Other Inverts

The Sally Lightfoot Crab: A Real Character of a Crustacean

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  1. Paul Baldassano says:

    Sally Lightfoot crabs are very common in the Caribbean and are found everywhere there. One problem with them is that they are intertidal animals and usually eat algae just at the water’s edge or fairly high out of it. That behavour is what prevents me from keeping them any longer as my coral and rocks extend above the water allowing the crabs to climb out of my tank and walk across the room to die under the couch. I have had quite a few of them, and that’s where they all ended up.

  2. Jeff Kurtz says:

    Thanks for this cautionary tale, Paul. I’m sure fellow salties will take heed.

    There’s also another piece of advice I should give regarding this species that I forgot to include in my post: If anyone out there ever gets the bright idea to place a molted Sally Lightfoot exoskeleton on a soda can in the refrigerator in order to frighten their significant other, resist that impulse! You will suffer mightily! Don’t ask me how I know this.

  3. I love my little Percnon Gibbesi! She is absolutely adorable!

  4. Jeff Kurtz says:

    They definitely are cute as crabs go! Thanks Kelly!

  5. How long can SLF’s live out of water? MY SLF escaped yesterday, and I can’t find him anywhere. :'(

  6. Jeff Kurtz says:

    Hmm, I don’t know exactly how long they can survive out of water, but, as Paul B indicates above, it’s not especially long. I’m wondering, though, whether your specimen actually escaped or is just staying out of sight while it molts and its new exoskeleton hardens off. Do you have rockwork extending right up to the top of the tank that might facilitate an escape?

  7. I’m familiar with the molting etc. He definitely escaped. I emptied the tank looking for him. He climbed up a pipe, and squeezed through the lid.He pushed the rag out of small hole that’s in the lid for the pipe. I used it to block him just in case. I knew he was smart, but did not expect him to push it out. I’ve had him since he was the size of a pencil eraser. He molted every three weeks.

    I keep hoping he will show up. I’m shattered. He is so awesome and we interacted with one another every day.

  8. Paul B says:

    Maybe while he is interacting, he will text you about his whereabouts

  9. Jeff Kurtz says:

    Sorry to hear that, Kelly! I know how easy it is to get attached to our salty pets. I hope he shows up for you!

  10. Mswalsh says:

    I love my Sally however even though doing some light research before deciding to add the crab I soon found out the costly behavior of my Sally. I have lost feather duster,sea stars,damsels,shrimp,red and blue leg crabs,and a few others. Sally is now resting in its own nano time out. Wish I would have read more articles like this one rather then the not so clear ones I did read.

  11. Perhaps you should get your SLF a separate tank? My SLF was a wee hitchhiker, and watching and learning about him was worth my stocking and setting up my tank around him. For me he was worth it. Crabs are highly intelligent curious creatures. I miss my little guy immensely.

  12. My bad. I see you have a nano for your sally. I wish you the best of luck!!

  13. mswalsh says:

    It is in its own tank now (Nano Time out) it is a 5.5 Nano tank I have been working for some time as a project tank. What ever it finds it is free to eat in there.

  14. You don’t give it regular feedings?

  15. mswalsh says:

    Yes I give it mostly a frozen diet. But there is always live things in a tank for it to scavenge for.

  16. Awesome. I do the same. I got another SLF the other day. It’s a female. She is trying to molt right now so is very unsocial.

  17. mswalsh says:

    Anyone know of any smaller fish that can live with a sally in a Nano tank?

  18. Kelly Peissner says:

    I have several Gobies and a wrasse living with mine along with peppermint shrimp and a skunk cleaner. I think it depends on the personality of your SLF. Mine seems to like her tank mates so far, and I feed her meaty food every night. ~tap on wood~

  19. Lol !! I remember a long long long time ago I had this Clibanarius Vittatus who was such an acrobat it could climb up the air tubes…. Pull itself out of the tank… and jump to the floor where I usually found it dried up on the living room carpet… The same with Moray Eels that are so powerful: they can lift plate glass if it’s not weighed down by cinder blocks or fixed on a heavy duty glued on frame…
    An old distributor friend of mine often saw Octopus clinging to the wall above the cash register when opening shop in the morning !!!
    Remember… It’s our responsibility as Aquarists to act responsibly….

  20. Kelly Peissner says:

    Jeff, It turns out my crab was a marble rock crab; not a SLF like I was told. No wonder he was so ornery and ate any living creature I put into the tank. He was so cute. I loved the little devil. Still do. I hope another one shows up in one of my tanks one day.

  21. Jeff Kurtz says:

    He he! I’m envisioning that octopus clinging to the wall. Talk about a source of alarm for arachnophobes!

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