Surface Molter

This forum is where you discuss issues relating to molting hermit crabs, including pre- and post-molting issues. If you are having a molting emergency please post in the Emergency Forum.
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Topic author
Rootybell
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:35 am
Location: Arizona

Surface Molter

Post by Rootybell » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:54 am

So I need some advice, I’ve owned several hermits and after a molt they all seem to pass away. This is the first crab I’ve owned that molted on the surface and she successfully molted her molt was next to her and she was tucked away in her shell. I moved her into an isolation tank.

The next day she was half hanging out of her shell and she’s, I couldn’t see any movement or twitching except a small pulsating in the center of her back. I’m really bothered because this isn’t the first time I’ve had them pass on me after a molt. I’ve had her around seven, eight months and she’s always been very active and enjoys being held, she’s a little bit bigger than a quarter. She ate good and spent a good amount of time in the water dishes. All the food I feed her is organic and fresh. I copied the forum I saw posted in previous articles so if anyone can shed some light I’d greatly appreciate it.

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?

A. ZooMed Reptisoil, it’s a special blend of peat moss, soil, sand, and carbon. It’s about 3 inches deep.

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?

A. Yes I have a duel ZooMed hermit crab thermometer and humidity gauge that is suction cupped to the back of the tank in the middle from top to bottom and side to side. The temp is always in the yellow but the humidity fluctuates so I have a medium size humidifier that I turn on and off through the day to keep the humidity level up.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?

A. I have a heat lamp that I rarely use it’s only needed with it happens to get cold, which is a rarity because I live in Phoenix AZ. The temp is pretty consistent between 75 and 80*F.

4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)?

A. I use Arrowhead drinking water for her fresh water and ZooMed premixed salt water.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?

A. I give her fresh coconut, carrots, blueberries, bell peppers, etc., also TREX fruit and flowers mixed with a little bit of calcium powder.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?

A. I’ve had her around seven or eight months she is an Ecuadorian hermit, I got her from PetSmart.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?

A. No, this is her first molt it’s was about two days ago.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?

A. She’s in a ten gallon tank with a rock house and a round log for climbing with 6 fresh air plants in there, it’s also just a wire mesh top but I have half of it wrapped with plastic wrap to keep the humidity in.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?

A. Her and one little purple pincher, he’s smaller that she is and she’s the size of a quarter.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?

A. Seven extra shells all different sizes.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?

A. None they’re in an office with our other array of animals.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?

A. Once a month or every other month, I throw out all of the old substrate and wash the tank with hot water and fresh lemon and let it it completely dry before putting new substrate in.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?

A. I do not use sponges, they dry out the water too quickly and I feel like they can not be safely cleaned so they’re constantly being replaced.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?

A. No nothing at all.

15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?

A. She’s always been very active even all the way up to the day before she started molting, she gets regular soaks and is climbing on everything all the time she’s by far the best and most active crab I’ve ever owned.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.

A. At this point I don’t know if she’s still alive, she been half out of her shell for the last 24 hours the small pulsating on her back has stopped she’s just laying there limp.


crabby33
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Location: Dallas, TX

Re: Surface Molter

Post by crabby33 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:40 pm

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?

A. ZooMed Reptisoil, it’s a special blend of peat moss, soil, sand, and carbon. It’s about 3 inches deep.

Sand from the pet store is not recommended. This forum recommends a 5:1 ratio of children’s play sand and EE. Since you have an Ecuadorian, people here that have E’s will tell you they need about 10” of sub because they’re such avid diggers.

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?

A. Yes I have a duel ZooMed hermit crab thermometer and humidity gauge that is suction cupped to the back of the tank in the middle from top to bottom and side to side. The temp is always in the yellow but the humidity fluctuates so I have a medium size humidifier that I turn on and off through the day to keep the humidity level up.

Actually dual gauges from the pet store are also not recommended as they’re believed to be inaccurate. Digital ones are recommended and considered better. Hermit crabs need a temperature and humidity range of 80/80.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?

A. I have a heat lamp that I rarely use it’s only needed with it happens to get cold, which is a rarity because I live in Phoenix AZ. The temp is pretty consistent between 75 and 80*F.

Heat lamps will dry out your substrate.You want a UTH to stick on the back of your tank, not under. The reason for this is that hermit crabs burrow when they need to molt and the concern is that because they also tunnel, they could end up on top of the heater and it could overheat your molter. It also makes it a fire hazard for the amount of substrate hermit crabs need to safely molt. Sticking it on the side is safer and it heats the air to make humid enough to help them breathe.

4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)?

A. I use Arrowhead drinking water for her fresh water and ZooMed premixed salt water.

You still need to treat that brand with a product called Prime, a lot of crabbers are concerned that companies like Arrowhead are still adding Chlorine and other heavy metals to make the water taste better. So it is recommended to treat all water, bottled or otherwise.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?

A. I give her fresh coconut, carrots, blueberries, bell peppers, etc., also TREX fruit and flowers mixed with a little bit of calcium powder.

Continue giving the fresh coconut, carrots, blueberries and bell peppers. Ditch the commercial food. It has stuff in it that has killed crabs, so it too is not recommended. Be sure to add in protein and calcium. They need that every day.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?

A. I’ve had her around seven or eight months she is an Ecuadorian hermit, I got her from PetSmart.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?

A. No, this is her first molt it’s was about two days ago.

You did not mention how deep your substrate is. I’m assuming it’s not at the recommended depth, otherwise your crab wouldn’t have molted on the surface. Hermit crabs need a substrate depth between 6-10 inches, or as tall as your biggest crab, whichever is deeper.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?

A. She’s in a ten gallon tank with a rock house and a round log for climbing with 6 fresh air plants in there, it’s also just a wire mesh top but I have half of it wrapped with plastic wrap to keep the humidity in.

A 10 gallon will work. The whole top needs to be sealed.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?

A. Her and one little purple pincher, he’s smaller that she is and she’s the size of a quarter.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?

A. Seven extra shells all different sizes.

You need more shells. Make sure you avoid painted shells. There are the right and wrong shells to buy. Because your molter is an E, E’s like shells with D shaped openings and modified. But be prepared for an E to stick with the same shell and never change shells.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?

A. None they’re in an office with our other array of animals.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?

A. Once a month or every other month, I throw out all of the old substrate and wash the tank with hot water and fresh lemon and let it it completely dry before putting new substrate in.

People here will tell you you don’t need to change the substrate unless you have a flood, bacterial bloom or you have the wrong substrate because you were listening to the pet store’s advice.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?

A. I do not use sponges, they dry out the water too quickly and I feel like they can not be safely cleaned so they’re constantly being replaced.

Good job on ditching the sponges. They’re considered unnecessary and are believed to harbor bacteria.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?

A. No nothing at all.

15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?

A. She’s always been very active even all the way up to the day before she started molting, she gets regular soaks and is climbing on everything all the time she’s by far the best and most active crab I’ve ever owned.

Please quit bathing your crabs. They can bathe themselves.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.

A. At this point I don’t know if she’s still alive, she been half out of her shell for the last 24 hours the small pulsating on her back has stopped she’s just laying there limp.


Topic author
Rootybell
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:35 am
Location: Arizona

Re: Surface Molter

Post by Rootybell » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:41 pm

Thank you for your advice, she has about 3 inches of substrate which is higher than she is, And it’s not the pet store sand it’s a soil but I’m going to get the children’s sand from Home Depot. Unless you have a better suggestion where to get the correct sand I need.

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: Surface Molter

Post by Hermiesguardian » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:09 pm

Rootybell wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Thank you for your advice, she has about 3 inches of substrate which is higher than she is, And it’s not the pet store sand it’s a soil but I’m going to get the children’s sand from Home Depot. Unless you have a better suggestion where to get the correct sand I need.
Home Depot or Lowes is where you get the sand. And it needs to be mixed with dechlorinated fresh or dechl saltwater to sandcastle consistancy. It has to hold its shape. And as stated, E's need 10 inches, so you will probably need a larger tank. You can find good deals on craigslist, or the apps OfferUp and LetGo. They also need pools, instead of water dishes, deep enough for them to fully submerge. Most use doubled up tupperware containers, with a safe way to climb in and out.
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi

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wodesorel
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Re: Surface Molter

Post by wodesorel » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:18 am

I am so sorry this happened! All you can do is wait at this point. Hopefully she is strong enough to pull through. Once they molt it is just a waiting game as anything we do can hurt them more.

The reptisoil is safe, it's just super expensive. I agree it's a little shallow for an E as they are usually massive diggers, so at least double what you have now would be much better.

Es prefer it warmer and wetter, so 80-85 degrees and 80% humidity. The gauges you have may be wrong and should be calibrated. The thermometer can be compared to another one, and there are instructions on how to check humidity using sale in oue guides section. Any gauge can be wrong, and many new ones are! Cooler temps can be hard on them.

Zoomed pre-mixed won't have the types of salt they need. It'll be a few elements at most, while real seawater has over 80. A product for marine fish like Instant Ocean replicates ocean water.

Protein is a major major one, especially for Es. These guys are known for attacking and eating other crabs if their diet needs aren't being met! There is no substitution for meat based proteins, and they can eat meat, poultry, seafood and insects.

No need to toss the substrate! It's an added expense and it can disrupt their molting cycle as they get used to the changes each time. Spot clean as needed, but these guys don't really make a mess and don't smell much. (It's mostly leftovers that will).

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