Freshwater Pom Pom Crab (Ptychognathus barbatus)
We are extremely proud and excited to be one of the only North American retailers to offer the freshwater Pom Pom Crab (Ptychognathus barbatus), a true gem and consummate nano aquarium specimen!
This extremely rare freshwater crab has proven to be a very endearing, interesting, and durable candidate for the freshwater community aquarium. Very little information is available for this crab, but we have done extensive research to determine proper husbandry for this crab at our in-house facility.
Like most crabs, the Freshwater Pom Pom Crab is an omnivorous scavenger and an opportunistic hunter on occasion. In addition to eating food items that collect on the patches of hair (“pom poms”) that grow on its claws, it feeds on filamentous algae and detritus in the aquarium and will also readily accept high-quality dry foods that are rich in plant matter. We also occasionally feed these crabs protein-rich frozen foods such as bloodworms, but only sparingly.
The Freshwater Pom Pom Crab reportedly has pockets of population throughout many tropical and sub-tropical regions in Africa, Asia, and Australia, particularly Madagascar, Taiwan, and New Caledonia. It inhabits both brackish and fully freshwater areas and it is suspected that this crab spawns in brackish water and its fry go through a larval stage similar to many amphidromous crustaceans that live in freshwater as adults but spawn in brackish areas. To our knowledge, spawning in the aquarium has not yet been reported. Unlike most “freshwater” crabs, this crab is truly fully aquatic. However, we recommend keeping your water line relatively low or keeping a lid on your aquarium, as these crabs are occasional escape artists.
This crab is generally peaceful towards snails and most fish from what we have experienced but it may go after dwarf shrimp, very small snails, and slow moving fish that are very small. As stated above, like almost all crabs, it is an opportunistic omnivore. It is much heftier, active, and more outgoing than the peaceful Thai Micro Crab (Limnopilos naiyanetri), and for the most part it shares the same disposition. There have been instances where certain individuals have shown aggression towards dwarf shrimp, so they may not be safe to keep with dwarf shrimp all of the time, particularly in the confines of a very small aquarium. Overall, this crab will make for a completely ideal, exciting candidate in most nano, community, or planted aquariums.
* It’s important to note that this is a very small crab (most will be 1 inch or less at the time of purchase but they can grow up to 1.5 to 1.75 inches). This small size makes them ideal for nano tanks as mentioned above *
- Very active with peaceful disposition towards most tank mates
- Less aggressive than many other crabs
- Fully aquatic
- Easy to feed
- Excellent scavenger
- Temperature: 68° - 78° F (20° - 25° C)
- pH: 6.2 - 7.2
- KH: 1 - 5 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
- Diet: Omnivorous. High-quality sinking flakes and pellets, plants/algae, and freeze-dried or frozen meaty foods will be readily accepted. Cuttlebone should be added to the aquarium to supplement calcium, which will aid in exoskeleton production
- Social behavior: Peaceful. Seems to completely ignore most tankmates
- Caution: Some Individuals may go after dwarf shrimp
- Origin: Madagascar, Taiwan, New Caledonia
- Average adult size: 1 inch (2.5 cm) or less
- Average purchase size: 1/2 - 1 inch (1.3 - 2.5 cm)