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Old 11-16-2014, 02:21 PM   #1
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Fiddler Crabs & Mudskippers Together?

I'm setting up a 20gal brackish water tank and I'm planning on getting a couple fiddler crabs. I've been looking up other brackish water critters and saw that Mudskippers live in the same environment naturally, so I'm thinking about getting one to live with my crabbies. Any advice? Has anyone had experience with fiddler crabs and mudskippers living together?

The tank will be about 50% water/50% land at this point. Still designing the layout.

Thanks!

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Old 11-18-2014, 06:15 PM   #2
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Bump(?) Don't know if that works here :P
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Old 11-30-2014, 12:54 AM   #3
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I realize that I'm a little late, but yes mudskippers and fiddler crabs go just fine together. That is if you go with the smaller Indian mudskipper. I've had mine together for over a year and everyone is living happy and healthy. My set up is 3 mudskippers, 1 male fiddler, 1 female fiddler, 3-5 ghost shrimp and 1 zebra snail.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll do my best to answer. I totally recommend this setup!
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:41 PM   #4
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Hey thanks for the response, cokemanj! How big is your tank? I'm trying to figure out how many I could fit in mine. Also, do you have any recommendations on tank setup? I'm trying to cycle mine right now and get the water to a good brackish level. I am aiming for about a 50-50 ratio of water and land. Do your crabs and mudskippers prefer one over the other?

If you have time, I'd love to see a picture of your setup!
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:30 PM   #5
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No problem! Glad to help those that are as interested as I am.

My tank is 65 gallons but I'm only using about 1/3 of the total volume. My tank's dimensions are 36.4"L x 18.4"W x 25"H and the water level is roughly only 3-4 inches deep. Mine's kind of set up with 2 "islands" and then water in the rest. I'll post a pic but I've got the main land part front and center with water on all other sides of it. I've got driftwood that acts as a bridge to the other little island in the back corner and then the waterfall filter in the other back corner. I've also got some pvc tubes that the skippers kind of played with for a bit but the crabs still enjoy.

The skippers tend to mostly enjoy being in shallow water, about mouth to eyeball level. The do kind of move around though and like to perch on rocks or stick to the side of the glass. They need to stay moist so they don't tend to spend too much time completely out of the water.

The crabs actually spend most of their time in the water but the male crab does make his way just about everywhere to wave his claw. I think the female crab is more skittish, so that's why she spends more time hidden in the water.

My recommendations would be this. Neither the crabs or the skippers seem to be too picky with water conditions. I didn't really cycle the tank before adding them all in. However, make sure you are making true brackish water for the crabs. I had my first 4 die and I'm pretty sure I was just too low on salt. Had the current two for almost a year with no issues. Get a refractometer from Ebay. The hydrometer I got didn't help at all. I don't remember what salinity I'm at now (again, they aren't too picky) but I make sure I put 2-3 heaping tablespoons of salt in with each gallon. I also try and do 25-50% pwc each week or two in addition to having 2 filters in the waterfall.

As for stocking, I kind of wish I got more mudskippers. Mainly because out of my 3, there's clearly one dominant one who basically owns 70% of the tank and is pretty much an A-hole. I think if I had a couple of more then there wouldn't be the 1 alpha running the whole place. However, depending on your tank's footprint, you might not want more than 3-4. Ultimately though, I think if you end up with more it will really just come down to bio load and keeping water clean. I've seen other tanks online that have many peaceful skippers getting along nicely.

What substrate are you planing on using? If you have any other questions just ask away!
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:36 PM   #6
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Sorry for the low quality phone pics. I've been meaning to borrow my friend's DSLR, maybe I can get some better pics up soon. Again, ask away with any other questions.

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Old 12-02-2014, 07:36 PM   #7
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Hey this is great info, thanks so much! You've got a really cool setup, glad it's working for you!

I currently have play sand as my substrate. I didn't want to spend the 20 bucks on the sand they were selling at the pet store, so I thought this would be much more cost effective. I was an idiot though and didn't wash it before putting it in the tank, and so my water got extremely cloudy. Eventually I got some polishing filter material and now my water looks gorgeous.

The main issue I'm having right now deals with the sand substrate, though. I was trying to get my water to be about 3" deep, and I also wanted the sloping beach terrain leading to the water. When I first started tinkering with this, I had major troubles with the sand from my "land" portion falling into the water, but it's kind of stabilized now, so hopefully it'll stay intact when I add the crabs in. I've also got a few baby Java Ferns from my freshwater tank growing in the water right now, and they seem to be tolerating the salt really well!

What do you feed your crabs and mudskippers? I've seen some conflicting info on this on the web.
And where did you get your mudskippers? I've honestly never recalled seeing any at my LFS haha.

Do you know anything about the Red Claw Crabs? I've been calling around looking for fiddlers, and no one has them but petsmart carries Red Claws. Just wondered if you've tried them and what you thought?

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 12-03-2014, 01:22 AM   #8
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Ahh yes, the sand is a bit of a pain like that. It's going to try and level out over time. I have pool filter sand with some arogonite mixed in. I usually have to do some landscaping every or every other time I do a PWC. I've found it helps to get some rocks to act as barriers but short of building an actual wall with them, I still get the leveling out effect. The water does get cloudy whenever I drudge it up like that but it usually calms down in 10-15 minutes.

Feeding them is really easy. The skippers eat pretty much everything. The crabs will definitely eat everything the skippers eat. The crabs eat all the tiny stuff that get's built up in the tank (including what the messy mudskippers don't finish) but I still try and give them their own food ever other day or so. I've fed them all frozen bloodworms, krill, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, marine cuisine and I think a few other frozen items. I throw the occasional algae wafers and crab pellets down for the crabs/shrimp and sometimes the skippers even go after that. They are really easy to feed. I hand feed (well finger feed) the skippers too. That way I know the bully doesn't eat everything. I've even hand fed the male fiddler a few times. As for live food, I've given them crickets and fruit flies. I have seen them eat an occasional ghost shrimp but all in all, I think they are too fast to catch in the deeper water. I like to add live food every so often to keep their natural hunter instincts active. Fruit flies are pretty cheap and really easy to breed. Let me know if you want more info on that too.

One LFS around here had some of the larger mudskippers for a while this spring but they didn't have them this past weekend. Other than that, I haven't seen any LFS with any others. I got mine from Franksaquarium online. Paid through the nose for shipping (about $36 I think) but the service was excellent and they were only $7/ea other than shipping. All three were just little babies when they arrived but now they're full grown. I think Frank's is out of stock now but you can certainly email him up and see when he expects to have more in. Well worth the price if you ask me!

Not sure what your LFS are like but I've pretty much hit up everyone within the metro area here looking for everyone that I wanted. There's about 4-5 places around here that have fiddler crabs and they were usually <$5 so they weren't a problem. Petsmart is the the only place I've seen the RC around here but from my research, they're more aggressive so I decided to stick to fiddlers who haven't been aggressive at all. Plus it's fun to watch the little guy waving his big claw all over the tank . I hate to say it, but I've seen them at Walmart so if you're out of other options, you can try there. Definitely let me know if you go with the RC's, I'd like to know how that goes.

Also speaking of Petsmart, that's where I get some of my ghost shrimp. Once you get up and running, it might be worth grabbing a few of those to help clean up and maybe give your skippers a treat. They're only $.30 and they're pretty fun to watch as they comb the depths of your tank for food. They also eat all the same foods as the rest of the tank mates.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:35 PM   #9
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Man, hearing all of this from you has me too excited haha. I'm going to go out and get a red claw crab tomorrow I think! I called around again and no one had any fiddlers, but one store said because I inquired about them that they would go ahead and order some. I'm thinking I'll try putting one of each in the same tank and see how it goes. I'll do a female red claw since you said they are more aggressive, and then maybe a male fiddler. I would love to see him swinging his claw around!
I also really like the shrimp idea. I'll probably get some of those, too. I've had ghost shrimp in my 10gal FW before and they were awesome! Great for cleaning up the tank. Hopefully I'll run across a mudskipper in a store at some point, cause I think the online order method might be too costly for me :P

Glad to hear that they are not picky eaters! I'll definitely let you know how my fiddler and red claw interact once I get them.

One more question: Do you ever handle your crabs or mudskippers? I would imagine that you shouldn't handle the mudskippers, but I have no idea if this would be a bad thing or not. I love interacting with my pets if possible!
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:34 PM   #10
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Yeah, it's definately exciting. I've had my setup for going on 2 years now and I still like to just watch everyone when I feed them.

Be careful mixing the RC and fiddlers. I don't recall for sure, but I do remember reading about people having issues with the RC's attacking the fiddlers. Although, like people, each crab will be different. If I were you, I'd do a little more research on the two and figure which you prefer but do let me know how it goes if you mix them. I wouldn't mind an RC as well.

As for handling them, it's actually kind of the opposite. The crabs are pretty skittish and tend to run when I open the lid and sometimes just when I walk up to the tank. I have been able to get the male to eat off my finger a few times but that's about it. The skippers though like to run to the front of the tank whenever someone is in the room. I feed them directly each day from my finger and they sometimes will jump onto my hand. I've never taken them out of the tank though. Half the charm about them is that they are really personable. I remember when we first got them, the littlest one seemed like he'd be cool just hanging out on my lap while I watched TV. I never tried it obviously but that's the kind of connection it seems like I have with them.

If shipping is a little much for you, you can try getting a LFS to put an order in for some like with the fiddlers. If you do, make sure to get the smaller Indian variety though. The others are much more aggressive and can be tough to keep with most other creatures, even the crabs. Otherwise while you search around, I'd just try saving up a few more bucks and pay for the shipping. I think you'd be glad you did. Like I said before, they're so tiny when you get them that you really get to watch them grow up.

Either way, I'll be available for any other questions you may have. I hope you can end up getting your tank going the way you want it! Good Luck!!
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:12 PM   #11
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Reading that really makes me want to get a Mudskipper now, they sound so fun!

I just got a Red Claw a couple days ago. I'm thinking it's a female because it had smaller claws compared to the others in the tank at the store. I named her Apple and I love her already! :3 After I put her in the tank and she got settled she went about exploring every spot in the tank. She's quite adventurous, though she hasn't climbed my cords yet, which I'm fine with haha. I also got 5 ghost shrimp yesterday, to help with cleaning the tank and to add more interest, and they are really cool to watch as they pick up random particles off the sand. It also appears that the Red Claw is nocturnal, so it's nice to see the activity of the shrimp when Apple is resting/sleeping.

I've uploaded some pics of Apple and the tank layout
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