Vampire Crab: Diet, Aquarium Setup & Tank Mates

Did you know that vampire crabs are semi-terrestrial – meaning they need access to both land and water – but they don’t like fish?

These small, colorful crustaceans can grow up to an inch (2.5 cm) in size and make the perfect nano paludarium tank.

What makes them really special is their purple color with yellow eyes that glows! They’re quite shy, but do well with freshwater shrimp, snails or adult geosesarma spp. They like it when you shake up their food during feeding time!

Let’s take a look at these awesome pets and how they need to be taken care of.

Vampire crab on a dark background

At a Glance

Adult size: 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm)
Minimum tank size: 5 gal (20 l)
Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Diet: omnivore
pH: 7.5-8.0
Behavior: peaceful


Vampire crabs (Geosesarma spp.) are a very rare crab species that come from the island of Java in Indonesia. They typically inhabit the freshwater rivers on that island.

These crabs are semi-terrestrial, meaning that they need access to both land and water!

Color and Appearance

Geosesarma dennerle also known as vampire crab staying on a rock

Vampire crabs have a deep, vibrant purple color with wild yellow eyes.

This purple color is usually most radiant in the claws of this animal. Some can even have orange claws and underbellies!

These small crustaceans reach a maximum size of just over an inch (2.5 cm), perfect for nano paludariums (aquariums with both land and water)!

Behavior and Tank Mates

Vampire crabs are peaceful but very shy. They primarily spend their time hiding in plants on land or in the water.

The best tank mate for the vampire crab is other vampire crabs!

Freshwater shrimp and snails make good companions as well.

Like with the Thai micro crab, fish can cohabit with this species, but it may be best to avoid them as fish can make a tasty snack out of the tiny crab.

Tank Setup

Vampire crabs need access to both land and water. A 10 gallon (40 l) tank is a good minimum for this species.

A small group of around 3-6 members would live happily in a tank this size.

If you are unable to purchase or make a paludarium, it is possible to make a standard aquarium work as well. All you need is a basking platform intended for turtles.

Floating driftwood, plants, and tall rocks that stick out of the water all give this semi-aquatic species access to dry land.

Geosesarma spp. also known as vampire crab on a dry stone in freshwater aquarium setup

Freshwater plants, especially mosses, are also essential to this crab, as is a soft substrate.

Vampire crabs molt by burying themselves in the soft sand, only coming back out after completing their molt.

A neutral to slightly high pH is perfect, aim for 7.5 to 8.0.

Temperature-wise, these guys prefer warmer waters anywhere from 75 to 82°F (24-28°C).

Since these crabs like to spend time out of the water, make sure to have a secure-fitting lid to prevent any escapes!

Food and Diet

Vampire crabs are omnivores and can be fed any commercial shrimp food.

Live options, especially earthworms, are an important staple.

Vegetable-based foods should also be provided, algae and blanched veggies will gladly be accepted.

A varied diet is a healthy diet! Always give your animals different food options to ensure optimum health.

Vampire crabs like to feed at dawn and dusk, but food can be provided just once daily for them to feed on throughout the day.

Try shaking things up and make things more interesting for your crabs by placing food in different spots every time they feed!

This makes the crab forage for its food as it does in the wild, providing it with enrichment and opportunities for problem-solving!


Breeding this species in captivity is no easy task, some say it’s near impossible. Because of this, there is not much information available on how to successfully breed vampire crabs.

What is known about this species is that they are egg layers, and the females hold the eggs until they hatch.

Closing Thoughts

If you are looking to add a new species to your aquarium and want something unusual, mysterious, and beautiful, then the vampire crab is the perfect fit!

As always, be sure to do your research beforehand and think carefully before buying any animal.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a message below!