Can Fiddler Crabs Live In Fresh Water?

yondude
  • #1
HI all,
We recently set up a tank with 2 fiddler crabs, 2 dwarf gouramis, and an inca gold snail. The worker at Petco told us that the fiddler crabs could live in freshwater but would need some land access. After buying the crabs, I did some more reading about them online and read that they do best in brackish water and will die pretty quickly in freshwater. Concerned, I called Petco and asked them about this. They told me that since the crabs were raised in freshwater that though they will not live as long as they would in brackish water, they will be okay. I would like to transfer them to another tank, but I'm in a dorm and don't have the time or money for another. How long will my crabs survive? Is there a low budget solution to this problem? I don't want them to be uncomfortable or unhealthy. If I had known that they did best in brackish water I wouldn't have bought them in the first place.
Thanks!
 
goldface
  • #2
I find them in brackish to even marine marshlands. So, keeping them in freshwater sounds very odd to me, even if they were captive bred. Yet, I don’t want to say for certain whether or not it’s possible. There are species of tilapia, for instance, that can handle extremely high salinity, which they can even breed and thrive in, but most marine fish would die from. So who knows.
 
yondude
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I find them in brackish to even marine marshlands. So, keeping them in freshwater sounds very odd to me, even if they were captive bred. Yet, I don’t want to say for certain whether or not it’s possible. There are species of tilapia that can handle very high salinity and even breed and thrive in, while true marine fish are unable to adapt to. So who knows.
Huh, that's interesting. I guess I'll see what happens. On the bright side, they were only a couple bucks apiece. Any idea of how I could tell if they're not doing well?
 
goldface
  • #4
Huh, that's interesting. I guess I'll see what happens. On the bright side, they were only a couple bucks apiece. Any idea of how I could tell if they're not doing well?
I never kept them. My only experience is catching them in the wild and vacuum freezing them for bait, which are then used to catch certain species of wrasse and even trigger fish and puffers. I suppose look for the usual signs of whether or not they are eating and their activity level. Maybe someone else here has more experience.

If you’re interested about tilapias’ amazing adaptability to saltwater, look up the Salton Sea.
 
yondude
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I never kept them. My only experience is catching them in the wild and vacuum freezing them for bait, which are then used to catch certain species of wrasse and even trigger fish and puffers. I suppose look for the usual signs of whether or not they are eating and their activity level. Maybe someone else here has more experience.

If your interested about tilapias adaptability to saltwater, look up the Salton Sea.
Okay gotcha, thanks a lot!!
 
aussieJJDude
  • #6
Having known a couple of individuals that have kept them, keeping them in pure freshwater does limit their lifespan and as a result, would recommend rehoming them to a suitable aqua that will be able to provide for their needs.

As far as I know, all fiddlers are wild caught.


If your looking for crustaceans, maybe look into dwarf ornamental shrimp or micro crabs as suitable alternatives?
 
TexasDomer
  • #7
Agreed, fiddler crabs are not freshwater crabs and should not be forced to live in freshwater. Having a shorter lifespan automatically makes that not okay (stupid Petco employee - you would think they'd see the idiocy in that statement).

I would return it or rehome it to someone else with a proper setup. You should be able to return it to Petco, saying that they sold them to you under false information.

On a side note, I'd return one dwarf gourami as well. Males will fight or bully each other, and females are very rare, especially at a chain store like Petco, so it is most likely that you have two males.

It's frustrating, but I wouldn't take advice from pet store employees. They usually don't know much, and they are trying to sell you things.
 
sardine
  • #8
Don't take advice from petco, there might be some knowledgeable empolyees but many are just kids with minimal training and experience unfortuently.
 
fishman'iac
  • #9
A active fiddler is usually a healthy fiddler, the claw waving is to attract females... and if ur crabs inactive don’t poke it around( like I did)as it might be molting or shedding their old skin a very stressful time of their life ... good luck
 
Demeterite
  • #10
I'm in a similar situation. I was sold a fiddler buy a big box store. I've had my crab for a little over 2 weeks. He's plenty active. I got him both a turtle Dock and an underwater Atlantis Islands Lagoon to get out of the water with. There's almost nothing on this forum about the Golden Claw fiddler crabs, but I've read elsewhere online that they can be okay if it's not fully brackish as long as there is some salt so I've just been adding a few teaspoons of aquarium salt. Obviously it's not the ideal situation, but I can't afford getting him a separate housing right now.
 
TexasDomer
  • #11
If you can't get them proper tank setups, I'd rehome them. It's hard, but it's best for the crab
 
aussieJJDude
  • #12
If you can't get them proper tank setups, I'd rehome them. It's hard, but it's best for the crab
Agreed...

Having kept hermit crabs, aquarium salt is not the same thing as marine salt, which contain trace elements which is important to the crab for moulting and what not.
 
UglyAsian
  • #13
Ok, here is some advice. I kept fiddler crabs alot. It was how I started the fish hobby. They need brackish water(Marine salt) to live their full life. They cannot live with other fish, due to predation. Hope this was helpful
 
yondude
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Having known a couple of individuals that have kept them, keeping them in pure freshwater does limit their lifespan and as a result, would recommend rehoming them to a suitable aqua that will be able to provide for their needs.

As far as I know, all fiddlers are wild caught.


If your looking for crustaceans, maybe look into dwarf ornamental shrimp or micro crabs as suitable alternatives?
Okay, thank you so much! I'll look into those alternatives.

A active fiddler is usually a healthy fiddler, the claw waving is to attract females... and if ur crabs inactive don’t poke it around( like I did)as it might be molting or shedding their old skin a very stressful time of their life ... good luck
All right, mine have been waving and wandering around all day haha. Currently looking into a better way to house them. Thanks!
 
Neutral-Waterinos
  • #15
All right, mine have been waving and wandering around all day haha. Currently looking into a better way to house them. Thanks!

They breed in brackish environments too, pretty cool watching the mother have a massive buldge of eggs and fanning it. They release thousands! As long as you don't have any thing to gobble the fry up you might get some baby fiddlers.
 
UglyAsian
  • #16
The fish with the crabs could, along with the crabs eating the fish
 
aussieJJDude
  • #17
They breed in brackish environments too, pretty cool watching the mother have a massive buldge of eggs and fanning it. They release thousands! As long as you don't have any thing to gobble the fry up you might get some baby fiddlers.
Not really. The babies are very small and require kreisel tank as they are 'drifters' and form part of the planktonic soup in the oceans. I believe no one has successfully bred them in captivity yet.
 
Neutral-Waterinos
  • #18
Not really. The babies are very small and require kreisel tank as they are 'drifters' and form part of the planktonic soup in the oceans. I believe no one has successfully bred them in captivity yet.

Thanks for that info! That's really cool, I saw a video on it and they were like dust, do you know why they can't be bred in captivity?

Cheers mate
 
Demeterite
  • #19
I could tell my crab was beginning to suffer and become more lethargic in the freshwater. I've decided to rehome him and listed his underwater island lagoon on the Buy/Sell/Swap page. The freshwater just wasn't his cup of tea.
 
aussieJJDude
  • #20
Thanks for that info! That's really cool, I saw a video on it and they were like dust, do you know why they can't be bred in captivity?

Cheers mate
Breeding them is the easy part, keeping the larvae alive is the hard part
 
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