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Hi everyone..... I would consider myself a hermit crab rookie and looking to correct that. Two years ago, we pick up two hermit crabs from a pet store at the beach against my better judgment. One crab died pretty quickly but the other lived for almost two years which I think is pretty good. We have a 10 gallon aquarium that we converted into a hermit crab home. It has a mixture of sand on one side (3-4" deep) and gravel on the other. We have a big shell we used hermit crab food (from the petstore) and another one with a sponge for water. We pre-treat the water w/hermit crab water prep (from the store) and use distilled water from the store (no chlorine). We purchased two new crabs from our local petstore and both died within 3 months. It’s obvious I’m going something wrong and want to figure it out before trying again. Any suggestions? Scott
Get rid of the gravel, crabs can't Molt in it and needs to be all eco earth or play sand or a mix of box it needs to be deep enough that they can dig down and be covered and molt. Usually about 3- 5x Times deeper than your largest crab. It needs to be a sand castle consistency. Your temp and humidity needs to be a constant. If not it can stress a crab and crabs can't breathe if the air is not humid. They breathe through gills. Very important to have a lid or suran wrap as a lid. Crabs need marine grade type salt for salt water and not all water that says spring water is safe. It's better to get the chlorinated drops you buy for fish and making gallon jug. It last a long time. For a 10 gal tank you need a heat pad for 30 gal tank mounted on the back Just above your substrate line. Your heat in your temp should be in the 80 s 85s humidity mine always says 85 - 90. When you buy crabs from a pet store they are stressed out and then you bring them home and put them in tank with conditions they are not used to it cause more this is called post purchase stress. If your conditions were ideal they might of buried down and distressed came up ate for a few days then went back down and molted. You take your chances when buying crabs.. I hope I helped you out a little bit. It really help if you stick to this page and read the high lighted in bold areas. The zoea part has food ideas to that you have at home and in your yard to save you money. Look or a bigger tank at garage sales, ask around post it on pet stores food stores.. You will be so much happier w a larger tank like 29 or 30
An old post I have put up. I did my best to cover all the newbie questions. It does not go into detail about the whys.Hermit Crab basicsTank: Glass Aquarium Tank 10 gallon minimum, they will quickly out grow it so I would suggest larger if you are willing/able, look for free ones on freecycle or craigslist.Substrate: Fill it 6-8 inches with playsand with some EcoEarth mixed in, more sand than EE twice the depth your largest crab is tall, at least 6 inches deep. Hydrate it with dechlorinated water, many advise dechlorinated aquarium salt water to inhibit mold growth. Playsand not calcium sand, the petstores are wrong, it is not good for them as a substrate, non colored/white sand is fine for a food. The substrate should be hydrated so it is sand castle consistency so they can easily create molting pockets/caves and tunnels.Humidity and Heat: Gauges are important. The heat and humidity should be no lower than 75 each, preferably closer to 80, for exotics 85. For heat, UTHs (under tank heater) are a good place to start. They need to be side or back mounted, under is dangerous for many reasons due to the depth of the sub. You will need the equivalent of 3 times the heat of your tank, for instance a 10 gallon tank would need one or more UTH which combined are rated for 30 gallons. Lights can be used in addition to the UTHs in the larger tanks 20/30 gallon and up. On smaller tanks they usually sap the humidity. To keep the humidity up you want your sub at sand castle consistency and you want a good lid. Some use glass panes or plexi over a mesh lid or just the glass, some use tank lids, some use Saran Wrap or Glad Press & Seal. Either way make sure there are no escape routes, these guys can climb almost anything and are incredibly strong at times and in unexpected ways. If the lid and sub alone don't keep your humidity in a good range you can try adding a damp moss pit, larger pools near the heaters, pools with bubblers, humidifiers, etc.Food: They can eat most real food, shrimp, chicken bone marrow, bananas, popcorn, eggs, dry maple leaves and organic honey are some of the favorites of mine. Variety is important. Most of the commercial food in petstores is bad for them. There are several folks on this page who sell good stuff and there are websites such as The Hermit Crab Patch and The Hermit Crab Addiction Store which have good reputations as well. They will need all sorts of variety including fiber sources and calcium sources. Mine enjoy a mix of pulverized cuttlebone, egg shells, crushed oyster shells and calcium sand. To that I usually add worm castings which they are obsessed with!Water: They will need both salt and fresh water available to them at all times. Many love to soak in the bowls so they should be deep enough. You can add river stones or needlepoint canvas to make sure they can easily get out. The waters need to be dechlorinated with a product that neutralizes chlorine but also chloramines and the heavy metal bonds to make the water safe for them. The salt should be aquarium salt, I use Instant Ocean because that is what I can find. Decoration/Entertainment: They need places to hide like huts or leafy plastic plants or even tipped plastic or glass bowls. They will also need stuff to climb on, sticks of safe woods, maple & oak are my favorites because they are in my yard. Make sure you soak them in declor salt water and bake to kill off bugs, etc. Or cholla branches are wonderful. I found some really nice big ones on sale in the bird section. There is a post with many photos of people's tanks which can give some really creative ideas.Shells: Spare shells in ever so slightly larger sizes and similar shapes to what they are in. Shapes being the opening rather than the outside. At least 3 shells per crab. No painted shells. The carved ones are really neat though.Crabs: I would suggest starting with PPs, they are the ones with the big purple claw and small round eyes. They are more hearty than the others. They are all nocturnal so will likely sleep all day and be up near dinner time.
ScottGeranium said it all. There is nothing I could add to that, but that is alot to digest. Maybe I can say a couple of important things. The crab doesn't have lungs. He has modified gills that absorb oxygen from humidity. So you have to find a way to keep the tank humid or they will struggle to survive. The easiest way is to keep the sand a little moist. And it helps to have a digital gauge that tells the humidity.It would help to post a picture of your tank so we can comment accurately.Get rid of that sponge and use two trays for water. I use bottled water in both, and one has "instant ocean" salt that I get from the pet store.And by the way, please read this article to learn which shells are appropriate for your crab. You can find these shells on the Internet. You probably won't find them in pet stores or craft shops.http://www.hermit-crabs.com/shellpics.html