new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city trip

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tracy0416
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new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city trip

Post by tracy0416 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:26 pm

Hello all:

When in Myrtle Beach my husband and I finally got the hermit crabs he had been dreaming about since his childhood. His mom refused him hermit crabs for 12 years but when we went away this past week, at the age of 45, he finally got his dream! We love these little guys. So curious, interesting, beautiful and friendly!

Being the kind of folks we are, we decided not to take the advise of the shop owners on the "simple" needs of hermit crabs. We got back yesterday and today we are online researching crab care. As I suspected, they have needs far beyond what the shop only eager to sell to us, suggested.

We live in a remote area of the country side and will not be able to get into the city to purchase various high tech supplies such as a humidifier, proper substrate, and the like. While I can likely find a large aquarium in a second hand store in the area I am concerned to give the crabs the best care with a "simple" temporary set up.

We have a small 10" x 5 x 5 "chicken wire enclosure (which is obviously garbage for retaining moisture), a 1" by 3" plastic water dish, two small sponges, several sizes of shells, and some Hermit Crab food.

ANY ADVISE on a make-shift temporary set up with items likely found around the house which I can gather and assemble to maximize meeting the needs of these precious little creatures for the time being before we can get to the city to "upgrade" to a more "professional" habitat?

Thank you for your time,
Tracy, Rob, (Garth and George)!

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CallaLily
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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by CallaLily » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:57 pm

Do you have any large storage bins that you could set up as a temporary crabitat? They're a good alternative to an aquarium. Here's one crabber's tutorial: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... =8&t=94562.

Clean food storage bowls make great water dishes. Old ones turned over with a door cut in them make good hides too. Food can be bits and pieces of unseasoned meats, fruits, veggies, etc from your meals. Check out the safe food list. You might want to ditch the commercial stuff.

The most important thing is keeping temp and humidity up at proper levels. Do you know what species you have? Basic Care for all species found here. The next most important thing for crabby well-being is proper substrate. Access to both fresh and salt water. A good diet. Extra shells. These things are the absolute must haves. Of course providing hides and things to climb are important too, but the fancy stuff can wait until you're able. There are many other articles on crabby care found here.

Good luck and welcome to the HCA! :crabbigsmile:

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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by wodesorel » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:03 pm

Substrate is non-negotioable, since without being able to properly molt they will die. Do you have a feed store nearby, or a hardware store that carries basics? Playsand or all-purpose sand is what they need. Just make sure it's clean. Plain coir can be found for plants, it's a little iffy on if it's the same stuff as cocofiber for pets, but it seems to be.

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soilentgringa
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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by soilentgringa » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:11 pm

Hi and welcome to HCA. I know this is a lot to take in and we are totally on your side! They need substrate, heat/humidity, waters, and food for ASAP so I will try to touch those bases and I know other experienced crabbers will offer advice as well.
It is imperative that you find some play sand or silica based sand. It is less than $5 a bag at Lowe's/Home Depot. Is there any tractor supply outfit or other store like that anywhere close to you? Do you have any sphagnum moss that isn't treated with pesticides? The longer it takes to provide an adequate environment, the higher the chances are of your crabs passing. They are going to need to dig down and destress and possibly molt.
For right now, wrap the enclosure in plastic wrap, packing tape, anything that will seal it. Leave a small space for air exchange. If you have a plastic tote tub like the rubbermaid or sterlite totes, you can use that for now.
They have to be kept at a very minimum of 75°F, ideally 80°, but if you have no other choice, dampen a towel with water as hot as you can stand (not dripping) and place it over the top of the enclosure to provide warmth and humidity. Keep changing it out as necessary.
You can use empty butter tubs or plastic dishes as hides and bottle cap (plastic) lids as food dishes. They cannot have tap water so if you do not have anything to remove chlorine and ammonia from the waters or anything to provide them with marine grade saltwater you will have to use distilled or bottled for right now. It isn't a great choice but there is less chance of their gills blistering due to the chlorine/chemicals.
Do not give them pellet food, it contains preservatives and chemicals that are toxic. What you can do is pick pieces off of meat, fruits, veg that you are prepping for yourself as long as there is no seasoning. You can boil an egg for them and smash it, shell and all, they will love that and it provides calcium and protein that they must have daily. They love smashed bones and marrow.
Okay so temps/humidity, substrate, food have been covered. For water you will need a treatment product that removes chlorine/ammonia/heavy metals from their water. Both fresh and salt need to be treated. A lot of us use Seachem Prime because it is inexpensive, and a small bottle lasts forever. Many of us use Instant Ocean for their salt water mix because it is a marine grade salt and was created to give them the proper salinity and elements that the ocean would. There are over 70 essential components in the mix that are necessary for healthy molts as well as the general well being of the crabs, because it is the closest to the ocean we can give them safely at home.
If you have a heating pad you may be able to use that, just watch it very closely when draping it over. Hot water bottles are also an option.
I know someone else will also be along to offer wisdom. I know this can be overwhelming, just know we are all rooting for you! My older brother wanted lhc's all his life and his parents would never let him have them so he is super excited that I have them.
Here is a link to our care guide.
viewtopic.php?t=92457


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tracy0416
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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by tracy0416 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:13 pm

This is perfect. Thank you. I will get on this tonight.

We were told they are land crabs and from the research I did this is the case. They look exactly like this:
http://www.scserp.com/SCS_Photo_Gallery ... _Crabs.htm

Can I use regular driftwood (fresh water lake) I have in the house as a climbing gym? Or is this a disease/mite breeding ground?
Is kosher sea salt okay to use. I see table salt is bad but sea salt should be okay for the salt water dish no?

I found lots of good info on one of your suggested website links here:
http://www.hermitcrabpatch.com/Pet-Herm ... -s/101.htm

Thank you very much. I feel more confident now : )
Tracy


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tracy0416
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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by tracy0416 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:15 pm

Yes we have a hardware store which likely carries the more course "sand castle" sand : ) I'll pick up some tomorrow!

Thanks all for the encouraging advise!

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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by soilentgringa » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:36 pm

No problem. You can put wood in as long as it is from one of the safe species, just bake it at 250° for a couple of hours to kill any bugs, etc. I believe that sea salt is okay in a pinch as long as it hasn't been treated with any anticaking agents.

Your crabs are Purple Pinchers which is good because they are more hardy than some of the other species.

And sand castle/playsand is perfect. Untreated/organic/undyed sphagnum moss will help too until you can get some coconut fiber to mix in the sand. Moisten the sand until it is "sand castle" consistency so that their caves/tunnels won't collapse on them.


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soilentgringa
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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by soilentgringa » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:36 pm

viewtopic.php?t=92557

Safe food list.

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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by wodesorel » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:42 pm

I'm actually trying to think of what I have in my tank that required a pet store. The bowl and the moss are the only things, and that's only because I wanted super fancy stuff. :hlol: Everything else is from Walmart, hardware stores, the backyard, and things that could be found on craigslist.


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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by Kleinerhejhog » Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:35 am

tracy0416 wrote: Is kosher sea salt okay to use. I see table salt is bad but sea salt should be okay for the salt water dish no?
None of the salts used in the kitchen are right for crabs. Even "aquarium salt" is lacking in what they need. Most folks use Instant Ocean, because it most closely mimics the dozens of elements that are in natural ocean water.


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tracy0416
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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by tracy0416 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:26 am

Alright! Got a plastic drawer/bin all done up for our little buddies last night. They explored, ate, slept and seem happy.

Kleinerhejhog: I won't use the sea salt then. I'll wait until tuesday for our trip to the city to pick up the right salt/ocean minerals suggested.

Thanks everyone!


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Re: new crab parent - advise on immediate needs before city

Post by Stadiastarlet » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:26 pm

Only two months ago I was in the position you were in.
You're doing great. As long as you get the stuff you need you're going to be fine.
Those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter

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