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Crabs are crucial members of aquarium clean-up crews as they are great at scavenging and making sure all waste is consumed. The arrow crab is amongst favorites when it comes to crew members, but are these crustaceans safe for seahorse aquariums?
Arrow crabs are considered safe for seahorses and they can co-exist peacefully under the right conditions. These crabs are good additions to a seahorse aquarium and they are very beneficial. Normally the small to medium-sized arrow crabs are ideal tankmates. Just remember to proceed with caution since even the most harmless and seemingly inoffensive crabs can cause trouble under certain circumstances.
Arrow crabs (Stenorhynchus seticornis) are very distinctive crustaceans that share a resemblance to spiders.
Their unique appearance, hardiness, and excellent hunting ability are among the top reasons why many choose them as tank inhabitants.
These crabs are suitable for seahorse aquariums specifically for the bigger seahorse species.
If you want to try keeping them with seahorses start with the smaller to medium-sized latent ones. They are more fitting and more composed compared to the bigger ones.
Even though they are shy and always hidden they are regarded as semi-aggressive and should be kept with caution.
In general, crabs are opportunistic scavengers that cannot be trusted. Though they may be suitable for seahorses there are risks associated.
Make sure you are observant watching for any signs of disputes or aggression that could arise.
Arrow Crab Compatibility.
Arrow crabs or crabs in general must always be kept with caution since there is always a chance of aggression.
Especially when pairing them with other tankmates, they should never be with creatures that are small enough for them to prey on or big enough to be preyed on.
When it comes to seahorses, these arror crabs are compatible with the bigger species that reach good mature sizes.
They should never be trusted with dwarf seahorses(Hippocampus zosterae) which are too small to share the same tank as them.
Dwarf seahorses are easy targets for crabs and they can consume them easily.
You should also avoid keeping small snails and other slow-moving invertebrates with crabs since they can become targets once certain circumstances arise.
These crabs are predatory and they can attack at any time. They are designed for survival and are willing to prey on anything within their environment to sustain themselves.
For the best chances of co-existence keep the small-to medium size arrow crabs since these ones are often more tamed until they reach maturity.
You can always get rid of them once they grow too big and introduce new ones. This is probably the best way of keeping crabs successfully in a community tank.
Conditions For Keeping Arrow Crabs With Seahorses.
When keeping arrow crabs with seahorses there are a few conditions that need to be met. This is required in order to provide the safest environment for all inhabitants to co-exist peacefully.
1. Even though all arrow crabs have the tendency to be aggressive, females tend to be less aggressive and more composed. The males are often problematic when conditions aren’t met.
Therefore always choose female crabs to increase your chances of compatibility within a seahorse-specific aquarium.
2. Arrow crabs do best in larger tanks with enough surface area for them to explore.
A small tank will keep them limited and restrained which can result in all sorts of unwanted behaviors.
A good-sized spacious tank will provide enough room for them to gather resources keeping them satisfied in the process.
I would recommend atleast a 30-gallon tank for a small-medium sized crab.
3. Keeping more than one arrow crab is not often recommended since there is a possibility for aggression towards each other.
Having one crab is sufficient but if you intend on keeping more than one make sure you have at least 20 gallons per crab.
This will make sure all occupants have their own territory and the chances of aggression are minimized. However one of these bad boys are generally more than enough.
4. When keeping arrow crabs it’s advised to not keep snails, small fish, small starfish and single-celled invertebrates since they are easy targets for them to prey on.
Snails are slow-moving creatures that are bottom dwellers and may cross paths with the arrow crabs and they can be devoured in no time.
For the safest possible outcome, keep snails and other small marine life away from tanks that arrow crabs are sheltered in.
5. When algae and leftovers are scarce in an aquarium make sure you are providing supplemental food.
This is a crucial part of making them remain at peace in a community tank, if not their opportunistic tendencies will have them preying on livestock.
You can feed them dried nori, chopped shrimp, etc. This will help keep them satisfied preventing them from being problematic.
6. Arrow crabs love to hide (Nocturnal) so create plenty of hiding spots with live rock and reef work so they can have a place of refuge.
This will also prevent them from causing unnecessary disputes within a tank since they can easily take cover whenever they feel threatened.
7. Its best to keep the smaller arrow crabs since its they are safest for seahorses. Arrow crabs get really big with some reaching 10 inches.
The smaller ones would be ideal for larger seahorse species since the bigger ones are alot more predatory and aggressive.
8. Never keep crabs with dwarf seahorses, not even the most docile crab can be trusted with these small ponies.
Dwarf seahorses are really small and vulnerable. They do best in species-specific tanks without potential predators.
9. A substrate bottom is required for arrow crabs since it provides a good surface for them to scout their next meal.
A good soft sand of about an inch or two is ideal.
10. Arrow crabs should never be kept with predatory fish like lionfish and puffers since they will be easily preyed on.
To preserve their life in captivity keep them amongst suitable tankmates around their size so they wont be preyed on while not preying on other tankmates.
Benefits Of Keeping Arrow Crabs.
Even though crabs come with a certain level of risk, adding them to a saltwater aquarium is very beneficial.
These benefits include;
1. They help get rid of debris and detritus build-up which is a fear when keeping seahorses since it leads to the decline of water quality.
Adding these crustaceans will help assist in keeping waste at its minimal preserving the life of the aquarium inhabitants.
2. Overfeeding is also a problem when it comes to seahorse aquariums since these ponies are passive feeders lots of food goes to waste.
Many hobbyists often choose to target feed which helps keep waste down but due to their messy tendencies and heavy bioload they need assistance.
Seahorses are either releasing waste through their rear end or expelling food through their vacuum snouts with each mysis they suck up.
Over time this waste breaks down causing all sorts of imbalances in the chemistry of the water. By adding these crabs they will consume most of the leftover food before it can even start to break down.
This helps prevent the releasing of harmful chemicals such as ammonia and nitrite which is a toxic substance to marine life.
3. Arrow crabs are good hunters and they are great for getting rid of bristle worms in aquariums.
These crabs are naturally suited for controlling these worm species since they can reproduce uncontrollably if left unattended.
Arrow crabs will greatly assist in keeping these worms from taking over your saltwater aquarium.
4. Due to their distinct appearance and uniqueness these crabs add alot of personality and amazement to an aquarium.
The addition of these crabs had alot of diversity and amazement to just about any tank creating a visually appealing feature thats attractive to many.
5. These guys play an important role in aquarium husbandry. They assist in clean-ups whether it’s sifting through the sand, cleaning up rock, or scraping up debris or algae.
Every effort of theirs is seen and admired at least for aquarium enthusiasts who know the struggles of maintaining an aquarium.
6. Arrow crabs are easy to care for and are perfect for beginners as well. All they require is a good tank to shelter them, standard water parameters and lots of food.
They will also need a few customizations within the tank such as creating hiding spots between crevices of the rock for them to hide.
Apart from that they pretty easy to keep which is a benefit compared to what they worth.
Like with any crab there are always risks that you’d incur if you decide on keeping them. There are no crabs that are completely safe.
While some may be peaceable and docile when young they often grow to become great opportunists taking advantage of every situation to make sure they survive.
These are the potential risks you should expect when keeping arrow crabs with seahorses.
1. There is always a chance of aggressive behavior. Although uncommon it’s a risk that comes when keeping crustaceans.
At the outset, you must know that these guys are opportunistic and they will take every opportunity given to them.
If any marine life is small enough to fit in their mouths chances are that they will try to consume them in desperate situations.
That’s the reason there are conditions that must be met when keeping them. So be mindful of these potential problems.
2. Normally in seahorse aquariums many aquarists keep starfish, snails and other invertebrates with them. This isnt a good pairing for crabs since they can become easy targets.
Especially slow-moving creatures, these ones are vulnerable and placing them with crabs leaves them in a compromised state.
Worst case scenario, they will be devoured by the crab.
3. Hobbyists often like to try different pairings and matches to customize their aquarium. I know we like to change it up a bit by adding new additions that arent even good matches in the first place.
This shouldn’t be done with crabs, crabs are not the type to experiment with. They are ravenging opportunists with voracious appetites.
Keep incompatible tankmates away from them, especially dwarf seahorses.
4. Seahorses aren’t really a direct target for these crabs since the larger seahorse species get really big.
Also, seahorses normally remain within the water and not really at the bottom. But their tails are at risk of being attacked, in worst-case scenarios.
Always be mindful and observant so you can act accordingly since even the slightest bruise or injury on a seahorse can prove to be fatal.
5. Arrow crabs are scavengers and most importantly they are omnivores eating meat and plants.
This can pose a possible problem since algae attaches to the bodies of seahorses and over time this builds up.
This can be seen as a potential food source for these crabs and they can groom them which can be too much for seahorses to handle.
This can lead to stress leaving the seahorse in a compromised state.
Obsessive grooming and bullying is a potential risk, although it’s uncommon be on the look out and intervene immediately.
6. Arrow crabs are regarded as reef-safe but can predate on coral if hungry. This puts added risk on the health of corals in your aquarium should you choose to add them to your tank.
Even though it’s not common for them to eat coral, they will attempt to consume at least the dead parts of it when desperate.
Polyps and certain soft corals are prone to be nibbled on so be on the look out for such occurrences.
Arrow crabs are safe for seahorses and they do have a good chance of co-existing peacefully. However there are certain conditions that must be met which we’ve already discussed.
Either than that if these creatures are presented with the right environment and if maintained properly, these crabs will continue to mind their own business staying away from other tankmates.
Just be sure to proceed with caution since you can never be too sure with opportunistic crustaceans like crabs.