Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

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Rach
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Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by Rach » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:57 pm

I recently had 1 of my 2 small crabs pass. The other has come out of hiding after a month (presumably molting) and is now exhibiting the same symptoms, so of course I am very concerned! The trouble began when I noticed small white mites in their enclosure, so I removed them both to do a deep clean - neither were hiding, but I noticed one of the crabs looking pale. Over the next few weeks I would often find him in the water appearing to struggle to get out (never had trouble before and had items to climb), and most concerning he would be out of shell very often. When I found him passed he was out of shell dried up. I continuously checked temperature and humidity for any changes and added additional shells, but I don't know the cause. Does anyone have an idea of what could be going on? Could the mites have had such an impact on their health? I have found them in the past with no issues. The remaining crab has come out pale, has changed shells twice to much smaller shells (maybe weak and wanting a lighter shell?), and spent most of today in water. Thank you for any advice you have to offer!

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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by curlysister » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:49 pm

When a crab goes without it's shell, it is because it is too weak to carry it.
Are you able to fill in the emergency template? That will give us all the info we need to help you trouble shoot.
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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by curlysister » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:50 pm

Go to this link, copy and paste the questions, then insert your answers:

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=46102
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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by Rach » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:27 am

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
Mainly Coco fibre, part play sand - about 4 inches deep

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?
I have 2 dual thermometer/hydrometer gauges, one near the heat and another near the waters. Temperature is high 70s-80, humidity is around 70-75%

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
I have heat pads attached to the back wall. Had previously used under tank but read about benefits of side

4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)?
Fresh dechlorinated with API water conditioner, salt using All Living Things soaking salt - for both I follow instructions included

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
Variety of dried foods including shrimp, krill, fish, occasional fruits, flax seeds, worm castings, egg shell, dried flowers, sometimes a gel (Repashy brand), fresh vegetables like carrots and greens. The food is changed every day or other day

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
The one that recently passed I've had about a year, the one still with me I've had about 4 years with no previous issues, not sure what species.. both orange in colour

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
It just came out after about a month of inactivity, not completely submerged but in hiding

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
15 g glass aquarium with a mesh top that is partially covered to maintain humidity

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
2 initially, now only 1. Remaining crab is fairly small.. not sure what to compare to

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
At least 6 of different sizes (up and down from ones in use), right now there are 8 different shells for the 1 crab

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
No

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I spot clean once a week, bigger cleans every few months

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Added additional heat pad as house has been cold

15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?
I almost never handle my crabs and don't bathe them but when removing them from the enclosure full of mites I placed then in salt water (did not submerge) and sprayed their shells on the outside to help remove mites, I didn't see any on them later

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
Crab is pale and lethargic, changing to smaller shells, very recently had other crab exhibiting the same symptoms leading to leaving shell (walking around with no shell) and eventual death

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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by curlysister » Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:56 pm

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
Mainly Coco fibre, part play sand - about 4 inches deep
Curly - Is it moist enough to hold it's shape? A couple more inches would be beneficial, HCA recommends at least 6 inches or three times as deep as your largest crab, whichever is deeper.

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?
I have 2 dual thermometer/hydrometer gauges, one near the heat and another near the waters. Temperature is high 70s-80, humidity is around 70-75%
Curly - Digital guages are more accurate than analog (you didn't mention which type you have). Temp is good. Humidity is a bit low at 70% but 75 or above is good.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
I have heat pads attached to the back wall. Had previously used under tank but read about benefits of side
Curly - Yes, heat pads should definitely be used on the side or back, never underneath.

4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)?
Fresh dechlorinated with API water conditioner, salt using All Living Things soaking salt - for both I follow instructions included
Curly - API conditioner may not be properly conditioning your water. And the soaking salt does not contain the proper minerals that crabs need. Here is the care sheet that explains water needs:

viewtopic.php?f=127&t=92553


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
Variety of dried foods including shrimp, krill, fish, occasional fruits, flax seeds, worm castings, egg shell, dried flowers, sometimes a gel (Repashy brand), fresh vegetables like carrots and greens. The food is changed every day or other day
Curly - I'm not familiar with the Repashy food, but looking at the ingredient list of one of their foods, it looks like there are a bunch of additives. Commercial foods are generally not considered safe for crabs. They do need a varied diet, which includes protein and calcium daily Have you checked out the nutrition care sheet?

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92554


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
The one that recently passed I've had about a year, the one still with me I've had about 4 years with no previous issues, not sure what species.. both orange in colour

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
It just came out after about a month of inactivity, not completely submerged but in hiding

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
15 g glass aquarium with a mesh top that is partially covered to maintain humidity
Curly - If you are having trouble keeping the humidity up, you can completely cover the top with something impermeable like saran / plastic wrap (not a blanket or towel).

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
2 initially, now only 1. Remaining crab is fairly small.. not sure what to compare to

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
At least 6 of different sizes (up and down from ones in use), right now there are 8 different shells for the 1 crab

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
No

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I spot clean once a week, bigger cleans every few months

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Added additional heat pad as house has been cold

15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?
I almost never handle my crabs and don't bathe them but when removing them from the enclosure full of mites I placed then in salt water (did not submerge) and sprayed their shells on the outside to help remove mites, I didn't see any on them later

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
Crab is pale and lethargic, changing to smaller shells, very recently had other crab exhibiting the same symptoms leading to leaving shell (walking around with no shell) and eventual death
Curly - While there is nothing glaringly wrong with your set-up, it could be that the crabs ran out of energy without the proper salt water and fresh water. I would get the correct dechlorinator and Instant Ocean asap and see if that might help. Also be sure that you are following the food pyramid.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


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Rach
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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by Rach » Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:29 am

Thank you for your input! The soil is moist, but I can definitely make it deeper. They're so small it seemed like enough but no harm in having extra. Those water and nutrition pages were very informative, I had no idea the soaking salt was inadequate even though it's being marketed for hermit crabs. I also have the Reptisafe brand of water conditioner that I use for my frogs which I assumed couldn't be used with the slime coat, but I can try using that for the fresh water. And I can definitely cut out the commercial food, it was given to me and I believe is now discontinued.

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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by Hermiesguardian » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:32 am

Rach wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:29 am
Thank you for your input! The soil is moist, but I can definitely make it deeper. They're so small it seemed like enough but no harm in having extra. Those water and nutrition pages were very informative, I had no idea the soaking salt was inadequate even though it's being marketed for hermit crabs. I also have the Reptisafe brand of water conditioner that I use for my frogs which I assumed couldn't be used with the slime coat, but I can try using that for the fresh water. And I can definitely cut out the commercial food, it was given to me and I believe is now discontinued.
The dechlorinator you need has to remove chlorine, chloramines, heavy metals and neutralize ammonia. Adding Instant Ocean to make the salt water.
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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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by Rach » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:47 pm

I can't seem to find any Instant Ocean smaller than 15 lbs in stores.. anyone know who might have smaller in Canada? Or will I need to order somewhere online?

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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by curlysister » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:48 pm

I am in Canada too, and had trouble finding Instant Ocean in less than a 50-lifetimes supply too. I ended up ordering from Amazon. Same with green sand (altho I might have had better luck if I had tried a garden store in summer LOL). The smallest box of green sand was like 5 pounds, so I have at least one- or two-lifetimes supply of that now.
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Re: Pale, lethargic and continuous shell changes after molt

Post by AutumnFalls » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:49 pm

Rach wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:47 pm
I can't seem to find any Instant Ocean smaller than 15 lbs in stores.. anyone know who might have smaller in Canada? Or will I need to order somewhere online?
Fellow Canadian here. I had to hunt around a lot to find a smaller batch of Instant Ocean. I think I ended up with a 5lb box. I found it at Pieces Pet Emporium. I'm not sure if they're a chain or not. They specialize in more exotic pets, especially fish and reptiles. It still lasts me years, but it's much smaller than those giant buckets! :lol: I'd check around at specialty pet type stores or go for Amazon.

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