What Do Red Claw Crabs Eat? Feeding Guide 101

Jul 4, 2022

What Do Red Claw Crabs Eat

Image: JSutton93 (CC License)

Red claw crabs remind me of Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. Also, Mr. Crab from Spongebob Squarepants. 

Thanks to their beautiful looks, high activity level, and hardy nature, they’re extremely popular across the globe. 

Their hardy nature can be credited to their feeding habit. These opportunistic omnivores will eat just about anything they can lay their claws on and fit in their mouths. 

However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to feed subpar meals or the same food daily. 

In captivity, a red claw crab’s lifespan ranges anywhere between 2 to 2.5 years. But if they aren’t appropriately fed at all times, they die untimely. 

Frankly, if you’re a beginner, it can be overwhelming to plan and manage their diet since they have an appetite for everything. But don’t worry – this guide here will entail everything there’s to know about feeding red claw crabs. 

What Do Red Claw Crabs Eat? 

Red claw crabs are opportunistic omnivores. Therefore, they accept a wide variety of food, ranging from aquarium plants to slow-moving fish. In captivity, shrimp pellets should be the staple food source. You can then fortify the diet with nutritious treats like bloodworms and veggies. 

Here’s a list of food the red claw crabs can eat:

Staple Diet:

  • Shrimp pellets 
  • Shrimp granules 

Snacks:

  • Fish Food
  • Bloodworms 
  • Brine shrimp
  • Uncooked fish
  • Uncooked shrimp
  • Grass shrimp 
  • Ghost shrimp 
  • Amphipods 

Veggies:

  • Spinach 
  • Peas 
  • Leafy greens 
  • Zucchini 
  • Cucumber 
  • Lettuce 

Fruits: 

  • Banana 
  • Papaya 
  • Mango

What Do Red Claw Crabs Eat In The Wild?

The animal food red claw crabs consume in the wild includes aquatic or marine worms, mollusks, crustaceans, zooplankton, and marine invertebrates like zooplankton. 

Plant foods include algae, phytoplankton, and macroalgae. They’re also known to consume microbes, detritus, and fungus.

In the wild, red claw shrimps snack on mangrove leaves often. Therefore, you can also find them chowing down on plants every once in a while. 

They also graze on algae. But don’t expect them to take full responsibility for keeping your algae woe at bay. 

Below, I’ll dish out a few links to commercially available food products that hobbyists recommended on different platforms. 

Aqueon Sinking Shrimp Pellets 

Bells And Whistles:

  • Does not cloud water
  • Sinks to the bottom
  • Formulated to improve immunity and colors 

Fluval Shrimp Granules 

Bells And Whistles:

  • Supplemented with multivitamins 
  • No artificial colors

Tetramin Plus Tropical Flakes 

Bells And Whistles:

  • Does not cloud water 
  • Flavored with shrimp 
  • Color-enhancing formula

Tetra Bloodworms 

Bells And Whistles: 

  • Processed to minimize undesirable organisms found in live bloodworms 
  • Child-safety lid 

Calcium Supplement For Red Claw Crabs 

Like all invertebrates, red claw crabs need a calcium supplement to molt and thrive. 

To supplement calcium, you can use chicken eggshell powder, cuttlefish bones, calcium blocks, crushed corals, and wonder shells. 

Here’s one more link to calcium-rich crab food that enjoys rave reviews on Amazon:

Bells And Whistles:

  • Sinks to the bottom
  • Doesn’t cloud water 
  • Specially formulated for crustaceans 

How Often Should You Feed Red Claw Crabs?

Red claw crabs can be fed thrice a week. You can provide on alternate days. Remove the uneaten food after 2 days. 

Do Red Claw Crabs Eat On Land Or Water?

Although red claw crabs spend a good portion of their time on the land, they have to be in the water to eat. Therefore, it’s important to offer food that sinks. 

Note that they don’t eat food immediately after you offer it. Instead, they usually come out at night and pick food from the bottom. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Before I sign out, let’s quickly look at some of the most frequently asked questions on a red claw crab’s diet. 

Can Red Claw Crabs Eat Ghost Shrimps?

Yes, red claw crabs can eat ghost shrimps. As a matter of fact, they love it. It’s a great source of protein too and relatively easy to eat. 

So naturally, keeping red claw crabs and ghost shrimp together in the same tank is not a good idea. The shrimp will become a gourmet meal for the crab sooner or later. 

Can Red Claw Crabs Eat Snails?

Yes, red claw crabs can and will eat snails. aside from being an excellent source of protein, snails are also high in calcium, iron, vitamin A, and a number of other minerals. 

So once again, red claw crabs and snails aren’t compatible with each other. Snails are slow, and opportunistic crabs will seize the moment one day and consume them. 

Can Red Claw Crabs Eat Fruits?

Yes, red claw crabs can eat fruits, although it’s not something they’d consume in the wild. You can give fruits like banana, papaya, mango, and melon. 

But bear in mind that fruits contain a generous serving of sugar. So, you’d want to give fruits in moderation. In my opinion, once a week will suffice. 

Can Red Claw Crabs Eat Vegetables?

Yes – once again, red claw crabs can eat vegetables even though it’s not something they get to eat in the wild. They can eat spinach, peas, leafy greens, zucchini, lettuce, and cucumber. 

Final Words: What Do Red Claw Crabs Eat? 

To sum it up, red claw crabs are opportunistic scavengers with a big appetite. So, they can eat a wide variety of food. They eat anything from plants and critters to live fish and shrimp.

For a staple diet, you can give your crab shrimp pellets and shrimp granules. For treats, you can provide shrimps, amphipods, bloodworms, and brine shrimp, among others. 

Fruits and veggies can also be served occasionally, but you need to channel moderation while giving these food items since they aren’t a part of their diet in nature. 

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rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.