Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus)
Max Size: 10 inches
Reef Compatible: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons
Horseshoe crabs are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. They are often kept in home aquariums, although it is important to note that horseshoe crabs are not typically recommended for beginners due to their unique care requirements. Here are some basic guidelines for taking care of horseshoe crabs:
Tank Size: Horseshoe crabs require a large tank with plenty of swimming space, as they are known to swim quite a bit. A tank size of at least 75 gallons is recommended for a single horseshoe crab.
Water Quality: Horseshoe crabs require clean and well-oxygenated water. A good filtration system is essential, as they produce a lot of waste. Water temperature should be kept between 72-78°F (22-26°C), and salinity levels should be between 20-25 ppt.
Substrate: Horseshoe crabs need a soft substrate, such as sand or crushed coral, to burrow in. The substrate should be deep enough to allow the horseshoe crab to bury itself if it desires.
Feeding: Horseshoe crabs are scavengers and will eat just about anything they can find in the wild, including clams, shrimp, and other small crustaceans. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of foods such as squid, shrimp, and crab meat. It is important to avoid overfeeding, as this can lead to health problems.
Lighting: Horseshoe crabs do not require special lighting, but they do require a regular day/night cycle. A timer can be used to ensure that the tank is properly lit and darkened on a regular schedule.
Handling: Horseshoe crabs should not be handled unnecessarily, as they can be easily stressed and injured. It is best to use a net or scoop to move them if necessary.
Tank Mates: Horseshoe crabs are generally peaceful and can be kept with other non-aggressive fish and invertebrates. However, they may eat smaller tank mates if they are hungry, so it is important to provide ample feeding opportunities.
Overall, horseshoe crabs are fascinating creatures that require a bit of specialized care. With the right setup and attention to their needs, they can make a unique and interesting addition to a home aquarium.