Reef Safe Hermit Crabs

Not all Hermit Crabs are considered to be safe for reef tanks. Many Hermit Crabs will destroy corals, eat fish, or other invertebrates. Growing Hermit Crabs are always on the lookout for a larger shell to settle in so some of the snails in your tank might not be totally safe.​​

These hermits are considered to be reef safe janitors.

  • 01 of 09

    Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab

    Blue Legged Hermit Crab
    Madelyn Catob

    The Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab or simply Blue Leg Hermit Crab has blue legs with red banding. Both claws are of equal size, and members of this genus are sometimes called "Equal-handed Hermit Crabs." This tiny crab lives in abandoned snail shells, or it may attack and eat the snail, then use the shell for its home.

    The Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab (Clibanarius tricolor) is a great addition to a saltwater aquarium because it eats many kinds of algae, including red slime algae (cyanobacteria), and sifts the sand, as well.

  • 02 of 09

    Dwarf Red Tip Hermit Crab

    The Red Tip Hermit Crab has claws of equal size and, for this reason, is called an "Equal-handed Hermit Crabs." This hermit crab is native to the coastal water surrounding Mexico. The Red Tip has a bright red face and legs. In the home aquarium, it does best in a saltwater reef or fish-only systems with sand substrates in which they can forage and dig.​

  • 03 of 09

    Dwarf Yellow Tip Hermit Crab

    The Dwarf Yellow Tip Hermit Crab has bright yellow bands on its green to black legs making it stand out in almost any aquarium.

    The Dwarf Yellow Tip Hermit Crab (Clibanarius sp.) has a small size (to 1") that allows it to get into all of the nooks and crannies in a reef tank.

  • 04 of 09

    Dwarf Zebra Hermit Crab

    Dwarf Zebra Hermit Crab

    Joe Martin

    The Zebra Hermit Crab (Calcinus laevimanus) gets its name from its distinct coloration. C. laevimanus is named for its colored pincers and the white or orange bands that dress its otherwise dark legs. Like other members of the genus Calcinus, the Dwarf Zebra/Orange & Black Hermit Crab also has long eye stalks. However, this particular crab's eye stalks are a brilliant blue and fade into an orange-tinged upper half.

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  • 05 of 09

    Electric Blue Hermit Crab

    The Electric Blue Hermit Crab is rare in the saltwater aquarium hobby. Found only in the Marshal Islands, it is infrequently shipped to the Mainland. This crab has electric blue legs with black banding, and its antennae stand out with its bright orange color. Both claws are close to being equal size and are brownish green in color. It grows to about 2" in size.

  • 06 of 09

    Electric Orange Hermit Crab

    Electric Orange Hermit Crab

    Keoki Stender

    The Electric Orange Hermit Crab is endemic to Hawaii and has bright orange legs with brown banding and has unusually blue eyes. It grows to about 2" in size.

    The Electric Orange Hermit Crab (Calcinus sp.) is a great addition to a saltwater aquarium because it eats detritus, uneaten food and many kinds of algae, and sifts the sand, as well.

  • 07 of 09

    Halloween Hermit Crab

    Halloween Hermit Crab (Ciliopagurus strigatus)

    Larry Yarbray

    The Halloween Hermit Crab is endemic to Hawaii, grows to a very large size and may bulldoze rock work and other obstacles it comes across in the tank.

  • 08 of 09

    Left-Handed Hermit Crab

    Left-Handed Hermit Crab

    Keoki Stender

    The Left-Handed Hermit Crab (Calcinus laevimanus) is so named because its left claw is considerably larger than its right. If a predator attacks, the Hermit Crab can back into its shell and use the large claw to block the entrance to its shell. It has long eye stalks, the lower half of the eyestalk is blue, and the upper half, orange. It grows to about 1" in size. Found in Hawaii and the rest of the Pacific Ocean, this terrific little reef safe crab spends its time seeking out algae (even Red Slime Algae), detritus and decaying material.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab

    Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab

    Craig Smith

    Also known as the Red Reef or Red Legged Hermit Crab, the Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab is named for its bright red legs and a yellow face. Native to the Caribbean and Western Atlantic, growing to a size of 1 1/2".