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Red Claw Crab: DEAD or MOLTING (pics included)

This is a discussion on Red Claw Crab: DEAD or MOLTING (pics included) within the FreshWater General Discussion forums, part of the FreshWater Topics category;
Alrighty so I brought home this little guy on Saturday and he was very active going all over his new ...

  1. #1
    Little Fish edaskalos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Anchorage, AK

    Exclamation Red Claw Crab: DEAD or MOLTING (pics included)

    Alrighty so I brought home this little guy on Saturday and he was very active going all over his new 29G home. He even got up into my Eclipse hood to hang out for a bit on a couple of occasions. Yesterday he started just wanting to hang out on the coloseum ruin instead of exploring. I noticed a couple days ago also that his lower carapace "trap door" was open where these crabs will exit upon molting. As of about 14 hours ago he has been laying at the very back middle of the tank upside down with his trap door hanging open. I have had these guys previously and had them shed and believe I saw this as molting behavior. He hasn't budged now in 14 hours in this position. Is he dead, dying, or molting? PLEASE ADVISE!

    [see attached images for reference]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    29 GALLON FW:
    - Betta (named Alpha)
    - 1 Honey Gourami
    - 1 Opaline Gourami
    - 7 Glofish
    - 1 Dojo Loach
    - 4 Otos
    - 4 Golden Inca Snails

    - Coral Beauty
    - Lemon Peel Angel
    - Huge bossy Clownfish
    - Blue Hippo Tang (stunted growth, but super healthy)
    - Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
    - Coral Banded Shrimp
    - Decorator Crab
    - 3 Turbo snails
    - 2 Margarita snails
    - 4 Blue Legged crabs

  2. #2
    Moderator Orion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003


    Are you sure that's not just the empty exoskeleton? I would think that it would be strange for one to molt in what looks like more out in the open there. If he/she's still in there it might be dead. I might give it some time and make sure that other fish aren't picking on it as I'm sure you know that when they molt they are very vulnerable.
    I am Species 5618: Coffee Based life form

  3. #3
    Medium Fish Stevie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Sunny Ireland.


    Yeah I got to agree with Big O on this one. I think it would run off and hide. Did you try and move it?
    <img src="" alt="" />

  4. #4
    Little Fish Monoxide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    Poke it or maybe thumb the sides (if near it) softly, if still nothing then swirl something near it.

  5. #5
    Teenie Weenie Fish
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    i think mine might be dead... it doesnt move and its a bit discolored. i tried poking at it and it doesnt move its just there, i noticed it yesterday and its been in the same position since then... how do i know if its dead, or how long should i wait to take it out?

  6. #6
    Little Fish
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Las Vegas


    if its been there for a day without moving i think its safe to say its dead, but i might just be the shell can you tell if its an emty shell?

  7. #7
    Super Fish brian1973's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas


    I dont know about red claw crabs molting but I know the fiddlers eat their exoskeleton after they molt.

    dont quote me on this but I think these crabs are actually brackish and should have access to land, I believe keeping them completely submerged in freshwater will cause premature death.

  8. #8
    Super Fish misterking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Manchester, UK


    Brian you're absolutely right there. I worked at my LFS for a while and we got a huge shipment of these every week from Thailand, and they went in the brackish section in half-filled tanks decorated with "islands" of driftwood. It was quite common for them to spend most of their time on the driftwood and even climbing up the undergravel filter tube.

    As the others said, check the shell isn't empty, as he may have molted and hid. However, I don't think the tank is suitable for it long term they shouldn't be kept with fish, they should be kept in a paludarium with brackish water and plenty of land space.
    Rob King
    Graduate, singer, and all round good egg.

    "An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my life long after I've left the opera house." - Maria Callas.

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