How can I tell if I have mold?

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How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by BlazeTheWeirdo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:32 am

Lately my family has been telling me that it smells like mold when they walk by the hermit crab tank. I've checked every single toy, item, hiding place, crevice, and I even took all the items out and gone through the substrate by hand. I can't seem to find anything to save my life. Maybe I don't know what to look for.

How can you tell for sure, whether or not you have mold in the tank?


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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by devulbugs » Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:26 am

i can never smell mold in my tank even when its in plain sight- however, have you checked inside empty shells? my crabs always drag food around and make a mess! have you checked behind the tank for something you may have dropped? there’s no way to really tell for sure if you have mold, to my understanding.. but crabs shouldnt smell like much. could your family be just smelling that earthy/sandy smell coming from the tank? could the mold be in your house, and not coming from the crab tank at all? it very well could be that you have mold somewhere in the sand, possibly if a hermit crab died under it or something like that... id recommend isopods if you dont already have them, they really do a number cleaning the tank up! and theyre handsome lil lads as well :)

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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by Links » Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:01 am

When I first set up my tank I didn’t have anywhere to put it other than my basement which is notorious for growing mold. You can find little specs of white mold on almost anything in my basement. And there’s always a moldy or musty smell down there. I’ve tried increasing some airflow down there and it has helped quite a bit but not completely.

But after I set up my tank down there I had to use a space heater near the tank to get my temperature up because I did not have everything I needed before I ended up with a hermit crab after taking the kids on vacation.

After turning the space heater on the moldy smell in the basement went away.

But I still had a mold problem almost immediately after setting up my tank but it was because I had the substrate too wet during installation and I could see mold growing on the bottom of the wood where met the substrate so I found a small fan almost like a computer fan and put that inside the tank. I also took a lot of the substrate out and baked it the oven. I could not remove all of the substrate because there was a buried crab. I was very careful when I was digging out the substrate as not to disturb the molting crab.

After I did that the mold problem went away in the tank smelled a little bit better but there’s always been a slight moldy smell inside the tank.

With my space heater running near the tank I had it in a perfect position for the temperature was 80° and the humidity was 80° consistently. But I have to stop using the space heater because it is too expensive. So I purchased ultra therm UTH. I have it taped to the back glass and have insulation board taped over it as well. Now I am having a little trouble maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity. I haven’t been fighting the temperature too bad but for some reason the humidity is starting to fluctuate more. I’m assuming it has to do with the temperature in the basement which is about 69 now because the space heater is off.

With using the space heater that was heating the entire area around the tank now I am only heating inside the tank. And for some reason the humidity level started dropping so I turned off that small fan now the humidity levels are climbing over 90%.

I am also about to remove the glass underneath my new lights that I just purchased because they are UVB and I heard UVB does not penetrate glass. So I can suspect another change in humidity after I do that. Looks like I am going to have to keep adjusting things until I find a consistency.

I hope my experiences have helped you some I’m not sure if baking is the right thing to do I have also baked the wood that is in my tank but I have heard of some people soaking it in salt water and then freezing it for two or three days and then let it come up to room temperature before adding it to the tank.




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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by curlysister » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:10 pm

It is not recommended to remove any sub when you have buried crabs - it is dangerous and could lead to their molting caves collapsing.
I also wouldn't recommend anything with an electrical wire inside the tank - crabs will chew and pick at it, which could be dangerous.

Heat lights will definately zap humidity. But if your tank isn't in a room where there is natural light, you do need a light source. There is an excellent care sheet all about lighting.

For the OP - are you sure it's mold they are smelling? Or could it just be the earlty smell of damp sand and EE. I don't mind the little bit of smell. Is the top of your tank pretty much sealed?
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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by BlazeTheWeirdo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:03 pm

devulbugs wrote:i can never smell mold in my tank even when its in plain sight- however, have you checked inside empty shells? my crabs always drag food around and make a mess! have you checked behind the tank for something you may have dropped? there’s no way to really tell for sure if you have mold, to my understanding.. but crabs shouldnt smell like much. could your family be just smelling that earthy/sandy smell coming from the tank? could the mold be in your house, and not coming from the crab tank at all? it very well could be that you have mold somewhere in the sand, possibly if a hermit crab died under it or something like that... id recommend isopods if you dont already have them, they really do a number cleaning the tank up! and theyre handsome lil lads as well :)
I boil the shells clean bi-weekly, just in case, also because I have a crapload of springtails and they like to hide in them. I also occasionally spot clean the tank for any food they Noight be hiding. So far in seeing no signs of mold anywhere. I did a small substrate fluff last night. I haven't seen any spots. So I'm wondering if they're just smelling the sand and EE. It does have a distinct earthy smell and I'm used to that smell, but maybe they're not.


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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by BlazeTheWeirdo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:07 pm

jrleath wrote:When I first set up my tank I didn’t have anywhere to put it other than my basement which is notorious for growing mold. You can find little specs of white mold on almost anything in my basement. And there’s always a moldy or musty smell down there. I’ve tried increasing some airflow down there and it has helped quite a bit but not completely.

But after I set up my tank down there I had to use a space heater near the tank to get my temperature up because I did not have everything I needed before I ended up with a hermit crab after taking the kids on vacation.

After turning the space heater on the moldy smell in the basement went away.

But I still had a mold problem almost immediately after setting up my tank but it was because I had the substrate too wet during installation and I could see mold growing on the bottom of the wood where met the substrate so I found a small fan almost like a computer fan and put that inside the tank. I also took a lot of the substrate out and baked it the oven. I could not remove all of the substrate because there was a buried crab. I was very careful when I was digging out the substrate as not to disturb the molting crab.

After I did that the mold problem went away in the tank smelled a little bit better but there’s always been a slight moldy smell inside the tank.

With my space heater running near the tank I had it in a perfect position for the temperature was 80° and the humidity was 80° consistently. But I have to stop using the space heater because it is too expensive. So I purchased ultra therm UTH. I have it taped to the back glass and have insulation board taped over it as well. Now I am having a little trouble maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity. I haven’t been fighting the temperature too bad but for some reason the humidity is starting to fluctuate more. I’m assuming it has to do with the temperature in the basement which is about 69 now because the space heater is off.

With using the space heater that was heating the entire area around the tank now I am only heating inside the tank. And for some reason the humidity level started dropping so I turned off that small fan now the humidity levels are climbing over 90%.

I am also about to remove the glass underneath my new lights that I just purchased because they are UVB and I heard UVB does not penetrate glass. So I can suspect another change in humidity after I do that. Looks like I am going to have to keep adjusting things until I find a consistency.

I hope my experiences have helped you some I’m not sure if baking is the right thing to do I have also baked the wood that is in my tank but I have heard of some people soaking it in salt water and then freezing it for two or three days and then let it come up to room temperature before adding it to the tank.




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My tank is in my bedroom. I have a UTH heater along the back side of it. I try to keep things as clean as possible in the tank.

Would the mold spots be white looking?


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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by BlazeTheWeirdo » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:13 pm

curlysister wrote:It is not recommended to remove any sub when you have buried crabs - it is dangerous and could lead to their molting caves collapsing.
I also wouldn't recommend anything with an electrical wire inside the tank - crabs will chew and pick at it, which could be dangerous.

Heat lights will definately zap humidity. But if your tank isn't in a room where there is natural light, you do need a light source. There is an excellent care sheet all about lighting.

For the OP - are you sure it's mold they are smelling? Or could it just be the earlty smell of damp sand and EE. I don't mind the little bit of smell. Is the top of your tank pretty much sealed?
The top of the tank is as closed off as possible. I have a plastic box lid on top but it doesn't cover all the way, so I use a plastic bag to cover the rest. I'm currently about to cut a plastic piece to use as a lid. I'm used to the smell. To me it's more of an earthy sand smell. I do spot clean the tank, and boil the shells bi-weekly, to make sure nothing is in there.


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How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by Links » Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:14 am

Thanks Curlysister but I was extremely slow and careful when digging. It had to be done or my tank would’ve flooded. Not sure that’s good w molting crabs but now everything is ok and I’m sure the molter is ok. And there’s no way anything can get to the wire running the fan inside the tank. Nothing wrong w a little airflow if moisture is too high and mold is growing.
As a matter of fact if I ever build a large enclosure I will definitely have fan(s).

BlazeTheWeirdo, the mold I had was filaments that grew from wood to sub. It was only where the wood touched the sub. My tank still had a slight smell but I’m not worried unless I see an outbreak. I’ve also seen mold on the food if I leave it in there too long.

Edit: speaking of caves collapsing... why couldn’t they still dig themselves out if it does? I’m sure mine didn’t collapse. I would’ve see a depression fall in.

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How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by Links » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:04 am

Look here. Mold on the glass. I’m turning the fan back on. My tank needs air flow.

ImageImage


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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by wodesorel » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:30 am

There is a brief period right before and after molting where they cannot move. If a cave-in happens during this period, they will either end up trapped in their old exo or will get crushed while still wet and soft. Either is fatal. It's a very small window of a few days at most, but it has happened!
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How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by Links » Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:33 pm

Thanks for the explanation wodesorel.

After turning my little fan back on to fight mold the humidity has dropped to 70. But air temp went up from 78 to 81.

Not sure why but I used to have the fan on and humidity stayed at 80. Now it drops. I suppose it’s because I removed the glass covering the lights.

Guess I’ll play with the direction of the flow I’m creating. As it was blowing right down the middle where my hygrometer sits.

Edit: wodesorel, after my crabs that tunneled down their tunnel openings were covered over by movement of the crab that’s still up. Is that ok? One crab has been down for 2 months and no sign of either one emerging.


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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by wodesorel » Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:55 pm

If you're someplace in the world that is in winter right now, furnaces dry the air out, so the tank will naturally be a bit on the drier side. Moving air around will allow more outside air in which dries it further.

Tunnels don't matter when molting, and they will backfill as they dig to hide their location from other crabs and creatures. It's specifically their cave that is the important bit, they dig out just enough space around them to wiggle out of their old skin without bumping the walls. It's tiny, not even double their size.
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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by Links » Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:30 pm

Yes it’s winter for me


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Re: How can I tell if I have mold?

Post by Links » Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:14 pm

2 months underground. And it’s up!!! hope all is well


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