Purple Reef Lobster

From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Jump to: navigation , search
Enoplometopus debelius - Holthuis, 1983
Purple Reef Lobster

One of the most-prized of the small reef lobsters. Scott W. Michael


Also known as Debelius' Reef Lobster, named for famed underwater photographer Helmut Debelius, this is an outstanding choice for a species tank with a cave or two and perhaps a fish or two that hover in the water column, such as larger cardinalfishes.

Gloriously pigmented, reef lobsters are the marine equivalent of freshwater crayfish, and they make very hardy aquarium animals. Colors range from orange to deep red, lavender, or deep purple with orange legs. These modestly sized lobsters are generally reef safe, with their claws used mostly for defense. They mostly feed at night in the wild and may tend to stay hiding in the shadows when the lights are on.

Family: Enoplometopidae

Other common name(s):

  • Debelius' Reef Lobster
  • Debelius Reef Lobster
  • Polka-dot Reef Lobster

Native range:

Habitat: Rocky areas on and around shallow-water coral reefs.

Maximum length: 15 cm (6 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Lighting: Dim

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom


Omnivore. Will scavenge all manner of foods and wastes. Offer a variety of meaty items such as pieces of marine fish, shrimp, and squid.

Aquarium Compatibility

If kept well fed, will ignore most reef invertebrates and fishes. However, when placed in a nano tank crowded with reef invertebrates, they may prove destructive. All lobsters have cannibalistic tendencies and should be kept singly, especially in smaller aquariums.

Special Care

They need a sand bed for burrowing and good water conditions: clean, well-filtered, and with vigorous circulation.

Reference: The 101 Best Marine Invertebrates
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM