Freshly molted crab - exo is dull not shiny

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Freshly molted crab - exo is dull not shiny

Post by tnt4eva » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:20 am

One of the crabs I got in November just came up from a molt. It started eating a lot of shrimp exos, occasionally drinking salt water and being less active soon after purchase. Its little nails were worn right off its legs, so I figured it was due to molt.

However, it's only been down for a few weeks. Everyone is/was molting and unless it was the teenie who's up again, I don't think it was disturbed.

Its colouring and eyes look normal and it's relatively active, but its exo is dull, not shiny which I've not seen in a healthy Aussie before.

I've had some first molts go awfully wrong before with regard to fragile exoskeletons, so I'm a little worried here.

What does a dull exo mean?

(Sorry if this is garbled....I'm a little sleep deprived)


Marina

Post by Marina » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:47 am

Poor nutrition before being saved by you, probably. Dull sounds like a color issue to me. But, out of curiosity, do you have any wood in the tank that they can eat? Do you notice them eating it?

My crabs hang out on the cholla wood for weeks before going under, which makes me think they're eating it to gather tannin to help produce chitin. I assume this would prevent the frail exo issue you've had in the past. :)

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Post by aquav » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:33 am

Marina wrote: My crabs hang out on the cholla wood for weeks before going under, which makes me think they're eating it to gather tannin to help produce chitin. I assume this would prevent the frail exo issue you've had in the past. :)
I had no idea that tannins help produce chitin. I was always worried about mine eating the wood, thinking I wasn't providing something essential in their diet.
So now I am thinking I may offer some steeped black tea for them to get more tannins?!
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Post by sugarselections » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:00 am

Marina wrote:Poor nutrition before being saved by you, probably. Dull sounds like a color issue to me. But, out of curiosity, do you have any wood in the tank that they can eat? Do you notice them eating it?

My crabs hang out on the cholla wood for weeks before going under, which makes me think they're eating it to gather tannin to help produce chitin. I assume this would prevent the frail exo issue you've had in the past. :)
Where did you hear that tannnins produce chitin? I've never heard of this before.

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Post by sugarselections » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:10 am

First, the easy explanation. A dull exo could mean your crab has come up early from his molt for whatever reason. He may continue hardening up over the next couple days or even weeks. It's a good sign that he's not lethargic.

Another explanation could be that something went wrong with his molt and this is a permanent condition. In that case, I hope he re-molts for you and fixes the problem.


Marina

Post by Marina » Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:57 pm

sugarselections wrote: Where did you hear that tannnins produce chitin? I've never heard of this before.
I read it here http://crabbywiki.com/tiki-index.php?pa ... ion+Table+ but can't seem to find it now. It may have been outdated information? What does tannin actually do?

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Post by samurai_crab » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:32 pm

I believe tannins are just a pigment compound mainly. I don't think they have a ton of nutritional uses but I could be wrong.
More info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannin
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Post by tnt4eva » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:49 pm

Thanks guys.

There is a lot of driftwood in there, almost all of which they nibble on.

His colouring is more pronounced than when I bought him. I was actually really happy with his appearance when I saw him because he looked quite striking, until I realised there was no sheen to his exo.

I'll keep an eye on him and see if it's improves.

Nutritional deficiencies scare me because I've seen how bad their exo's can be after molting when they've had bad food in a pet shop and it's awful :(

He was actually hording all of the shrimp exos before he molted - taking them away from the food dish and stuffing them behind a log where he would eat them, so he must have really needed it.

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Post by wodesorel » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:00 am

The crabs I've had that were freshly molted with dull exos seem to have been in dry substrate for their molt. It happened once with one of my crabs when I didn't realize the EE had completely dried out. The entire container went to loose powder, but Sierra was fine!

I also took in some abandoned crabs with dull exos and odd patterns to their exos - I think what happened was that their new skin dried out before it hardened since the were being kept in completely dry sand. (How they even made it through a molt is shocking.) One passed on it's first molt with me in wet sand, but the other five have molted at least once and regained their shine.

It might not account for all dull exos, but the moisture level of the substrate can influence it!
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Post by tnt4eva » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:56 pm

The substrate doesn't seem dry, but I'm going to have a good look at it later.

The crab is not my unnamed small....it's Ghost! Which I think may explain the dull exo (which is getting shinier). There is no way he should have been up from a molt in around 3 weeks. He came up too soon.

I'm slightly concerned, because yesterday afternoon he was hugging a cuttle bone and eating it. When I went to bed, he was still there. And this morning he was still there. I'm not sure if he's been hugging it and eating it SINCE yesterday afternoon, or if he just keeps going back to it.

Hopefully he's not deficient in something.

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Post by suebee » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:06 pm

here is a thread on dull shells and exo that could help http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... ht=#704403
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