I just want to know

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

Topic author
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:48 am
Location: Campbell

I just want to know

Post by Assine_Shenanigans » Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:42 pm

So I've had my hermit crabs for about a year now and I want to give them a whole habitat makeover. My problem is I also want it to be a somewhat living habitat. I want them to have growing plants and a stream to get water from. I've searched through every pet site to find soil/dirt suitable for the safety of my hermits and their fauna. I was thinking about just steam sterilizing some soil from my own yard that hasn't been touched by pesticides and plant growth chemicals. My only concern is it may not have enough clay content to keep it from collapsing if they tunnel inside. Currently I'm only using coconut fiber and sand but I don't think these will help plants to grow.

I've decided once I get a bigger tank I'll be making a somewhat sectioned off terrarium. One side will be the perfect area for plants while the others will be a hermit crab paradise of digging medium. While one side will be an aquatic beach like area, for all this I'll try to find a place that makes custom tanks. Thanks for the insight you've all given me.
Last edited by Assine_Shenanigans on Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar

Posts: 2231
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:54 pm
Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: I just want to know

Post by curlysister » Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:17 am

Have you read through AussieJJ's plant guide?
You still want to have sand and EE, not soil/ dirt for the crabs to safely tunnel and molt.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

User avatar

Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 9826
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio

Re: I just want to know

Post by wodesorel » Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:33 am

The problem is the mass of substrate and the fact it has to be kept moist enough to be packable. Trapped organic matter underground tends to rot and cause bacterial blooms very quickly. A healthy terrarium is relatively shallow and soil is kept fluffy - for hermits it needs to be deep and will pack down enough from the weight to hold tunnels. You don't get nearly as much oxygenation at lower levels with hermits.

The moving water would scare me a little - terrariums like that tend to have recirculation by allowing water to trickle down to the bottom and then gets pumped back up. Can't do that safely with hermits since the bottom needs to be only slightly moist, and the entire substrate mass has to be the same moistness all the way through. Their needing to dig to the bottom to moult throws a wrench in most plans like this since any accidental flooding will drown them in a couple of hours.

That all said - it's probably completely doable to have hermits in an ABG style terrarium. Keepers have had crabs moulting on straight cocofiber for decades, and soil isn't much different inconsistency. I would warn about very rich soils high in tannins and lower in pH, it will stain and pit exoskeleton fairly quickly. It's one reason why a base of sand is so strongly encouraged.
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

Post Reply