Crab care isn't easy

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about20percent
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Crab care isn't easy

Post by about20percent » Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:49 pm

I'm new here. I just registered a few minutes ago... I'm 20 and my mother purchased 3 hermit crabs (I'm pretty sure they are all Purple Pincher) at the mall. It's been about a year since... One sadly passed only a few months after I brought them home. Because of there horrible place of origin, we got 3 decent sized crabs (maybe ping pong ball sized) in a tiny 1 gallon plastic aquarium with maybe a .5 in layer of painted pebbles. I immediately researched how to properly take care of hermit crabs. I soon realized how much needed to change. There is only one problem. $$$... I have purchased as much as I can. One 10 gallon tank with about 3 inches of calcium sand substrate. Petstore quality food, I give them spring water to drink and use the same spring water to make saltwater. I'm doing everything I can to keep the other two healthy... I don't have a thermometer or hydrometer... after HOURS of reseaserch I have realized I can't give these crabs the care they desperately need and deserve, but I care about them too much to give to just anyone. The more I research how to care for them I find myself getting upset and even feeling guilty about how poorly I am treating them. I am aware of what needs to change, but I simply can't afford it. I need to give these crabs to a good home, and it will break my heart to see them go. On a happier note, I have a new love for hermit crabs and plan on taking proper care of some in the future. I was hoping someone with some experience here to talk to me about possibilities in the future. Until then I will keep providing as best as I can, and acquire more necessities as the funds arrive. I'm desperate... I want Tony and Yoshi to be happy... :crabbigsmile:

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about20percent
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by about20percent » Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:54 pm

I'm aware this isn't where I ask for an adoptee (if that's proper grammar) I just needed to get that off my chest, but more importantly make it clear that it isn't super easy to give my crabs the same love I feel for them.

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alela
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by alela » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:43 pm

Try looking on Craigslist for bigger tanks - in the mean time, a 10 gallon tank works while you save up :)

I would recommend you ditch the calcium sand and replace with play sand and eco earth. A 50 lb bag of Quikrete play sand costs about $4 at Home Depot and Eco Earth about $3-4 at Petco. Mix 5 parts of play sand to 1 part of Eco Earth and fill up at least half of the tank. You will even have some leftover sand :)

Purchase a $9 Acurite thermometer/hygrometer on Amazon/Walmart when you can, but in the mean time, I would get two bowls or small Tupperware from your kitchen to make pools. Use one for a freshwater pool, the other for a saltwater pool. Make sure your crabs can climb safely outta the pools so they don't drown. You can use tap water treated with Seachem Prime ($5-9). Seachem Prime lasts for a looong time, and is a much better investment than buying spring water.

Stop buying food for them. Instead offer them whatever healthy food you have in your fridge or pantry that are hermit crab safe - fruit, oats, salad, nuts, etc.

It doesn't have to be super complicated but providing them the basic needs (proper substrate, freshwater and saltwater pools, and food) would provide them a much better life :)

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alela
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by alela » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:47 pm

Another quick tip: the dollar store sometimes sells shells that hermit crabs can actually wear, or that can be used for food dishes. They also sell fake plants (make sure they are either plastic or silk and don't have any glitter or "berries" or anything with Styrofoam). You can also buy Tupperware containers here.

Home depot sells Mosser Lee spaghnum moss for about $3. Adding some to a Tupperware, bowl, or shower caddy creates a moss pit for your hermit crabs. They will enjoy to hide in it and eat it :)

Of course, don't go out and buy all these things now. It will take a while and you can do it at your own pace :)

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alela
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by alela » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:50 pm

Another thing: JoAnn's or Michaels also sell shells and usually offer 40-60% off coupons. I just bought a bag for about $3 total that had at least 10 turbo shells. You can also buy a 79 cent plastic canvas for them to use as a climbing mat.

I know what its like to be on a budget, but it is possible to not spend a lot of money while making them happy :)

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about20percent
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by about20percent » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:04 pm

alela wrote:Another thing: JoAnn's or Michaels also sell shells and usually offer 40-60% off coupons. I just bought a bag for about $3 total that had at least 10 turbo shells. You can also buy a 79 cent plastic canvas for them to use as a climbing mat.

I know what its like to be on a budget, but it is possible to not spend a lot of money while making them happy :)

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ImageImage
A combination of Mall goods and basic pet store goods is all I have ATM... I am very thankful you responded with very helpful advice. I'm just curious if my crabs will last much longer in their current habitat, or if I need to give them to someone ASAP...



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alela
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by alela » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:07 pm

You're crabs have survived this whole time so they are tough lil ones :) First thing is first though, you need to change the substrate. After that, you can upgrade your tank little by little at your own pace, but calcium sand is not good for your crabbies. Changing their sand will cost you less than $10 and your crabbies will be forever grateful :)


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about20percent
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by about20percent » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:12 pm

alela wrote:You're crabs have survived this whole time so they are tough lil ones :) First thing is first though, you need to change the substrate. After that, you can upgrade your tank little by little at your own pace, but calcium sand is not good for your crabbies. Changing their sand will cost you less than $10 and your crabbies will be forever grateful :)


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Not all heroes wear capes. I'll get to it as soon as I can... I have drill this weekend so I won't be much help for a few daysImage if you want to stay posted on my progress let me know... somehow... I have no idea how these forums work... I also KNOW I need a glass top for my tank... I probably can't keep any moisture in there... my salt water seems to disappear in like 20 minutes.


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alela
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by alela » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:13 pm

After the substrate change, I would recommend the following in order of importance.

1. Use the bowls you have for food and add a small Tupperware of freshwater and saltwater ($1 at the Dollar store).
2. Buy new shells from JoAnn's or Michaels ($3 with a coupon). I see that one of your hermies is in a painted shell and a natural shell would be better for him.
3. Slowly upgrade your tank at your pace: spaghnum moss pit, fake plants, hiding spots, etc. These are optional but good upgrades :)

The decorations that you currently have (coco pit and wood) are good for your Hermies too :)

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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by alela » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:15 pm

Keep me posted! Remember, slowly but surely, don't overwhelm yourself :) Have you tried saran wrap on top of the tank?

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about20percent
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by about20percent » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:16 pm

alela wrote:After the substrate change, I would recommend the following in order of importance.

1. Use the bowls you have for food and add a small Tupperware of freshwater and saltwater ($1 at the Dollar store).
2. Buy new shells from JoAnn's or Michaels ($3 with a coupon). I see that one of your hermies is in a painted shell and a natural shell would be better for him.
3. Slowly upgrade your tank at your pace: spaghnum moss pit, fake plants, hiding spots, etc. These are optional but good upgrades :)

The decorations that you currently have (coco pit and wood) are good for your Hermies too :)

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It took me forever to find a shell Yoshi would take too... he finally took Tony's old shell. Believe me I wanted to ditch that mall crap a long time ago haha


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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by alela » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:16 pm

Your crabbies are adorable!!!

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about20percent
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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by about20percent » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:18 pm

alela wrote:Your crabbies are adorable!!!

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I'll try the wrap soon... and I know! They are stupid cute... that's why I want to take such better care haha.


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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by alela » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:39 pm

Good luck and let me know how it goes! :)

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Re: Crab care isn't easy

Post by LadyJinglyJones » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:45 pm

I was also gonna say that plastic wrap over the top will help with humidity in the short term. :)

Whether you decide to rehome them or not, improving the humidity a bit now will be very good for them. I'd try to find a slightly bigger pool fer the little guys so that at least there's more surface area for evaporation, as that might possibly bring up the humidity a wee bit. Do you have a spray bottle? It isn't a great option, because its effect only lasts briefly and if overused can saturate the sub... but in the short term, light misting once in the morning & once at night could provide them with a little relief.

I'm going to assume you know why the humidity is important... but if not, please feel free to ask! We were all new once. :)

Caring for crabs is hard at first. But it seems like you're doing the best you can for your cuties. You're doing the research - it's a good start.

The crabs I care for were in pretty much the same conditions as yours for several weeks before I could get them into a better situation. And honestly, I'm still working on it. We can't know for sure exactly how well they'll recuperate in the long term. But in the mean time, just take a deep breath... try to remember that (though natural) getting upset won't help either you or them.

And alela is right about the sand - it will really help them. Adding coconut fiber will help keep it moist. (Also good for humidity!)

Do keep us posted. And ask any questions you have.
Welcome to crabbing!
"Gaze upon the rolling deep..."
Quince the fat tailed gecko; Amazonian minnows; and now Harry & Luis, Bede & Aster, Chandra & Jace, Pax, & Piccolo, my adopted PPs.
RIP Vegita :(

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