Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

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Stefunkie
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Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by Stefunkie » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:02 am

I am 5 days into owning hermit crabs, and I have some concerns. I have a 10 gallon aquarium with eco earth and CALCIUM SAND as substrate, approximately 4 inches deep. I have read so much yesterday about how calcium sand is bad for the crabbies. I have 2 PP. One is tiny, about the size of a quarter, and he has gone missing. Now I know the little guy is probably stressed, but he was really active for a couple days. My dilemma is this... should I dig in the calcium sand to make sure he isn't suffocating some where?
Image
Also, could I get some suggestions for my tank? The humidity stays between 75-80 and the temp is consistently 72.
Thanks!

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kornchaser
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by kornchaser » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:38 am

Calcium sand needs replaced ASAP indefinitely, the need is significantly increased if a crab is under even if that means digging them up. A good replacement is those 50lb quickrete play sand bags from Lowes or Home Depot, that sand is perfectly safe. Or you can stick with EE, both safe and both preffered by tons and tbh EE is lighter than 50lbs
Although a few people from Texas described bugs in their quickrete idk where you're located at but you may need to watch out for that.
Also, the substrate really should be at minimum 6" for micro-teeny-small crabs and maybe 6"+ for mediums. More regulations on bigger crabs and sub than smaller currently, the scales may tip as crabbers discover more. But one thing that's true with Purple Pinchers of all sizes is that the temp needs to be 75-85°F and yours is a tad too low which can potentially be a big deal for your crabs. A UTH (under tank heater) stuck along the back outside of your tank above the substrate line will help with that, just tape some poster styrofoam board behind the heater for insulation. The insulation is necessary to keep appropriate temperature for crabs since you can't keep your house at a constant 80°F so it's like insulating a tiny crab house lol! Another thing, watch that humidity it needs to be at 75% or above at all times. It likes to dip to unfavorable levels at night same with the temp.


Mommy of 10 PP babies:
Poseidon (Sid), Toby, Matty, Junior, Aries, Kaylee, Turbo, Adrian, Pepper and Flower. RIP Octavius & Fred
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KellyCrabbieLove
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by KellyCrabbieLove » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:00 am

Water! It is important to have 2 kinds of water available at all times. 1 fresh water that has been Dechlorinated and 1 saltwater that has been Dechlorinated as well. Most of us use http://m.petco.com/product/2896/API-Str ... SiteSearch for Dechlorinating both and instant ocean http://m.petco.com/product/5694/Instant ... -Salt.aspx for the salt water. They should both be in bowls deep enough for them to submerge. You can use any type of container, from old Tupperware to yogurt containers to bowls you buy at the petstore. I used these for awhile when I had really little crabs http://m.petco.com/product/10392/Exo-Te ... aterDishes because of the built in ramp to get out. As long as you provide a way to get out any container that they can submerge in will work. I now use these bowls for their food.
#1 rule of crabbing - crabs are weird.
#2 rule of crabbing - see above

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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by KellyCrabbieLove » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:15 am

Ok, for other suggestions. I think of decor. I see you have a coconut hut. That is where I started too! :) Places to hide like plants work great because you can still see them unlike the coconut hut. I keep coconut huts for my iso when they need full darkness. I feel they are definitely a must have. :) You can get plants at dollar stores, craft stores and of course pet stores. I bought almost all of mine at petco because their website has a good selection and always have sales going on. They have one right now. I spend enough on these crabs lol a sale is a great thing! They love to climb. So anything they can climb up on works great, just be mindful of what it is. Some things can be soaked in salt water, some boiled, some baked so it just depends on what it is. We can all help on here so you can get it all figured out. :) that is all I can think of right now for decor but it never hurts to take a trip to a craft store for a fishermen's net type thing and suction cups. They will love climbing that too. I am always finding mine on it. In a 10 gal a little goes a long way on any decor. It makes it sooo much easier (and cheaper) since there is less room to fill. With all bowls they need for water and whatnot your tank can fill quickly. If I were you I would start watching craigslist for a little bit bigger tank. When I was looking for my 55 a few months into crabbing I saw a 29 gal for$20. There are definitely great deals out there. With any of the decor try your very best to not sink it into the sub because they need the room to dig to molt
#1 rule of crabbing - crabs are weird.
#2 rule of crabbing - see above

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Stefunkie
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by Stefunkie » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:48 pm

kornchaser wrote:Calcium sand needs replaced ASAP indefinitely, the need is significantly increased if a crab is under even if that means digging them up. A good replacement is those 50lb quickrete play sand bags from Lowes or Home Depot, that sand is perfectly safe. Or you can stick with EE, both safe and both preffered by tons and tbh EE is lighter than 50lbs Image
Although a few people from Texas described bugs in their quickrete idk where you're located at but you may need to watch out for that.
Also, the substrate really should be at minimum 6" for micro-teeny-small crabs and maybe 6"+ for mediums. More regulations on bigger crabs and sub than smaller currently, the scales may tip as crabbers discover more. But one thing that's true with Purple Pinchers of all sizes is that the temp needs to be 75-85°F and yours is a tad too low which can potentially be a big deal for your crabs. A UTH (under tank heater) stuck along the back outside of your tank above the substrate line will help with that, just tape some poster styrofoam board behind the heater for insulation. The insulation is necessary to keep appropriate temperature for crabs since you can't keep your house at a constant 80°F so it's like insulating a tiny crab house lol! Another thing, watch that humidity it needs to be at 75% or above at all times. It likes to dip to unfavorable levels at night same with the temp.


Mommy of 10 PP babies:
Poseidon (Sid), Toby, Matty, Junior, Aries, Kaylee, Turbo, Adrian, Pepper and Flower. RIP Octavius & Fred
I found the little crabbie, "bean". I took all the calcium sand out, and thankfully he had not buried in there. He was in the EE. I haven't bought new sand, but it it's on my list so I have the tank full of EE and I am right at 6 inches.

I've read conflicting stories about UTH's. Some sources say under the tank and some day on the side. What are the differences/benefits to each?

Thanks!

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Stefunkie
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by Stefunkie » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:54 pm

KellyCrabbieLove wrote:Water! It is important to have 2 kinds of water available at all times. 1 fresh water that has been Dechlorinated and 1 saltwater that has been Dechlorinated as well. Most of us use http://m.petco.com/product/2896/API-Str ... SiteSearch for Dechlorinating both and instant ocean http://m.petco.com/product/5694/Instant ... -Salt.aspx for the salt water. They should both be in bowls deep enough for them to submerge. You can use any type of container, from old Tupperware to yogurt containers to bowls you buy at the petstore. I used these for awhile when I had really little crabs http://m.petco.com/product/10392/Exo-Te ... aterDishes because of the built in ramp to get out. As long as you provide a way to get out any container that they can submerge in will work. I now use these bowls for their food.
I have been using the pre-made salt water for hermit crabs, and I have read that using distilled water is okay. Thoughts? I definitely think it would be more cost effective and beneficial to get the products in the links. I'm afraid my water dishes are not big enough. Image

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KellyCrabbieLove
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by KellyCrabbieLove » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:55 pm

Not under. It can be a fire hazard, dry out the sand and won't heat through all of the substrate.never under, always on the side.
#1 rule of crabbing - crabs are weird.
#2 rule of crabbing - see above

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Stefunkie
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by Stefunkie » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:57 pm

Also KellyCrabbieLove, I agree I am going to need a bigger tank! I started off with a critter keeper the first day and as I started reading online I realised it was just not going to do. I totally love the idea of hanging a net. What about air plants?

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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by megmaholm » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:02 pm

Stefunkie wrote:Also KellyCrabbieLove, I agree I am going to need a bigger tank! I started off with a critter keeper the first day and as I started reading online I realised it was just not going to do. I totally love the idea of hanging a net. What about air plants?
Air plants are safe, but your crabs will probably destroy them. ;)
Crabbing since July 2014! 75 gallon with 12 Purple Pinchers.

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kornchaser
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by kornchaser » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:03 pm

Stefunkie wrote:
I found the little crabbie, "bean". I took all the calcium sand out, and thankfully he had not buried in there. He was in the EE. I haven't bought new sand, but it it's on my list so I have the tank full of EE and I am right at 6 inches.

I've read conflicting stories about UTH's. Some sources say under the tank and some day on the side. What are the differences/benefits to each?

Thanks!
YAY 6"!!
With hermit crabs the consensus is a UTH as long as the back of your tank or as close as you can get while still above the substrate line to warm the air in the tank. With insulation to keep it 75-85°F if you live in a cooler place where your house isn't constantly 80° in dead winter, neat but rare.
The big trouble with a UTH under a crabitat is that with 6"+ of dirt and sand... It'll become an oven down there with any cave a crab makes will cook them. All the sub soaks up all the heat and with EE you notice humidity skyrocket with beads of water flowing down the walls. Also with humidity that high mold will grow. I believe with 12" or so the heat just gets trapped there and bakes everything low enough (eg: molting crabs).


Mommy of 10 PP babies:
Poseidon (Sid), Toby, Matty, Junior, Aries, Kaylee, Turbo, Adrian, Pepper and Flower. RIP Octavius & Fred
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by wodesorel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:30 am

The biggest risk with a UTH is fire hazard - trapped between the tank and whatever the tank is sitting on, and being instulated by inches of substrate, the heat can get high enough to discolor wooden stands and melt carpet. Always on the back. :) It will work more efficiently to heat the air as well.

Distilled water is great for using to spray (no water marks) and to mix up saltwater, but truthfully it's better for the crabs to have their freshwater source be bottled or tap - all surface water has dissolved minerals which land animals have evolved to need. Distilled water has none of these minerals, and it's a known cause of health problems in reptiles who are provided only distilled water for drinking. Crabs aren't reptiles, but the theory should still hold that they get as much benefit from those same minerals as any other animal would.

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Stefunkie
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by Stefunkie » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:22 pm

kornchaser wrote: YAY 6"!!
With hermit crabs the consensus is a UTH as long as the back of your tank or as close as you can get while still above the substrate line to warm the air in the tank. With insulation to keep it 75-85°F if you live in a cooler place where your house isn't constantly 80° in dead winter, neat but rare.
The big trouble with a UTH under a crabitat is that with 6"+ of dirt and sand... It'll become an oven down there with any cave a crab makes will cook them. All the sub soaks up all the heat and with EE you notice humidity skyrocket with beads of water flowing down the walls. Also with humidity that high mold will grow. I believe with 12" or so the heat just gets trapped there and bakes everything low enough (eg: molting crabs).


Mommy of 10 PP babies:
Poseidon (Sid), Toby, Matty, Junior, Aries, Kaylee, Turbo, Adrian, Pepper and Flower. RIP Octavius & Fred
Omg I never would have thought of that! My mother and I had a pretty good argument about whether it goes underneath or on the side. Is there a particular brand? Thanks for the great advice!

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Stefunkie
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by Stefunkie » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:26 pm

Thanks wodesorel! The information about the water makes a lot of sense. I'm glad you shared!

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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by wodesorel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:38 pm

Stefunkie wrote: Omg I never would have thought of that! My mother and I had a pretty good argument about whether it goes underneath or on the side. Is there a particular brand? Thanks for the great advice!
UTH are used sort of off-label for hermit crabs - they are made to be used on the bottom of reptile enclosures that have a 1/2 inch or less of loose substrate to give them belly heat so they can safely digest food. No reptile keeper would be trying to use a bottom mounted UTH to warm an entire enclosure, since the pad would get so warm the reptile would refuse to use it or would harm themselves trying. The crabbing community found, through trial and error, that UTHs on the back work perfectly for warming an entire space to tropical temps safely, but that it usually takes a pad that is the size of the back of the tank instead of the little ones that are sold by the gallon and are meant to supply a small warm spot for basking. Same product, different uses for different outcomes. :)

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Stefunkie
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Re: Newbie here. Should I dig for my crabbie?

Post by Stefunkie » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:40 pm

So the key is to look for one that would be about the size of the back of my tank? :)

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