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Official Pom Pom Crab (Lybia Tesselatta) Thread


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Guide to the care and husbandry of the Pom-pom Crab


Hi, this is Chris, and this is my guide to the Lybia Tessalatta, or Pom-pom Crab. This fascinating little creature has many untruths floating around about its care, so its finally time to sift through those and tell you how to care for them. So for anyone who is interested in this amazing invertebrate read through this guide and make a judgment on whether or not you would like to keep this amazing creature.


The Pom-pom crab is amazingly resilient as an aquarium subject, infact it has been know to live for years at a time, contrary to the belief that Pom-pom Crabs live only for a short time in captivity. Pom-pom Crabs lose their anemones quickly in the aquarium, unless the aquarium is extremely stable, and the crabs have good places to find shelter. They find their food by moving their anemones across the substrates and rocks in the aquarium and taking whatever they “mop” up with the anemones. They can also be fed by placing food near the hole you generally see them at, and they will usually take it immediately. Pom-pom Crabs can tolerate a wide range of parameters and so will their anemones.


They hide constantly, until they get used to the daily life of your aquarium. For the first month or two, you will probably only see them right before night, or at night. This lifestyle is probably due to their small size, and the fact that many predators could take advantage of them, including hermits (Yes, I said Hermits).


They do best in nano-reefs, where they are most easily fed, seen, and able to avoid predators. They do not need strong lighting, and neither do their anemones. They also do not need a high current. They can be kept in groups, and tanks as small as a gallon! I am going to keep two in a 2.5 gallon, with several soft corals, and Derasa Clams. As much as I’d like to say that they are safe for large aquaria, they aren’t. They are just too small and tend to disappear into the rockwork, and never be seen again. It would also make it hard to assure that they are eating. I would say no to a large tank for a Pom-pom.


They regularly carry egg sacs although, I don’t recall ever hearing of the larvae surviving. If a Pom-pom crab is injured in aquaria, they should be isolated, as this is the best way to allow them to take the time to molt, and regenerate lost appendages. I have heard of this being done several times with success in about a month each time.


While the Pom-pom crabs are quite reef-safe, they can be quite aggressive when it comes to food. I have seen mine beat on hermits, and once a Scooter Blenny for taking his food, although no damage occurs to what they are beating up. I have never heard of one of these crabs causing problems with corals, or Tridacnid clams although many (usually those who haven’t kept them) say that they are not reef-safe and will kill corals, in the words of one “They are absolute trouble in a reef”. Although, they had never even kept one.

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Thank you for reading my guide, I hope you enjoyed it and are now planning on adding a Pom-pom crab to your tank. If anyone with a Pom-pom crab would like to add anything feel free to add it.

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I'll play! I got my pom-pom on Monday. Here he is acclimating in the bag. He hid for a couple days but I noticed him out just a few minutes ago after my lights went out and the actinics are on.

He has one white anemone and one pink anemone and is eating well.


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I just got a pom pom today. I was wanting a teddy bear but those are pretty hard to come by. My pom pom did not have the anemones when I got it. Can I substitute something for the anemones or is there a way to goet them for the crab?

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If you have ball anemones or something else on your rocks, you may find your crab pulling one off, or..


You could introduce another crab which would split it's anemones and drop a half on the rocks.

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Would a pom-pom use a zoo or other coral in the place of an anemone if there where nothing else? It doesn't make since that they would since anemones lack a skeletal stucture, but I've heard stories they might. That might be a reason some people are prone to pass them up. Another reason might be because of the anemones. Some people might not want to intorduce something they consider a pest into their tanks or have a fear of the corals getting stung if the crab brushes up against one.

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In answer to your questions,


Their anemones die without them, as they are exclusive to the Pom-pom Crab.


And yes they will pick up TINY Zoos.

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Brian da lion

Nice thread, cg. It really makes me think about getting a pom pom or two, and also makes me think about setting up an anemone shrimp thread. We really need some more pics on this thread, though. EVERYONE POST UR POM POMS!

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Brian da lion

I'm having a bit of difficulty with the tank now, since my little sister decided to "help" me my rearranging the rocks. And when I say rearranging, I mean she piled all of them on top of my frogspawn. Luckily nothing was hurt, but I can't get the rocks the way that I like them.

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I hate when I can never figure out how I would like to put my rocks, it bugs me.


Sorry to hear about you sister's little "Extreme Makeover"

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i got one on friday, he's so cool, but doesn't have any anenome's on him/her. I thinking about getting another,to make them more charismatic, right now it just takes one lap around the tank, he looks like he's doing tia chi. will he be ok w/o an anenome.

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I'm thinking of setting up a 2.5 minibow for a few of these guys. They're just so darn cute. And for a crab-hater like me, that's pretty good on their part!

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It would be darn cute. Just a nice heap of live rock, thin layer of sand, and who knows what else. Certainly no fish or corals... Maybe a friendly ol' shrimp or something. Those lil bumblebee shrimp are just adorable! We have a couple at my store, and they're so funny, but they'd get lost in anything larger than the 2.5. Ty-neh!

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