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

If you’re looking for a unique and fascinating addition to your aquarium, the Red Claw Crab might be just what you need. These crabs are known for their striking appearance and playful personalities, making them a popular choice among aquatic enthusiasts.

Red Claw 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.

However, caring for Red Claw Crabs can be a bit challenging if you’re not familiar with their needs. They require a specific environment and diet to thrive, and neglecting these requirements can lead to health problems and even death.

But don’t worry, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can provide your Red Claw Crab with a happy and healthy home. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Red Claw Crab care, from setting up their tank to feeding and maintenance. Let’s dive in!

Red Claw Crab

Species Summary

If you’re considering adding a Red Claw Crab to your aquarium, it’s important to understand the basics of caring for this species. Here’s what you need to know:


The Red Claw Crab, also known as the Australian freshwater crab, is native to the rivers and streams of northern Australia.

They are a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts due to their striking appearance and ease of care.


Red Claw Crabs typically live for 2-3 years in captivity, although some have been known to live up to 5 years with proper care.


Red Claw Crabs are named for their bright red claws, which contrast with their dark brown or greenish-black bodies.

They have a hard exoskeleton and two large claws that they use for defense and gathering food.


Adult Red Claw Crabs can grow up to 4 inches in size, including their claws.

Growth rate

The growth rate of Red Claw Crabs can vary depending on their environment and diet. With proper care, they can grow up to 1 inch per year.

Behavior & Temperament

Red Claw Crabs are known for their active and curious personalities. They are social creatures and should be kept in groups of at least 3-4 individuals.

They are also known to be territorial, so it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places and space for each crab.

Male vs Female

Male Red Claw Crabs are typically larger than females and have larger claws. Females have a triangular-shaped abdomen, while males have a more elongated abdomen.

Overall, Red Claw Crabs are a fascinating and unique addition to any aquarium. With proper care and attention, they can thrive and provide endless entertainment for their owners.

Tank Setup

Setting up the perfect tank for your Red Claw Crab is essential for their health and happiness. Here are some important factors to consider:

Tank Size

The size of your tank is crucial for the well-being of your Red Claw Crab. A minimum of a 10-gallon tank is recommended for one crab, with an additional 5 gallons for each additional crab.

Make sure the tank is spacious enough for them to move around comfortably and have room for decorations and plants.


Red Claw Crabs need a consistent day and night cycle to maintain their health. A light that is on for 8-12 hours a day is recommended.

Avoid placing the tank in direct sunlight or near a window, as this can cause temperature fluctuations and algae growth.

Filtration & Aeration

A filter and air pump are essential for maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your Red Claw Crab.

Make sure to choose a filter that is appropriate for the size of your tank and provides adequate water flow. An air pump will help to oxygenate the water and prevent stagnant areas.


Red Claw Crabs require a consistent water temperature between 72-82°F.

A heater is necessary to maintain this temperature, especially in colder climates or during the winter months. Choose a heater that is appropriate for the size of your tank and has a built-in thermostat.


The substrate in your tank should mimic the natural environment of your Red Claw Crab. A combination of sand and gravel is recommended, with a layer of at least 2-3 inches.

Avoid using sharp or rough substrates that can harm your crab’s delicate exoskeleton.


Add some personality to your tank with decorations such as rocks, driftwood, and caves. These will also provide hiding places for your Red Claw Crab and help to reduce stress.


Live or artificial plants can add a natural and calming element to your tank. Make sure to choose plants that are safe for your crab and won’t be uprooted easily. Live plants can also help to improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients.

By following these guidelines, you can create the perfect tank setup for your Red Claw Crab. Remember to monitor water quality and temperature regularly and make adjustments as necessary.

Water Quality

Proper water quality is essential for the health and well-being of your Red Claw Crabs. In this section, we will cover the four main aspects of water quality that you need to be aware of: Water temperature, Water pH, Water Hardness, and Water changes.

Water Temperature

Red Claw Crabs are tropical creatures, so it’s important to keep their water temperature between 72-82°F.

You can use an aquarium heater to maintain the temperature, but be sure to monitor it regularly to ensure it stays within the recommended range.

Water pH

The ideal pH range for Red Claw Crabs is between 7.5-8.5. You can use a pH test kit to monitor the pH level of your crab’s water. If the pH is too low, you can add a pH buffer to raise it to the appropriate level.

Water Hardness

Red Claw Crabs prefer moderately hard water with a range of 8-12 dGH.

You can test the hardness of your crab’s water using a water hardness test kit. If the water is too soft, you can add a calcium supplement to increase the hardness.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are crucial for maintaining good water quality in your crab’s tank. You should aim to change 10-20% of the water every week.

When performing a water change, be sure to use a dechlorinator to remove any harmful chemicals from the tap water.

Personally, I have found that maintaining good water quality is one of the most important aspects of Red Claw Crab care.

By monitoring the temperature, pH, hardness, and performing regular water changes, you can ensure that your crabs are healthy and happy in their environment.


Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of your Red Claw Crab. Here’s what you need to know about their diet:

What To Feed

Your Red Claw Crab is an omnivore, which means they eat both plant and animal matter. You can feed them a variety of foods, including:

  • Commercial crab food pellets
  • Fresh or frozen shrimp
  • Algae wafers
  • Frozen or live brine shrimp
  • Vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and zucchini

It’s important to offer a balanced diet that includes both protein and vegetables. You can also supplement their diet with calcium-rich foods, such as cuttlebone or eggshells.


Feed your Red Claw Crab once a day, in the evening. Offer them only as much food as they can eat in a few hours, and remove any uneaten food to prevent it from fouling the water.

Overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems, so be careful not to overdo it.


Here are some tips to keep in mind when feeding your Red Claw Crab:

  • Provide a variety of foods to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
  • Offer fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Remove any uneaten food promptly to prevent water quality issues.
  • Supplement their diet with calcium-rich foods to promote healthy shell growth.
  • Observe your crab’s eating habits and adjust their diet as needed.

Remember, a healthy diet is key to keeping your Red Claw Crab happy and thriving!

Tank Maintenance

Keeping your Red Claw Crab’s tank clean is essential for their health and well-being. A dirty tank can lead to bacterial growth and disease, which can be fatal for your crab.

You should perform a partial water change of about 25% every two weeks. This will help remove any excess waste and debris from the tank. You can use a siphon to remove the water and debris from the bottom of the tank.

It’s also important to clean the tank’s filter regularly. A dirty filter can lead to poor water quality and harm your crab. You should clean the filter once a month by rinsing it with water and replacing any filter media as needed.

Another important aspect of tank maintenance is checking the water temperature and salinity levels. Red Claw Crabs require a water temperature of 72-82°F and a salinity level of 1.005-1.010. You can use a thermometer and a hydrometer to check these levels regularly.

Finally, you should also remove any uneaten food from the tank daily. Uneaten food can quickly decompose and lead to poor water quality. You can use a net or a siphon to remove any uneaten food from the tank.

From my personal experience, I found that neglecting tank maintenance can lead to serious consequences.

I once went on vacation and forgot to arrange for someone to take care of my crab’s tank. When I returned, the water was murky, and my crab was lying motionless on the bottom of the tank.

After a visit to the vet, I learned that my crab had contracted a bacterial infection due to the dirty water. Luckily, with proper treatment and tank maintenance, my crab made a full recovery.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

If you’re looking to add some fish to your red claw crab tank, there are a few species that can coexist peacefully. Some compatible fish species include guppies, mollies, and neon tetras.

These fish are small and won’t bother your crabs. They also won’t compete for the same food as your crabs, which is important to keep in mind.

Incompatible Fish Species

While some fish can live harmoniously with your red claw crabs, there are others that should be avoided.

Larger fish like angelfish, cichlids, and goldfish can be aggressive and may harm or even eat your crabs. Additionally, some fish may compete with your crabs for food, which can cause stress and aggression.

How many red claw crabs should be together

When it comes to keeping red claw crabs together, it’s important to keep in mind that they can be territorial.

While it’s possible to keep multiple crabs in the same tank, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space for each crab to establish its own territory.

As a general rule, you should have at least 10 gallons of water per crab. I’ve found that keeping two crabs together works well, as they seem to enjoy having a companion.

However, if you’re planning on keeping more than two crabs together, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space and hiding spots for each crab to feel comfortable.

Overall, it’s important to choose tank mates carefully when keeping red claw crabs. By selecting compatible fish species and giving your crabs enough space, you can create a peaceful and harmonious environment for all of your aquatic pets.

Molting and Molting Process

Red Claw Crabs molt their exoskeletons periodically throughout their lives. Molting is a natural process where the crab sheds its old exoskeleton and grows a new one.

Molting can be a stressful time for the crab, and it is important to provide the right conditions to ensure a successful molt.

The molting process can take several days to complete. Before molting, the crab will stop eating and become less active.

The old exoskeleton will then split open, and the crab will slowly emerge from it. The new exoskeleton will be soft and pliable at first, and the crab will be vulnerable to predators during this time.

It is important to provide a safe and quiet environment for the crab during the molting process. Avoid handling the crab during this time, as it can cause unnecessary stress and potentially harm the crab.

You can also provide a shallow dish of water for the crab to soak in, which can help to soften the old exoskeleton and make it easier to shed.

After molting, the crab will need time to harden its new exoskeleton. During this time, the crab may be more vulnerable to predators and should be monitored closely. You can also provide a variety of foods to help the crab regain its strength and energy.

Personally, I have found that providing a small piece of cuttlebone in the crab’s enclosure can help to provide the necessary calcium for a successful molt.

I have also found that keeping the enclosure clean and providing a variety of hiding places can help to reduce stress during the molting process.


Breeding Setup

To breed Red Claw Crabs, you will need to set up a breeding tank. The breeding tank should be at least 10 gallons in size and have a temperature of 75-85°F.

The tank should be filled with fresh and clean water, and a substrate of sand or gravel should be added. You should also add some hiding places for the crabs, such as rocks or plants.

How To Breed

Breeding Red Claw Crabs is relatively easy. Once you have set up the breeding tank, you will need to introduce a male and female crab.

The crabs will mate underwater, and the female will carry the eggs in her abdomen for several weeks before they hatch.


Once the eggs hatch, you will need to provide the young crabs with plenty of food. You can feed them small pieces of shrimp, fish, or crab pellets. It is also important to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated.

You should change 25% of the water every week and use a water conditioner to remove any chlorine or other chemicals. I have found that breeding Red Claw Crabs can be a rewarding experience.

Watching the young crabs grow and develop is fascinating, and it is a great way to learn more about these fascinating creatures. With the right setup and care, you can successfully breed Red Claw Crabs in your own home.

Common Diseases


Red Claw Crabs are generally hardy creatures, but they can still fall prey to a variety of diseases. Some of the most common diseases include:

  • Shell rot
  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Parasitic infections


The symptoms of these diseases can vary, but some common signs to look out for include:

  • Discoloration or lesions on the shell
  • White or gray patches on the body
  • Swollen or red joints
  • Lethargy or lack of appetite


If you suspect that your Red Claw Crab is suffering from a disease, it’s important to take action quickly. The treatment will depend on the specific disease, but some common treatments include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungal medication
  • Parasite medication
  • Adjusting water parameters


The best way to deal with diseases is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips to keep your Red Claw Crab healthy:

  • Keep the water clean and well-filtered
  • Avoid overfeeding your crab
  • Quarantine new crabs before introducing them to your tank
  • Regularly inspect your crab for signs of illness

Personally, I once had a Red Claw Crab that developed shell rot. It was a scary experience, but with quick action and the right treatment, my crab made a full recovery. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping your Red Claw Crab healthy.

Signs of a Healthy Crab

When it comes to owning a Red Claw Crab, it is important to know what signs to look for to ensure that your crab is healthy and happy. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:

  1. Active and Alert: A healthy crab will be active and alert, moving around and exploring its environment. If your crab is lethargic or not moving much, it could be a sign of illness or stress.
  2. Shiny and Smooth Shell: A healthy crab will have a shiny and smooth shell. If the shell appears dull or has any cracks or holes, it could be a sign of a problem.
  3. Clear Eyes: A healthy crab will have clear, bright eyes. If the eyes appear cloudy or sunken in, it could be a sign of illness.
  4. Active Claws: A healthy crab will use its claws regularly, to climb, dig, and grab food. If your crab’s claws appear limp or inactive, it could be a sign of a problem.

Remember, it is important to monitor your crab’s behavior and appearance regularly to catch any potential problems early. If you notice any signs of illness or distress, it is important to seek veterinary care for your crab as soon as possible.

Personally, I have found that my Red Claw Crab is happiest and healthiest when I provide it with a variety of foods and a comfortable, stimulating environment. By keeping an eye out for these signs of a healthy crab, you can ensure that your crab is thriving and living its best life.

Signs Your Crab is Sick

If you’re a crab owner, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs that your crab may be sick. Here are a few things to look for:

  1. Unusual behavior: If your crab is acting lethargic, staying hidden all the time, or not moving around as much as usual, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
  2. Discoloration: If your crab’s shell or legs start to turn a different color than usual, it could be a sign of illness.
  3. Loss of limbs: Crabs can lose limbs due to fighting or other accidents, but if your crab is losing limbs for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
  4. Difficulty molting: Molting is a natural process for crabs, but if your crab is having difficulty shedding its old shell, it could be a sign of illness.

If you notice any of these signs in your crab, it’s important to take action right away. Contact a veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets for advice on how to proceed.

Personal anecdote: I once had a crab that started acting very lethargic and stopped eating. I took him to the vet and it turned out he had an infection. With the help of antibiotics and some extra care, he made a full recovery.

Product recommendations for Red Claw Crab:

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


Now that you have read through this comprehensive guide on Red Claw Crab care, you should feel confident in your ability to provide a happy and healthy home for your new pet.

Remember to maintain a consistent environment, with proper water quality and temperature, and to provide a balanced diet.

You should also be aware of the potential health issues that can arise, such as shell rot or parasitic infections, and be prepared to take action if necessary.

Regular monitoring and maintenance of your crab’s habitat will help prevent these issues from arising in the first place.

Overall, taking care of a Red Claw Crab can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. They are fascinating creatures with unique personalities and behaviors. I personally have found it incredibly satisfying to watch my crab explore its environment and interact with its surroundings.

So go ahead and give it a try! With the right knowledge and preparation, you can provide a comfortable and stimulating home for your Red Claw Crab and enjoy many happy years together.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Red Claw Crab care:

Q: What should I feed my Red Claw Crab?

A: Red Claw Crabs are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods including pellets, flakes, frozen or live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and krill. You can also offer fresh vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, and carrots. It’s important to provide a varied diet to ensure your crab gets all the necessary nutrients.

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

A: You should clean your crab’s tank at least once a month, but more often if the water becomes cloudy or foul-smelling. During cleaning, remove any uneaten food, debris, and excess algae. You should also perform partial water changes (about 25% of the water) every week to maintain good water quality.

Q: Can Red Claw Crabs live with other fish?

A: It’s not recommended to keep Red Claw Crabs with fish as they may become aggressive towards them. However, they can be kept with other non-aggressive invertebrates such as snails and shrimp.

Q: Do Red Claw Crabs need a heater?

A: Yes, Red Claw Crabs require a heater to maintain a water temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C). The water temperature should be monitored regularly to ensure it stays within this range.

Q: How often should I replace the water in my Red Claw Crab’s tank?

A: You should perform partial water changes (about 25% of the water) every week to maintain good water quality. It’s important to use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals from tap water before adding it to the tank.

Q: Do Red Claw Crabs need a filter?

A: Yes, Red Claw Crabs require a filter to maintain good water quality. A filter will help remove excess food, waste, and other debris from the water. It’s important to choose a filter that is appropriate for the size of your tank and to clean or replace the filter media regularly.

Personally, I found that my Red Claw Crab was quite picky about its food and would only eat certain brands of pellets. It took some trial and error to find the right food for my crab, but now it’s thriving and has molted several times since I got it.

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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