crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

This forum is where you discuss issues relating to molting hermit crabs, including pre- and post-molting issues. If you are having a molting emergency please post in the Emergency Forum.
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megmaholm
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Location: Bloomington, IN

Re: crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

Post by megmaholm » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:46 pm

Glad to help :) Feeding them is pretty simple once you realize what all they can eat. They're little fatties, and their 2 goals in life are to find the ever elusive perfect shell, and..to eat. :lol:

A 2" gap should be fine. Most of us with screen lids cover about 90% of it to keep the humidity/heat in, and it works great.

Your crabs are lucky to have found you! I'm so glad you were able to officially adopt them. How's your surface molter doing? And you need to post pics soon, you know ;)
Crabbing since July 2014! 75 gallon with 12 Purple Pinchers.

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kate.e.m.
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Re: crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

Post by kate.e.m. » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:17 am

MEGMAHOLM! i'm a little broken up right now. you know that two of my five crabs had successfully molted and the other three are still buried down. this morning when i went to change the food i noticed a really fishy smell and since my surface molter (i've named him jebediah) was out and climbing, i figured it must be tiny little suzi-q who had seemed fine yesterday. i pulled her out of the cave she was in and her pincher and outer leg kinda just jostled around instead of pulling up tight inside like normal. i watched a youtube video that said if their limbs are loose and they smell fishy then they've given up the ghost. she molted underground and came up on her own.

is she dead :( why???

the surface area of the tank is 84 degrees but she favored going deep down in the cave on the substrate closest to the heating pad. did she get too hot? i have two of those tiny heating pads that are "for hermit crabs" that i don't use, should i use those instead of the giant more powerful one that i normally use? i don't feel like the small ones will make it warm enough. should i put suzie q back in the tank? i'm terrifed up buring her in the back yard if she is still alive but all the signs point to dead.
:kate

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megmaholm
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Re: crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

Post by megmaholm » Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:19 pm

A limp crab with a rotten fish smell is probably dead. :( I'm really sorry. It's hard to say why, unfortunately. Since her previous conditions were so crummy, something may have happened and it finally caught up to her.

Is your heating pad actually under the tank? If so, you'll want to move it to the side of the tank above the substrate line. They're not designed to heat through multiple inches of substrate, and if a crab digs down next to it they can literally cook. It's fine for the substrate to be cooler than the above-ground temp, and perfectly normal.

Your surface temp sounds perfect. If you're uncomfortable burying her right now, you could put her in a tupperware container in the main tank and if she's gone, the smell will rapidly get worse and that way you'll know for sure.

I'm sorry for your loss :(
Crabbing since July 2014! 75 gallon with 12 Purple Pinchers.

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kate.e.m.
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Re: crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

Post by kate.e.m. » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:03 pm

thanks megmaholm!

you were right, suzie q had definitely passed. i ditched the heating pad and attached the two small adhesive heating pads above the substrate line like you suggested. the temp is down from about 84 to 77...is that alright?

now i'm going to have to wait to see if my ill-placed heat source killed off my 3 molters who are still buried down below (two i can see from underneath but can't tell if they're alive).

so bummed.

thanks a million times over for all this help!

kate


hermieluv1
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Re: crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

Post by hermieluv1 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:54 pm

I didn't see anyone mention it but your heating pad should be in the back of the tank, if you haven't already moved it.

Great job with your adopted crabs!

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megmaholm
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Re: crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

Post by megmaholm » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:19 pm

77 is safe, but PPs generally prefer 80-85. What brand are your heat pads? Depending on what kind, they can be insulated and that may help bring up the temp a few more degrees. My preference for insulating is to tape foil over the heater and then tape a layer of Styrofoam. You can always do a low-wattage moonglow heat bulb that can be left on 24/7, but that'll probably lower your humidity.

I'm sorry for poor Suzie Q :( What's important is you're learning and making changes, so don't beat yourself up too much over it. I'll keep my fingers crossed for your other molters. Keep us updated!
Crabbing since July 2014! 75 gallon with 12 Purple Pinchers.

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kate.e.m.
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Re: crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

Post by kate.e.m. » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:59 am

that's a really good idea that i NEVER would have thought of! the two heaters that i adhered above the substrate on the outside of the tank are zoo-med 4 watts each which isn't enough wattage for the 40 gallon tank. that's why i was using a bigger heating pad instead that is 50 watts but has three settings (low, medium, high). i had that under the tank. could i instead tape it to the back side of the tank and set it on the low setting?

i can see one of the crabs who has been under for the last week and a half if i look up from the bottom of the tank. he isn't curled in his shell but sort of hanging his legs out and he hasn't moved at all and i don't see an exoskeleton. i should just leave him be right unless my tank starts to smell bad or i can see from the bottom that he has begun to decompose?

people think that because hermit crabs are small and sold in kiosks at the mall that they are easy replaceable pets, but this is NOT easy :(

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megmaholm
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Re: crab-sitting...CRAB MOLTED!

Post by megmaholm » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:41 pm

Zoo Med heaters can be insulated safely, so that's an option, but you're right that the little ones probably won't do much for that size tank. I would go ahead and tape the bigger one to the back of the tank and play with the settings to see what it does for you.

As far as the one you can see buried..you're right, leave him alone. It's possible he didn't make it, and it's possible he could be gearing up for a molt. It's hard to say. Honestly, since he's buried, if he's dead you may not smell anything. I had a crab dig under and die, and I never smelled anything off. When I dug him up, all that was left was an empty shell and bits of exo. If you do discover he's 100% dead (starting to decompose) you can go ahead and dig him up as long as you're sure you won't disturb any of the other crabs.

Agreed, there is SO much misinformation out there about hermit crabs. It's something that you'll always learn about, even when you think you have everything figured out. The good news is, once your tank is stabilized and your remaining crabs get through a successful molt, things SHOULD get a little easier for you and you can not worry AS much. They're awesome little creatures, and they all have their own distinct personalities and are so much fun to just watch.
Crabbing since July 2014! 75 gallon with 12 Purple Pinchers.

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