Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

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TamosClaro
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Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by TamosClaro » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:15 pm

Hello! I've been lurking on the boards for a while, looking up tips and advice for my upcoming build. But I thought I'd start a build diary to share what I'm working on and get my questions answered at the same time!

I've been keeping hermit crabs since I was in middle school, and I'm now in my late 20s. I currently have 4 crabs, all medium, that live in a 20g long. I'd been dreaming of refurbishing a China cabinet into a terrarium, but figured it wasn't going to happen anytime soon. However, I dropped by my local thrift store and found a curio cabinet in great shape, for $50. Luckily for me, there was a 50% off sale, so I only paid $25!

I gave myself a month to brainstorm all of the details and modifications I'd need to make, and I'm now ready to get started!

Specs of the cabinet:
Height - 5ft 8in
Width - 20in
Depth -10in
**This comes to almost 59 gallons, but with the footprint of a 10 gallon tank, it's obviously not able to house near as many crabs as another 59g tank might. Never fear, this is meant to be a condo for my current crabs and maybe 1-2 new friends in the future. When my biggest crab upgrades herself to Large or X-Large, I'll build a new habitat!


Some of the things I'll be doing in the next few months:
- painting the back, the mirror gives me a headache!
- cutting the light opening in the top bigger to fit my fixture
- sealing the wood, painted surfaces, and corner cracks with 100% silicone and epoxy resin from Pro Marine Supplies
- gluing in a piece of plexiglass at the bottom to hold in the substrate
- cutting "shelves" from Zoomed Cork Tile and Forest Tile (my crabs are going to have a 2nd level...and a 3rd, 4th, and 5th level!)

Looking forward to sharing my build with everyone!Image

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aussieJJDude
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by aussieJJDude » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:20 pm

It certainly looks interesting!

I would just caution now, but with such a small footprint I would advise just sticking with your four that you have currently.

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Crabs || Fish || Shrimp || Snails || Plants || Insects

25G Nano Freshwater || 64G Freshwater Community || 90G Fancy Goldie Pond || 64G Crabitat
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RiNiKy506
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by RiNiKy506 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:35 pm

Cool! I can’t wait to see how it comes out!


Topic author
TamosClaro
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by TamosClaro » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:08 pm

aussieJJDude wrote:It certainly looks interesting!

I would just caution now, but with such a small footprint I would advise just sticking with your four that you have currently.

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Thanks! And yeah, I've thought a lot about the number. I'm going off of JMT's Crabs per Tank Guidelines, where they say that a second level could increase the crabs per tank by 50%. Like I said though, it's a maybe! I'm going to see how my crabs do in their new habitat for a year or so before I make any decision. :]

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TamosClaro
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by TamosClaro » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:28 pm

I've been experimenting with the ultratherm UTHs that I ordered, and I have my first question/issue!

I ordered the 6"x36" and the 6"x11" from Reptile Basics to fit on the side of the cabinet. There's a dividing piece of wood all around the cabinet to support the glass, so I have to split my heat mats. The 36" is working great, but the 11" barely feels warm. I ran it for about 48 hours and the center clear bit of just plastic that runs up the middle always felt chilled. Does anyone have experience with this size of ultratherm? I'm not sure if it's faulty or if I just haven't used a small UTH in so long that I've forgotten what it's like.

Thanks to anyone who can share their thoughts!Image

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RiNiKy506
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Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by RiNiKy506 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:51 pm

I have been using a 6x11 one temporarily stuck on the front of my 40 gal when the nights get cold and the whole thing feels warm to me. Does it feel warm at all?


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TamosClaro
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by TamosClaro » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:05 pm

RiNiKy506 wrote:I have been using a 6x11 one temporarily stuck on the front of my 40 gal when the nights get cold and the whole thing feels warm to me. Does it feel warm at all?
Thanks for the quick reply! It feels a little warm, but barely. I feel like I could breathe on it and get it warmer than it is. It's definitely not like the 36" or the Flukers 12x12 I have, where you can put your wrist flat on the backside of them and feel some discomfort from the heat.

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JoeHermits
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by JoeHermits » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:49 pm

Do you have any temperature readings from inside the cabinet?

If the mats aren’t doing the trick, you may have to look into heat lamps or emitters.


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TamosClaro
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by TamosClaro » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:45 am

JoeHermits wrote:Do you have any temperature readings from inside the cabinet?

If the mats aren’t doing the trick, you may have to look into heat lamps or emitters.


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Thanks for the reply! The 36" mat works great, and when I ran them together, uninsulated, the temperature was 4-5 degrees warmer than outside, which is fine, but I can't think of a good way to measure the heat output of just that mat (the cabinet is probably too big to have a significant change if just that mat was running). Additionally, I don't want a heat mat that isn't working at full strength, if I've paid for a working mat. I'll contact Reptile Basics and see what my options are. If RiNiKy is using that size to supplement their heat, it must be putting out more heat than mine is. Thanks!

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JoeHermits
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by JoeHermits » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:16 am

TamosClaro wrote:Thanks for the reply! The 36" mat works great, and when I ran them together, uninsulated, the temperature was 4-5 degrees warmer than outside, which is fine, but I can't think of a good way to measure the heat output of just that mat (the cabinet is probably too big to have a significant change if just that mat was running). Additionally, I don't want a heat mat that isn't working at full strength, if I've paid for a working mat. I'll contact Reptile Basics and see what my options are. If RiNiKy is using that size to supplement their heat, it must be putting out more heat than mine is. Thanks!

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If a regular thermometer isn’t doing the trick you can look into heat guns. Just point it at the mat and it should tell you how hot it is.

https://www.amazon.com/Nubee-Temperatur ... B00CVHIJDK

Also keep in mind that your cabinet is a different shape than the traditional aquarium. Heat rises, and with that much head space you may have quite the vertical temperature gradient.


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TamosClaro
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by TamosClaro » Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:23 pm

JoeHermits wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:16 am
If a regular thermometer isn’t doing the trick you can look into heat guns. Just point it at the mat and it should tell you how hot it is.

https://www.amazon.com/Nubee-Temperatur ... B00CVHIJDK

Also keep in mind that your cabinet is a different shape than the traditional aquarium. Heat rises, and with that much head space you may have quite the vertical temperature gradient.


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Hi Joe! I don't think a heat gun is going to help me much more than my thermometer if I don't know what temperature the small heat mat should be running at. But I'm feeling pretty confident from others' comments that this small mat isn't up to par, so I'll look into replacing it.

And yes! That's something that I had already considered, that because of the height, to avoid drastic temp gradients, I need to make sure each mat is working properly, so all the more reason to pursue getting a replacement. Each foot of space in the cabinet will be divided by a cork tile shelf with area cut out for crabs to pass through, creating 'cells' that will each be heated by a foot of heat mat, theoretically slowing the rise of the heat. Because of that, I'm not foreseeing a situation where I've got dangerously low temperatures at the bottom and sweltering heat at the top. But yes, it's something that I'm keeping in mind! Thanks!


Nessiandnoah
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by Nessiandnoah » Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:59 am

I am literally just commenting to stay updated on this thread. As I would love to see how it turns out! :)


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TamosClaro
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by TamosClaro » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:41 am

Nessiandnoah wrote:I am literally just commenting to stay updated on this thread. As I would love to see how it turns out! :)


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Yay! Thanks for your support! :D

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Maddamay32
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Re: Build Diary - The Curio Crab-inet

Post by Maddamay32 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:02 am

I wanna see the final product!!
9 crabs at the moment "Tarzan, Kermit, Shy guy, Eduardo, Jimbo, Sharkboy, Rosa, Diesel, UMO"

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