Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab (Paguristes cadenati)
Max Size: 1 1/2 inches
Reef Compatible: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
The Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab (Paguristes cadenati) is undoubtedly a favorite among reef enthusiasts due to its ease of care and remarkable reef maintenance capabilities. These hardy creatures require minimal attention in a well-established system. One of their most valuable traits is their insatiable appetite for detritus and algae. They particularly enjoy consuming filamentous, hair, and slime algae, as well as cyanobacteria. Additionally, they are known for their peaceful nature towards other tankmates, setting them apart from some other hermit crab species.
Also referred to as the Red Reef or Red-Legged Hermit Crab, the Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab gets its name from its vibrant red legs, which beautifully contrast with its yellow face. These active scavengers are native to the reef faces and coral rubble of the Caribbean and Western Atlantic. They play a significant role in the ecosystem by consuming substantial amounts of animal matter and algae. Despite their constant feeding habits, they remain relatively small, reaching an adult size of only 1-1/2" in length.
In the home aquarium, it's best to keep Paguristes cadenati in an established reef system with a good supply of algae. While they readily consume various types of fish food and invertebrate diets, supplementing their diet with dried seaweed and other marine foods becomes necessary if algae levels are insufficient.
As with other hermit crabs, it's crucial to provide a generous assortment of empty shells for the Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab to move into during molting and growth phases. Like all invertebrates, they are sensitive to copper-based medications and extreme fluctuations in water parameters. Creating an invertebrate-friendly environment, free from predators, is essential for their well-being. By maintaining a suitable habitat and diet, these Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs will continue to thrive and contribute to the health of your reef aquarium.