Thank you! Answers below:
1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
Flukers' All Natural Premium Sand Substrate Mixture for Hermit Crabs. At its deepest it is about 6-7 inches. That is on one side of the tank. It then slopes going down to the other side of the tank where I have the water pools (one freshwater, one saltwater). These are sitting on a small layer of pebbles.
GB: Great! Substrate should be 6 inches or 3 times the height of your largest crab (whichever is deeper). It should also be mixed with dechlorinated marine saltwater or dechlorinated freshwater to make the substrate sandcastle consistency. It needs to be the minimum height all the way across the tank. If you want a slope, then you need to make the slope HIGHER than that.
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 a double gauge. Temperature is typically around 75-80 degrees (F) and humidity is about the same. It is located on the back of the tank (inside) close to the top left corner (but not all the way at the top).
GB: Okay - It sounds like you probably have an analog then. IMO, those tend to not be very accurate. You can buy an Acurite (name of the brand) guage from Walmart if you are interested They are $8, digital, run on batteries, and it tell you the actual temp and humidity currently as well as low and high for last 24 hours. You can find them in the home improvement section by the air filters. Minimum heat and humidity should be 80/80. Hermit crabs have modified gills and need the humidity to breathe.
3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
I have 2 under tank heater reptile heating pads attached to the back of the tank, above the substrate. I also have a heating pad (from an old dog bed) laying on top of the glass top.
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)?
I have a freshwater pool where I put in distilled water from the store. And I have a saltwater pool that I made using instant ocean and distilled water. I only use dechlorinator drops (purchased from Petsmart) for the water I use to clean items in the tank (when I boil them). I have airstones bubblers in each.
GB: You still want to use a dechlorinator. The dechlorinator needs to remove chlorine, chloramine, and neutralize heavy metals and ammonia. Some people don't recommend distilled water, and some do.
5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I put in a variety of food in a large plastic lid - fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, cheese, oatmeal flakes, whatever I have around. I also recently purchased and received some dry food mixes from The Hermit Crab Patch to supplement the protein part. I sometimes put in crushed eggshells. I change the food out every night and clean the dish.
GB: Make sure you cover all aspects of food pyramid Crabs need calcium at all times. Examples of calcium are cuttlebone, coral, oyster shell, eggshell. Foods should be organic when possible. Hermit crabs are sensitive to pesticides and fertilizers. They can eat a lot of the same foods that we do, so check out the safe food list. Variety is a must!! It's fun to feed them!
Safe food list: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92557
Unsafe food list: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92556
Food pyramid: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92554
6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
2 Purple Pinchers. I got them at the beach this past summer in August. I did not purchase them. Someone had left them out on the sidewalk abandoned. I have bad them for about 6 weeks. About 3 or 4 of those weeks in the above crabitat. Before that I was still learning!
7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
Neither have molted.
8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
20 gallon glass tank. I have a glass door on top that opens with a hinge. I just got that about a week ago. Previously I had a mesh lid and I put plexi on top of it.
9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
2 crabs and they are small to medium sized. One slightly larger than the other.
10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
I would say there are about 8-12 shells in various sizes. They have each changed shells twice but that was at the very beginning when they were ditching their painted shells (which I threw away).
GB: The HCA recommends 3-5 shells per hermit crab. I personally recommend more. It never hurts to have more There are incorrect shells to buy. Here is the shell guide: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=92552
11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I have not cleaned the tank since setting it up, just the objects in it (the hides, the water pools, the shells). I boil things in dechorlinated water.
13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
I have 3 natural sponges in the tank but not in the water dishes. I spritz them when I want to boost humidity. I take them out once or twice a week, put them in distilled water and zap them in the microwave.
GB: Sponges are not necessary, and they are an old practice.
14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Yes, I put in spaghnum moss, I created a moss pit with a small glass jar turned on its side, and I made a climbing hammock out of natural hemp.
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 bathed them a couple of times in the beginning in saltwater. They seems to enjoy it and caused them to be active. They were active the first few weeks I had them (of course their crabitat was not ideal then - I started with a 10 gallon tank with mulch in it - recommended from the petstore). But I quickly changed that as I learned. When they were active, we took them out a couple of times to walk around the kitchen. They seems to like that.
GB: Do not bathe them. It is an old practice that is extremely stressful to them. Your pools should be deep enough for them to bath themselves.
16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
One of them (the larger) buried itself immediately after I got the new substrate (that was about 3 weeks ago). The smaller one hung out at the surface and explored but about a week ago, buried itself as well. I have not seen either of them since.
The food never looks touched (to my naked eye). The shells do not look disturbed. As far as I can tell, no one is coming out and doing anything for this past week. I keep looking in there every evening and changing food hoping someone resurfaces!
We have moved the tank so that I could get under with a flashlight and see if I can see anyone but nope. I can't tell where they are!
There is a small crack at the back of the tank where the glass lid is. No more than a quarter of an inch. It works out that the bubbler lines are fed in that way but now I worry - what if they escaped!