How to Raise Mud Crabs at Home

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Mud crabs can be an interesting pet for a variety of owners.
Mud crabs can be an interesting pet for a variety of owners. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

For the aquatic enthusiast or those wanting a pet to work around their busy schedules, mud crabs can be an interesting choice. Although hermit crabs are more popular crustacean pets, mud crabs, or Scylla serrata, shouldn't be overlooked. They may not be cuddly, but a mud crab can offer hours of enjoyment as its owner can watch it burrow into sand, prey on smaller vertebrates or bask in the sun. However, understanding its basic needs is vital to ensuring a mud crab's long, healthy life.

Things You'll Need

  • Aquarium, 10- to 20-gallon or larger
  • Aquarium salt water
  • Water filter
  • Oxygen pump
  • Aquarium sand/gravel
  • Rocks or other aquarium decorations (optional)
  • Crab food

How to Raise Mud Crabs at Home

Set up the aquarium on a counter or stand that is within reach of an electrical outlet. Add 2 to 3 inches of gravel or sand to layer the bottom. Fill the aquarium with the salt water. The ideal mix of salt water for mud crabs is 10 to 20 parts-per-thousand (ppt) salinity, according to an article by Pinoy Entrepreneur titled "Raising Mud Crabs."

A minimum of a 10- to 20-gallon aquarium is ideal to ensure your mud crab is comfortable.
A minimum of a 10- to 20-gallon aquarium is ideal to ensure your mud crab is comfortable. (Image: Jeffrey Hamilton/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Attach the filtration system and oxygen pump to the aquarium. Pour water through the filtration system if not submerged and turn it on. Make sure the equipment works. Decorate the tank with rocks or other aquarium decorations, if desired.

A functional filtration system is important to ensure the tank is properly aerated.
A functional filtration system is important to ensure the tank is properly aerated. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Add the mud crabs. Keep the temperature in the aquarium between 37.4 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit or 3 and 45 degrees Celsius, reports the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

Mud crabs like to party at dark, as they are more active at night than during the day.
Mud crabs like to party at dark, as they are more active at night than during the day. (Image: Jeffrey Hamilton/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Feed the crabs items found at pet stores such as crab food, shrimp pellets or sinking tablets.

In the wild, mud crabs are scavengers and will eat a variety of food, but pet stores offer several substitues.
In the wild, mud crabs are scavengers and will eat a variety of food, but pet stores offer several substitues. (Image: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Observe your mud crabs. Pay attention to the health of your mud crabs. Watch for your crab to eventually molt and lose its outer shell or exoskeleton which will leave it looking pale and discolored as it adapts to its new shell, as explained by the Bangladesh Fisheries Information website.

Have fun watching your mud crab enjoy its new home.
Have fun watching your mud crab enjoy its new home. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Tips & Warnings

  • You can purchase aquarium salt water at most pet stores.
  • Mud crabs are most active at night so do not be disturbed if you do not see much daytime activity after they are first introduced to the aquarium.
  • In the wild, mud crabs are scavengers and feed on a variety of materials including snails, mussels, remains from dead fish or shrimp, cattle or poultry remains or kitchen remains, according to Bangladesh Fisheries Information website.
  • Without sufficient food, the mud crabs will resort to cannibalism.

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