Want a home aquarium but not interested in ordinary fish? Looking for something with a stronger pinch than a guppy?
You may be interested in raising red claw crabs!
Red claw crabs make excellent aquatic pets and are fascinating to observe in your tank.
However, you’ll have to know how to care for your red claw crabs before bringing them home. That includes carefully considering their diet, as crustaceans often have specific dietary needs outside of ordinary fish flakes.
In this article, we’ll talk about all the different foods you can feed your red claw crab. These foods include:
To learn more about properly feeding your red claw crabs, read on!
About Red Claw Crabs
Red claw crabs are fascinating species normally found in Asia, specifically around Japan and Fiji. This adorable little crab lives in brackish water, which means he has specific care requirements.
Though red claw crabs tend to be a bit shy, they’re also extremely charismatic. You’ll certainly never be bored watching these little guys run around your tank!
It’s important to keep in mind, again, that red claw crabs do best in brackish water. While they can survive in freshwater tanks, these conditions often shorten their lifespan greatly.
To keep your red claw crabs as long as possible, you should make sure they have all the tank requirements necessary for them to live long, happy, healthy lives. If taken care of properly, you could have your red claw crabs anywhere between 2 – 2.5 years.
Beyond specific water requirements, red claw crabs also have specific diets. Read on to learn more about the best diet possible for your red claw crabs.
Types of Food For Red Claw Crabs
Red claw crabs are often predators in the wild. They enjoy going after their prey and finding themselves a nice, yummy meal in their warm, shallow waters.
It’s important to keep in mind that red claw crabs are omnivores in the wild. While they enjoy the thrill of catching a shrimp or fish in the wild, they’ll also snack on various vegetation in their habitats.
As a result, you’ll want to feed them a combination of meats and veggies to keep them strong and healthy.
Keep in mind that each of these foods is best paired with other foods on the list. Often, just one type of food is not enough to keep your crabs healthy as each food has different types of nutrients in it.
For the best results, plan to regularly feed your red claw crabs a combination of the foods on this list.
One of the best foods you can feed your red claw crabs is bloodworms. Bloodworms are high in protein and are sure to help your red claw crabs grow big and strong.
There are three primary ways you can feed bloodworms to your red claw crabs:
Though your crabs may be thrilled by the live option, this is often the most unsafe. Live feed can introduce bacteria, parasites, and other illnesses to your tank, which is often not worth the risk.
Instead, freeze-dried and frozen options are much safer for your crabs. Frozen will preserve more nutrients and also be more fun to eat for your crab since it remains similar in shape and size to live worms.
Freeze-dried blood worms, on the other hand, have fewer nutrients but will be preserved longer than frozen worms. This means no worries about your crab’s food going bad or accidentally coming into contact with your frozen chicken breast. Yuck!
The choice is yours, though a combination of the two is usually preferable.
2. Brine Shrimp
Another food that red claw crabs really like is brine shrimp! Brine shrimp are extremely tiny shrimp that are also packed full of protein.
These teeny shrimp are often easier for smaller red claw crabs to eat due to their small size. This also means you’ll have to sprinkle in quite a few brine shrimp for your crabs to get a full meal.
Brine shrimp come in the same varieties as blood worms, as will the rest of the animal foods on this list. Remember that while freeze-dried and frozen are both safe for your red claw crabs, frozen preserves more nutrients than freeze-dried brine shrimp.
But if you’re not comfortable with brine shrimp chillin’ next to your frozen peas, freeze-dried works too!
3. Ghost Shrimp
Ghost shrimp are another species of shrimp that your crabs will want to get their claws full of. Ghost shrimp are often called “skeleton shrimp” because they are nearly clear when observing them!
Spooky, right? Not so much when your crab is munching on them.
You may wonder if there is a big difference between brine and ghost shrimp. In general, compared to brine shrimp, ghost shrimp are:
- Slightly larger
- Not as meaty
- Usually fed frozen
Because of their skinny bodies, it is difficult to successfully freeze-dry ghost shrimp. Though you may get lucky, most people who give their red claw crabs ghost shrimp get them frozen.
Though they won’t last as long, you can at least be content knowing your red claw crabs are getting more nutrients with frozen shrimp!
4. Raw Fish
In the wild, red claw crabs frequently snack on raw fish. Usually, these fish are slower, smaller, or otherwise weaker so the crab is able to catch them.
Since live animals can introduce disease to your tank, you’ll want to avoid giving your red claw crabs a live fish. However, you can chop up some raw fish to feed them!
Your crabs will definitely appreciate you doing the dirty work for them.
Though there aren’t many particular rules to feeding your red claw crabs raw fish, they do prefer flaky fish as it is easier for your crabs to eat.
Remember to freeze your raw fish first to kill any bacteria or parasites that may be lingering in it. Though the fish may be dead, it can still carry disease if not frozen before feeding!
5. Fish Flakes
Fish flakes are a great option to supplement your red claw crab’s diet. Fish flakes often contain many nutrients from both fish and plants, which makes flakes perfect for omnivores.
Because fish flakes are typically only used for… Well… Fish, we recommend not using them as a primary food source. It can, however, be a good supplement for your crabs.
Just remember to let the flakes soak so they sink, or get some sinking fish food. You don’t want to tease your crabs with never-sinking flakes!
6. Shrimp Flakes
Just like fish flakes, shrimp flakes can be an important part of your crabs’ diet. Because crabs and shrimp are more similar genetically, shrimp flakes may be more well-rounded in the nutrients your red claw crabs need than fish flakes.
We recommend ensuring that the shrimp food you get is sinking so your crabs can access it easily. Flakes that don’t sink can become soggy and fall apart before reaching the bottom, which makes your tank dirty without actually feeding your crabs.
Finally, red claw crabs really love vegetables! Because these omnivores often snack on plants in their own environments, vegetables are a great replacement for some of these native plants.
Some vegetables that your red claw crabs may enjoy include spinach, peas, kale, and other leafy greens. Remember to blanch the veggies before feeding them to soften them a bit and kill any lingering bacteria on the greens.
If you don’t want to take the time to cook veggies for your crabs, you can always get some veggie tablets for them. These tablets have a combination of different vegetables and can be simply dropped into the tank.
The tablets then soften and are eaten by your crabs. It’s like a crab salad, yum!
How To Feed Red Claw Crabs
There are a few different ways to feed your red claw crabs depending on if you’re feeding live, frozen, or freeze-dried.
As mentioned previously, we highly recommend that you do not feed live food to your crabs as they can inadvertently introduce disease to your tank. If you do decide to risk feeding live, you’ll want to make sure your choices are small and slow so your crabs actually have the chance to catch their food!
If you are instead going with frozen foods, remember to keep your red claw crabs’ food frozen until feeding time. You may allow the food to defrost a bit for easier feeding, or can let the food defrost in the tank for an enrichment experience for your crabs.
Frozen foods will also sink much easier than freeze-dried foods, which makes it easier for your crab to access it. Depending on your preferences, you can place the frozen foods into your crabs’ tank using:
- Your fingers
Freeze-dried food can often just be sprinkled into the tank directly from the container for your crabs. We recommend somehow measuring how much you give them using a spoon or other form of measurement so feedings are consistent.
Remember that freeze-dried food will float until it is soaked with water. Once it is soaked, it will sink to the bottom of the tank where your crabs can eat it.
Now You Know
Now that you know what do red clawed crabs eat? and which foods are best for your red claw crabs? You should be on your way to starting a happy, healthy tank of them.
Red claw crabs will eat these foods: Blood worms, Brine shrimp, Ghost shrimp, Raw fish, Fish flakes, Shrimp flakes, and Vegetables
Remember that feeding live food to your crabs can result in accidental contamination or illness. When in doubt, always freeze your crabs’ food first or purchase freeze-dried versions of these foods.
If you have red claw crabs, let us know which foods they like the best. If you have any questions about your home aquarium, ask below and we may write about your question next!