New tank + a few questions

This is the place to post if you have questions and aren't sure where to ask them! If it relates to one of the sections below, please post there instead.
Post Reply
User avatar

Topic author
doth
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:48 pm
Location: Chicago

New tank + a few questions

Post by doth » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:16 pm

Hi all! I have no hermies yet and am just in the process of setting up a crabitat for them. :D Just bought a tank today that I am really happy with. It's a 20 gallon (20gal high I think?) and it came with some accessories & I have a few questions about how best to set it up.

1) First, it came with an eheim 75w heater. It's a glass-insulated rod meant for hanging inside an aquarium and has suction cups on the side. I guess my question is, can I use this for hermit crabs at all? Would I be able to mount it outside the tank or would the heat not go through the glass? I'd feel nervous having it inside the tat. I have an ultratherm coming in the mail so I don't need the eheim heater, but if I can use it that'd be nice.

2) It also came with a fluval LED light that I am very excited about! It has a lot of color settings and such...do hermit crabs prefer any kind of lighting in particular? I plan to turn it off at night.

3) How much substrate should I expect to use on a tank like this? Assuming a 12x24 tank and 6 inches of sub, that's 1728 cubic inches of sub...but I have no idea what that translates to in, for example, 50lb sacks of playsand (I plan on aiming for a 5:1 ratio of sand to eco earth like I've seen recommended here). How many sacks of sand is too many?? :lol:

Here're some pics of the tank, heater, & light. Next step is to get substrate & decor (heater, instant ocean, dechlorinator, & thermometer/hygrometer are in the mail) and set everything up to get the tat crab-ready! Any general advice for newbies is welcome as well.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the long-winded post! :crabbigsmile:


Image

Image

Image

User avatar

C_fiesta
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:29 am
Location: Minnesota

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by C_fiesta » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:32 am

Hello! Welcome to the obsession. I commend you for doing your research and trying to get your tank set up prior to their arrival!
I highly recommend checking out this care guide. It will cover all your basic questions: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=92457

The heater you have is useless for Crabs, I believe it will only work in water for aquariums. The Ultratherm UTH should be enough.

Also check out this lighting guide to answer your questions on lighting: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=92543

That should get you started! Let me know if you have any questions beyond that. Welcome again! :)

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

User avatar

Topic author
doth
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:48 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by doth » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:33 am

C_fiesta wrote:Hello! Welcome to the obsession. I commend you for doing your research and trying to get your tank set up prior to their arrival!
I highly recommend checking out this care guide. It will cover all your basic questions: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=92457

The heater you have is useless for Crabs, I believe it will only work in water for aquariums. The Ultratherm UTH should be enough.

Also check out this lighting guide to answer your questions on lighting: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=92543

That should get you started! Let me know if you have any questions beyond that. Welcome again! :)

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
Thanks so much! I'll check out the guides and find a new home for that heater..

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk

User avatar

C_fiesta
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:29 am
Location: Minnesota

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by C_fiesta » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:42 am

doth wrote:
C_fiesta wrote:Hello! Welcome to the obsession. I commend you for doing your research and trying to get your tank set up prior to their arrival!
I highly recommend checking out this care guide. It will cover all your basic questions: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=92457

The heater you have is useless for Crabs, I believe it will only work in water for aquariums. The Ultratherm UTH should be enough.

Also check out this lighting guide to answer your questions on lighting: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=92543

That should get you started! Let me know if you have any questions beyond that. Welcome again! :)

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
Thanks so much! I'll check out the guides and find a new home for that heater..

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
You're welcome. And addressing your sand issue, I would personally buy twice as many as you think you need, leave them in your car (if able) and use them one at a time until you have the perfect amount and then simply return the rest at your convenience! I have read many of times crabbers buy too few and end up having to go back to buy more and then are frustrated they can't finish their tank. Shooting in the dark, I think 4 bags would be a good starting point.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

User avatar

Topic author
doth
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:48 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by doth » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:43 am

C_fiesta wrote:
doth wrote:
C_fiesta wrote:Hello! Welcome to the obsession. I commend you for doing your research and trying to get your tank set up prior to their arrival!
I highly recommend checking out this care guide. It will cover all your basic questions: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=92457

The heater you have is useless for Crabs, I believe it will only work in water for aquariums. The Ultratherm UTH should be enough.

Also check out this lighting guide to answer your questions on lighting: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... hp?t=92543

That should get you started! Let me know if you have any questions beyond that. Welcome again! :)

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
Thanks so much! I'll check out the guides and find a new home for that heater..

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
You're welcome. And addressing your sand issue, I would personally buy twice as many as you think you need, leave them in your car (if able) and use them one at a time until you have the perfect amount and then simply return the rest at your convenience! I have read many of times crabbers buy too few and end up having to go back to buy more and then are frustrated they can't finish their tank. Shooting in the dark, I think 4 bags would be a good starting point.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
that's a good idea!

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk

User avatar

Hermias_mom
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:08 pm
Location: Alabama, USA

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by Hermias_mom » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:11 pm

So I recently set up a 29 gallon tank, and it took most (2/3-3/4) of a 50 lb bag of play sand plus the substrate I had in my 10 gallon tank (6" deep) to get 6" substrate (5:1 playsand/cocofiber) moistened with marine saltwater into the 29 gallon. It's a volume thing. You can measure the volume of the area you want to fill with substrate (tank length x tank width x height desired) and then when you look at the sand bag in the store, you can try and estimate its volume as well, assuming you just put sand in the tank. And you can always add more substrate later, or if it settles. Take the area you're trying to fill with substrate, divide it by 5, and that will give the amount of expanded cocofiber you need. The sand and cocofiber packs together, so this way of estimating should give you an upper limit for each material and make sure you have enough.

That's such a nice looking tank and stand! I'm a bit jealous. :)

What are you using for a lid? Reptile mesh or glass? I've done both and like to keep them sealed up with plastic wrap or press-n-seal to keep humidity (and mold) inside.
4PPs and tons of FUN in a 29 gallon!
Hermia(F), Helena(F), Branch(M), and Tiger (M)
RIP Athena

User avatar

Topic author
doth
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:48 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by doth » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:30 pm

Hermias_mom wrote:So I recently set up a 29 gallon tank, and it took most (2/3-3/4) of a 50 lb bag of play sand plus the substrate I had in my 10 gallon tank (6" deep) to get 6" substrate (5:1 playsand/cocofiber) moistened with marine saltwater into the 29 gallon. It's a volume thing. You can measure the volume of the area you want to fill with substrate (tank length x tank width x height desired) and then when you look at the sand bag in the store, you can try and estimate its volume as well, assuming you just put sand in the tank. And you can always add more substrate later, or if it settles. Take the area you're trying to fill with substrate, divide it by 5, and that will give the amount of expanded cocofiber you need. The sand and cocofiber packs together, so this way of estimating should give you an upper limit for each material and make sure you have enough.

That's such a nice looking tank and stand! I'm a bit jealous. :)

What are you using for a lid? Reptile mesh or glass? I've done both and like to keep them sealed up with plastic wrap or press-n-seal to keep humidity (and mold) inside.
thanks so much, that is really helpful!

haven't picked out a lid yet & I'm torn between glass & mesh! glad to know both are a viable option :) planning to stop by an aquarium store in the next week to see what they have (and pick up some fun decor!)

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk

User avatar

Hermias_mom
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:08 pm
Location: Alabama, USA

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by Hermias_mom » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:42 pm

doth wrote:
Hermias_mom wrote:So I recently set up a 29 gallon tank, and it took most (2/3-3/4) of a 50 lb bag of play sand plus the substrate I had in my 10 gallon tank (6" deep) to get 6" substrate (5:1 playsand/cocofiber) moistened with marine saltwater into the 29 gallon. It's a volume thing. You can measure the volume of the area you want to fill with substrate (tank length x tank width x height desired) and then when you look at the sand bag in the store, you can try and estimate its volume as well, assuming you just put sand in the tank. And you can always add more substrate later, or if it settles. Take the area you're trying to fill with substrate, divide it by 5, and that will give the amount of expanded cocofiber you need. The sand and cocofiber packs together, so this way of estimating should give you an upper limit for each material and make sure you have enough.

That's such a nice looking tank and stand! I'm a bit jealous. :)

What are you using for a lid? Reptile mesh or glass? I've done both and like to keep them sealed up with plastic wrap or press-n-seal to keep humidity (and mold) inside.
thanks so much, that is really helpful!

haven't picked out a lid yet & I'm torn between glass & mesh! glad to know both are a viable option :) planning to stop by an aquarium store in the next week to see what they have (and pick up some fun decor!)

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
A lot of folks like the glass lids, because those keep in heat better. You do have to make sure the crabs can't escape if you use a glass lid - I put some heavy jars of coins on the edges of mine - some folks use books. I also used a sturdy piece of clear hard plastic and secured it on top of the air gap that ran the entire back of my tank, where the glass lid didn't meet all the way to the edge (quilting ruler for cutting fabric - yea, I'll change it out so it looks better eventually...). You can expect the crabs to climb up the air lines and anything else they can get their claws on and try to escape through the 1/4" air gap some lids have. They're amazingly strong.

I liked my mesh lid a lot, since they could climb it upside down across the crabitat, but I think the glass lid helps hold heat in better, giving a more stable habitat. But folks use both. Some folks take the little handle off the glass lid and put down a glass lid covered by a mesh lid, and then use lid clips to secure the mesh lid. That way the crabs won't escape for sure. You may have to engineer a bit to get your air lines and thermostat sensor line out of the tank and past your lids without having any escapees.

If you want to put a light on the lid, make sure you don't set it directly on the glass, and only lights that don't generate a lot of heat should be used close to a glass lid. Heat lamps can be set directly on a mesh lid, but then you have to figure out how to hold in heat and humidity without having melting plastic next to your heat lamp. Aluminum foil should help if you go that route.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll have some great ideas! Half the fun is figuring it out, right? Best of luck!
4PPs and tons of FUN in a 29 gallon!
Hermia(F), Helena(F), Branch(M), and Tiger (M)
RIP Athena

User avatar

daws409
Posts: 1353
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:43 am
Location: Eastern NC

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by daws409 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:44 pm

I too have had both lids. With a mesh lid you have to seal it with packing tape, seran wrap, or til foil. With a glass lid, you don't have to do anything to it. Glass lids are also easier to find hinged (across the length of tank for ease of access). These do a better job at holding heat/humidity IMO. And they're preferred by most crabbers. ;) http://Www.drsfostersmith.com has a good variety of glass tops reasonably priced and shipping is pretty quick... I've received my orders within 3 days but I guess I depends on where you live.

What are the measurements of this tank? I know you said a 20 tall/high but it looks bigger to me like maybe a 29G.

Edit FYI: 20L- 30x12x12
20H- 24x12x16
20 extra high- 20x10x24
29G- 30x12x18
Not that much difference between a 20H and 29G but I swear it looks bigger in the pic. Oh and congrats on the upgrade!

Sent from my HTC6515LVW using Tapatalk
Crabbing since Dec. 2010!
35 Crabbies - 28 PP's, 2 E's, 2 Straw's, 1 Viola, & 2 Indo's

User avatar

Hermias_mom
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:08 pm
Location: Alabama, USA

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by Hermias_mom » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:52 pm

If you do go with a mesh lid, don't get the lid with the square holes that looks like a screen door (~1/8" square holes). Get the lid that has oval holes punched out a flat sheet of metal if you can find it. Crab claws will cut right through the screen door mesh.

Powder coating is a good idea. Most reptile mesh lids that I've come across are black epoxy powder coat, and it's a pretty durable coating. Looks like paint, but more difficult to scratch or scrape off.

And if you are thinking of making your own lid, please be aware that using galvanized steel (this is a fencing material often found at the hardware store, usually with 0.25" square holes, like screen door mesh but larger) may not be such a good idea, because that's basically steel coated in zinc, and large amounts of zinc can be toxic to crabs. It all depends on how much exposure they get.
4PPs and tons of FUN in a 29 gallon!
Hermia(F), Helena(F), Branch(M), and Tiger (M)
RIP Athena

User avatar

Topic author
doth
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:48 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by doth » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:38 am

daws409 wrote:I too have had both lids. With a mesh lid you have to seal it with packing tape, seran wrap, or til foil. With a glass lid, you don't have to do anything to it. Glass lids are also easier to find hinged (across the length of tank for ease of access). These do a better job at holding heat/humidity IMO. And they're preferred by most crabbers. ;) http://Www.drsfostersmith.com has a good variety of glass tops reasonably priced and shipping is pretty quick... I've received my orders within 3 days but I guess I depends on where you live.

What are the measurements of this tank? I know you said a 20 tall/high but it looks bigger to me like maybe a 29G.

Edit FYI: 20L- 30x12x12
20H- 24x12x16
20 extra high- 20x10x24
29G- 30x12x18
Not that much difference between a 20H and 29G but I swear it looks bigger in the pic. Oh and congrats on the upgrade!

Sent from my HTC6515LVW using Tapatalk
measured it last night and got 24 W x 12 L x 16 H so 20H it is! it does look larger in the pic. thanks for the link, I am definitely bookmarking that!

User avatar

Topic author
doth
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:48 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by doth » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:42 am

Hermias_mom wrote:If you do go with a mesh lid, don't get the lid with the square holes that looks like a screen door (~1/8" square holes). Get the lid that has oval holes punched out a flat sheet of metal if you can find it. Crab claws will cut right through the screen door mesh.

Powder coating is a good idea. Most reptile mesh lids that I've come across are black epoxy powder coat, and it's a pretty durable coating. Looks like paint, but more difficult to scratch or scrape off.

And if you are thinking of making your own lid, please be aware that using galvanized steel (this is a fencing material often found at the hardware store, usually with 0.25" square holes, like screen door mesh but larger) may not be such a good idea, because that's basically steel coated in zinc, and large amounts of zinc can be toxic to crabs. It all depends on how much exposure they get.
oooh, that's good to know about the mesh lids! I like the idea of them be able to crawl around on it (extra space for exercise!) but definitely don't want them breaking it and/or injuring themselves on it. I'll look at lids for reptile terrariums then if I end up leaning towards mesh. no plans to make my own, but I will keep that in mind if I get diy-minded next time around :)

there's so many factors to take into account even with something as deceptively simple as picking a lid! :lol:

User avatar

Hermias_mom
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:08 pm
Location: Alabama, USA

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by Hermias_mom » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:19 am

doth wrote:
Hermias_mom wrote:If you do go with a mesh lid, don't get the lid with the square holes that looks like a screen door (~1/8" square holes). Get the lid that has oval holes punched out a flat sheet of metal if you can find it. Crab claws will cut right through the screen door mesh.

Powder coating is a good idea. Most reptile mesh lids that I've come across are black epoxy powder coat, and it's a pretty durable coating. Looks like paint, but more difficult to scratch or scrape off.

And if you are thinking of making your own lid, please be aware that using galvanized steel (this is a fencing material often found at the hardware store, usually with 0.25" square holes, like screen door mesh but larger) may not be such a good idea, because that's basically steel coated in zinc, and large amounts of zinc can be toxic to crabs. It all depends on how much exposure they get.
oooh, that's good to know about the mesh lids! I like the idea of them be able to crawl around on it (extra space for exercise!) but definitely don't want them breaking it and/or injuring themselves on it. I'll look at lids for reptile terrariums then if I end up leaning towards mesh. no plans to make my own, but I will keep that in mind if I get diy-minded next time around :)

there's so many factors to take into account even with something as deceptively simple as picking a lid! :lol:
If you want something else for them to climb, fishing net strung across the tank and hung on Command Hooks as well as tree branches (with no herbicides or pesticides on them) are a good option. Lots of folks on here use those. Also look into a getting a modified hamster wheel. Those are hilarious and crabs LOVE them! They're used to walking miles every night searching for food, and climbing trees a lot to find food and get away from predators and hide during storms, so tree branches (and nets) and hamster wheels try in a small way to duplicate the activities they used to perform in the wild. (hamster wheel links: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... l#p1038663 and http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... l#p1035401 among others)
4PPs and tons of FUN in a 29 gallon!
Hermia(F), Helena(F), Branch(M), and Tiger (M)
RIP Athena

User avatar

Topic author
doth
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:48 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: New tank + a few questions

Post by doth » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:22 am

Hermias_mom wrote:
doth wrote:
Hermias_mom wrote:If you do go with a mesh lid, don't get the lid with the square holes that looks like a screen door (~1/8" square holes). Get the lid that has oval holes punched out a flat sheet of metal if you can find it. Crab claws will cut right through the screen door mesh.

Powder coating is a good idea. Most reptile mesh lids that I've come across are black epoxy powder coat, and it's a pretty durable coating. Looks like paint, but more difficult to scratch or scrape off.

And if you are thinking of making your own lid, please be aware that using galvanized steel (this is a fencing material often found at the hardware store, usually with 0.25" square holes, like screen door mesh but larger) may not be such a good idea, because that's basically steel coated in zinc, and large amounts of zinc can be toxic to crabs. It all depends on how much exposure they get.
oooh, that's good to know about the mesh lids! I like the idea of them be able to crawl around on it (extra space for exercise!) but definitely don't want them breaking it and/or injuring themselves on it. I'll look at lids for reptile terrariums then if I end up leaning towards mesh. no plans to make my own, but I will keep that in mind if I get diy-minded next time around :)

there's so many factors to take into account even with something as deceptively simple as picking a lid! Image
If you want something else for them to climb, fishing net strung across the tank and hung on Command Hooks as well as tree branches (with no herbicides or pesticides on them) are a good option. Lots of folks on here use those. Also look into a getting a modified hamster wheel. Those are hilarious and crabs LOVE them! They're used to walking miles every night searching for food, and climbing trees a lot to find food and get away from predators and hide during storms, so tree branches (and nets) and hamster wheels try in a small way to duplicate the activities they used to perform in the wild. (hamster wheel links: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... l#p1038663 and http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... l#p1035401 among others)
those all sound like really fun ideas! I'm super excited about decorating the tat and giving them fun stuff to explore :)

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk

Post Reply