Shrimp Crabs and Crayfish - Home. Tank Designs

These tank set-ups aren't the only options. They are intended to put forward different ideas and techniques,
that can be used to fit your own designs. Please keep me informed if you use any of the ideas here,
and let me know if you have any set-up ideas or innovations of your own to improve these.
Please click on the images, or image titles, to enlarge.

The Aqua-Terrarium.
For Land-crabs.

Aqua-Terrarium Photos See Photos of an Aqua-Terrarium

Complex Set-up
Complex aqua-terrarium set-up Click to enlarge Drawing: Dave C. © S C and

The more complex set-up is designed to try to mimic their natural habitat. The tank should be set up with the first corner filled with a deep layer of course gravel, and the next 3/4 covered with a deep layer of sand. The sand needs to be deep as the crabs will dig burrows in it. The last quarter should be a shallow brackish pool. The water should be taken from the pool to the filter and slowly pumped back into the gravel pile. The gravel diffuses the water flow, and keeps a flow of water through the bottom of the sand. The pile of stones covering the outlet, helps to improve the flow of water through the gravel, and should prevent water flooding over the gravel. The water level in the gravel will need careful fine tuning to ensure a proper flow, and it may be necessary to divert some water away from the gravel, and back into the pool to avoid flooding.
This rather complicated set-up ensures that the burrows always have clean oxygenated water at their base, which is essential to the crabs health.

In the simplified version, the sand burrows are replaced by numerous caves within large rock piles. The clean, oxygenated water can flow freely through the base of these rock caves without any fine tuning. The downside of this more simple set-up, it that the dry rock caves created are not as ideal for their health as the humid damp sand burrows.

Land crabs can also be kept in a basic vivarium lined with gravel. It should be heated, and there should be a water bath lined with moss for each crab. It can be more difficult to keep clean, and the water will need changing daily. Also the gravel will need to be removed for cleaning more regularly than in the other set-ups.

The air in the tank should be kept warm , and the humidity high. So some form of terrarium heater and a tight fitting hood is recommended. A well fitted hood also stops them from escaping.

In my experience with the Brazilian Rainbow Crab, they are most active and keep their colours better in the more complex set-up. The basic set-up does work well, as long as they have good hiding places. However having kept them in all three types of set-up shown here, I have seen how much more they appreciate an environment that mimics their natural habitat. I would now only keep them in the most natural, the more complex aqua-terrarium.

Simple aqua-terrarium set-up Click to enlarge Drawing: Dave C. © S C and
Simple Set-up