Should I bathe my hermit crab?
Well the answer to that depends on who you ask! This could be one of the most hotly debated topics in the crabbing community. I’m not going to give you a answer, but I will try to offer both sides of the argument and you can decide for yourself.
Camp One: Actively bathing their crabs by the flip and dunk method. This entails preparing a bowl of stress coat treated water and placing the crab upside down under water. The crab will, hopefully, pop out and right itself. Thus flushing out the shell of any matter. This is done on a weekly basis by most people who employ this method. The crab should NOT completely abandon its shell during its bath. Leaving its shell is a sign of stress. If one of your crabs exhibits this behaviour, I strongly suggest you discontinue bathing it in this manner.
Camp Two: Actively bathing their crabs by placing them in a shallow dish of stress coat treated water to wade around.
Camp Three: Don't actively bathe their crabs at all, but instead offer them a wading pool in the crabitat at all times. Both fresh and saltwater. This allows the crabs to bathe themselves as they need to, just like in the wild.
Pros of Camp One’s method:
- The crab’s shell is kept clean of any matter
- The crab’s exoskeleton is kept supple by the stress coat
- The crab’s seem to enjoy the bath
- The crab’s are more active after a bath
- A bath can help soften the exo prior to a molt
- Requires no additional tank space
Con’s of Camp One’s method:
- The flip and dunk is not natural and causes great stress in the crab
- There is no evidence that stress coat is beneficial
- The flurry of activity after a bath is really a sign of a panicked and stressed crab
- Bathing too close to a molt can be hazardous
- Disrupts the delicate balance maintained in the shell water by flushing it all out and replacing with unbalanced water
Pro’s of Camp Two’s method:
- All the same as Camp One, minus the stress of the flip and dunk
Con’s of Camp Two’s method:
- All the same as Camp One, being forced to wade in the water is still stressful
Pro’s of Camp Three’s method:
- This is the most natural approach to bathing
- The crab can clean its shell as needed
- The crab can maintain the balance of shell water
Con’s of Camp Three’s method:
- No exposure to stress coat
:::© Stacy Griffith :::