Crabs aren't digging

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Saallen6
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Location: IN

Crabs aren't digging

Post by Saallen6 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:53 pm

Hello,

I have two hermit crabs. My mom bought one for my daughter while in Florida, a poor tiny thing with the plastic container and plastic Palm tree with a painted shell. I was not happy but I did research and bought two more and proper supplies. The Florida one got eaten (it was very tiny)... But I've had my two for almost a year now.
When they were smaller, I had them in a 10 gallon tank with that hermit crab sand from the pet store. I mixed that with coconut fibers and salt water, sand castle consistency, 6" deep and all that. They loved it.
After a few molts they have Grown quite large.. 4-5 inches in size. I upgraded to a 20 gallon tank but I bought the quikrete all purpose sand to save money. One 5lb bag of hermit crab sand was like 6$ so that would have been well over a 100$ to fill the tank properly...
I mixed the quikrete with coconut fibers and salt water to sand castle consistency. This sand feels very different from the pet store sand. It's much thicker... And I'm worried Because my hermies have not been digging like they used to. They seem very happy and active and love to climb and look happy... But as far as I have observed, they never dig, and when they do, they only go down a couple inches...
I know calcium sand is bad for hermies but why did they dig so readily in that sand, but seem to dislike the quikrete? I have found that mixing the quikrete with salt water feels very different. At first it doesn't seem to want to mix but after really working with it, It seems to hold moisture really well so maybe I added too much water?
.also, I notice that it's much more dusty when I'm pouring it from the bag. And it feels...dusty, even when I'm trying to mix it for them. There are no foul smells coming from the tank and no flooding as of yet but the sand is probably a little too wet I'm not really sure.
Any advice please help! My hermies seem happy but if they need to molt I'm afraid they may not dig and I want to avoid a surface molt.

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Overmountain1
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Crabs aren't digging

Post by Overmountain1 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:53 am

Most of us use basic playsand, it’s less than $5/50lb of sand. The quickrete is filtered so it is all uniform and will mix smoothly, this is why you are seeing the dust as all the particles are going to be more fine grit. I have a pic of what I use. Hang on and I’ll share!


Dave the Wondercrab~Pat~Maggie~ Billy~Pop~Corn~Ten~Sam~MissTeri~Tim~Gene~ Barry~Mr S~Princess + 5 Es + Mr EnDoh =my crabby clan!ImageImage

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DragonsFly
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Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by DragonsFly » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:59 pm

Any major hardware store will carry "Play Sand," which is designed for kids' sand boxes and is washed and filtered. This is usually less than $5 for a 50 pound bag. You can use it straight, or mix it with some Eco Earth type cocofiber substrate, which helps with the consistency, and with overall humidity in the tank, quite a bit.

It's possible your crabs just don't want to dig right now, but in my experience with PP's (which is most likely what you have?), they generally like to dig down daily. So I would guess that yes, there is something about this new substrate that is making them less likely to want to dig. Because digging is the most effortful exercise they can do in captivity, anything you can do to encourage them to dig more is going to be good for them. (Remember that these are wild animals used to traveling for miles in the wild, and movement is essential for health for any animal capable of movement--just as we will get weaker and sicker the less we move, so will they.)
--{}: Dragons Fly Farm --{}:
Resident PP's:"Major Tom" "Billie Jean" & "Mr. Jones"
MT and BJ jumbos now. Everybody excited to move somewhere warm and beachy.


crabby33
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Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by crabby33 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:39 pm

While it’s more expensive, I got my play sand from Amazon and mixed it with Eco Earth. One brand I use is called WeJe play sand.

Here’s a link to one of the brands that I use:

https://www.amazon.com/Play-Sand-bag-sa ... 8753020604

Here is the other brand:

https://www.amazon.com/WeJe-Premium-Nat ... 165&sr=8-4

This gave me about 4” mixed with Eco Earth. I just need to add two more inches and it will be the perfect depth. I currently have a crab down for molting right now so I can’t mess with it.

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JoeHermits
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Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by JoeHermits » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:34 pm

It feels “dusty” because the finer particles are going airborne. You can reduce the dust by pouring more slowly.

Yes, it will feel different. Play sand is basically just that, sand (silica, but all-purpose versions have gravel). The sand from pet stores is marketed for aesthetic purposes only (smooth feeling and nice looking). You essentially have real dirt, now.

If the sand is sandcastle consistency, as you say, then I would just let the crabs do their thing. They’ll dig when they need to.

Also note that it’s normal for the first inch or so of sand to dry out. That’s just normal evaporation. The crabs can dig through it just fine, if that’ll make your life easier.


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gunstreet.girl
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Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by gunstreet.girl » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:04 am

Quikrete all purpose sand is coarse sand for use in landscaping and other applications. I would not personally view it as an appropriate sand for use with animals. Play sand is a fine sand, as are specialty sands marketed for terrarium substrate use.


KrankyKrab
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Crabs aren't digging

Post by KrankyKrab » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:19 am

I’m pretty sure the brand recommendations are in the files - so very helpful!!

I still jump to them for help.... I wonder if the salt water matters? I thought I read that over time the salt gets left behind during evaporation which can irritate the crababies???

Any input from our Crab Sensei’s?


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DragonsFly
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Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by DragonsFly » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:53 am

Yes, if you do not change out your substrate (and most with really large tanks rarely or never do), and if you use full-strength MSW to moisten the substrate, then over time you can end up with salt levels getting higher and higher in the sub, because the water evaporates, but the salt stays in the sub (because it is contained in a glass box, so there's nowhere for it to "wash away" to). That's why I used about 2/3 (to maybe as much as 3/4, not exact) strength MSW for initial moistening of the substrate, then if there is ever any small spilling of the MSW during water changes, it isn't making things instantly over-salty. If I needed to re-moisten substrate, I would spray with fresh water for that same reason (although I have not really had the problem of substrate drying out since I moved up to larger tanks with more secure lids, better humidity control, etc.).
--{}: Dragons Fly Farm --{}:
Resident PP's:"Major Tom" "Billie Jean" & "Mr. Jones"
MT and BJ jumbos now. Everybody excited to move somewhere warm and beachy.


KrankyKrab
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Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:03 am
Location: Staten Island NY

Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by KrankyKrab » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:07 pm

Ok - so her initial setup shouldn’t be too salty for them causing them not to dig ....

What’s the M in MSW??


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DragonsFly
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Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by DragonsFly » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:15 pm

Sorry; MSW stands for "Marine Salt Water," it means water (distilled or dechlorinated) that you have mixed with a product like "Instant Ocean" or "Oceanic," which is designed to create salt water for salt water (marine) fish aquariums.

If she initially mixed with full-strength MSW, then no, it should not be too salty at this point (unless there's been a lot of MSW spillage and a lot of evaporation happening unusually quickly). I would guess it is either the texture of this coarser sand, or they just don't want to dig right now. It is possible that they are not strong enough to dig--either not strong enough to dig right now at all, no matter what the substrate was, or not strong enough to dig in this coarser sand. The fact that (going back to the original post) they do occasionally start to dig, but only go a couple of inches before stopping, leads me to believe that probably, they actually WOULD be digging like they did in the past, but are finding it too difficult, or in some other way aversive, to dig in this substrate.
--{}: Dragons Fly Farm --{}:
Resident PP's:"Major Tom" "Billie Jean" & "Mr. Jones"
MT and BJ jumbos now. Everybody excited to move somewhere warm and beachy.


KrankyKrab
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:03 am
Location: Staten Island NY

Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by KrankyKrab » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:19 pm

DragonsFly wrote:Sorry; MSW stands for "Marine Salt Water," it means water (distilled or dechlorinated) that you have mixed with a product like "Instant Ocean" or "Oceanic," which is designed to create salt water for salt water (marine) fish aquariums
.
YEH!!! Totally had a feeling that’s what it was ((proud strut))


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Topic author
Saallen6
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:24 pm
Location: IN

Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by Saallen6 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:43 pm

Overmountain1 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:53 am
Most of us use basic playsand, it’s less than $5/50lb of sand. The quickrete is filtered so it is all uniform and will mix smoothly, this is why you are seeing the dust as all the particles are going to be more fine grit. I have a pic of what I use. Hang on and I’ll share!


Dave the Wondercrab~Pat~Maggie~ Billy~Pop~Corn~Ten~Sam~MissTeri~Tim~Gene~ Barry~Mr S~Princess + 5 Es + Mr EnDoh =my crabby clan!ImageImage

Thank you so much! I just have misread, I thought the fine sand was bad, but that's actually the sand I want.

I will most definitely change the substrate and will post updates soon.

Thank you again!


Topic author
Saallen6
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:24 pm
Location: IN

Re: Crabs aren't digging

Post by Saallen6 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:33 am

Okay so I got the playsand and holy cow. It feels so much better! And the crabs have no Problem digging down. Thank you all!
I think I was confused before thinking that all-purpose would be more course/better, but the playsand is definitely better. I have a happy crabitat again! Thank you!!

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