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New Hermit Crab Owner!

Where we discuss the behavior of our hermit crabs, as in fights, pecking orders, shell swaps, etc. Please post all naked-crab posts in the Emergency forum. Thanks!

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New Hermit Crab Owner!

PostAuthor: finleyfoo » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:09 pm

Hi, I am a new and accidental hermit crab owner.

About a month ago, my family and I were on vacation at the beach and of course I have seen the shops at the boardwalk that sell hermit crabs but I never considered purchasing them. One morning we were on our way down to the beach when in the middle of the sidewalk were 2 small containers with a hermit crab each and a note that said: free hermit crabs, our family cannot take them home. They had been abandoned.

So we brought them home with us.

I did some research and I purchased a 20 gallon glass terrarium/tank, substrate (premixed from Flukers), and some equipments. My tank has a mesh screen on top, which has a heating pad on it (leftover from an old dog bed), and a plexi on top of that to keep the moisture in. I have a dual thermometer/hygrometer in the tank and it registers about 70-75 degrees (F) and about 75-80% humidity. I recently ordered a heating lamp that has yet to come as we are heading into the fall and winter months.

I have 2 water pools made of Tupperware containers - one salt and one freshwater - with rocks and small shells at the bottom and ramps to climb. I have never seen the crabs in the pools.

I use flat seashells to feed fresh food and I change that out every day or every 2 days depending on what is in there. I also have 1 shell that has food from PetSmart as a backup food. I regularly see 1 crab "on top" of those shells - presumably checking it out or eating.

I installed a plastic shower caddy as a "second floor" and made a ladder out of wooden dowels to get to it. I put moist moss up there. One crab hangs out there all the time.

I have 2 hides (one a coconut hide), some cholla wood pieces, and a few plastic green plants. I also have 3 sea sponges which I soak pretty much each night. I alo have shells in various sizes scattered around. Both crabs have changed shells a couple of times (the ones they came in were painted; these are natural).

The tank is full but not too full.

The crabbies are purple pinchers based on what I have read and seen. They are about medium sized, one smaller than the other.

When we first got them home, we took them out and let them walk around on the kitchen floor a bit. But since setting up their crabitat, I have pretty much left them alone. One crab - named Orangutan (what can I say, kids...) has dug herself into the substrate and I have only ever seen her come up once. She is in the shallower part of the substrate, not the deeper part, so I don't think she is molting (not that I have experienced molting yet). The other crab - Bluey - burrows some, but mostly hangs out on the surface, in the hides, or up in the "moss pit". I also see her walking around, inspecting food, etc. She does hide in her shell when we get too close or if I reach in to change out food but it seems to me that each day she gets a little less nervous. The tank is located in our kitchen/family room combo so we are constantly around them. It gets good light during the day (but not direct sunlight) and of course dark at night.

Improvements I want to make - increase the substrate at some point - the deepest end is probably only 4 inches. Use a light heater when needed to control temperature and expand their repertoire of foods.

If you have read this long, thank you. I am ready and willing to learn and have a community to turn to. I don't know anyone with hermit crabs in real life!

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Re: New Hermit Crab Owner!

PostAuthor: curlysister » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:50 pm

Welcome to crabbing, these little guys are kind of addictive! I have had Sonny and Cher for 8 years now. I know there are other sources of information out there, but I have literally gotten info from this site only, and it has served me well. Lots of people on here who are passionate about good crab care. There was one person in my town with crabs, but thiers all died, so they gave me their 55 gallon tank!

I agree that you need more substrate - at least 6 inches, or 3x as deep as your largest crab - whichever is deeper, is recommended. The kind you have is good, but it's cheaper to buy a big bag of playsand at a hardware store, and a brick of EE, and mix them together yourself.

Be sure to check out the care sheet about nutrition, lots of good info over there. And also be sure that you are using the recommended water dechlorinator and marine salt. Unfortunately, many things that are marketed for hermit crabs really aren't appropriate or safe.
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Re: New Hermit Crab Owner!

PostAuthor: aussieJJDude » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:41 pm

Welcome! Curlysister pretty much covered everything I had to say, especially about hermit crab related products- aka the store brought foods.

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Re: New Hermit Crab Owner!

PostAuthor: fandt94 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:52 pm

Welcome to the addictive world of crabbing! I, too, am a newbie and became addicted FAST! lol. The shopping links on this site are awesome for crab foods and other related items like heaters, etc. Again, welcome! :crabbigsmile:
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Re: New Hermit Crab Owner!

PostAuthor: finleyfoo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:08 pm

Thanks all, for the warm welcome!

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New Hermit Crab Owner!

PostAuthor: RiNiKy506 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:57 am

Hello and welcome! I am new too, everyone here is amazing! So nice and very helpful! It’s kind of like an information overload at first, for me anyway. I keep checking back and reading more. It’s so sweet of you to take them and give them a good home. <3

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