Blue Leg Hermit Crab
The blue leg hermit crab is a staple member of any cleanup crew. It gets its name from its trademark blue legs. Like all hermit crabs, it does not grow its own shell but takes up residence in
the shells of other invertebrates. The blue leg hermit crab has striking blue legs with orange bands. It is one of the smaller hermit crabs, with a maximum size of roughly one inch for a particularly large specimen. Uniquely among hermit crabs both of the blue leg hermit crab’s claws are the same size, leading it to also be referred to as the “equal handed hermit crab”. This crab is most commonly found in the shallow tropical waters of the Caribbean sea as well as off the coasts of Florida and Mexico. In the wild, it prefers to live in water often less than 2 meters deep and does not travel far, often having a home range of only a few meters. They tend to cluster in groups in home aquariums. Hermit crabs are one of the more active members of a reef tank cleanup crew and many hobbyists report that their antics can be quite comical. Not only do they provide entertainment value but they are also voracious scavengers, especially considering their small size. They will consume leftover fish food, dead organisms, algae and even limited amounts of cyanobacteria. Their small size also means that their impact on a tank’s bioload is negligible. Their diet can be supplemented with small pieces of squid or pellets but this is generally not necessary.
Like all hermit crabs, the blue leg hermit crab can be a danger to smaller snails, as the crab may kill them for their shells. This can be avoided by ensuring that there are a variety of empty shells available in the
tank for them. Ounce for ounce, the blue leg hermit crab is one of the most effective and entertaining members of any cleanup crew. Like many invertebrates they are not tolerant of copper based medications