Surface Molting in Water?

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Thatfranke
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:22 pm

Surface Molting in Water?

Post by Thatfranke » Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:46 pm

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?

100% Eco earth. About five inches deep.

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 duo analog temp and humidity gauge. It is located on the warmer side of the tank. It usually reads about 80F when its on the warm side, or about 70F on the cool side. The humidity is usually around 65-70% when the lamp is on (during the day) and goes up overnight.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?

Yes. There is a heat lamp.

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)?

Both saltwater and freshwater are available. Most water I have used on them has been treated with aqueon water conditioner. The other water has been plain bottled water (no minerals or other things added) in a pinch. Saltwater is instant ocean sea salt mix thing.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?

I feed a variety of fresh foods or frozen, partially cooked shrimp. It varies day to day. It is replaced at most every 24 hours. Bananas are replaced sooner.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?

I have had Roy for about a year and a half. He is an Ecuadorian Hermit Crab.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?

He last molted in the summertime/early fall.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?

Roy shares a home with Mr. Krabs, a purple pincher. Their tank is 20 gallons (long, not tall) with a mesh lid.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?

Two crabs - Roy is a medium size who prefers maybe one inch shells and Mr. Krabs is smaller.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?

They have at least 10 extra shells of varying styles.

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

no.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?

I spot clean the substrate as necessary. The walls of the tank are cleaned when cloudy with water and a clean paper towel. Their water is replaced when dirty.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?

no sponges.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?

Not in a few months. I added moss.

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.)?

They rarely get handled.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.

My hermit crab, Roy, had been "streaking" and leaving his shell starting about a week ago. At first, he would leave for a few minutes then I could coax him back into a shell that I know fits him (he used to switch between a few shells, I used one of those shells). Then eventually he started leaving his shell even MORE. As soon as he began to leave his shell, I increased the heat in the tank. I did not even think of the humidity because it had been consistently reading 60-70%. During this time he also spent a lot of time near or in his saltwater bowl. Yesterday he was out of his shell all day. Today he hadn't moved much. I went out. When I got home (maybe 5 hours laver) he was soaking in his saltwater dish. I took a closer look. His antennaes were not up. I looked limp and droopy. I went to poke him (just to get a reaction) and he did not respond. I freaked out and dumped out the dish with him still in it. He did not move and was still limp. I removed the dish from the tank and left it out for about an hour. I came back and checked and moved the dish around to try to get a reaction and still NOTHING. So I go to smell him. I have had hermits die in the past and know that there is nothing more ensuring of death than their horrible, fishy, decaying smell. However, he did not smell like the other dead hermit crabs I have had. He smells like saltwater or maybe a little chemical-ish. Because he is naked, I shined a light on his abdomen (it is partially clear right now) and there was no movement. However, there was also no browning or darkening. His smell made me realize he might not be dead (I am an optimist and I know what a dead crab smells like) so i put the dish back in the enclosure and surrounded it so Mr. Krabs cannot get in. I checked about five hours later and he is still not smelly and still not a dark abdomen. I honestly think he is dead, but is there any chance he isn't? Could this be some weird surface molt that he initiated underwater? I have never had a crab surface molt before. I have actually had a few sucessfully molt and come back up after a week to a month. I am just playing the waiting game now.


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gunstreet.girl
Posts: 157
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Location: Hull, Quebec, Canada

Re: Surface Molting in Water?

Post by gunstreet.girl » Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:37 pm

Hi there, sorry to hear your little buddy isn’t doing well. I’ll provide some thoughts on your responses to the emergency questionnaire below, in bold text.
Thatfranke wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:46 pm

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?

100% Eco earth. About five inches deep.

for PPs, the minimum recommended substrate depth is 6” or 3x the height of your largest crab, whichever is greater. I don’t personally have any experience with Ecuadorians, but my understanding is the recommended minimum substrate depth for them is 12” (perhaps someone with personal experience can confirm?)

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 duo analog temp and humidity gauge. It is located on the warmer side of the tank. It usually reads about 80F when its on the warm side, or about 70F on the cool side. The humidity is usually around 65-70% when the lamp is on (during the day) and goes up overnight.

analog gauges are unreliable, and digital are most commonly recommended. Your heat appears to be in a good zone. The HCA recommends minimum humidity of 80%. If your tank has a screen lid, you can cover it with plastic wrap or plexiglass, or get a glass lid to help hold in the humidity.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?

Yes. There is a heat lamp.

heat lamps zap humidity, so if you’re already having difficulty in that area, I would recommend replacing it with a heat mat, affixed to the outside back (or side) of the tank

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)?

Both saltwater and freshwater are available. Most water I have used on them has been treated with aqueon water conditioner. The other water has been plain bottled water (no minerals or other things added) in a pinch. Saltwater is instant ocean sea salt mix thing.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?

I feed a variety of fresh foods or frozen, partially cooked shrimp. It varies day to day. It is replaced at most every 24 hours. Bananas are replaced sooner.

sounds good. Just remember that LHCs need at least one source of animal protein and calcium daily. My understanding is that Ecuadoians have even higher protein needs than other LHCs (again, perhaps someone with personal experience can confirm)

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?

I have had Roy for about a year and a half. He is an Ecuadorian Hermit Crab.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?

He last molted in the summertime/early fall.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?

Roy shares a home with Mr. Krabs, a purple pincher. Their tank is 20 gallons (long, not tall) with a mesh lid.

please see above - I recommend covering the mesh lid to help boost your humidity into the safe range

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?

Two crabs - Roy is a medium size who prefers maybe one inch shells and Mr. Krabs is smaller.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?

They have at least 10 extra shells of varying styles.

that’s great that you have a variety of shells available - PPs and Ecuadorians seem to have very distinct preferences when it comes to shells

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

no.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?

I spot clean the substrate as necessary. The walls of the tank are cleaned when cloudy with water and a clean paper towel. Their water is replaced when dirty.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?

no sponges.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?

Not in a few months. I added moss.

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.)?

They rarely get handled.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.

My hermit crab, Roy, had been "streaking" and leaving his shell starting about a week ago. At first, he would leave for a few minutes then I could coax him back into a shell that I know fits him (he used to switch between a few shells, I used one of those shells). Then eventually he started leaving his shell even MORE. As soon as he began to leave his shell, I increased the heat in the tank. I did not even think of the humidity because it had been consistently reading 60-70%. During this time he also spent a lot of time near or in his saltwater bowl. Yesterday he was out of his shell all day. Today he hadn't moved much. I went out. When I got home (maybe 5 hours laver) he was soaking in his saltwater dish. I took a closer look. His antennaes were not up. I looked limp and droopy. I went to poke him (just to get a reaction) and he did not respond. I freaked out and dumped out the dish with him still in it. He did not move and was still limp. I removed the dish from the tank and left it out for about an hour. I came back and checked and moved the dish around to try to get a reaction and still NOTHING. So I go to smell him. I have had hermits die in the past and know that there is nothing more ensuring of death than their horrible, fishy, decaying smell. However, he did not smell like the other dead hermit crabs I have had. He smells like saltwater or maybe a little chemical-ish. Because he is naked, I shined a light on his abdomen (it is partially clear right now) and there was no movement. However, there was also no browning or darkening. His smell made me realize he might not be dead (I am an optimist and I know what a dead crab smells like) so i put the dish back in the enclosure and surrounded it so Mr. Krabs cannot get in. I checked about five hours later and he is still not smelly and still not a dark abdomen. I honestly think he is dead, but is there any chance he isn't? Could this be some weird surface molt that he initiated underwater? I have never had a crab surface molt before. I have actually had a few sucessfully molt and come back up after a week to a month. I am just playing the waiting game now.

i’m sorry your little guy is suffering. Not being there, I can’t really be of much help in determining if he’s alive, but if it was me i’d isolate him with one or more appropriately-sized shells and some good healing foods (lots of protein, calcium, raw honey, coconut, etc. -again, maybe someone with personal experience with Es can speak to their preferences here). I would wait at least a few days, to be on the safe side, or until it becomes blatantly obvious that the little guy has passed.

LHCs usually abandon their shells and go streaking when they’re too weak to carry the shell. This can be due to many factors, and i’m not trying to cast blame, but I would suggest reading through the care sheets here on the HCA forums and making changes where required.

Good luck - I hope your little buddy pulls through.

.

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curlysister
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Re: Surface Molting in Water?

Post by curlysister » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:14 pm

Great advice from GSG. I agree that the humidity is too low if it's been at 60-70 for any length of time. That very may well be the reason he's too weak to carry his shell. Crabs have modified gills and need the high humidity to breathe.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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