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Fidler Crabs
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barbie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2006
Location: arizona

PostPosted: 2007.01.28(Sun)15:12    Post subject: Fidler Crabs Reply with quote

A few months ago I bought 6 crabs. Here is where I am at a lost of what is going on. 8 crabs have died and I have 2 left but I bought only 6 crabs. I know they don't breed in captivity so can anyone help me?
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brett_fishman
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
Location: Parksville, BC, Canada

PostPosted: 2007.01.28(Sun)16:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow..I was reading that and I thought it was a typo..haha

I don't know, but maybe they DID breed..?

or maybe you got some 'hitchhikers' on them or something..I know crab larvae are tiny, maybe some came in on another fiddler??

-brett.
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gstrydom
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Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Location: Hertfordshire UK

PostPosted: 2007.01.28(Sun)16:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your crabs most probably moulted and you mistook the exoskeletons for dead crabs. (or at least some of them).
This happens to near everyone who keeps crabs or crayfish the first time.
They are fascinating creatures to watch, but I do not want either crab nor crayfish in my community tank again, no matter WHAT they say at the LFS.
I still have a crayfish which is now in his own unplanted tank with a few very fast fish he can not catch.
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Lobsterman
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Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Location: NYC

PostPosted: 2007.01.28(Sun)17:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got to agree with the previous post. Crabs don't just replicate another one instantly. The offsprings take a while to grow. It definately molted. I think you overcrowded their habitat and they killed each other or something. Male kill other males. Don't throw away the exoskeleton they are like calcium supplement for the crab. Throw away the carcasses, they carry germs.
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Cinder
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Joined: 16 Jan 2006
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: 2007.01.28(Sun)17:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

gstrydom is right about the moulting, you almost certainly mistook a "skin" (exoskeleton) for an actual crab.
Now - let's figure out why your crabs are all dying. My first guess is that they are in a freshwater tank, not a brackish tank? If that is correct then they will all die within a few months. Fiddler crabs are brackish water crabs and can not live long term in freshwater. It so frustrates me to see stores selling them as if they were freshwater. It is condeming them to a slow, certain death. But the stores don't tell so people don't know.
Also - just for your information: crabs are highly predatory and will catch and eat any smaller fish that comes near them. So - if you do have them in a brackish tank with other fish just be aware that you may start losing fish and your crab will probably be the culprit.
Finally - crabs need a place to get out of the water. They often climb up air intake or output tubes, or the heater cord, etc. to get out of the water. It is very helpful, and in their best interest, to give them either rocks or plants that are out of the water to climb on. Because they are such good climbers they also are known as great escape artists so make sure your tank has a complete cover with no holes.
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barbie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2006
Location: arizona

PostPosted: 2007.01.29(Mon)9:29    Post subject: What does a moulting crab look like? Reply with quote

I can't find a single pic of a crab who has moulted.
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DF Bobo
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2007.01.29(Mon)14:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what a crab moulting looks like, but I used to keep ghost shrimp and they molted every once in a while, and then went into hiding for a few days so I thought a few had died. there's an old thread about how to tell moulted shrimp from dead shrimp. if you do a search, you should find it. if I have some time, I'll look for it and post it here.
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gstrydom
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Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Location: Hertfordshire UK

PostPosted: 2007.01.29(Mon)14:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only way for a crustacean to grow, is to shed its shell and form a new one.
Usually the animal would retreat into a sheltered spot and then the shell splits - they shed everything - even the shell on the claws and feet in one piece.
It then inflates itself and the new shell (now bigger) hardens over then next few days - in this time the animal is very vulnerable to predators and would hide. Often they will eat the shell to recover the calcium.
You need not question whether crabs moult - all crustaceans do.
Take note of Cinder's remarks about brakish water requirements for fiddlers.
When crustaceans are very small, they can shed their shells every few days, the intervals becoming longer as they grow.
I have a crayfish that has now moulted five times since I have had it (is about 6 months old now) - the first time I thought it was dead and threw it out - imagine my HORROR when I spotted it alive, well and markedly bigger under a piece of bogwood minutes after I flushed what I thought was the dead crayfish down the toilet!
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