How to Keep Lobster Alive in Lobster Tanks

Updated April 17, 2017

Fresh lobster remains one of the finest food luxuries. Lobster is delicious to eat and is also an excellent source of protein. Ounce for ounce, lobster is actually lower in fat and calories than skinless chicken breasts. Of course, lobster must be kept alive until it is time to cook them. Restaurant owners, caterers or even home gourmets will want to invest in a tank and properly prepare and stock it so that they can keep their lobster alive and fresh.

Set up an open tank if close to the ocean. In this design, ocean water is run through the tank, keeping the lobster in the environment to which it was already accustomed. You will need a pump for the water.

Set up an aquarium tank with saltwater and a pump or aerator. Lobsters breathe oxygen, so they require the water to be cycled to introduce fresh oxygen. Do not add salt to the water while the lobster is in the tank. Although you must replace lost water, do so through "purging," which means preparing the water in another container by adding salt and bringing it to the proper temperature before adding it to the tank. The proper temperature is the temperature of the water you took the lobster out of and varies based on location, depth and season. A thermometer will give you a correct reading.

Allow new lobsters to acclimate to the tank water by placing them in water taken from the tank for one to two minutes then adding them to the tank with existing lobsters.

Keep the lobsters from overcrowding the tank. If the lobster are stacked on top of one another and can't get to the bottom, you have too many in the tank.

Remove sick or dead lobsters immediately. Sick lobsters often float, or turn belly-up on the bottom.

Clean the tank at least once each month. Lobsters need clean water to survive. To clean the tank, remove the lobsters, drain the water and wipe the inside out with a clean towel. Refill and then add the lobsters.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass or acrylic tank
  • Pump
  • Saltwater
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Bryan Clark has been a freelance writer since 2002. His work has appeared in "The New York Times," "USA Today" and the U.K.'s biggest paper—"The Guardian," amongst other, smaller publications.