The Vampire Crabs – scientifically known as the Geosesarma dennerle – are a unique choice for those who want something exotic in their aquariums. It is a species of crabs that is a common choice for many aquarists, who want something other than fish in their tanks. These are colorful creatures that dwell in the bottoms of your tank and climb the decorations that you put in their tanks. It is capable of living in both land and water-based environments. 

Also, Vampire Crabs are easy-to-care-for creatures that do not require much effort. You just need to provide them with suitable habitat and living conditions, and they will live in your tank for a long time. The Vampire Crabs have a beautiful appearance, as their bodies are uniquely shaped, unlike fish and other sea creatures, they walk on their legs instead of swimming. Here is a complete guide about the Vampire Crabs, it will help you take care of your crabs.

Basic Facts Table

LifespanUnder 2 years
Size2 inches.
ColorsPurple, black, yellow.
Freshwater or SaltwaterFreshwater
Care LevelMedium,
CompatibilityPeaceful tanks.

Tank Companions

Here is a list of the possible tank mates or tank companions of the Vampire Crab.

  • Neon Tetras,
  • Cherry Barbs,
  • Guppies,
  • Zebra Danios,
  • Large Snails,
  • Large Shrimps,

How To Select Tank Companions?

There are a lot of potential candidates for the tank companion of Vampire Crab, but you need to decide with careful consideration. Because keeping them with the wrong tank mate would be disastrous, not just for them but for the entire tank. For example, pairing them with the wrong type of fish or crabs can cause competition within the tank that can lead to fights between the different species of crabs, and fish. But you can avoid this by introducing only peaceful fish species.

There are a few other parameters that can help you select the right type of candidates for the tank companion of the Vampire Crabs. First, you need to make sure that you do not pair the Vampire Crabs with any other species of crabs. They do not get along with the other species, and it will give rise to the tension and fights within your tank. That is why you should avoid adding any type of crabs in the same tank as the Vampire Crabs.

Secondly, you need to make sure that you introduce large species of shrimps, and snails in the tank of vampire carbs. It is an important requirement because if you put smaller species of snails and shrimps, the Vampire Crab might think of them as food. It would kill them and try to eat them, but you can avoid this by introducing the large shrimps and snails that can defend themselves.

Third, it is important to select the fish species for the tank companion of Vampire Crabs carefully. You need to make sure that the fish species that you have selected are peaceful and would not try to eat them. There are a lot of fish species that attack and kill the crabs in their habitats, you should avoid those fish species and only select the ones that are smaller and more peaceful. These measures will ensure a peaceful aquarium environment.

Fourth, it is also important to make sure that the tank companion that you have selected can live in the same conditions as the Vampire Crabs. If they are not compatible, and cannot live in the same conditions, you cannot paint them. Because one of them will die because it will be facing a different type of climate and living conditions. For example, these crabs live in freshwater aquariums, you cannot introduce them into a marine aquarium, or a seawater fish in their aquarium.

Species Overview

This is a species of small, beautiful, purple-colored crabs, known as the Vampire Crabs. These crabs are native to small Islands in Indian Oceans. Vampire Crabs are known for their beauty and peaceful nature. The Vampire Crabs are called vampires because of their appearance, and their feeding habits. These crabs have a purple-colored body, and dark yellow eyes, similar to most vampire descriptions in the fantasy genre books.

They are native to Asia and the Pacific regions. According to researchers, these crabs have been used as pets for a very long time. But their origins were rediscovered in a 2006 study. These crabs are a popular choice in many regions where fish keepers want something unique in their tanks, and their appearance makes them a potential exotic pet.


The Vampire Crabs can grow up to 2 inches long, and wide. Its entire body is covered with different shades of purple, but the eyes of this species of crab are yellow. It has multiple legs that are in sync when it is walking or swimming inside the tank. The body of these crabs is known as the carapace. This part of the crab is dark, and sometimes can be black. Their eyes are sharp, yellow and they are fitted on two separate mounts above their head. It allows the crab to look at different angles simultaneously without moving its head.

It is one of their best defenses as it allows them to detect the presence of predators, and prey in their environment and helps them survive. Vampire Crabs have five sets of legs, each set contains two legs that are attached to the carapace of the crab. These legs allow them to move quickly on the surface of their habitat. Also, they allow it to protect itself from predators and fight them off. Apart from this, these crabs also have a strong jaw, and two claws that help them in capturing prey.

Their claws are very strong and can exert an immense amount of force as compared to their size. This allows them to immobilize their prey before killing it and eating it. It also helps them fight the predators in their tank. The appearance of Male Vampire Crabs and Female Vampire Crabs is different. Females have different abdominal flaps, and they can carry the eggs with them. These differences are subtle but can be identified if you look closely.


Vampire Crabs are native to the Pacific, and Indian ocean, most of these crabs live in Islands near East Asia. It is a species of crabs that lives in freshwater streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, potholes, and water bodies in the tropical region. Some of them are found in India, Krakatau, Java, meanwhile, some are found as far as in Hawaii.

Natural Habitat

Vampire Crabs live in freshwater habitats. They live in those places where there are stones in the bottom, with some level of vegetation to provide them cover. These are predator species of the crab that eats other crabs, small snails, and shrimps. It also eats many other things that it can find in its natural habitat. This is how they stay alive in those harsh areas where the food is scarce and they have to compete for it.

Vampire Crabs live near the edges of the rivers lakes and freshwater streams this enables them to travel out of the water, into the land, and again into new freshwater bodies. These crabs are not limited to a single place because of this. Their legs enable them to walk on the land. Some species of crabs are also known for traveling for miles on their legs to reach distances. It is an ability that helps these crabs survive when freshwater streams dry during the summer when there are no rains in their area. When you are making a habitat for them, you should know this fact as it is also an important part of their lifecycle.

Vampire Crab Lifespan

The average lifespan of Vampire Crabs is two years in captivity. In their natural habitats, these crabs can live for more than two years. Their lifespan depends on the tank conditions, and the care that you provide them. If you are providing them excellent conditions and care, your crabs may live for more than two years. But if the care level is mediocre, or minimum, your crabs will die before reaching the age limit. So, if you want your Vampire Crabs to stay healthy and live long, you should make sure that they get excellent care and living conditions.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

The Vampire Crab needs a different type of habitat and living conditions as compared to most fish, snails, and shrimp species. The reason behind this is that these crabs are a different species and they have different needs. You can keep them with other fish species like snails and shrimps but you will have to adjust your tank so that these crabs can live inside them.

Also, the Vampire Crabs are known for living on land conditions as well as freshwater. so, you should make sure to create a tank that can accommodate both of these behaviors. For example, you can create a tank that has some decorations that are out of the water so that your crabs can come out of the water anytime they want. This will help you keep them healthy and I will help you increase your lifespan. Blower for the details about creating a perfect tank for the Vampire Crabs.

Tank Size

Selecting the right side of the tank is very important for the proper care of Vampire Crabs. You must select the right size tank because selecting the wrong size tank will create multiple issues for your crabs. For example, these crabs are known for being territorial, they do not like to be invaded in their territory. So, if you want to keep the weather crabs you will have to select a bigger tank. If you are planning to keep them alone in a tank you can use a small tank like a 10 gallon or 5-gallon tank.

To calculate the right size of the tank, you need to know the total number of crabs, fish snails, and shrimps that you want to put in the tank. For a healthy colony of Vampire Crabs, you just need a 5 to 10 gallons tank. If you want to add more fish and other vertebrates to your tank, you will have to consider a larger tank of 15 to 30 gallons. It may look like a very big tank for a small species of crabs, but when you are adding fish snails, and shrimps in one tank you need more space. Otherwise, there can be territorial skirmishes within your tank. Also, more space allows the Vampire Crabs to grow larger and faster.

Tank Setup

After selecting the tank for your Vampire Crabs, you need to work on the tank setup, a tank setup includes decorations, plants, bottom layer substrates, stones, and caves that you put inside a tank. When creating a perfect tank for your Vampire Crabs, you need to make sure that you create it according to their natural habitat. This will make your setup look more natural and beautiful. You need to start with the bottom layer of Vampire Crabs tanks.

Make sure that you create both land-based and water-based habitats for your crabs in the tank otherwise, your tank setup will be incomplete. Try using a ratio of 80% water-based and 20% land-based habitat for the Vampire Crabs. You should put some soft and treated sand in the bottom before adding any substrates, stones, and pebbles. This will act as a sublayer under the substrate and will provide a softer layer for your crabs to explore under the substrate. There are multiple types of substrates available that you can use including a fine-grained substrate, gravel, and small stones. After that, you need to add some decorations to your tank. You can add multiple decorations, such as caves, driftwood, and large structures so that your crabs can climb upon them.

Make sure that everything you put inside your tank is clean and preferably new. You should not use decorations from other tanks without properly cleaning them. Because there are chances that these used decorations might contain contaminants, bacteria, and fungi. This will make the water inside your tank dirty and contagious and it can cause diseases that will kill the population of your Vampire Crabs, snails, shrimps, and fish. For these reasons, it is important to use everything after proper cleaning.

Apart from this you also need to add a strong filtration system inside your tank to provide more oxygen flow in your tank. A filtration system will also create more vibrational flow inside the tank so that it appears as if there is a natural movement or flow inside your tank. This flow allows the species of fish inside your tank to move properly. After you are done with the filtration system you will need to put a temperature control system inside your tank.

Temperature is a very important parameter inside a crab tank needed to properly maintain it within a given range. You can only manage the proper temperature inside your tank if you know the current temperature of your tank. For that purpose, you should use a temperature monitoring device that keeps you updated related to the current temperature of your tank. So that, when there is a fluctuation in temperature due to external changes you can make amends to get it back within recommended limits.

Apart from these you also need to put in standard aquarium lights inside your tank to keep the tank late during the day. There is no need to put in a lead over your Vampire Crabs tank because they do not try to get out of the tank but if you have a fish species in your tank that can jump out of the tank you should use a glass lid over the tank. It is very important to make sure that you create an environment that is similar to the natural environment or habitat of the Vampire Crabs.

Water Conditions/Parameters

Tank size and tank setup are not the only two things that we need to worry about when you are creating a perfect habitat for your Vampire Crabs. There are a few other parameters that you need to maintain properly. These parameters include temperature hardness and pH levels of the water. You need to maintain these temperatures to make sure that your crabs get a stable and healthy environment and living conditions.

Below are the optimal ranges of these parameters that you need to maintain to provide a livable tank to your fish.

  • You should maintain a temperature between 75 F to 80 F.
  • Maintain the pH levels between 7 to 8. The Vampire Crabs prefer an alkaline environment.
  • You need to maintain the hardness of the water below 10dGH as these crabs prefer soft water.

If you failed to maintain these parameters there is a chance that your Vampire Crabs population would die because of it. That is why you need to make sure that you keep these parameters in check.

Water Source

For a tank of Vampire Crabs, you can use water from multiple sources. You need to make sure that water is safe and does not contain any contaminants or bacteria. A lot of people use tap water to fill their aquariums. You can use tap water but you’ll have to test it before using it. Testing the water before adding it into a tank is important because it allows you to know the chemical composition of the water from your source. Water from different sources may contain chemical contaminants such as chlorine which is commonly used for cleaning water and killing bacteria inside the water.

This is done to make sure that the water is safe for drinking. But these chlorine-based chemicals are harmful to the fish snail streams and Vampire Crabs in your tank. That is why you need to test the water before adding it to the tank. If your water source contains any contaminants you will have to use a reverse osmosis process to clean/filter it. After that, you can use the water of your choice in your tank. Some sources provide water for the aquarium that has already been cleaned.

Behavior and Temperament

The Vampire Crabs are known as a peaceful species of crabs but they are also territorial and that can be a problem if you are adding other crabs into the same tank. Many expert fish keepers advise against it because it can give rise to territorial skirmishes and fights between the crabs.

You may also notice that Vampire Crabs sleep during the day and become active during the night. Molting is also an important part of the Vampire Crab behavior; molting is a time when these crabs shed their exoskeleton to grow a bigger exoskeleton. Molting of crab shells occurs every month and you will notice that during this period your crab will try to hide. That is why you should put some hiding places and caves inside your tank to provide them cover during this period.

As mentioned earlier these tribes are mostly peaceful when they are living with their species but if you introduce a rival crab or a fish species in their tank it might cause them to show signs of extreme aggression as they would try to defend their territory. You can prevent this by only adding those fish species that can peacefully live with these crabs.

Breeding Vampire Crabs

The Vampire Crabs are known for Breeding on their own with outside intervention. You just need to make sure that you provide them with a perfect habitat and living conditions in which your crabs will spawn and reproduce by themselves. Here are a few tips that can help you improve your success rate at breeding Vampire Crabs.

  • You should feed your Vampire Crabs more food during the days of their breathing cycle.
  • Some fish keepers advise creating a separate breeding tank for the spawning and breeding of Vampire Crabs, it is not a requirement but if you have a separate tank you should use it.
  • Vampire Crabs can become sexually active within the first six months of their lifespan so you should start looking for the signs of breeding.
  • You will notice that male Vampire Crabs would impregnate female crabs by climbing atop her and then it would fertilize her eggs.

Eggs and Fry Care

In Vampire Crabs the female takes care of the eggs until they hatch. She would carry them around in the tank and would hide them. After about a month these as well hatch and fully formed small Vampire Crabs would come out of them. The Vampire Crabs babies can work from one. It helps them survive in hostile climates. You may have to protect your baby Vampire Crabs from their parents because they can try to eat their babies. It is better to put them in a separate tank for the time being. Once they have matured enough and have gained some size and strength they can be reintroduced into their parents’ tank or a new tank. These small Vampire Crabs should be fed proper fry food that is good for your health and help them grow fast.

Diet of Vampire Crab

The Vampire Crabs are known for being omnivorous, they can eat anything inside their habitat including small insects, worms, and invertebrates. It can also eat vegetable and plant-based food. This makes it easy for you to feed them in your tanks. You should feed them proper food, for example, pallets, flakes, frozen meat, and live foods. Live food for Vampire Crabs, smaller species of shrimps, crickets, and earthworms. According to expert fish keepers, you should only feel them once a day.

Diseases of Vampire Crab

The Vampire Crabs are known to be immune to many fish diseases but they are susceptible to some pathogenic diseases such as bacterial infections, and parasitic issues. Most of these are caused by water pollution and contaminants inside your tank. You can prevent this from happening by keeping your tank clean and making sure that everything that you put inside your tank is also clean. Here are some of the common diseases of Vampire Crabs.

  • Copper Toxicity: Vampire Crabs are known to be allergic to copper. so, you should avoid using anything that is made of copper inside the tank.
  • Fungal Diseases: fungal diseases spread through small spores that can contaminate your water and can make their way into the bodies are the Vampire Crabs. This fungal spore can cause many diseases and can even kill your crabs. For that reason, it is important to cover your tank and put your new members in a quarantine tank before introducing them into the real tanks.
  • bacterial infections: bacterial infections are also common inside the tank of Vampire Crabs. Most of these bacterial infections are cured by the Vampire Crab itself but some may also require administration of medicine.

From the three examples given above it is clear that all of these are avoidable by taking proper precautions.  You should focus more on keeping your environment healthy so there you will not have to worry about infections and diseases.

What is the Ideal Size For The Tank?

The smallest tank that you can use for the Vampire Crab population is a 5-gallon tank but it is too small to create a proper colony or community of Vampire Crabs. To create a proper community of Vampire Crabs with other fish species you should use a larger tank of 10 to 20 gallons capacity. It will allow you to host more fish, shrimp, snails, and Vampire Crabs in the same tank. It will also enable you to create an environment where your crabs have access to both land habitat and water habitat.

Is Vampire Crab Saltwater or Freshwater Species?

The Vampire Crabs are known for being a freshwater crab species that live in rivers, lakes, water channels, and canals in Southeast Asia.

Are Vampire Crab schooling species or not?

Vampire Crabs are known for being social but they are not schooling species. Also, they do not have fins to swim inside the tank. They use their legs to walk on the surface in both water-based habitats and outside these water-based habitats. These legs help them to migrate from one water stream to another water stream in their natural habitat.

Conclusion – Is Vampire Crab Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Well, the answer to this question depends on whether you like unique-looking creatures in your tank or not. If you like these unique-looking creatures then it is a suitable choice for your aquarium. It is also a suitable choice for your aquarium if you are looking forward to learning more about the lifestyle and behavior of the crabs. Keeping these crabs in your tab would allow you to learn more about them. Also, these crabs have a beautiful appearance with purple legs, dark carapace, and yellow eyes. Based on these arguments it can be said that yes, a Vampire Crabs is a perfect choice for your aquarium.


Question: How long do Vampire Crabs live?

Answer: Vampire Crabs can live for more than two years if their living conditions and care are excellent otherwise they will die before reaching the 2 years age limit.

Question: What do Vampire Crabs eat?

Answer: Vampire Crabs are omnivorous meaning that they eat both green vegetables and plant-based food and also meat-based food such as worms in vertebrates and brine shrimps.

Question: Why are they called Vampire Crabs?

Answer: Vampire Crabs are called Vampire Crabs because they have an appearance similar to vampires with their purple and dark-colored bodies and yellow eyes.

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