New and Nervous Owner

Please post here if you are a new crab owner and someone will be along shortly to welcome you to the HCA! This is also the place to welcome new crabbies to your clan!

Topic author
jwhite82
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:25 am
Location: TN

New and Nervous Owner

Post by jwhite82 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:52 am

Hello, everyone. I am a new owner of hermit crabs, just trying to get it right!

My kids each got a hermit crab at the beach over the Thanksgiving Break. They bought them at the tacky tourist shop, Alvin's Island. We didn't know the urgency of getting them in an appropriate environment, so they stayed in their travel cages with food and a wet sponge for a couple of days. My daughter's crab has already died, though I'm not sure how healthy she was in the first place. My son's crab seems to be doing ok.

We have a 10G terrarium that came with a standard kit. We are waiting on some climbing logs to come tomorrow, so I'll wait to post pictures of our setup until then. For heat, we started with a small heat mat affixed to the side of the terrarium, but it didn't seem to raise the heat enough, so I bought a dual lamp fixture with a nighttime and daytime bulb. The thermometer on the lamp side is a constant 80 degrees now.

My concern now is humidity control. The terrarium has a full mesh lid, which I will cover in some fashion. I am also misting the terrarium a couple of times a day.

My daughter will get a new crab this afternoon after school. I know this will benefit my son's crab, because they don't like to be alone.

Overall, I'm just nervous about making sure I get this right and we have happy and healthy crabs.

Thanks.

User avatar

curlysister
Posts: 1543
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:54 pm
Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by curlysister » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:09 am

Welcome to crabbing! Be sure to read through the information in the care sheets. Tons of great info there.
Heat lamps are notorious for zapping humidity. Personally, I have multiple UTH's (one on each side and two on the back of my 55 gallon). You can cover the lid with saran wrap to keep humidity in. There is a balance between keeping it humid enough, and not flooding with misting. It's more difficult with lights than UTH's. What is your current humidity?
What do you have for sub?
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

User avatar

gunstreet.girl
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:10 am
Location: Hull, Quebec, Canada

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by gunstreet.girl » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:22 am

Hello, and welcome! CurlySister beat me to recommending reading through the HCA care sheets, but I think it’s a recommendation that bears repeating :) The majority of the proprietary “Hermit Crab Kits” our there marketed to new LHC caretakers are woefully inadequate, and in many cases actually include products which can harm your crabs at worst, or just aren’t effective, at best (e.g., calcium sand substrate, good substrate but too little quantity, pelleted foods that contain harmful preservatives, analog thermometers/hygrometers, salt water mix that is the equivalent of table salt, water bowls that are too shallow, lack of water conditioner or inadequate conditioner, etc.).

Curly’s recommendation re: the lid and heat lamps are also bang-on. I also use multiple UTHs for my tank, all insulated for added warmth (check to see if the brand of UTH you have on your tank can be insulated to boost heat - if you received it with the kit, odds are it can’t be, but maybe you’ll be lucky), and in the winter I also add insulation to one side of the tank that doesn’t have a UTH for extra heat retention.

Once your tank is sealed up tight and substrate is at the right depth and moisture level, humidity is a lot easier to keep in range. Moistened moss (sphagnum, etc) is also great for increasing humidity, and can be rinsed and re-moistened repeatedly. Crabs also like to munch on it and burrow in it, so it’s an all-around great addition to any tank.

Again, welcome! And don’t hesitate to ask any questions that might come up after reading through the care sheets.


Topic author
jwhite82
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:25 am
Location: TN

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by jwhite82 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:19 pm

Thank you for your replies. As I've done some research, I've come to realize what you said about the kits. Unfortunately, we were in a situation where we bought the pets first without proper research into exactly what's best for them. My wife went to the pet store, saw the kit, and bought it.

Attached is a photo of the current setup. As I said in my original post, more climbing apparatus should be delivered tomorrow. To help control the humidity, I have put saran wrap on the left side of the lid and have a heavy book on top of it. Temperature is 80 and humidity is almost 80%. I will check humidity again when I return home in a couple of hours.

Please critique away. One thing I think I need to do is get some deeper water dishes. Those are the ones that came with the kit and from reading the guides on here, I think I need deeper ones that can hold more water. Also, should I mix the two substrate types together?

Another question I have is about the size of the tank. It's a 10G and we'll be adding another crab tonight. I mentioned to my wife that I think we should get a 20G, because I think it's going to get crowded in there when we add the extra climbing logs and another hermie. Her response was we could take some of the stuff in there out. I really don't see that as an option. I think everything we have in there needs to stay.

Thoughts?

Image

User avatar

gunstreet.girl
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:10 am
Location: Hull, Quebec, Canada

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by gunstreet.girl » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:39 pm

Looks like you’re off to a good start! That’s great that you’ve been able to get the heat and humidity up. That said, I would suggest getting digital gauges to replace the analog - the analog gauges are notoriously unreliable (I can tell you horror stories about trying to regulate my late tree frogs’ vivarium with analog gauges until I discovered digital.. the poor things). You can get inexpensive digita gauges at most big box stores, Walmart, amazon, etc. A lot of people here use the Accurite gauges (I don’t, but many swear by them).

I personally think a 10G tank is too small for anything but a temporary tank for 2 very small crabs, but that’s just me, and it’s not meant as a judgement. Many people think 2 crabs in a 10G is just fine.

I would suggest removing the sponges from the pools - they’re breeding grounds for bacteria, and not necessary for the crabs. As long as the crabs are provided a safe way to get in and out of the pools so they don’t drown, they’ll be fine. As you noted, deeper is better for the pools - your largest crab should be able to submerge completely. If the sponges are natural sea sponge (the one on the left looks like it might be?) you can sterilize them and leave them in the tank for the crabs to play wth and nibble on.

As for the substrate - is the sand play sand, or calci sand? If the latter, it hardens to a cement-like consistency and can harm your crabs. It’s not recommended to be used in crabitats. If it’s play sand - excellent! It’s generally recommended to mix the sand and cocofibre together. I can’t tell the depth of your sub for sure from the photo, but it looks a bit shallow. As you’ve i’m sure discovered in your research, the HCA recommends a minimum sub depth of 6” or 3x the height of your largest crab - whichever is greater.

More climbing apparatus is great! LHCs love climbing. They also like having safe hidey-holes for hiding out - many people use coconut (or gourd) hides, cork rounds, small animal/snake-turtle huts/caves, etc., or make their own.

Enjoy your new buddies!

User avatar

Hermiesguardian
Posts: 2718
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:41 pm

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by Hermiesguardian » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:34 pm

Hi! You can seal the entire lid. They won't suffocate. You can also find great deals on used larger tanks. Bigger is always better since the crabs will grow. Did you read the safe/unsafe food list? Food pyramid? They need protein and calcium daily.
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi


Topic author
jwhite82
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:25 am
Location: TN

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by jwhite82 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:57 pm

Gunstreet,

Thank you for your kind words and help. The humidity is still fluctuating greatly. Tonight, when I returned home, it was below 70 again. I misted and got it back up. The temperature is holding steady with the lamp, but as you and Curly said, the lamps also reduce humidity.

We got my daughter a replacement crab tonight at PetSmart. It seems to have adjusted nicely. Also, my son's crab climbed up the red branch and is perched up there for the first time. Maybe they're happy after all. I also got a digital thermometer and hygrometer, a deeper water bowl, and some more cocofibre. The new climbing branches came today also. The sand in there now is probably calci sand. I will go buy a large bag of playground sand and redo the whole thing tomorrow mixing the cocofibre and sand together. I also plan to have some glass cut tomorrow to seal part of the lid.

I'm hopeful that with a partially sealed lid and a larger amount of substrate in there, the humidity issue will resolve. I'll post photos of the improved crabitat tomorrow.

User avatar

Hermiesguardian
Posts: 2718
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:41 pm

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by Hermiesguardian » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:12 pm

jwhite82 wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:57 pm
Gunstreet,

Thank you for your kind words and help. The humidity is still fluctuating greatly. Tonight, when I returned home, it was below 70 again. I misted and got it back up. The temperature is holding steady with the lamp, but as you and Curly said, the lamps also reduce humidity.

We got my daughter a replacement crab tonight at PetSmart. It seems to have adjusted nicely. Also, my son's crab climbed up the red branch and is perched up there for the first time. Maybe they're happy after all. I also got a digital thermometer and hygrometer, a deeper water bowl, and some more cocofibre. The new climbing branches came today also. The sand in there now is probably calci sand. I will go buy a large bag of playground sand and redo the whole thing tomorrow mixing the cocofibre and sand together. I also plan to have some glass cut tomorrow to seal part of the lid.

I'm hopeful that with a partially sealed lid and a larger amount of substrate in there, the humidity issue will resolve. I'll post photos of the improved crabitat tomorrow.
It's really ok that you seal the entire lid. They will get oxygen when you feed them every couple of days. When you mix the substrate, it has to be mixed with dechlorinated water to sandcastle consistancy so it can hold their caves and tunnels. What are you using as a dechlorinator. The most recommended is Prime. And Instant Ocean for saltwater. It's very common for crabs to bury themselves soon after purchasing them. They do this to molt or de-stress. They can stay down for months if molting. Resist the urge to dig for them. Once they have a successful molt, chances are good they will survive.
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi


Topic author
jwhite82
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:25 am
Location: TN

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by jwhite82 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:28 am

Hermiesguardian wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:12 pm
It's really ok that you seal the entire lid. They will get oxygen when you feed them every couple of days. When you mix the substrate, it has to be mixed with dechlorinated water to sandcastle consistancy so it can hold their caves and tunnels. What are you using as a dechlorinator. The most recommended is Prime. And Instant Ocean for saltwater. It's very common for crabs to bury themselves soon after purchasing them. They do this to molt or de-stress. They can stay down for months if molting. Resist the urge to dig for them. Once they have a successful molt, chances are good they will survive.
Ok, I will seal it up completely.

For dechlorinator and salt water, we are using the Zoo Med products "drinking water conditioner" and "salt water conditioner."

User avatar

scuttlecrusty22
Posts: 361
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:37 am

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by scuttlecrusty22 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:16 am

Welcome to HCA!!! It looks like you are doing pretty good so far and I would like to personally thank you for giving your crabs a better environment (not too many people care about the well being of their crabs, or we would have lots more members :lol:.) I just have 1 question for you... is the white sand in your crabitat calcium sand? Maybe it just looks that way from the picture, but I just wanted to make sure. I might be mistaken but I'm pretty sure it is safe as long as it is a natural sand, just don't ever buy the colors (even as tempting as it may be :D.)

Here is a topic I found about calcium sand here on the HCA forums: https://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/p ... 0&t=106848


:crabbigsmile:
(Scuttle, Crusty) crabs, (Buster,Ruby) chihuahuas, (Bugs) goat, (Echo) betta fish (Skittles,Sky) parakeets

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life"

User avatar

gunstreet.girl
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:10 am
Location: Hull, Quebec, Canada

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by gunstreet.girl » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:03 am

scuttlecrusty22 wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:16 am
Welcome to HCA!!! It looks like you are doing pretty good so far and I would like to personally thank you for giving your crabs a better environment (not too many people care about the well being of their crabs, or we would have lots more members :lol:.) I just have 1 question for you... is the white sand in your crabitat calcium sand? Maybe it just looks that way from the picture, but I just wanted to make sure. I might be mistaken but I'm pretty sure it is safe as long as it is a natural sand, just don't ever buy the colors (even as tempting as it may be :D.)

Here is a topic I found about calcium sand here on the HCA forums: https://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/p ... 0&t=106848


:crabbigsmile:
Calcium sand is safe as a dietary supplement but not recommended as a substrate.

User avatar

scuttlecrusty22
Posts: 361
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:37 am

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by scuttlecrusty22 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:52 am

gunstreet.girl wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:03 am
Calcium sand is safe as a dietary supplement but not recommended as a substrate.
Ok thank you! I was hoping I had the right info. :lol:
(Scuttle, Crusty) crabs, (Buster,Ruby) chihuahuas, (Bugs) goat, (Echo) betta fish (Skittles,Sky) parakeets

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life"


Topic author
jwhite82
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:25 am
Location: TN

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by jwhite82 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:19 am

Hello again.

Here is a picture of our improved crabitat. The substrate is a mixture of play sand and cocofibre. New climbing logs are in the back and there is a deeper freshwater bowl for them. I also have a digital hygrometer and thermometer. The hygrometer read 77% this morning after sitting in a sealed container of moist salt overnight, so it's accurate enough. I have removed both sponges as recommended.

With all of that in there now, I really feel like we will need a bigger terrarium sooner rather than later. I don't feel there is any unnecessary stuff in there and it doesn't seem like they have much free space without stuff in the way. My wife is already rolling her eyes at me with how much time I'm spending on these little fellers, so I'm very hesitant to suggest a larger terrarium at this time, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Image

User avatar

gunstreet.girl
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:10 am
Location: Hull, Quebec, Canada

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by gunstreet.girl » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:01 pm

Looking good! I don’t see any spare shells, though, for the crabs to change into. If you’ve not already, you can find a lot of information about the number and types of extra shells recommended in the care sheets :)

User avatar

Hermiesguardian
Posts: 2718
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:41 pm

Re: New and Nervous Owner

Post by Hermiesguardian » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:25 pm

Looks good. I know what you mean about not enough space. Word of advice, if you upgrade, and you will eventually, always try and find the biggest tank you can afford and fit somewhere in your house. You can find great deals used. For now, and future, you can do a 2nd level. A shell shop or moss pit. Look through the pictures section and get ideas. I love the bird ladders as a way for them to access the 2nd level. Also gives them more to climb.
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi

Post Reply