It is a common question among people who have just started to learn about shellfish anatomy, the difference between fresh and saltwater hermit crabs and shellfish fertilization and molting. It is also often asked: how much of a shellfish can you eat? What should the guideline be?
The guideline is simple: the larger the shellfish you get, the smaller the portion of the animal you should eat. The reason for this is simple logic. If you have ever eaten a huge oyster, you know that the oyster is a very large food. It takes a very large quantity of food to make one giant meal, and the same logic applies to crabs.
If you are eating a lot of the animal (and it is a big animal if you are eating an adult crab); then you will have to be taking in a lot of food to satisfy your hunger. And remember, if you are eating enough to satisfy your hunger and still not satisfy your desires, you are overfeeding. So, what are some good foods for crab nutrition? Well, the best is meat. There are many good sources of crab meat.
Of course, meat must be fresh. Some species of crab are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat, but they don’t always reach their full molt. In such species, fresh meat, preferably meat that has already been skinned and cleaned is the best.
You will also want to know how much of a shellfish nutrition you are getting. This is probably easiest to answer when it comes to fresh shellfish. Fresh meat is easy to find and easy to prepare. You simply cut off the head and claw of the crab, wash them and any other detritus (including the little guys who sometimes cover their shell with mucus) into a clean bowl. Add about a half teaspoon of white vinegar and let the crabs molter happily.
If you’re cooking fish or shrimp, you may be able to find out how much molting a particular species of crab will take before it becomes old and sluggish. In fact, I’ve cooked species of crab that were sluggish and died quickly simply because they were overmilled and did not have enough space to molt. They were given the same amount of food as young crabs, which is roughly twice their normal weight. Once they were old enough, however, they still ate about half of their own body weight. To me, that’s not good crab meat.
Of course, fresh meat is great, but you also need to know how much of a whole crab are you eating to ensure good nutrition. Fresh crab meat has a lot of moisture in it, and that moisture is important for meat, but it is also high in protein which can help with crab and lobster nutrition. If you overcook or under cook the crab meat, you may end up with mushy crabs. To me, that’s not the best of ingredients if you want to provide your pets with quality crabs.
Of course, there are other things you should consider when it comes to knowing just how much of a crab are you eating. For instance, if you want to know about molting, you should make sure the crab is well fed before you attempt to move it around from one side of the tank to another. If you do this, the molting process will go more smoothly and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful new crabs. Also, the molting crab is easier to spot if you have a hard line to follow. A good rule of thumb is to always keep the crab at its feeding and breeding area for at least one hour after you remove it from the tank, and then move it back to its shell and remove any additional molting material.