mass crab deaths

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Topic author
out of ammo
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Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:12 pm

mass crab deaths

Post by out of ammo » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:36 pm

ok about 2 weeks a go noticed a smell coming from the habitat and noticed one of the crabs were out of there shell. so i decided to clean it. in the process found one more out of its shell and 6 dead ones.i washed the crabs and found a shell both of the happily got in to. and since then there have been a total of 6 crabs to come out of there shell and 4 more died. bathed the hermit crab and got them back in there shells, but every time i turn around theres another one out of its shell, Also it looks like there freshly molted. the ones that died are dying in there shell. when i cleaned the habitat i did boil all the unclaimed shells. have no clue whats going on. we added nothing in over 4 months. any help or suggestions would help i dont want to lose the little guy.
found this on another post that it might help
1. Substrate used?
coconut
2. Humidity % level in crabitat?
75%
3. Temperature of substrate in crabitat?
78F
4. Temperature of crabitat?
80F
5. Location of gauges?
center 3in above substrate
6. What is your heat source?
under tank heater on one side
7. Types of water available?
salt and fresh both dechlorinated
8. Dechlorinator used?
yes API tap water conditioner
9. What do you feed?
at night around 10
10. How long have you had the crab in question?
9 months
11. Do you know the species?
purple puncher
12. Do you bath them, if so how often and with what?
every 2 months just with dechlorinated water
13. What type of housing are they in? Tank? Plastic box?
glass
14. What size is your tank?
40 gal breeder
15. How many crabs are in the tank? What size are they?
was 56 now down to 43
16. How deep is the substrate?
6.5 in
17. If you take your hermies out daily to exercise, do you mist their gill area first?
do not take them all out but mist daily
18. Has there been any cleaners, paints, perfumes, air fresheners, candles, or smoking near the crabitat?
no
19. How often do you clean/sterilize and how?
every month and a half
20. Any unusual odors?
yes just cleaned but think its dead crabs
21. Do you use sponges? Are they rinsed daily with dechlorinated water? Are they exchanged every 2 days for a sterile one?
no
22. Do you feed fresh food? When do you remove it?
feed the at 10pm remove in the morning
23. Are your hands clean before handling?
yes
24. Has there been anything new added to your crabitat recently?
no

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LadyMorrgian
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Re: mass crab deaths

Post by LadyMorrgian » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:44 pm

You had 56 crabs? In a 40g breeder? Is that correct?


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Topic author
out of ammo
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:12 pm

Re: mass crab deaths

Post by out of ammo » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:48 pm

yes. originally but know theres aroud 43 i have a platform for them to use so its kind like two levels

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LadyMorrgian
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mass crab deaths

Post by LadyMorrgian » Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:58 pm

Well. First and foremost, in my opinion, you have a serious over crowding problem.

Second. May I ask what your feeding? I know some crabbers have had mass deaths due food issues.

Can you share a photo of your tank?

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Topic author
out of ammo
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:12 pm

Re: mass crab deaths

Post by out of ammo » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:01 am

I do feed them tropic shells crab food. But also I feed them unseasoned chicken some vegetables.

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Topic author
out of ammo
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:12 pm

Re: mass crab deaths

Post by out of ammo » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:15 am

Image

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Topic author
out of ammo
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:12 pm

Re: mass crab deaths

Post by out of ammo » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:17 am

And this is what it looks now.
Image

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LadyMorrgian
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Re: mass crab deaths

Post by LadyMorrgian » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:20 am

I am not familiar with Tropic Shells Crab Food. I did google them but I could not find a ingredient list for the food. Most commercially prepared food are flat out not good for crabs. Can you post the ingredients on your container or a photo of it?


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wodesorel
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Re: mass crab deaths

Post by wodesorel » Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:16 am

Phew. I'm hoping this comes across okay since the internet can make things seem harsher than they are meant to be. I am not trying to be critical, just helpful. We see a lot of owners who follow store advice, but I have to say this is one of the most severe cases I've seen in a while.

43 crabs in a tank that size is not sustainable. For a 40 gallon tank, no more than 8 is what they can normally support. (And that's going by old school rules from when I first started crabbing, newer crabers would recommend less crabs than that.) There is simply just not enough room for them all to molt safely. I have 60 some crabs myself, and they are overcrowded in a tank that is basically a really tall 90 gallon. I would not be recommending anything less than a 90 gallon for the amount of crabs you have, especially at their size. Honestly, a 125 gallon or 150 gallon would be the safest option. Molting space is the most important thing for hermits - 10 to 12 inches deep and tons of floorspace so they can spread out is the way to keep them all okay for decades.

The substrate is also too dry for them to be able to dig safely with what is in there. That dark patch in the middle and on the right side under the water dishes is what it should look like all the way through. It dries out over time and it does take some tweaking to be able to keep it at the right moistness without making it too wet. That's something that gets easier to manage over time.

The shells being offered aren't favorites of Purple Pinchers. With so many crabs there is a high likelihood that some are going after others to get a better house, and that can end up with the loser being killed. When you have a large colony, you almost have to make sure that the species of shells being offered are their faves, so they don't get tempted to take away another crab's. Tapestries and Striped Turbos are the best for PPs.

Have you read through our caresheet? ( viewtopic.php?f=51&t=92457 ) It covers everything in details and links to other articles that cover things in even greater detail, like lists of safe foods that you have in your fridge and pantry, and pictures of shells that they like to wear. It'll help a great deal in figuring out how to move forward, and to keep more problems from cropping up in the future. I hate to say it, but these deaths are only going to be the start of things. I'm kind of shocked that you haven't run into problems before this since they've been together for 9 months, but that's about how long a medium crab can put off molting before it starts catching up to them.

Again, not trying to be mean or put you on the spot. That's not what we're here for. I just don't want to see you lose any more!
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Topic author
out of ammo
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:12 pm

Re: mass crab deaths

Post by out of ammo » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:15 am

Ok I understand but the problem ive have is there have been none dead out of there shell. And they have all changed shells at least once sense I've have them. And I've be counting exoskeletons specifically the pinches and from my count they have all molted at least once I have counted 73 of them when cleaning( and no living crab missing a pincher) And I do have some of those shells but they seem to like ones there in. I have over 400 shells and rotate them every 2 to 3 weeks. And wash them after. When I got the crabs they were small now I would say there medium. And I see about the substrate but not sure what to use.

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Topic author
out of ammo
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:12 pm

Re: mass crab deaths

Post by out of ammo » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:16 am

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JulesRolyCrab
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Location: United States

Re: mass crab deaths

Post by JulesRolyCrab » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:41 am

First off, I'm really sorry for you losses. Hopefully the crabbers on here can help prevent any future losses. :(

Because your commercial food contains copper sulfate, which is harmful to the crabs, I would recommend stopping feeding this food. The chicken/vegetables are great, it really is easier than it sounds, feeding them non-commercially. You can feed them fruits, plain unsalted nuts, unseasoned meats, unflavored popcorn, etc. You can check the HCA foods lists...

Safe foods:
viewtopic.php?p=852660#p852660

Unsafe/unpopular foods:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92556

Commercial foods:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92555

Good luck! :)

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JulesRolyCrab
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Location: United States

Re: mass crab deaths

Post by JulesRolyCrab » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:43 am

Also, I forgot to add that if you are unable to feed a stable non-commercial diet, you can check the last link ^^^ I put, and it lists safe commercial crab foods.

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LadyMorrgian
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Re: mass crab deaths

Post by LadyMorrgian » Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:33 pm

For the substrate you can take the EE that you have already and add normal PlaySand found at Walmart or Home Depot ect to it.

In my opinion if you split your colony up into different tanks and stop with the Tropic Shells food that you will see some major improvement.


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Boshia
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Re: mass crab deaths

Post by Boshia » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:24 am

When you do your cleaning, do you take the exoskeletons out?


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