• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Local crabs for food


Jan 20, 2008
I have been looking for a reliable food source that won't cost an arm or leg. Has anyone tried feeding cold water crabs to their octo if so are there any problems associated with doing this. I have access to an abundant supply of cold water shore crabs which are able to withstand and be quite happy at 70-80 degree temperatures.:smile::bluering:
By cold water crabs, do you mean crabs along the Pacific shore? IF they are from salt water or brackish water, I think they'd by OK.

just remember if your in B.C. taking ANYTHING from the beaches is against the law as they are all classed as provincial parks. so don't get caught taking large amounts in other words. from my understanding your not allowed to take any creature from a B.C. beach without permits.

Where exactly along the Pacific Coast?

I do not foresee any problems with this. If you are at all worried, you may freshwater dip the crabs for ten minutes which will remove most of the parasites.

Depending on the location, a second issue may be the trace metal concentrations in the crab. There was a report of bioaccumulation in Enteroctopus dofleini a few years ago and they were found to contain hard metals, presumably from its diet of crab (my theory) and also possibly from across the skin. Strange that wild cephalopods are able to withstand certain levels of metals, while in captivity any trace of copper may wipe out the system. Well, not really strange when you think about it...

There are two major issues, permitting and pollution. As was mentioned above, in many areas it is illegal to collect any marine life without a proper permit. The fines can be quite stiff. I had a graduate student a few years back who collected Tegula to feed her stomatopods. She had a permit and took a couple of hundred at a time. She forgot to renew her permit, was stopped by a ranger and cited. The judge fined her a dollar a snail.

The other issue is the source of the prey items and pollution. Years ago we fed our octopus and stomatopods crabs and snails collected from the Berkeley Marina. Eventually I became concerned that we had trouble keeping animals alive for more than a few months. We tested the prey as well as stomatopods that had been fed for several months on them. They were loaded with heavy metals. I didn't test for other pollutants, but you can bet they were high as well. We switched to prey taken further up the coast and have had much better luck. I mentioned this once to Roland and if I remember correctly, he found the same problem with feeding their GPO's on locally caught crabs.

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