suggestions on making my crabitat better?

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summerdawn19
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suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by summerdawn19 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:23 pm

Hi, I am new to crabbing, I just got my tank, supplies and crabs yesterday and am not sure if it is an ok tank or if there is stuff I need to do to improve it. I've already spent about $83-85 on everything. I'm not even sure if i have the right stuff. My largest crab has dug all the stuff out of the corner so thats why it is piled up like that. My tank is 10g, I'm not sure if that is big enough for my crabs. I only have two crabs and will be adding more stuff as soon as I can. This will be a big help. I'm sorry the first pic is a bit blury, but I hope it is clear enough that you guys can see what it looks like from the side.

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Allyb01
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Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by Allyb01 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:51 pm

Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of crabbing! To have the people on HCA better help you, please fill this out so we can find the problem areas. Imageviewtopic.php?t=46102#p411841


Proud owner of 5 PPs,Twinkie, Tweedles, Tiny, Nugget, and Squidgy. :)
R.I.P Bumbie :(


fantasybookworm
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Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by fantasybookworm » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:14 pm

Alright, I'm gonna apologize in advance because it looks like you fell prey to misinformation from pet stores & such. :( There's a LOT that needs to change in your tank to make it a good home for your crabbies. Hopefully we can try & keep it as cheap as possible for you, but it is going to involve spending more money.

First things first:

- You need to make sure they're warm. They need to be 75-85F, most people shoot for around 80F as that's where PP (Purple Pinchers, most likely the species your crabs are) are most comfortable. The best way to do this is with an undertank heater, UTH. These ones are most recommended & this is the best site to buy them from - http://www.reptilebasics.com/ultratherm-heat-pads You can get them from pet stores as well though.

- You need a different thermometer. I can see a strip on the back that looks like one of those stick-n things...those aren't really accurate. It's best to get some gauges or a digital thermometer. You can get a digital thermometer/hygrometer at Walmart for $10 or so, much cheaper than pet store ones. You do need a hygrometer (measures humidity) too, so get one that does both, or get a gauge for each thing.

- On the subject of humidity, it needs to be at least 70%. Most people shoot for 80% with that too. If the humidity is too low, the crabs can't breathe properly through their gills & it damages them. So this is VERY important to fix ASAP. The best way to fix humidity is to cover the lid (you do need a lid for the tank) in plastic wrap or tin foil. You can open little holes in it for ventilation, but first thing is to get the humidity up.

- Unfortunately the sand you have in there isn't safe. The best thing to use is play sand from a hardware store. Make sure it's not wet already when you buy it. It's cheap! 50lbs for $5 or so. A lot of people mix the sand with coconut fiber, which helps with maintaining humidity. You want the substrate (the sand & coconut fiber if you get some to mix in) to be at least 6" deep. The rule of thumb is 3 times the height of your biggest crab. That ensures they have plenty of room to dig & molt properly without disturbing each other. When you put the sand in, you need to add water so that the sand is sandcastle consistency - that means you want it to hold its shape when you squeeze it, poke your finger into it, etc. That means the crabs will be able to safely dig a tunnel in it without the tunnel collapsing. This will help raise the humidity in your tank too.

- You need two water dishes that are deep enough for your crabs to submerge themselves. The easiest thing to use are sour cream/butter containers if you have some empty ones. Make sure they're clean & well-rinsed first. One pool needs to be fresh water, one needs to be salt water. Make sure the crabs can get in & out - a lot of people get some plastic sewing canvas (you can get a sheet for less than $1 in craft stores, possibly in the craft section at Walmart, etc.) & use that for ramps to get in & out. You need to dechlorinate the water as well, and you want to use the right thing for salt water, as products sold specifically for hermit crabs don't usually have everything needed. There's more information about all of that here - viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92553

- Sponges aren't really necessary or great to use, they tend to get a lot of bacteria & are a pain to clean. Most people just throw them away.

- It looks like you're using a commercial food. A lot of them aren't safe or healthy for hermit crabs. You can check this list to see if yours is okay to use occasionally or if you should just throw it away - viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92555 Crabs are omnivores, and they can eat most things that we do! A lot of people just feed their crabs from their own food, with no seasonings/sauces/etc. You can get dried insects from the pet store, and dried fruit & veggies (check for added salt & seasonings) from grocery stores & health stores. Here are the safe & unsafe food lists - viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92557 and viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92556

- When you can, you'll want to get some extra shells to put in the tank. It's best to have at least three extra shells of the right size for each crab. That gives them some options & you won't have them attacking each other to steal the other's shell. You can get good shells at craft stores sometimes. Joann Fabrics has a "Green Shell Bag" that have a lot of green turbos, which is a type of shell that PPs really like. The bag is only $5 or less & should give you a few shells to get started with!

- For tank size, an upgrade wouldn't hurt if you can manage it. But for now, the substrate, water, temp/humidity, and food are most important, I think. Getting those things sorted out ASAP will immediately improve your crabbies' home! Sometimes you can find cheap tanks sold on Craigslist & such, so you can keep an eye out & see if you can get a good deal on a 20-30 gallon.

In case I missed anything, here is the general care sheet for Purple Pinchers - viewtopic.php?f=51&t=92452

I know that's a TON of information! A lot of people find the forum & realize that they have a lot of things wrong with their set up. Pet stores & other places that sell crabs give out pretty terrible care advice most of the time. The important thing is that you found this website and you're interested in giving them a great home. :) If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask! Everyone here is very friendly & helpful, and many people started out in the same place as you, and understand the frustration from having to change everything & throw stuff away because you were sold the wrong thing.


Topic author
summerdawn19
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:18 pm

Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by summerdawn19 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:33 pm

the food i have right now is fluker's premium variety diet and i also have freshwater conditioner from the same company. are those ok to use or should i try to return them and get my money back?


fantasybookworm
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Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by fantasybookworm » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:42 pm

The food looks like it should be okay to give occasionally. I googled it to see & it's sold on one of the well-recommended sites, HermitCrabPatch. No toxic ingredients or anything! I think if it were me, I'd just return it if possible & buy some dried crickets, mealworms, or river shrimp with it as those will last longer & be more useful as part of a complete diet, but it's up to you! It won't hurt your crabs to give it to them once in a while.

I would definitely return the conditioner though...I'm not seeing it listed on the list of good dechlorinators on the water sticky. Your money would be better spent towards one of the dechlorinators listed on there. :) I've read a lot of people prefer Prime. It will cost more to get a bottle of it, but it will last you for a VERY long time as you don't use much each time you prepare water.


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summerdawn19
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Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by summerdawn19 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:54 am

What is the best kind of digital thermometer/hygrometer combo? I have a screen lid for my tank. I'm gonna start getting new stuff after work.

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Momadopolis
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Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by Momadopolis » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:45 am

This thermometer/hygrometer seems to be pretty popular. I've got one in each tank. They're cheap and accurate.
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CallaLily
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Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by CallaLily » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:01 am

Be sure to calibrate any hygrometer you get to double check it's reading.

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soilentgringa
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Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by soilentgringa » Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:25 pm

Fantasybookworm covered everything but I wanted to add that even though it says Under Tank Heater and is sold for use under reptile tanks, NEVER use it under a crab tank. They go on the back of the tank above the substrate. You want to heat the air, not the sand. They aren't designed to heat through several inches of sand so it's a fire hazard, and the sand should be cooler than the air like it is in nature.

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Topic author
summerdawn19
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Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:18 pm

Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by summerdawn19 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:16 pm

I wasnt able to get the heater, shells or food but i have sme cucumber i can give them tonight if its safe. is it ok if there is still some of the old sand left in the tank? i got like 99% of it


meg_and_the_zoo
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Re: suggestions on making my crabitat better?

Post by meg_and_the_zoo » Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:47 pm

Cucumber is on the safe foods list. You can check the list against stuff you have around your kitchen...they can eat all sorts of stuff we eat before it has seasoning or sauce added Image

viewtopic.php?t=92557


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