Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

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Lynnette
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Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by Lynnette » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:47 am

Since you've come to the emergency forum, we know you want a fast answer to your question. In order for us to figure out the problem as quickly as possible, we ask that you answer the following questions as best you can. Some of them may seem odd, but they're all designed to give us the information we need to give you a good solution for your problem. The things in the [ brackets ] are there to make this post easier to read once submitted. Thanks!


1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it? Sand purchased from pet shop and less than 1cm depth.


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? No we don't have as we live in tropical country, hot and humid.


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? No, we live in tropical country, hot and humid.


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 use our filtered drinking water to wash the sand, and same water to mix with sea salt for crab to consume. Using hydrometer to check before giving to crab.


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? -commercial hermit crab food, cucumbers, apple, carrot, washed dried fish. Change daily.


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? About 2 months, it is a strawberry hermit crab.


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? Yes, that's the thing I need urgent help now as we have no prior experience in this. This is our first hermit crab. I guess it started molting on either 1 or 2 July 2019 as the last time I saw it moved in the tank was on 1 July at night. In the past few weeks, he slept very long hours and with very little activities. He doesn't eat much too.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? We put it in a glass tank. Not sure of the size. We don't use any lid.


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? Currently there is only one. We are waiting for new crabs to arrive. It is bigger than a normal chicken egg.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? About 3 weeks ago I bought him a bigger shell and heavier. He doesn't seem interested in it. So recently I removed it from the tank.


11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently? Nope.


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? Once a week. I will use our filtered drinking water to wash the food bowl and water bowl and the small wooden bridge, 2 pebbles and sand.


13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? No. The water dish is not deep, just nice for him.


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? No.


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.)? My He is normally active at night only, sleeps during the day. Does eat a lot.


16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
Since June 2019, we noticed our crab is not so active, eats very little and sleeps long hours. On 3 July 2019 early morning around 2 am, my hubby lifted up the crab on it's shell to check whether it is still alive, then suddenly something dropped out, he thought the crab has broken into two and passed away. However, I noticed there's something inside the shell and moving. Later we only understand that it is molting. The crab doesn't hide in the sand but resting on top of the wooden bridge now. I googled online and understand we shouldn't disturb or move a molting crab. But due to lack of experienced, this unfortunate incident happened. What should we do now? Do we still need to put food in his food bowl on daily basis? Can we wash and change his salt water? Can we wash his tank? Do we need to darken his tank by covering it up with darker paper or clothes? I understand the crab will eat the exoskeleton. Where should we put the exoskeleton now? Thank you.

.

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Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by aussieJJDude » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:06 am


Lynnette wrote:What should we do now? Do we still need to put food in his food bowl on daily basis? Can we wash and change his salt water? Can we wash his tank? Do we need to darken his tank by covering it up with darker paper or clothes? I understand the crab will eat the exoskeleton. Where should we put the exoskeleton now? Thank you.

.
Welcome to the board. It sounds like you're ready well aware of any future changes you need to make to the tank in order to make it more suitable, so I wouldn't really focus on changes since a moulting crab is best left alone until its finished.

Best course of action is to leave the crab alone, and keep all disturbances to a minimum. A good idea is to use a plastic margarine container, coconut hut or plastic bowl to form a makeshift cave for the crab to moult in peace within. Typically they moult underground, which a small bidet placed over the moulting crab will simulate and reduce visual stresssors.

Best thing is to feed "dry foods" in a small amount which can be changed around every couple of days. Once you see him eating, feel free to switch or incorporate fresh veggies, fruits, meats and the like.

As for saltwater - and freshwater - since he isn't actively using them, they should be fine to change out every couple of days until he brings to use them... partially if the size of the pools are deep enough to hold a substantial volume of water.

No washing tank IMO. This is just going to place unnecessary stress, and in a well setup tank according to our guides, washing the tank is rarely required unless it's for emergencies such as bacterial blooms or a new tank.


If he contains a hidey hut - also place exoskeleton inside with him! He will eat that to recover nutrients - then no, the tank does not need to be covered. If you dont have a hide hut, then yes.... I'd personally encourage to cover the tank. Moulting is a delicate time in their lives, and stress is one of the biggest killers for an organism.

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Lynnette
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:26 am

Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by Lynnette » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:53 pm

aussieJJDude wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:06 am
Welcome to the board. It sounds like you're ready well aware of any future changes you need to make to the tank in order to make it more suitable, so I wouldn't really focus on changes since a moulting crab is best left alone until its finished.

Best course of action is to leave the crab alone, and keep all disturbances to a minimum. A good idea is to use a plastic margarine container, coconut hut or plastic bowl to form a makeshift cave for the crab to moult in peace within. Typically they moult underground, which a small bidet placed over the moulting crab will simulate and reduce visual stresssors.

Best thing is to feed "dry foods" in a small amount which can be changed around every couple of days. Once you see him eating, feel free to switch or incorporate fresh veggies, fruits, meats and the like.

As for saltwater - and freshwater - since he isn't actively using them, they should be fine to change out every couple of days until he brings to use them... partially if the size of the pools are deep enough to hold a substantial volume of water.

No washing tank IMO. This is just going to place unnecessary stress, and in a well setup tank according to our guides, washing the tank is rarely required unless it's for emergencies such as bacterial blooms or a new tank.


If he contains a hidey hut - also place exoskeleton inside with him! He will eat that to recover nutrients - then no, the tank does not need to be covered. If you dont have a hide hut, then yes.... I'd personally encourage to cover the tank. Moulting is a delicate time in their lives, and stress is one of the biggest killers for an organism.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
Thank you so much for your reply. At least I know I am following the correct direction. I will find a plastic container to partially cover up the crab and also put the exoskeleton nearby. So far, he has not moved much but I can see his legs hiding inside the shell move from time to time. He has yet eaten the exoskeleton or dry food we placed in the food bowl or drink any salt water. Is this normal? How long will a molting crab start to eat its exoskeleton?

As for washing the tank, I will not wash until this little fellow acts like his normal self. Normally there are a lot of poo and small pieces of wood flakes dropped from the wooden bridge. So based on my experience with fishes, I give the tank a wash every week.

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Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by aussieJJDude » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:45 am


Lynnette wrote:
Thank you so much for your reply. At least I know I am following the correct direction. I will find a plastic container to partially cover up the crab and also put the exoskeleton nearby. So far, he has not moved much but I can see his legs hiding inside the shell move from time to time. He has yet eaten the exoskeleton or dry food we placed in the food bowl or drink any salt water. Is this normal? How long will a molting crab start to eat its exoskeleton?

As for washing the tank, I will not wash until this little fellow acts like his normal self. Normally there are a lot of poo and small pieces of wood flakes dropped from the wooden bridge. So based on my experience with fishes, I give the tank a wash every week.
I will state/emphasis that place the exo with the crab under the container... and try to get a container that's not entirely see-through.... forgot to mention that prior, my bad!

It's likely that he wont move for a while until he has hardened up. Which may also explain why he hasn't touched his exo, but length before eating its exo will ultimately boil down to the crab. Could be in the next couple of minutes, or could be the next couple of days. I'll just mention an arbitrary 'soon', and continue to leave it in there after he has finish moulting... even when not moulting, they do enjoy snacking on exos.

And yes. It's likely they he wont touch the water at all, and this can extend to dry foods as well.

While I get where you're coming from, having fish myself... with crabs its certainly not really required to clean as often as weekly once set up in accordance to the HCA guidelines (the basic starting point IMO). The only thing that you may find to clean daily is foods, and that's more to keep your home clean - mould doesn't really affect crabs like it does to us - then it does to pose a risk to them.


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Crabs || Fish || Shrimp || Snails || Plants || Insects

25G Nano Freshwater || 64G Freshwater Community || 90G Fancy Goldie Pond || 64G Crabitat
I've never had any problems with 'Impulse Buying'... They're just things I forgot I had planned to get || Self Designated 'HCA Pic Fan' 2012+


Topic author
Lynnette
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:26 am

Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by Lynnette » Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:29 pm

aussieJJDude wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:45 am
I will state/emphasis that place the exo with the crab under the container... and try to get a container that's not entirely see-through.... forgot to mention that prior, my bad!

It's likely that he wont move for a while until he has hardened up. Which may also explain why he hasn't touched his exo, but length before eating its exo will ultimately boil down to the crab. Could be in the next couple of minutes, or could be the next couple of days. I'll just mention an arbitrary 'soon', and continue to leave it in there after he has finish moulting... even when not moulting, they do enjoy snacking on exos.

And yes. It's likely they he wont touch the water at all, and this can extend to dry foods as well.

While I get where you're coming from, having fish myself... with crabs its certainly not really required to clean as often as weekly once set up in accordance to the HCA guidelines (the basic starting point IMO). The only thing that you may find to clean daily is foods, and that's more to keep your home clean - mould doesn't really affect crabs like it does to us - then it does to pose a risk to them.


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Thank you so much for your reply. I am a little bit relieved now. We found a small wooden box yesterday with small gaps in between. After cleaning anf air dry, we use it to partially cover up the crab. He still has not moved or eaten the exo but can tell he is alive. We really hope he can get through this.

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Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by curlysister » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:33 pm

Aussie has given you good advice for what to do with the crab for right now. I will address the aspects of your set up that can be improved.

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it? Sand purchased from pet shop and less than 1cm depth.
Curly - Substrate needs to be at least 6 inches or 3 times as deep as your largest crab, whichever is deeper. Some types of sand are not safe. Playsand, sold in big bags at a hardware type store, is safe and cheap. Most of us mix it with coconut fiber called Eco Earth. It comes dried in bricks or loose, and needs to be moistened with water. There are differing ratios, but most of us use a ratio of 5 parts play sand to 1 part EE. Use either dechlorinated fresh or dechlorinated salt water to moisten it in the beginning (but then if you are misting or adding water later, use dechlor fresh). It needs to be moist enough to be 'sand castle' consistency, so that it holds it's shape when crabs dig tunnels and caves, but not so wet that water pools in the bottom.

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? No we don't have as we live in tropical country, hot and humid.
Curly - You should probably invest in a hygrometer/ thermometer, so you know what the conditions are inside the tank.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? No, we live in tropical country, hot and humid.


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 use our filtered drinking water to wash the sand, and same water to mix with sea salt for crab to consume. Using hydrometer to check before giving to crab.
Curly - If sealed in a bag, play sand does not need to be washed. Tap water needs to be treated with a dechlorinator such as Prime. A water filter isn't adequate. Then marine salt such as Instant Ocean needs to be added to make the salt water. There needs to be a pool of each, deep enough that they can submerge but also that has a way for them to climb out. The 'water' section has a good care sheet about water and salt.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? -commercial hermit crab food, cucumbers, apple, carrot, washed dried fish. Change daily.
Curly - Commercial food is not considered safe. See the care sheet in the 'food' section for safe/ unsafe foods and the food pyramid. They need protein and calcium sources daily.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? About 2 months, it is a strawberry hermit crab.


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? Yes, that's the thing I need urgent help now as we have no prior experience in this. This is our first hermit crab. I guess it started molting on either 1 or 2 July 2019 as the last time I saw it moved in the tank was on 1 July at night. In the past few weeks, he slept very long hours and with very little activities. He doesn't eat much too.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? We put it in a glass tank. Not sure of the size. We don't use any lid.
Curly - When you get a thermometer/ hygrometer, you will know if you need to put a lid on the tank.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? Currently there is only one. We are waiting for new crabs to arrive. It is bigger than a normal chicken egg.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? About 3 weeks ago I bought him a bigger shell and heavier. He doesn't seem interested in it. So recently I removed it from the tank.
Curly - HCA recommends 3-5 extra shells per crab. There are proper and improper shells to buy - see the care sheet in the 'shells' section for more info.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently? Nope.


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? Once a week. I will use our filtered drinking water to wash the food bowl and water bowl and the small wooden bridge, 2 pebbles and sand.
Curly - Once you have proper substrate, you never need to clean anything other than bits of food that get scattered around and poop. I have had my crabs for almost 9 years, and have upgraded tanks twice. I have never thrown out all my substrate and started with fresh, I have just added more as needed. The only time a 'deep clean' (ie- removing and replacing all the substrate) is needed is if there is a big problem such as a bacterial bloom.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? No. The water dish is not deep, just nice for him.
Curly - Sponges are not recommended, but when you have pools/ dishes that are deep enough, they will need a way to climb out, such as a ramp made with craft mesh, or pebbles in the dish, etc.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? No.


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.)? My He is normally active at night only, sleeps during the day. Does eat a lot.


16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
Since June 2019, we noticed our crab is not so active, eats very little and sleeps long hours. On 3 July 2019 early morning around 2 am, my hubby lifted up the crab on it's shell to check whether it is still alive, then suddenly something dropped out, he thought the crab has broken into two and passed away. However, I noticed there's something inside the shell and moving. Later we only understand that it is molting. The crab doesn't hide in the sand but resting on top of the wooden bridge now. I googled online and understand we shouldn't disturb or move a molting crab. But due to lack of experienced, this unfortunate incident happened. What should we do now? Do we still need to put food in his food bowl on daily basis? Can we wash and change his salt water? Can we wash his tank? Do we need to darken his tank by covering it up with darker paper or clothes? I understand the crab will eat the exoskeleton. Where should we put the exoskeleton now? Thank you.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


Topic author
Lynnette
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:26 am

Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by Lynnette » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:35 am

Hi Curly, thanks for your detailed advice. I will make some changes to the tank after the crab completed his molting process.


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Lynnette
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Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by Lynnette » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:41 am

Update. Thanks to both Aussie and Curly. My crab started eating his exoskeleton on last Friday and he also moved around over last weekend. I found him resting in the salt water dish on last Sunday morning. This morning I saw him eating the exo again. Guess he has gone through the most difficult time and doing well.

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Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by GotButterflies » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:34 am

I just wanted to state that Straws need UVB, fresh dechlorinated deep marine saltwater pools, at least 80% humidity, temp of at least 80 degrees, and lots of beta carotene rich foods to keep their rich strawberry colors. I feed mine a lot of fish, veggies, seaweeds, fruits. I hope that helps! :)
Truly blessed to have incredible creatures, wonderful friends and my amazing family in my life!! I'm very thankful & grateful for all of them! www.thehealthyhermit.com

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Re: Accidentally moved a molting strawberry hermit crab and its exoskeleton fell out, what should we do now?

Post by curlysister » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:56 am

GB - thanks for adding those specifics for Straws! I should always clarify that I have PPs.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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