounts of food twice a day. It is important not to overfeed them, as this can lead to obesity and health problems. If you notice any uneaten food in the tank, remove it promptly to prevent it from fouling the water.


Here are a few tips to ensure your Panther Crab is getting the right nutrition:

  • Provide a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet.
  • Rotate the types of food you offer to prevent boredom and encourage foraging.
  • Supplement their diet with calcium-rich foods such as cuttlebone or crushed eggshells to promote healthy shell growth.
  • Observe your crab’s behavior and adjust their diet as needed. For example, if they are not eating their vegetables, try offering a different type or cutting it into smaller pieces.

I have found that my Panther Crab particularly enjoys frozen bloodworms and fresh spinach. Experiment with different foods to see what your crab likes best!

Tank Maintenance

Keeping the tank clean is crucial for the health of your Panther Crab. You should perform a partial water change of 25% every two weeks to remove any accumulated waste and debris. Make sure to use a water conditioner to neutralize any chlorine or other chemicals in the tap water.

You should also clean the filter once a month to ensure it is functioning properly. Remove any debris and rinse the filter media with aquarium water to avoid killing the beneficial bacteria that help break down waste.

Regularly check the water parameters using a test kit to ensure they are within the appropriate range for Panther Crab. The ideal temperature is between 72-78°F with a pH of 7.5-8.5 and a salinity of 1.005-1.010.

It’s important to also monitor the water level and top it off as needed. Evaporation can cause the water level to drop, which can lead to changes in water parameters and stress for your Panther Crab.

Finally, make sure to remove any uneaten food or dead plant matter from the tank to prevent it from decomposing and causing water quality issues. I personally like to use a small net to scoop out any debris on a daily basis.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

If you’re looking to add some fish to your Panther Crab tank, there are a few species that are generally considered to be compatible. Guppies, neon tetras, and cherry barbs are all good options. These fish are small, peaceful, and won’t bother your crabs.

I personally have had success keeping guppies with my Panther Crabs. They add a nice pop of color to the tank and the crabs don’t seem to mind them at all.

Incompatible Fish Species

While there are some fish that can coexist peacefully with Panther Crabs, there are others that you should avoid. Avoid any fish that are aggressive, large, or have long fins. Fish such as cichlids, angelfish, and bettas should not be kept with Panther Crabs.

I made the mistake of adding a betta to my Panther Crab tank and it did not end well. The betta was constantly nipping at the crabs and it eventually had to be removed.

Number of Panther Crabs in a Tank

When it comes to Panther Crab tank mates, it’s important to consider the number of crabs you have in your tank. While Panther Crabs can be kept in groups, they can also be territorial and may fight with each other if there are too many in one tank.

A good rule of thumb is to have no more than one male Panther Crab per tank. If you have multiple females, you can keep them together as long as there is plenty of space and hiding spots.

Overall, it’s important to choose tank mates carefully when keeping Panther Crabs. With the right fish and the right number of crabs, you can create a peaceful and harmonious tank environment.

Common Diseases


Panther crabs are generally hardy and resistant to diseases. However, like any other living creature, they can fall ill. Some of the most common diseases that affect Panther crabs include bacterial and fungal infections, shell rot, and parasites.


If your Panther crab is ill, it may show signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, and changes in behavior. Other symptoms to watch out for include discoloration of the shell, white spots, and softening of the shell.


If you suspect that your Panther crab is ill, the first step is to isolate it from other crabs to prevent the spread of disease. You should then consult a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets. Treatment may involve administering antibiotics, antifungal medication, or other medications as prescribed by the veterinarian.


The best way to prevent diseases in Panther crabs is to maintain a clean and healthy environment. This includes regular water changes, maintaining proper water parameters, and providing a varied and balanced diet.

It is also important to quarantine new crabs before introducing them to an existing tank to avoid introducing any potential diseases. I once had a Panther crab that showed signs of lethargy and loss of appetite.

I immediately isolated it from the other crabs and consulted with a veterinarian who prescribed antibiotics.

After a few days of treatment, the crab showed signs of improvement and eventually made a full recovery. It is important to act quickly if you suspect that your crab is ill to give it the best chance of recovery.

Signs of a Healthy Panther Crab

As a crab owner, it’s important to know the signs of a healthy Panther Crab. Here are some things to look for:

  • The crab is active and moves around its tank regularly.
  • Its shell is hard and shiny, with no visible cracks or abnormalities.
  • Its eyes are clear and free of any cloudiness or discharge.
  • Its claws are intact and not broken, and they move freely.
  • The crab is eating and drinking regularly, and its waste appears normal.

If you notice any of the following signs, it could indicate that your Panther Crab is not healthy:

  • The crab is lethargic and doesn’t move around much.
  • Its shell is dull or discolored, or has visible cracks or holes.
  • Its eyes are cloudy or have discharge.
  • Its claws are broken or not moving properly.
  • The crab is not eating or drinking, or its waste appears abnormal.

Remember, it’s important to monitor your Panther Crab’s health regularly to ensure it’s happy and thriving in its tank.

Signs Your Panther Crab is Sick

As a pet owner, it’s important to keep an eye on your Panther Crab’s behavior and appearance to ensure they are healthy. Here are some signs that your crab may be sick:

  • Your crab is not moving or is moving very slowly
  • Loss of appetite
  • Discoloration or spots on the shell
  • Cloudy or discolored eyes

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action quickly. The first step is to check the water quality and make sure it’s within the appropriate range for Panther Crabs. Poor water quality can cause a variety of health problems for your pet.

If the water quality is fine, you may need to take your crab to a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets. They will be able to diagnose the problem and provide treatment options.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping your Panther Crab healthy. Make sure to provide a clean and comfortable environment for your pet, and monitor their behavior and appearance regularly.

Personally, I once noticed that my Panther Crab was not moving as much as usual and had lost its appetite. I took action quickly and discovered that the water quality was poor. After changing the water and providing appropriate treatment, my crab made a full recovery.

Molting and Molting Process

Molting is a natural process that Panther Crabs go through as they grow. During this process, the crab sheds its old exoskeleton and forms a new one.

This is a crucial process for the crab’s survival, as the old exoskeleton can become too small and limit the crab’s growth and movement.

The molting process usually takes a few hours to a few days, depending on the size of the crab. Before molting, the crab will stop eating and become less active. You may also notice a whitish film covering the crab’s exoskeleton. This film is a sign that the crab is preparing to molt.

Once the molting process begins, the crab will lie on its back and shed its old exoskeleton. This can be a stressful time for the crab, so it’s important to provide a quiet and safe environment.

After molting, the crab will be soft and vulnerable, so it’s essential to remove any uneaten food or sharp objects from the tank.

During the post-molting phase, the crab will absorb water to expand its new exoskeleton. This process can take several days, during which time the crab will be inactive and vulnerable.

It’s important to maintain high humidity levels and provide a calcium-rich diet to help the crab form a strong and healthy exoskeleton.

As a crab owner, it’s essential to monitor your crab’s molting process closely. If you notice any signs of stress or illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal behavior, seek veterinary care immediately. With proper care and attention, your Panther Crab can molt successfully and thrive in its environment.

Personally, I was worried the first time my Panther Crab molted. I thought I had done something wrong and that my crab was sick.

But after researching and learning more about the molting process, I realized that it was a natural and essential part of my crab’s growth and development. Now, I’m more confident in caring for my crab and ensuring that it has everything it needs to molt successfully.


Breeding Setup

Before attempting to breed Panther Crabs, you will need to set up a breeding tank. The tank should be at least 10 gallons and have a heater, filter, and aeration system.

You will also need to provide hiding places for the crabs, such as rocks, caves, or plants. The water temperature should be kept between 72-78°F, and the pH should be between 7.5-8.5.

How to Breed

To breed Panther Crabs, you will need a male and a female crab. The male crab will have a narrow abdomen, while the female will have a wider abdomen. The breeding process can take several days, and the female may lay up to 100 eggs.

Once the female has laid her eggs, you should remove the male crab from the breeding tank to prevent him from harming the eggs. The eggs will hatch within 2-3 weeks, and the larvae will need to be fed a diet of planktonic foods until they are large enough to eat other foods.


After the eggs have hatched, you will need to provide special care for the larvae. They should be kept in a separate tank with aeration and a gentle current to ensure they receive enough oxygen and food. You can feed them a diet of rotifers, brine shrimp, and other small foods.

As the larvae grow, they will molt several times before reaching adulthood. It is important to keep the water clean and well-maintained to prevent any health issues.

Once the crabs have reached adulthood, they can be moved to a larger tank and provided with a varied diet of vegetables, fruits, and protein sources.

When I first attempted to breed Panther Crabs, I was nervous about the process. However, with careful planning and research, I was able to successfully breed these fascinating creatures.

Remember to be patient and provide the proper care and setup for your crabs to ensure a successful breeding process.

Product recommendations for Panther Crab:

  1. Aquatic Arts 1 Live Panther Crab – This live crab is perfect for adding to your aquarium, providing a unique and interesting addition to your tank.
  2. Zoo Med ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater – This under tank heater is perfect for Panther Crab, providing a warm and comfortable environment that will help your crab thrive.
  3. Aqueon LED Aquarium Light Fixture – This high-quality LED light fixture is perfect for Panther Crab, providing bright and energy-efficient lighting that will help your crab thrive.
  4. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum – This substrate is perfect for Panther Crab, providing a natural environment that promotes healthy growth and reproduction.
  5. Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter – This powerful and efficient canister filter is designed for small aquariums and is perfect for keeping the water in your Panther Crab tank crystal clear.
  6. Tetra Whisper Air Pump – This powerful and reliable air pump is perfect for Panther Crab, providing a steady flow of oxygenated water that will keep your crab healthy and happy.
  7. API Stress Coat – This aquarium conditioner is perfect for Panther Crab, reducing stress and promoting healing in your crab by forming a protective slime coat on their shell.
  8. Hikari Crab Cuisine – This specialized food is perfect for Panther Crab, providing a balanced diet that is high in protein and essential nutrients.
  9. API Freshwater Master Test Kit – This comprehensive test kit is perfect for Panther Crab owners, allowing you to monitor the water quality of your aquarium and ensure that your crab is healthy and happy.


If you’re considering getting a Panther Crab, you probably have a few questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Panther Crab care.

Q: What do Panther Crabs eat?

A: Panther Crabs are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, including pellets, flakes, frozen or live foods, and vegetables. I have found that my Panther Crab particularly enjoys bloodworms and brine shrimp.

Q: How often should I feed my Panther Crab?

A: Panther Crabs should be fed about once a day, or every other day. Overfeeding can lead to health problems and can also make the water quality in your tank deteriorate more quickly.

Q: Do Panther Crabs need a heater?

A: Yes, Panther Crabs need a heater to keep the water in their tank at a consistent temperature. The ideal temperature range for Panther Crabs is between 72-82°F (22-28°C).

Q: Can Panther Crabs live with other fish?

A: It’s best to keep Panther Crabs in a species-only tank, as they can be aggressive towards other fish and invertebrates. I made the mistake of keeping my Panther Crab with some guppies, and it didn’t end well for the guppies.

Q: How often should I clean my Panther Crab’s tank?

A: Panther Crabs produce a lot of waste, so it’s important to do partial water changes every week to keep the water quality in check. You should also do a full tank clean every month or so.

Q: Do Panther Crabs need a lot of space?

A: Panther Crabs don’t need a huge tank, but they do need some space to move around. A 10-gallon tank is usually sufficient for one Panther Crab.

Q: Are Panther Crabs easy to care for?

A: Panther Crabs are relatively easy to care for, but they do require some attention to their water quality and feeding schedule. With proper care, they can live for several years.


Now that you have read through this guide, you should have a good understanding of how to care for your Panther Crab. Remember to keep their tank clean and well-maintained, and provide them with a balanced diet.

It’s important to note that while Panther Crabs are relatively easy to care for, they do require some attention and effort on your part. But the reward of watching these fascinating creatures scuttle around their tank is well worth it.

If you’re new to crab keeping, don’t be intimidated! With a little research and some trial and error, you’ll soon become an expert in Panther Crab care.

Personally, I have found keeping Panther Crabs to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Watching them explore their tank and interact with each other is always fascinating, and I love the unique personality of each crab.

Reference: Wikipedia.


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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