Urgent: My emerald crab just gave birth whilst in a drip acclimation bucket. What should I do?

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wwarby

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I have a naughty emerald crab. It was picking at my corals, so I decided to move it to my QT tank for now (it's an observation tank only, no copper) as that tank has no corals, and plenty of algae. I caught it this evening and I've been drip acclimating it for about half an hour and as I went to check on it, I realised it was giving birth to hundreds of young in the bucket. I took a video of it (the forum software won't let me embed it because it's a short):

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/JX1TMHAODyI

I don't know what to do now. By rare chance I seem to have accidentally bred baby emerald crabs in such a way that I have them isolated from predators. I don't particularly want hundreds of emerald crabs, do I just pour the water with the baby crabs into the QT tank? Empty it into the sink and flush them? Keep them in the bucket and feed them, see if they grow? I'm quite new to the hobby and I don't have an instruction manual for this scenario :D
 
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Why not try to raise em up and trade em to your LFS. Pretty neat. Keep us posted
I'm up for giving it a try! I need guidance though. I've just moved the mother into the QT tank because she'd been in the bucket for over an hour, and somewhat disturbingly, seemed to be greedily eating her own babies :face-with-open-mouth:

So now I have a pretty small bucket containing a few hundred miniscule emerald crabs in about 2 litres of water which will quickly be cooling to room temperature. I have plenty of bigger buckets and I can get more water out of the QT tank to buy myself time but I have no spare heater. I do have a spare pump I could use to turn over the water in the bucket.

My QT tank is a Fluval Evo, has some live rock, a little bit of live sand and two clownfish currently in QT. Also in there are three astrea snails, three nassarius snails, now two emerald crabs and a peppermint shrimp (the emeralds and peppermint all got moved because they were nipping at corals). I have no other empty tanks. It's nearly 9pm here in the UK so I won't be able to get a heater until tomorrow.

What's my best course of action then? Put them in a 20 litre bucket, fill it with tank water and hope it stays warm enough until I can get a heater tomorrow? Put them in my QT tank and hope the inhabitants don't eat them?
 

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Do you have an acclimation box you can put them in and keep in the tank (probably would've mentioned it if you did). Snag one maybe. Try to put them in a small container and float the container in the tank so it maintains somewhat the same temp. Maybe poke some holes in a pee cup with a lid and put em in there til you get acclimation box?
 
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Wow, pretty cool to see. I would try to raise them and see what happens. I would definitely isolate them from the main population until they are big enough, otherwise, they may become food or sucked into an overflow, etc.
 
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Do you have an acclimation box you can put them in and keep in the tank (probably would've mentioned it if you did). Snag one maybe. Try to put them in a small container and float the container in the tank so it maintains somewhat the same temp. Maybe poke some holes in a pee cup with a lid and put em in there til you get acclimation box?
Nope, but it sounds like a good idea to float them in the QT tank to keep the temperature equalised. I'll try to rig something up with a tupperware or something for tonight and call my LFS in the morning to see about an acclimation box or otherwise get some kind of medium term solution in place until they grow. They're like specs of dust at the moment but I can see hundreds of them are alive. Should I put a bit of nori in the bucket for them to eat? Or I have pellets or flakes...
 
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This seems as good a solution as any for temperature maintenance until morning - that bucket won’t move
 

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Update: almost all of the tiny emerald crabs I can see still seem to be alive, although I kinda feel like there's less of them than yesterday so I wonder if they're eating their brothers and sisters? :grimacing-face:


I don't really know what I should be feeding them so I've thrown in very small quantities of nori, brine shrimp, mysis flake and pellet, which is all the fish foods I have on hand. I'm keeping the bucket floated in my tank to maintain temperature and I changed most of the water in the bucket today (like 75%), replacing it with water from the tank the bucket was originally filled from, on advice from my LFS. It's only got like 2.5 litres of water, but I figure they're so small that they won't be consuming masses of oxygen. I'm swirling the water a few times a day by hand just to get a little bit of gas exchange. I figure I'll need to change the water a lot to keep on top of nitrates.

The tiny crabs swim around in the water, so doing water changes without losing any isn't easy. I used an airline tube siphon into another white bucket, and reversed it to move the four I'd sucked up back into the bucket. I think if I put them in any kind of container inside a bigger tank with any flow or water exchange at all, one by one the crabs would find their way out into the tank, so I think it's bucket or nothing whilst they're this small. I'm inclined not to try to aerate the water mechanically just yet as I suspect I'd just kill a lot of the crabs if they got sucked into any kind of pump, so instead I'm just going to change the water frequently.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to get a small heater and move them into a much larger bucket (20 litres) so I'll have more stable water chemistry and less need for drastic water changes. I'll test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates regularly, and keep providing a mixture of foods. If anyone has any further advice, please do share it. It seems there is basically no information about breeding emeralds on the Internet and I'm out on a limb here having started in the hobby less than 4 months ago, but I've been gifted an opportunity and I'm trying to make the best of it :)
 
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For baby brine I run a air pump to a piece of rigid airline tubing and use a control valve to dial it down to like one bubble every second or two. That should be enough to aerate the water for them I'd imagine. The flake crushed between your fingers probably has a good mix for them...idk I'm no expert obv just spitballin here :) Also, I wonder if like brine they have a yolk sack for a day or so that they feed off before they need any proper food
 
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Are they too small for your net? If not you could just pour all the water through the net, collect em and put em in fresh water every other day or so...
Yeah too small for the net I think, even the fine mesh one. They’re minuscule. From what little I’ve read though, they’ll go through changes quite quickly and start to look like crabs in a week or so. I can change 50% of the water once a day until then - it’s not that difficult if I’m careful.
 

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Too bad i havent seen your post yesterday.

Put an airline without air stone inside the bucket and feed them with bbs freshly hatched every day. No macro algae. No subatrate. No live rock. If you have any, you can put live phytoplankton inside. Overall the breeding process for emerald crabs is very similar to breeding any other shrimp or crab.
Take a look into my guide for breeding p. elegans shrimps. The process is very similar.
Guide
 
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For baby brine I run an air pump to a piece of rigid airline tubing and use a control valve to dial it down to like one bubble every second or two. That should be enough to aerate the water for them I'd imagine. The flake crushed between your fingers probably has a good mix for them...idk I'm no expert obv just spitballin here :) Also, I wonder if like brine they have a yolk sack for a day or so that they feed off before they need any proper food
Yeah that’s what I did with the flake. From what I’ve been able to find online it does seem as though they cannibalise each other so I expect the numbers will reduce. I’m not gonna split them though unless at least some of them make it a few days, as multiple buckets will be more work to maintain. To be honest I’d be pretty chuffed if even one or two of them survived to adulthood :)
 

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Are they too small for your net? If not you could just pour all the water through the net, collect em and put em in fresh water every other day or so...
You are going to kill a lot of larvae if you try to filter them with a plankton net. Just leave them in the bucket. Even water changes arent necessary as long as you don't overfeed. Artemia will contaminate the water to a lesser degree than dry food.
 
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Too bad i havent Seen your Post yesterday.

Put an airline without air stone inside the bucked and feed them with bbs freshly hatched every day. No macro algae. No subatrate. No live rock. If you have any, you can put live phytoplankton inside. Overall the breeding process for emerald crabs is a lot similar to breeding any other Shrimp or crab.
Take a look into my guide for breeding p. elegans shrimps. The process is very similar.
Guide
Thanks very much Tavero. I don’t have an air pump but I’ll try to get one tomorrow. Live baby brine shrimp (I assume that’s what bbs is?) will be harder - I don’t have any clue how to get set up for that and I can’t drive to the LFS every day - I just don’t have the time. I’ll look into it though.

I’ce kept the bucket free of live rock, sand and macro algae as you suggested. I’ll take a look at your guide now - cheers ;)
 
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