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Home > General > Can You Keep a Lobster as a Pet? Breeds, Care & FAQ

Can You Keep a Lobster as a Pet? Breeds, Care & FAQ

tropical rock lobster underwater

Though many view lobsters—especially the American Lobster in the US—as a delicacy, some stray from tradition and decide to keep them as pets. Though this might seem a bit off-center, some breeds of lobster do just fine living in aquariums as long as certain living requirements are met. They’re also fascinating to observe and aren’t too challenging to care for if you know what you’re doing.

In this post, we’ll explore the basics of keeping lobsters, suitable breeds, the kind of care they need, and whether or not this unconventional pet would be right for you.


The 4 Best Pet Lobster Breeds

Before you rush off to scope out your local aquarium store for a friend from the deep, it’s important to be aware that not all lobster breeds are suited to tank life. The best breeds to keep as pets include:

1. Debelius’ Reef Lobster

This lobster also goes by the name “Purple/Orange Reef Lobster” due to its white/lavender body and distinctive orange and violet spotting. These lobsters can grow to be 5 inches and are known for being aggressive toward other reef lobsters, but should leave healthy fish alone. There should only be one Debelius Reef lobster per tank or a mated pair.

2. Blue Spiny Lobster

blue spiny lobster or painted crayfish (Panulirus versicolor)
Image Credit: HotFlash, Shutterstock

Also known as the “Painted Crayfish”, the Blue Spiny Lobster has a green-blue carapace and a darker blue dorsal surface. It can cohabit peacefully with most aquarium animals, though it is not suited to tanks with bottom dwellers. This lobster has a shy disposition, especially at first, isn’t picky about its food, and can produce a locust-type sound.

3. Red Hawaiian Reef Lobster

Red Hawaiian Reef Lobster (Enoplometopus occidentalis)
Image Credit: Timothy Ewing, Shutterstock

The Red Hawaiian Reef Lobster is, as its name gives away, a deep red shape with white and/or orange spotting. It resembles freshwater crayfish. This lobster enjoys burrowing in gravel and scavenging at night, and it may not be the best fit for a tank with small fish and invertebrates. The Red Hawaiian Reef is aggressive toward other reef lobsters.

4. Crinoid Squat Lobster

black and white Crinoid Squat Lobster
Image Credit:, Shutterstock

The reef-safe Crinoid Squat Lobster is a very small lobster breed that grows up to just 2 inches. They tend to do well in aquariums due to their generally peaceful nature and being easy to please in the food department. They shouldn’t be kept with other Crinoid Squat Lobsters, however, unless one of a mated pair.

pets 6

Tank & Water Requirements

Lobsters need roomy tanks—a minimum of 29 gallons, though this kind of size is better suited to smaller lobster breeds. Larger breeds will require a bigger tank. When you purchase your lobster, request specifics on the most suitable tank size.

In terms of water conditions, the temperature needs to be maintained between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need an aquatic heater to keep the water temperature stable and prevent fluctuations of more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit in a 24-hour period. The specific gravity level ranges from 1.023 to 1.025 and shouldn’t fluctuate more than 0.001 in a 24-hour period.

A good filtration system is key to making sure the tank water quality (pH levels, etc.) is maintained and provides the lobster with an environment similar to its natural habitat. Water circulation strength ranges from moderate to strong depending on the breed of lobster.

Bear in mind that copper-based medications can be dangerous for lobsters and that they will need to be supplied with calcium. Some need specific supplements, like magnesium, iodine, and trace elements, but this varies by breed.

checking PH level of aquarium water
Image Credit: Joan Carles Juarez, Shutterstock

Tank Items Checklist

You’ll need substrate at the bottom of your tank (depth varies by breed), rocks, and hiding spots like caves as lobsters typically hide out during the day.

Here is a list of the basic tank supplies you’ll need for a lobster:
  • An aquarium large enough for the lobster species
  • Hiding spots
  • Rocks
  • Food
  • Water test kit
  • Protein skimmer
  • Aquatic heater
  • Thermometer
  • Water conditioner
  • Filtration system
  • Full spectrum lighting
  • Substrate
  • Aquarium salt
  • Net
  • Refractometer
  • Any supplements recommended for a specific breed

Tank Mates

As mentioned above, some lobster species can’t live among their own kind due to aggression, so one per tank is pretty standard. Moreover, some breeds don’t do well with certain species (such as squid, octopuses, and mollusks), so pick your lobster’s tank mates with care.

Angelfish, Clownfish, Butterflyfish, Basslets, and Damsels are some of the types of fish that might be a good fit for your lobster—check with the seller first!


In the wild, lobsters eat a variety of sea creatures, including mussels, clams, crabs, and sea urchins. They often catch these and eat them fresh rather than seeking out dead creatures. A lobster’s diet consists partly of the food they scavenge from the tank, but you can also feed them pellets that sink and meaty morsels that are either fresh, (thawed) frozen, or freeze-dried.

pellet feed for crayfish or lobster
Image By: photosthai, Shutterstock

Are Lobsters Good Beginner Pets?

Yes and no. Lobsters are pretty hardy creatures and aren’t too tricky to care for on a daily basis, but they do have a rather specific kind of tank setup, like all other aquarium animals. If you have some experience raising aquarium life and keeping water conditions stable, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty with a lobster.

However, if you’re completely new to caring for aquarium animals and don’t want to go to too much trouble setting stuff up, lobsters will likely be something of a challenge. On the other hand, if you’re a very dedicated beginner who is prepared to learn and provide the right environment for lobsters, there’s no reason why you couldn’t successfully raise a lobster.



To recap, you can most certainly keep a lobster as a pet. Though they’re not the cuddliest or friendliest of companions, they’re really intriguing animals that offer a bit of a challenge for the budding but dedicated aquarist.

We strongly recommend doing your research and speaking in depth with your lobster seller about their specific needs before you take a lobster home, as these can vary somewhat depending on the species.

Featured Image Credit: Gilmanshin, Shutterstock

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