Introducing the Vampire Crab
If you’re looking for a unique aquarium pet, the Vampire crab is a good choice. An undescribed species of the genus Geosarma aristocratensis, Vampire crabs are semi-terrestrial natives of Southeast Asia. They get their name from their glowing yellow, bright orange or red eyes and their habit of feeding from dusk to dawn. The beautiful, purple crustaceans grow to be about two and a half inches wide with legs spread. Also called panther crabs and carnival crabs, they have an average life span of 2-3 years when cared for properly.
Vampire Crab Habitat
A key factor in the care of your Vampire crabs is their home. Their natural habitat is in forests near fresh water rivers, so a fresh water aquarium is required. Water temperature should be kept between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the PH level should be between 7.5 and 7.8.
As Vampire crabs are semi-terrestrial, they only spend about 50 percent of their time in the water, so it’s important to have a variety of surfaces for them to access out of the water. Big Al’s pets has the rocks, plants, driftwood and other decorative features for the aquarium to ensure your Vampire crabs have ample space to crawl, climb and sit.
A sandy substrate and a supply of java moss are also necessary for molting and reproduction. Once a year, Vampire crabs burrow into the substrate to molt which takes several weeks. Females will burrow into the moss to give birth to live, fully formed miniatures of the adult Vampire crab. Both molting and breeding occur in freshwater which is unique to this type of crab.
Vampire Crab Feeding
One of the reasons that Vampire crabs make such good pets is their feeding habits. These omnivores will eat practically anything including algae and organic matter which helps keep the tank clean. Because they aren’t especially active, they will eat pretty much whatever is nearby, so it’s important to place food in different locations to encourage movement. A varied diet of live baby crickets, earthworm pieces, fish flakes, brine shrimp and even fresh vegetables ensure your Vampire crabs are healthy. Remember that these little guys are scavengers, so feeding them once a day should be sufficient.
Vampire Crab Behavior
Vampire crabs are social creatures that do well in a community. A ten gallon tank can comfortably house a half a dozen of these creatures. Appropriate tank mates for Vampire crabs include large snails and shrimp. Larger fish should be avoided as they may eat the crabs and smaller fish should be avoided as the crabs may eat them. Most active at night, these crabs will spend most of the day just sitting in a favorite spot; although, they will be more active in warmer water.
Vampire crabs are uniquely beautiful creatures of vivid color. Their blue or reddish colored legs and carapace are a striking complement to their purple front and pincers, and they are fascinating just to look at. These non-aggressive, easy to care for creatures are a great way to get your aquarium hobby started.