Hermit crab surrounding itself with shells, and not moving.

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Topic author
Phoenix
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:11 am
Location: Texas

Hermit crab surrounding itself with shells, and not moving.

Post by Phoenix » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:59 am

Since you've come to the emergency forum, we know you want a fast answer to your question. In order for us to figure out the problem as quickly as possible, we ask that you answer the following questions as best you can. Some of them may seem odd, but they're all designed to give us the information we need to give you a good solution for your problem. The things in the [ brackets ] are there to make this post easier to read once submitted. Thanks!


1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
I use half play sand and half substrate at about 4 inches

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?
No.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
No.

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)?
Fresh (distilled water) and salt water (from a bottle).

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I used to just put in All Living Things’s variety diet with the shrimp in it, but since doing more research I’ve been putting in rehydrated veggie mix from them as well. Im not sure if my crab has eaten it or not. I replace it every day

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
I’ve had it for about two weeks, it was my brothers and I do not know the species.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
No, not to my knowledge.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
It’s a plastic container and it’s about 12”x6”. The lid is a plastic one with a opening on the top, but I have to take off the lid whenever I need to change food.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
1 crab and they are about 2.5 cm? They are fairly small.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
5 or so shells, I recently got him to change out of his painted shell into a new one and I got rid of the bad shell. I left him some other options inside the tank, and he usually plays with them.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
No.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I recently gave him new substrate and playsand because before got him all that he had was a very thin layer of dry substrate. I put him in a separate container while doing this.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Yes, I added in new substrate, water bowls, and shells. I had gave him a fake plant too, but since he’s been acting weird I took it out.

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.)?
I’ve been trying to not handle him since I’ve heard that is the best thing to do with them, only picking him up when I need to clean his cage.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
So my hermit crab named Lobster was given to me recently to watch while my family went on vacation, and since then I’ve been trying to take care of him and make his quality of living better. I had gotten rid of his old substrate and replaced it with playsand. I also gave him new shells to get him out of his painted one, and he seemed to be pretty happy. At night he would be active and I could hear him playing and climbing over things. I went to the pet store and bought him some water dishes (one for saltwater and one for distilled water) to soak in, new veggie mix to give him something different to eat, and got substrate for him to also have in his tank. I set up his tank and also put in a fake plant because I thought he might enjoy it. I made sure to boil the dishes and dip the plant to sanitize them. At first he was really excited and was digging near the plant and moving the shells around, but I didn’t notice him eating anything. It’s been a few days and I’ve noticed that he’s not really crawling around much and is just kind of sitting there. He’s been surrounding himself with shells, where he’s at the center and there’s a ring of shells around him. I checked on him and moved him to a different spot, just incase he was stuck or something, and saw his antennae moving so I know for sure he’s alive. Also removed the plant and have just been watching him. When I went to sleep I thought that he was better because I could hear him moving shells around, however when I woke up he had just done the same thing as before, surrounding himself with his shells and is now just sitting there. Is he getting ready to molt? If so shouldn’t he be digging into the sand/substrate? I keep it fairly moist in his tank so I don’t think that it is too dry. Another thing I was thinking was that maybe he is lonely and needs to get another crab friend? The one that my parents had gotten for my brother had died and they never got another one... and if I do need to get another crab, what would be the best way to go about it? All the adoptions I’ve seen floating in my area are for bigger crabs and he’s just a small crab. I really don’t know what to do with him I’m confused,,,

User avatar

curlysister
Posts: 1307
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:54 pm
Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: Hermit crab surrounding itself with shells, and not moving.

Post by curlysister » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:06 pm

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
I use half play sand and half substrate at about 4 inches
Curly - Do you mean Eco Earth? Your sub needs to be at least 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab, whichever is deeper. It needs to be moist enough to hold it's shape (sand castle consistency) but not so wet that water pools. Use dechlorinated water to moisten it.

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?
No.
Curly - These are essential items. You must know the temperature and humidity - crabs have modified gills and need around 80% humidity.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
No.
Curly - When you get a thermometer, you will know what you need for a heater.

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)?
Fresh (distilled water) and salt water (from a bottle).
Curly - Bottled salt water is not appropriate - it does not contain the proper amount of minerals. Also, distilled water isn't the best. You can use tap or bottled water, but they need to be treated with a dechlorinator such as Prime to remove all the harmful stuff. Then you need to use a Marine salt such as Instant Ocean to mix the salt water. The pools/ dishes need to be deep enough for the crabs to submerge fully, but also have a way for them to climb out.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I used to just put in All Living Things’s variety diet with the shrimp in it, but since doing more research I’ve been putting in rehydrated veggie mix from them as well. Im not sure if my crab has eaten it or not. I replace it every day
Curly - Commercial foods aren't considered safe. You need to give a source of protein and calcium daily. Check out the 'food' care sheets, the food pyramid, and the safe/ unsafe food lists. They can eat much of what we eat, it should be organic though.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
I’ve had it for about two weeks, it was my brothers and I do not know the species.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
No, not to my knowledge.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
It’s a plastic container and it’s about 12”x6”. The lid is a plastic one with a opening on the top, but I have to take off the lid whenever I need to change food.
Curly - This doesn't sound big enough. See the care sheet about how much space for which size of crabs is appropriate. A ten gallon tank, or plastic tote, is really the smallest to consider.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
1 crab and they are about 2.5 cm? They are fairly small.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
5 or so shells, I recently got him to change out of his painted shell into a new one and I got rid of the bad shell. I left him some other options inside the tank, and he usually plays with them.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
No.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I recently gave him new substrate and playsand because before got him all that he had was a very thin layer of dry substrate. I put him in a separate container while doing this.
Curly - Once you have proper sub and tank conditions, the entire substrate only needs to be replaced if there is something like a flood or bacterial bloom.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Yes, I added in new substrate, water bowls, and shells. I had gave him a fake plant too, but since he’s been acting weird I took it out.

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.)?
I’ve been trying to not handle him since I’ve heard that is the best thing to do with them, only picking him up when I need to clean his cage.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
So my hermit crab named Lobster was given to me recently to watch while my family went on vacation, and since then I’ve been trying to take care of him and make his quality of living better. I had gotten rid of his old substrate and replaced it with playsand. I also gave him new shells to get him out of his painted one, and he seemed to be pretty happy. At night he would be active and I could hear him playing and climbing over things. I went to the pet store and bought him some water dishes (one for saltwater and one for distilled water) to soak in, new veggie mix to give him something different to eat, and got substrate for him to also have in his tank. I set up his tank and also put in a fake plant because I thought he might enjoy it. I made sure to boil the dishes and dip the plant to sanitize them. At first he was really excited and was digging near the plant and moving the shells around, but I didn’t notice him eating anything. It’s been a few days and I’ve noticed that he’s not really crawling around much and is just kind of sitting there. He’s been surrounding himself with shells, where he’s at the center and there’s a ring of shells around him. I checked on him and moved him to a different spot, just incase he was stuck or something, and saw his antennae moving so I know for sure he’s alive. Also removed the plant and have just been watching him. When I went to sleep I thought that he was better because I could hear him moving shells around, however when I woke up he had just done the same thing as before, surrounding himself with his shells and is now just sitting there. Is he getting ready to molt? If so shouldn’t he be digging into the sand/substrate? I keep it fairly moist in his tank so I don’t think that it is too dry. Another thing I was thinking was that maybe he is lonely and needs to get another crab friend? The one that my parents had gotten for my brother had died and they never got another one... and if I do need to get another crab, what would be the best way to go about it? All the adoptions I’ve seen floating in my area are for bigger crabs and he’s just a small crab. I really don’t know what to do with him I’m confused,,,
Curly - Your current set up is not big enough for another crab, please don't add another one. You have a number of things that need to be improved, in order for this crab to live a healthy life. His odd behavior could be because his needs are not being met.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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