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Hermit Crab and Anemone
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Crabs
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Dardanus pedunculatus

Hermit Crab with Anemone

Quick Stats:   Hermit Crab with Anemone

Family: Diogenidae
Range: Indian Ocean to Hawaii
Size: Up to 4 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Tank Set-up: Marine: Coral or rock, sand
Reef Compatible: No
Tank Conditions: 72-78ºF; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4
Temperament: Aggressive
Venomous: No
Care Level: Easy


Three Hermit Crabs of the Dardanus sp. have formed a symbiotic relationship with the anemone Calliactis polypus with which it shares a home: D. pedunculatus (Indian Ocean), D. tinctor (Red Sea), and D. deformis (Great Barrier Reef).

The anemone attached to the shell provides camouflage, protection, and the two invertebrates share food. In the wild, when the crab moves the anemone about the reef, it helps the anemones disperse. When the crab outgrows its shell, it will leave it behind and find a new, larger shell and transfer the anemone on to it or select a larger anemone.

This Hermit Crab prefers an aquarium with large amounts of stable rock work and dim light. The Hermit Crab is aggressive and makes a poor candidate for a reef or peaceful fish aquarium. It will eat fish, snails, and worms, but also detritus and some algae. As it grows, it will need larger shells, therefore, multiple sizes of gastropod shells should be available to it.

If there is insufficient algae to eat, dried seaweed should be provided. Mollusks, worms, and other meaty items can be provided.

 

Photo courtesy of T.F.H. Publications, publishers of the Burgess Atlas.

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