Pom Pom Crabs

a close up of a pom pom crab while they're looking for food

Are you looking for a unique and interesting addition to your aquarium? If so, then the Pom Pom Crab may be just what you need. These small, colorful crabs are becoming increasingly popular as family pets due to their playful personalities and how easy they are to care for.

Pom Pom Crabs are relatively easy to care for and make great pets for beginner aquarium owners. They require a tank with plenty of hiding places such as rocks and coral, as well as a sandy substrate. They are omnivores and will eat both meaty foods such as shrimp and vegetable matter such as algae. They’re good at eating the food that gets caught in the substrate as well as other food floating in the water.

Pom Pom Crabs are social creatures and should be kept in groups of at least three. They are very active, and they’ll need plenty of space to explore and play. These crabs are not aggressive towards other tank mates, but they may fight with each other if they feel they’re overcrowded.

Pom Pom Crabs are native to a few South Asian countries, and are one of the smallest crustaceans in the world. They are also one of the cutest, and are sometimes kept in freshwater aquariums. They are very gentle and docile, and will accept almost any food given to them.

Pom poms can be a bit pricey to buy compared to other fish. Expect to pay between $15 and $20 per crab.

Pom Pom Crabs are a great addition to any aquarium and can provide hours of entertainment for their owners. They are hardy and easy to care for, making them an ideal choice for beginner aquarium owners. With the proper care, these crabs can live up to one year in captivity. So if you’re looking for a unique and entertaining addition to your aquarium, the Pom Pom Crab may be just what you need.

Pom Pom Crabs Information

  • Average Length: 1 inch
  • Colors: Pale brown to pale yellow
  • Attention Needs: Low
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: Yes!
  • Good with Other Crabs: Yes
  • Good with Other fish species: Only with non-aggressive species
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Health Concerns: Shell Disease and Appendage Loss 
  • Average Life Span: 1 year

Pom Pom Crabs are found in several South Asian countries like Taiwan, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Malaysia. They are also found in the island countries of Madagascar and Comoros.

They like to live near the opening of rivers, and prefer a water depth of about 1’.

Physical Appearance of Pom Pom Crabs

a close up of a pom pom crab at the bottom of their aquarium looking for food

Pom Pom Crabs have a pale yellow or pale brown body. Their color can change and often syncs with their living environment. Some Pom Pom Crabs may have darker spots of brown on their body.

These are small-sized freshwater crabs. While most crabs have a small carapace (the hard upper shell of the body) these have a broad carapace. Their body can be up to 1 inch wide.

They have long slim legs.

They are named ‘Pom Pom’ because of the cluster of hair on their front arms. The hair grows from their claw joint making it look like they are holding pom poms. Only the males have pom poms . Some adult females might have them but they are barely visible.

Female Pom Pom Crabs have smaller claws and are narrower than males.

Temperament of Pom Pom Crabs

Most small freshwater crabs are timid but Pom Pom Crabs are very active. They will normally be running around and exploring their tank.

They are peaceful and don’t attack other tank mates. Males might fight but rarely will it be serious. When they fight, the fights will usually be about food.

While Pom Pom Crabs are aquatic crabs – (crabs that live underwater) they will walk around on a dry surface if their tank has an area with dry land.

Best Habitat for Pom Pom Crabs

a close up of a pom pom crab

When it comes to caring for Pom Pom Crabs there is not a lot of information available. Yet they remain popular freshwater crabs. 

Setting up a tank for them is easy. 

Pom Pom Crabs are very good climbers and it’s important to keep the tank top perfectly secured. Any wires or decorations should be placed in a way so that the crabs can’t climb and escape.

Pom Pom Crabs are usually wild-caught and should be quarantined before being added to a community tank. Quarantining them will lessen the chance they bring something awful into your aquarium.

Tank size

A small colony of Pom Pom Crabs can be kept in a small 5-gallon tank. The main concern with a small tank is that it’s difficult to maintain good water conditions. Using a larger 10-gallon tank will be better because it’s easier to avoid spikes in ammonia. A larger tank will give your Pom Pom Crabsmore room.


They need a temperature range between 72°F and 82°F. 

Water Hardness and PH

The pH should be between 7 to 7.2 and water hardness can be up to 30dKH


Standard aquarium lighting is enough for them, but if they’re all that will be in the aquarium dimmed LEDS might be better. Crabs like to hide to feel safe, and dimmer lights will give them a little more security.

Tank Substrates

These crabs like to burrow. Sand can be a good substrate option. Pom Pom Crabs like to push sand with their claws. 


Pom Pom Crabs are active and like to have lots of decorations in their tank. Decorations like rocks, caves, treated driftwood or seashells all work well in their aquariums. 

Several freshwater plants should be in their tank for extra hiding places. Because they like to burrow floating plants or plants with deeper roots are suggested. Using deeper rooted plants should keep your crabs from uprooting the plants.

Tank Maintenance

Pom Pom Crabs are hardy and can tolerate slight changes in water conditions. Regular water changes should still be carried out to keep the tank clean and remove excess algae.

Don’t use a net to clean their tank because it could seriously injure them if they get caught inside the net.

Use a water testing kit to check the water conditions once a week.

Best Tank Mates for Pom Pom Crabs

As mentioned before Pom Pom Crabs get along with their own species and should be kept in a small colony.

Pom Pom Crabs are peaceful and don’t get aggressive with other fish species. They should be housed with non-aggressive fish, crabs, shrimp and moderately-sized snails.

Good tank mates include:

Pom Pom Crabs are avid eaters and shouldn’t be housed with smaller snails or shrimp because these crabs may eat them.

Feeding Pom Pom Crabs

a pile of colorful fish flakes

Freshwater Pom Pom Crabs are omnivores and will eat a variety of things. They like to scavenge algae and the leftover food of other fish (if housed with other fish).

Because of the pom pom on their claws many assume they are filter feeders. They do eat anything that gets caught in their hair (pom pom) but they don’t stay still in one place and filter feed.

Pom Pom Crabs can be fed food like pellets, flakes, algae wafers. Occasionally your Crabs should be fed protein rich food like bloodworms and brine shrimp.

Feed them 2 to 3 times a week.

Related Questions:

Can You Breed Pom Pom Crabs?

Breeding Pom Pom Crabs is very difficult. There still isn’t a lot of information on their breeding needs. Most Pom Pom Crabs available in pet stores are wild caught because of how few are bred in captivity.

The major issue is that adult Pom Pom Crabs live in freshwater but their larvae need brackish water to grow. Brackish water has a higher salinity than freshwater.

How Long do Pom Pom Crabs Live?

Pom Pom Crabs have a very short lifespan and don’t live longer than a year in captivity.

How do Pom Pom Crabs Molt?

Pom Pom Crabs molt like all other freshwater crab species. They will shed their exoskeleton and grow a new one. Once they shed their exoskeleton they will pump water inside their bodies. The water lets them increase their size in preparation for their new exoskeleton.

When they are molting Pom Pom Crabs are the most vulnerable. They will usually burrow into the substrate and hide to stay safe. They may not be visible for a few days.

Adding calcium to the water can help when they molt because calcium helps their shell harden.

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Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.