New crab owner with lots of questions!

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kickshinns
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Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:23 pm
Location: Ohio

New crab owner with lots of questions!

Post by kickshinns » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:05 pm

Hello! I currently only have one little purple pincher hermie, named Kebby, who I got in the summer of last year. Little Kebby is very sweet, very curious, and super energetic! Anyhow, I got him from a pet store all the way down in Florida as I wanted to give him a proper home and life, and I made sure to do a lot of research, although I see now that I wasn't looking in the right places. He's been doing pretty well and is pretty active, he's molted twice (on the surface unfortunately) but because of that my dad has taken it as him "thriving" when I know it isn't. I very much think my crabitat isn't ideal and would just like tips on how to improve, products to buy, etc! (also, this might convince my dad that there's actual problems in my tank LOL)

- I've been feeding him food pellets with occasional fresh fruit treats and veggies/meats and I keep a cuttlebone, but I'm learning that typical crab pellets aren't that good for crabs as a main food source. What fats/proteins/etc should I be feeding him for a better diet, and should I leave them in his food dish or feed him periodically?

- His water situation isn't the worst but I'd really like to move away from bottled water after reading. I use a specific brand of bottled salt water for his salt pool, but I'm learning that neither are ideal. What brands of water treatment can I use? Are there any salt brands that would be good for his salt water?

- I really regret not buying him a very good tank, and I can't improve the tank as of now as me & my dad don't have the funds, but I really need extra options! What brand/model/etc of tank would work best and keep humidity? Do I need a very big isolation tank for when I get extra hermies?

- Are there any really accurate attachable thermostats/humidity gauges I can buy?

- Currently, he has 5 inches of (dry) sand substrate with a small amount of Eco Earth (which I'm planning on adding more of, I've been reading through a bunch of threads here). I've seen lots of stuff on wetting this, which I plan to do now, but I'd like to know if any specific type of water would be best? I was thinking treated tap water would be alright once i get the treatment stuff, but I'd like to make sure.

- For cleaning his tank/substrate, do I need to empty the whole tank when I clean, and is poo any concern?

- Kebby has lots of shells to choose from in his tank, but I don't think he really likes any of them and I don't know where I can buy good shells. What kinds would work best, and are there any places they'd be readily available?

- Last but not least, I need to find good toys for him and stuff for him to climb on! What are some recommended toys/playthings/etc?

Thank you to everyone who answers, I'd like to take care of my cute little guy the best that I can. :D

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Xenocrab
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Re: New crab owner with lots of questions!

Post by Xenocrab » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:13 pm

Have you read the care sheets on here? There's answers on there that will help you.

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5 store bought, 6 rescues and 7 adopted.

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: New crab owner with lots of questions!

Post by Hermiesguardian » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:48 pm

Check out the safe/unsafe food list on here. Prime is used to dechlorinate the water and Instant Ocean for salt added to dechlorinated water. The substrate must be sandcastle consistancy (not drippy) so should be mixed with dechlorinated water. That is why he has surface molted. That will also help with humidity. If you have a mesh lid, you can seal it with saran wrap and tape to keep in moisture. You can find good deals on used tanks on craigslist, or the apps LetGo and Offerup. As Xenocrab said, check out all the care sheets. And welcome!
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi

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curlysister
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:54 pm
Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: New crab owner with lots of questions!

Post by curlysister » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:11 pm

Hello! I currently only have one little purple pincher hermie, named Kebby, who I got in the summer of last year. Little Kebby is very sweet, very curious, and super energetic! Anyhow, I got him from a pet store all the way down in Florida as I wanted to give him a proper home and life, and I made sure to do a lot of research, although I see now that I wasn't looking in the right places. He's been doing pretty well and is pretty active, he's molted twice (on the surface unfortunately) but because of that my dad has taken it as him "thriving" when I know it isn't. I very much think my crabitat isn't ideal and would just like tips on how to improve, products to buy, etc! (also, this might convince my dad that there's actual problems in my tank LOL)
Curly - You have found the right website! I have had my two crabs for almost 9 years, and the HCA is the only source of information I have used. Invite your dad to have a look at the site, in particular the care sheets. Unfortunately, you crab is NOT thriving, he/ she is just surviving. The fact that he/ she surface molted shows that there are definitely improvements that need to be made. Here is the link to the care sheets:

http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... .php?f=120


- I've been feeding him food pellets with occasional fresh fruit treats and veggies/meats and I keep a cuttlebone, but I'm learning that typical crab pellets aren't that good for crabs as a main food source. What fats/proteins/etc should I be feeding him for a better diet, and should I leave them in his food dish or feed him periodically?
Curly - Commercial food is not considered safe for crabs. The pellets might be marketed for hermit crabs, but they are not proper nutrition. See the 'food pyramid' and the 'safe and unsafe' food lists. Crabs can eat a lot of the same things we can, as long as there are non sauces/ seasonings/ additives/ preservatives. Organic is best. They should have access to food at all times, including calcium and protein. If you feed fresh food, it will mold quickly. Dried food lasts longer.

- His water situation isn't the worst but I'd really like to move away from bottled water after reading. I use a specific brand of bottled salt water for his salt pool, but I'm learning that neither are ideal. What brands of water treatment can I use? Are there any salt brands that would be good for his salt water?
Curly - Bottled salt water isn't good. You need a dechlorinator such as Seachem Prime to treat your tap water. Then a marine salt such as Instant Ocean. Those are the brands most used by crabbers. The pools/ dishes need to be deep enough that the crabs can submerge, but also have a way that they can climb out. Many of us use Rubbermaid type containers with craft mesh. Look in the 'photos' section for ideas.

- I really regret not buying him a very good tank, and I can't improve the tank as of now as me & my dad don't have the funds, but I really need extra options! What brand/model/etc of tank would work best and keep humidity? Do I need a very big isolation tank for when I get extra hermies?
Curly - Any tank will do, in reality. I started with an old 10 gallon fish tank. Saran wrap/ plastic wrap on the top to keep humidity in. You don't need to have an iso tank - I never have. If you get a new crab, many people will dunk it in the fresh water so it smells like the tank, then just add it in. There have been two times when I had to isolate one crab from the other - I used a margarine container, or a 2L pop bottle cut down.

- Are there any really accurate attachable thermostats/humidity gauges I can buy?
Curly - Digital are considered more accurate than analog. There is a guide sheet on how to calibrate a hygrometer at home, really simple. Many people use Accurite brand. The thermometer/ hygrometer is an essential piece of equipment. Your humidity needs to be around or over 80% because crabs have modified gills and need it that humid to breathe.

- Currently, he has 5 inches of (dry) sand substrate with a small amount of Eco Earth (which I'm planning on adding more of, I've been reading through a bunch of threads here). I've seen lots of stuff on wetting this, which I plan to do now, but I'd like to know if any specific type of water would be best? I was thinking treated tap water would be alright once i get the treatment stuff, but I'd like to make sure.
Curly - You definitely need to make it we enough to hold it's shape, but not so wet that water pools. Many people use dechlorinated salt water to mix the sub initially, but if you need to add more water later, use dechlorinated fresh water. Crabs need to be able to dig tunnels and caves to molt, that's why it needs to hold it's shape. Many of us use a 5 parts play sand to 1 part EE mixture, but other ratios are fine too. The mix helps hold moisture and boost humidity.

- For cleaning his tank/substrate, do I need to empty the whole tank when I clean, and is poo any concern?
Curly - Once you have proper substrate, you never need to remove all of it and replace it, unless there is an emergency such as a bacterial bloom or flood. In the almost 9 years I have had my crabs, I have added substrate when I upgraded tanks, but have never thrown it all out. Spot cleaning food that the crabs have dragged around, and removing poop are all that is needed. And I actually don't remove the poop, I just mix it into the sub every now and then.

- Kebby has lots of shells to choose from in his tank, but I don't think he really likes any of them and I don't know where I can buy good shells. What kinds would work best, and are there any places they'd be readily available?
Curly - Check out the 'shells' care sheet, there are correct and incorrect shells to buy. Many people order from Naples Sea Shells or Richard's Sea Shells. When crabs are small, people have found good shells at craft stores too.

- Last but not least, I need to find good toys for him and stuff for him to climb on! What are some recommended toys/playthings/etc?
Curly - Check out the 'pictures' section to see what others have done. Nets, cholla wood, plastic canvas structures, drift wood, hidey huts, hamster wheels, etc. Crabs aren't an interactive pet, most of us take a hands off approach, but they do need to have stuff to climb and some things in the tank to interest them.
Thank you to everyone who answers, I'd like to take care of my cute little guy the best that I can.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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