Where to post and/or get advice about your molting hermit crab(s). Includes pre-molting, molting, and post-molting issues.
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I am new to crabs and I have 6 and I am nervous about the first molt. I have read the signs to look out for and I have looked up photos of molting. I still am not sure what to expect.If I go to bed and one decides to molt what will I wake up to? Will the crab be underground and will I see a hole where he went? Will he take his shell under with him? Will he be fully under, so I see one less crab?I have one crab who is my second smallest and switched into the second largest shell and went into the hut and came out only to shell shop again and was looking at even bigger shells, and then went back in and has been in the hut for a day and a half. Would my crab molt inside a shell?I have had these crabs for 1 week only and they all came together. I go two on the 22nd, and two days later I went back and got the other 4. They are E's and one is large size, the rest are medium to small/medium. I do have an ISO tank but I have not put anyone in it.To answer the questions1) How long have you had your crabs and how long have you been caring for this particular crab in distress? I have had these crabs for 1 week2) What size is your tank and what kind of lid do you have? 20 gal tank with a cage lid3) What are you using for heat? Please be specific and include fixture type, watt or mat size and where the heat source is mounted. UTH mounted on the back near the bottom. 4) What kind of substrate do you use in your tank and at what depth? Is it dry or damp and sand castle consistency? toys r u play sand mixed with eco earth, damp sand castle consistency, 6 inches. 5) Do you dechlorinate your fresh water and if so, with what product? Do you offer aquarium salt water in addition to fresh water? Again, what product? I use bottled water for fresh water and salt water is bottled from petco6) What do you normally feed your crabs? crab food and fresh food. bananas.7) Do you bathe, mist or handle your crabs at all? mist daily, handle daily except the one who has been hiding. What are the temperature and humidity readings? Please be specific and include high low fluctuations if you're aware of them. 74 temp 80%
ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!Right after I posted this I went to have a peek and the guy who moved into the big shell moved out of his hut and into the other hut. BUTOne crab is missing. and there is a pile of sand that looks like he could be under there. no visible hole but obviously someone dug a lot there it's mounded. No shell sticking out nothing. He he down for a molt? is this how it should look?I am nervous. How should I mist, more often or less with a crab under.Can anyone show me a picture of a crab molting, not of the actual crab, but how it looks when one is down.
Hi! First of all, your crabs do not need to be misted daily or at all so don't worry about that. With deep enough water dishes they will bathe themselves if they need it. How tight is your cage lid and what is it covered with? You should only have a small area for air circulation to keep the temp and humidity from fluctuating, I use a double layer of taped-on Glad Press and Seal on my screen lid and then seal around the edges with mailing tape. I have a small square in the one corner for air.New crabs will sometimes dig down to destress for a while and then pop back up, or they could have put off molting so long that they do indeed dig right down for a molt. The only thing you need to do with a molter is make sure that the other crab(s) are not digging down after him. I ISO all my molters but if yours is dug under, don't dig him up. Just keep an eye on the others that are above ground. You can wall off a molter with a plastic cutting board or an open CD case if you know exactly where he is buried (by peeking underneath the tank). If he is molting, it may be 4-5 weeks or longer before he actually sheds the exoskeleton. Most of the actual time below the surface is spent in pre-molt for the crab to gather strength to molt properly. New crabs are hard to figure out, some will be hyperactive and others will not move at all. Try not to handle them for the first couple of months and let them totally destress as petstore life is hard on them, not to mention being harvested from the beach and shipped to the stores.
~ crabbing since 2003
I have cling wrap but only covering half, and it doesn't stick as well as I'd like. I will cover more. I have been worried about how my a/c would be effecting them, I live in the south and some days it's running hard to cool the house and I didn't want that to suck out their moisture. Can a lot of air escape the edges of my lid? The lid isn't tight but not loose either, could i weather strip it?I posted when I first saw he was gone, and looking more he is definitely down under, he actually made quite a pile digging. How long will they go down to destress? If he is molting is there a time that he is at most risk of a crab attack? If this happens I want to be prepared, so if I see a crab digging where he is should I ISO that crab, or just move him? If I catch him already under attack what is the best thing to do at that point?Will offering them protein more frequently while there is a molter help prevent an attack? If he pops back up and has molted is he fine to stay in the tank or should he be ISO after coming up?If he comes back up in the next few days should I ISO him? The crabs seem like they had been together a while would that make them any less likely to attack? They were all together at the store and haven't fought or bullied and like to sleep together, I hope that's a good sign.
Well 24 hours after going under he came back up. So while he was up I took them out and wanted to mix their sub to make sure it was a good consistency, added a bit of water, and now 4 are under and 2 are digging. Not sure where the two are that are under because there's two open holes they don't appear to be in, but i can't tell for sure.
You never want air tight as you do need fresh air and some circulation to prevent mold but you're right that you have to be mindful of a/c which can not only zap your humidity, it can drop the tank temp to dangerous levels. We have central a/c here so while it's on I keep the vent in that room closed half way and have to be more diligent about climate monitoring. Keeping your substrate damp, misting plants, decor and walls (anything but food and hermits basically), adding damp moss and sometimes adding an extra bulb to a hood fixture can help during times of indoor cooling.Destress varies by crab and diet, past conditions, current conditions, whether they are due for or have postponed molt all are relevant factors. You never want to take a crab from deprived conditions and subject them immediately to ideal as it places a great burden on them physically to acclimate when they're in compromised health from dry climate, lack of salt and limited nutrition.They can be gone from a week to well over a month if they decide to molt. Sometimes they are preparing molt pockets and trying to nourish simultaneously so if they pop up try not to bulldoze the substrate unless it's dry or packed.Oftentimes where you find an entrance hole is not where they are. They'll tunnel around till they find what they think is a good spot.Deep substrate, a good diet that addresses all the food groups found in the food list and not overcrowding the tank will all help to prevent attacks which normally only occur when a crab is surface molted and defenseless, and has a nutritionally deficient tank mate or one in need of a shell and no options.
Spay or neuter your pet. It's a matter of life or death.
Spay or neuter your pet. It's a matter of life or death.
All 6 are down now. Not sure who is molting and who is destressing. three have been down 4 days and two went down last night, and one in between there. I didn't expect the big one to go down but he did last night. One is only partially down but he's been like that for 4 days. They've all closed off the holes.
All 6 down at once? They must be pretty stressed out.I noticed that you're using bottled water. This is better than regular tap, but not the best.I recommend popping into your local pet store and getting some tap water conditioner. Petland Discounts is cheapest, about 3 bucks for a lifetime supply (about 592 gallons worth of dechlorinating, I think). The salt water is OK, but it's kind of expensive to buy every two weeks or so, depending on how often you change the water. I buy Mediterranean Sea Salt from Costco (no iodine or anything else nasty added), but no one else I know is using it...I'm kind of new here, so could someone just verify that all this is correct? (I may not be the best source Best of luck with the hermies!
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@JG, the salt your using is actually not the best choice for hermitcrabs as it lacks a lot of the minerals found in salt mixes like Instant Ocean and Oceanic marine aquarium salt mixes and since we don't know much about the collection process for sea salts other than that they are derived from evaporated sea water for the most part we cant say how safe they are to use long term as there could be metals found in the salt from the quipment used to actually break it up and harvest it and these metals are potenially deadly.You can get by for a few days using the sea salt but it would be better if you were to switch over to an actual aquarium salt.
Hi I have autism so I tend to answer questions very directly and with little emotion so please don't think I'm being rude.
I saw 4 today and 3 are still up so I guess they are destressing, I don't know if they were down long enough to molt. The two I haven't seen are the largest one, who was the last one down, and the fancy shell guy, who was the first down, and I suspect he could be molting because he went into a shell 3 times his size and then went in the hut and didn't move for days and then went down.
i just had a baby crab molt for the first time and i truely thought she was dead today i was cleaning out the crabitat and i picked her up to check on her...she had been under for about 4 weeks and shes not even the size of a quarterbut she made it she went into her shell when i picked her up...just as usual...shes the shy one of the groupjust know that molting is normall to the crabs and unlike there owners they dont freak outso just be like your hermit crab and stay calm
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I was nervous about my first molt too!Yes, the thoughts of " o is my crab gonna suffocate, starve, etc." but just do yourself a favor and reassure yourself that your crab is gonna be ok, they know what they are doing. This is part of their lives. When they go under, they go way under to the bottom where the substrate is tight enough to support a tunnel, this is why sand castle consistency and depth are important. Most of the time they go under flat bottom objects such as the bottom of a bowl, pool dish , etc. Where it can support their hole. Every crab is different with molting time and interval. So keep humidity high , about 85% to make shedding easier
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