Soon-to-be-owner, need tips

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JulesRolyCrab
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Soon-to-be-owner, need tips

Post by JulesRolyCrab » Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:53 am

So sorry if this is in the wrong forum... Anyways, I am [hopefully] getting 2 or 3 crabs probably in September. I have researched a lot, but am still a bit nervous about a couple of things! After reading so much, some people say how sensitive the crabs can be. I understand that, but am scared of making a really small mistake, something silly that I missed, and potentially hurting the poor animals... :(

So, a few questions.

1. Tank size. So. I put together my whole budget for my hermit crabs, and it could be a lot worse, yet I don't want to spend a ton more than I have to. It came out to about $100 or so dollars, a little less with only the essentials, after hopping back and forth between petstore websites, looking for the cheapest cocohut or whatnot. The main costs were from the UTH, and the 10 gal. tank and lid. With Petsmart's $1 per gallon sale (hopefully, hopefully, hopefully it doesn't end soon...... :( ), though, I was seeing that a 20 gallon for $20 seemed like a really good deal... Is it worth it to spend a bit more money for a bigger tank as a beginner?

2. Tank heaters. Gosh, this is seriously stressing me out. Note that I am planning on placing it on the outside back side of the tank, not underneath. Anyways, some people say that the heater doesn't work this way, and you a) have to get 2, or b) have to get a larger option. I want to do whatever I can to make the crabs happy, but obviously, if I can do that with less money, it is better. Would getting a correctly sized UTH and insulating it work fine for a tank, rather than the other two options previously mentioned? If not, that is fine, but I wasn't able to find many answers at other places.

3. Thank you, everyone. I really appreciate it, and I think everyone hear is so friendly and welcoming, thank you for that. :colors:

Thank you!


:smt100

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soilentgringa
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Re: Soon-to-be-owner, need tips

Post by soilentgringa » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:54 am

Hi! Hermit crabs are very interesting pets that do require very specific care! Please check out our care guides.
In answer to your heater question: you never want to place a UTH under a crab tank. They were designed to go under reptile tanks with minimal substrate. They were not designed to heat through several inches of moist sand. This causes the heater to work much harder, which is a potential fire hazard. It also heats the substrate which could potentially cook your crabs and is the opposite of their natural environment. The substrate should be cooler than the air, which is what you want to heat with the UTH in a crab tank. They are affixed to the back or sides of most crabber's tanks and insulated by foil and cardboard-IF the type of heat mat you have is okay to be insulated this way. Some are not and it could be a fire hazard. Ultratherm is a highly recommended brand.
If you get a 20 gallon tank you can have a few small crabs. Just keep in mind that they do need friends and they do grow.
Playsand can be purchased at Lowe's or Home Depot for $5 for a 50lb bag. That is plenty for a 20 gallon tank.
Bricks of EE are like $9 for 3 bricks.
If you feed it from scraps prepping your food, food is potentially free.

A theoretical price break down:
Tank-$20
Playsand-$5
EE-<$9
Crabs (at least 2) $12
Prime water conditioner $3
Box of Instant Ocean $6
Ultratherm plus shipping $30
Digital hygrometer/therm $10

Everything else you can DIY from things around your house so $100 for a 20 gallon tank is doable. You can get stuff at Dollar Tree or off CL too.








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Crabinski
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Re: Soon-to-be-owner, need tips

Post by Crabinski » Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:31 pm

Hi, Rolycrab! So glad to see you're doing your research before bringing home any crabs -- they'll thank you for it :D .

@soilentgringa nailed it in her post above but I'll add my 2 cents worth, too.

Re size of tank. The answer is always get the largest tank you can afford if you're intending to have more than one crab. You'll be amazed at how quickly they grow when they're in a nurturing environment! At $20, the 20g is a terrific buy but, for another $9, you can get a 29g: same footprint but 6" taller. A mere 6" may not sound like much but it gives you more above-substrate space to provide climbing items, very important for crabbie contentment. BTW, the Petco $1-a-gallon sale runs through August 8th in most areas and is held 3 or 4 times a year.

Re UTHs. Yes, they attached to the outside rear wall of the tank and should not dip below the top of the substrate by more than an inch (you don't want to dry out the substrate while providing warmth). Assuming a minimum of 6" of substrate, you'll want a UTH that is 11x23 for a 29g or 6x23 for a 20g. The next length after 23" is 35", too long for the 30" length of the 20/29gs. I have 7" substrate in my 29g so the 11x23 UTH just meets the top of the substrate; the 7" length difference between the tank and the UTH allows for a slight dip in temperature on one side of the crabitat, offering a cooler area for "chilling" out (I keep the moss pit on the cooler side and the guys love hanging out in it).

Re buying cocohuts and other decor: remember that store-bought decor is for our pleasure, not the crabs'...they don't care what the hide, dishes, pools or climbing items look like :lol: ! You can make a nice hide using an empty plastic butter or yogurt container: just cut out an entrance, flip it over and, voila!, instant no-cost hide. Plastic or fabric plants and vines can often be found at thrift stores (Goodwill, St Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army) and dollar stores so you don't need to buy the pricey reptile ones at pet shops. Pools can easily be made from small Tupperware containers or plastic containers from the dollar store (usually sold in 2,3 or 4 packs for $1 or $2). Eggshell halves make great feeding bowls, especially when your crabs are small. If you have access to small branches from safe-list trees not treated with pesticides (i.e., from the property of a friend or relative who knows for sure whether or not pesticides were used), you have no-cost climbing materials. The one decor item I would suggest buying is used fishnet, available in craft stores such as Michael's and Hobby Lobby: the bagged piece is large, about 3'x5', can be easily cut to fit along the tank walls or draped to make a hanging shell shop or crab hammock (you'll need to rinse the netting in super hot water - no soap, of course - to get rid of debris and fishy smells). Hermit crabs simply love climbing and sleeping on fish net!

A serious suggestion: install corner guards in the crabitat! They are perfect for attaching vines, netting, hanging baskets, etc., without having to use unreliable suction cups! All you need for a 20/29g tank is one L-shaped 4' x3/4" strip of plastic corner guard (called "wallpaper guards" and found in Home Depot or Lowe's Blinds section for under $5) and a tube of aquarium silicone (also in Home Depot/Lowe's for under $5). Cut the strip into three pieces (to fit under the inner tank lip, back and both sides), drill small holes along one side of the L (large enough to accommodate a plastic cable tie -- packs of 100 4" length about $4 at Home Depot/Lowe's), then attach the undrilled side to the inner tank wall, drilled side jutting out below, with the aquarium silicone. The silicone needs to set and the smell diffuse so you'll want to do this several days before you add the crabs to the tank.

While you're in Home Depot or Lowe's, pick up a 50lb bag of playsand (found in the Concrete section, about $5). For a 20/29g tank, all you'll need for a 6-7" substrate is one bag of playsand and 3 bricks of compressed EcoEarth (3-pack about $10 at PetSmart). If you're planning on using only playsand, buy two bags.

One last thing: as you know from scoping out the HCA site, crabs can eat what we eat, with a few exceptions (Safe- and Unsafe Food Lists), so don't waste $$ on commercial hermit crab foods. Just be sure to pick up a box of Instant Ocean and a bottle of aquarium dechlorinator (API Betta Water Conditioner is cheap and removes ammonia as well as unhealthy minerals such as chlorine) to prepare the FW and SW bowls/pools.

Hope this long-winded post helps :) .
PPs are Big Enzo, Charles Paris and Mr Pinch
On the Big Beach in the Sky: Murray, Gino, Oscar, Gordon, Ignatz, Harry and King Felix the Pale
Also Mom to Imogene the Syrian Hamster

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JulesRolyCrab
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Re: Soon-to-be-owner, need tips

Post by JulesRolyCrab » Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:18 pm

Wow guys, thank you so much for the quick and informative replies. I think I now might go for the 20 gallon, ditch the store bought dishes and Cocohut and do it myself! I don't think that the 29 gal. comes with the $1 per gallon deal, so I might end up with just the 20 gallon. :) Really, guys, thank you. I have been reading up as much info as possible, but some outdated library books were confusing/infuriating mom [lol] with false/contradictory information. Like "you can even paint your hermit crab's shells if you want!" Sooo I moved to HCA, and everything is so helpful!

One more question (sorry!!!! Want to make sure I have it all down....). So I have a Petsmart close to me (about 5 minutes) and still need to go in and check the condition of the crabbies. There is a Petco, maybe 15 minutes away, that has gotten good reviews on this website for good hermit crab care. Buuuut it is farther away. Should I sacrifice a short drive for a well kept crabs? Or vice versa?

Thanks a ton again, guys. :D

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Crabinski
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Re: Soon-to-be-owner, need tips

Post by Crabinski » Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:33 pm

Rolycrab wrote:Wow guys, thank you so much for the quick and informative replies. I think I now might go for the 20 gallon, ditch the store bought dishes and Cocohut and do it myself! I don't think that the 29 gal. comes with the $1 per gallon deal, so I might end up with just the 20 gallon. :) Really, guys, thank you. I have been reading up as much info as possible, but some outdated library books were confusing/infuriating mom [lol] with false/contradictory information. Like "you can even paint your hermit crab's shells if you want!" Sooo I moved to HCA, and everything is so helpful!

One more question (sorry!!!! Want to make sure I have it all down....). So I have a Petsmart close to me (about 5 minutes) and still need to go in and check the condition of the crabbies. There is a Petco, maybe 15 minutes away, that has gotten good reviews on this website for good hermit crab care. Buuuut it is farther away. Should I sacrifice a short drive for a well kept crabs? Or vice versa?

Thanks a ton again, guys. :D
The 29g is part of the Petco sale: 10, 20L, 29, 40 and 55gs included so grab the 29g if available!

The conditions in which the crabs are kept is your determining factor. In my area, Petco is horrid: less than 1" substrate, no temperature/humidity controls, pools often dry, no hides, etc. PetSmart, on the other hand, keeps their crabs in a nice warm and humid tank on the fish wall, has a fish bowl/moss pit hide and access to water (probably FW only) so I've gotten my non-adopted crabs from them. Petco is about 3 miles from my house and PetSmart 4 miles so travel time is not a factor but housing/care conditions are. Pet shops usually receive shipments of hermit crabs on a certain day so, after you've decided which store is preferable, ask them what their delivery day is. Knowing this, you'll have a better selection on that day and the ones you choose really won't suffer additional stress as they won't have had time to try to reacclimate to the store's crabitat before moving to their permanent home with you.
PPs are Big Enzo, Charles Paris and Mr Pinch
On the Big Beach in the Sky: Murray, Gino, Oscar, Gordon, Ignatz, Harry and King Felix the Pale
Also Mom to Imogene the Syrian Hamster

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JulesRolyCrab
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Re: Soon-to-be-owner, need tips

Post by JulesRolyCrab » Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:44 pm

Sorry, do you have a link to the Petco tanks? I can't seem to find any, I have been looking at the Petsmart dollar/gallon sale, which only has 10,20, and 40... Maybe the Petco one isn't on right now. Thank you, though!

Thanks a ton. I am not used to HCA and how knowledgeable everyone is, haha... My sister owned a crab when she was in elementary school, years ago, and I didn't realize until this year how terrible we had kept them.... The petstore info is terrible! But really, thank you.

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JulesRolyCrab
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Re: Soon-to-be-owner, need tips

Post by JulesRolyCrab » Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:46 pm

Found it!!!!

http://www.petco.com/petco_Page_PC_doll ... _-20141228

....

....

Dang it, I might be getting my crabbies in September... Maybe I will get supplies a while before that!!!!

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