Prepping for Babies! (In the food dish this time. Sigh.)

For topics relating to crab care that do not fit into the other categories.
User avatar

Topic author
wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 10270
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Prepping for Babies! (In the food dish this time. Sigh.)

Post by wodesorel » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:14 am

Since I have at least one female PP with eggs, I'm gearing up in preparation of babies. After getting caught by surprise by the Es I want everything to be ready to go. I'm still really upset about having a bowl full of dead babies, and I will not let it happen again! I'm doing checks for eggs in the water dish constantly. I've even woken myself up twice during the last two nights to go and grab the flashlight. :lol: What can I say - I'm really excited about trying to raise them, and with how many babies are popping up in this house I think the vibe is right for success! :)

So, I dug out my original air pump from my fish tank from 1988. It still works! And it's incredibly gentle, which is great. I had a brand new bubble wand that came with a used fish tank I got earlier this year, and the plan is to use that, wrap it in already mature filter media (polyblend stuffing) from the brackish fiddler tank and stuff that into a knee-high nylon stocking to create a DIY "sponge" filter. If I do this the same day that the babies go into the tank it should create an instant cycled tank for them, which will be healthier and cut down on the need for water changes. We also got more tubing tonight so it'll be long enough to move around.

The bubble wand in action:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/S ... directlink


We bought a brand new 10 gallon tonight. I'll probably only fill it half or 3/4 of the way full, so no need for a lid. It will covered in black construction paper to keep them from killing themselves by trying to swim through the glass. No need for heat as the invert room has been staying around 85 degrees.

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to move the roaches around to make room for it upstairs. I really want to move the 30 gallon scorp tank temporarily to make room for it since it'll be waist high and easy to get to for daily maintenance, and it will be underneath the lights. Like most aquatic babies, they'll probably need a strong light source to mimic the sun in order to get a sense of up and down. I'm just not too sure how heavy the 30 is with all that stuff in it, and I will not be emptying a tank with two sub-adult males inside! I also need to have hubby fix the light strips that are broken so that the plants will be okay if we do move that tank.

I've got a ton of salt ready to go, and I can always get more if I need it. I plan on doing regular water changes. Every day if I can, but if not that as close to it possible. I'm sure that'll take a lot of salt! I bought a huge bag the last time it was on sale and bagged it up to keep it fresh. I already have a hygrometer to make sure the levels stay stable, but since the zoea seem to be estuary/tidal pool I doubt that fluctuations will be harmful.

I'm sure explaining this one to non marine fish keepers or crabbers would be a hard one! :lol:
Image

Tomorrow we go for substrate, shells, and food.

I want to get an aragonite or crushed coral substrate that comes with teeny tiny shells already in it. I bought one just like it a long time ago for my freshwater tank to stabilize the pH, but I threw it all out when we moved to this house and I switched that tank to a sand substrate. Fiddler crabs have been shown to grow faster and healthier in tanks with substrate, so I want to make sure to do the same for the hermits.

That should take care of the need for shells, but I will also be buying the tiniest shells I can find at the craft stores. There are four in the area that I can look at. I'm betting Hobby Lobby will be the best option, but just have to wait and see. I don't want to drag hubby to too many places if I can help it!

And for food I plan on going with hatched brine shrimp, so I have to find eggs for sale. I've seen them at one petshop locally, so it shouldn't be too hard. I have a little tank I can use for them, although I may need to buy salt. I also want to see about buying phytoplankton to provide the plant side of the diet. Adult hermits are omnivores, so I can't imagine that babies are only carnivores. There are teeny tiny plants and animals floating in ocean water, and I'm sure they eat whatever they can. I would really love to find someone who has a colony of rotifers locally that would be willing to share them, but I'm sure that's a pipe dream.

I also plan on picking up a small chunk of live rock from PurePet when the babies are born. That will provide another element of the cycle, and will hopefully also introduce algea that they can feed on. It should also make the water a little more like the ocean for them. I was thinking about taking some from my brackish tank, but I think it'll be healthier if I buy live rock that has been kept in a marine tank as then all the marine organisms will be on it.

I don't think I'm missing anything, but if someone spots something that might make this easier or that I'm forgetting, please let me know!!

Now, just to wait for babies........ Ah heck, I'mma gonna go check the tanks again before I fall asleep. :lol:
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

User avatar

parrothead
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:18 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by parrothead » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:13 am

Oh Wode! I'm going to be living vicariously through you and Wold for the next few months! :crabbigsmile:

Here's what little input I can offer :D
-Hobby Lobby has a bag of small shells for $2.99, I got it for my MHC that were carrying eggs (although the fish got em') duhhh- geesh :oops:
-Live rock will deff help cycle the water quicker and as you mentioned, produce naturally occurring organisms. Some live rock is more 'live' than others though, so be watchful.. the more color on the rock, the better (you may already know this)
-You may wanna look into this product http://www.tlc-products.com/pages/7/index.htm
I have used this on my reef with every water change and fish addition. I don't know if it is what you need, but with your knowledge I'm sure you could make that call. It's kinda hard to find, and has recently changed it's name from 'TLC' to something else, but idk what the new name is. If you decide you need some and can't find it, I'll ship you some.

Good luck and keep us posted! I'm excited for you :hug: :banana:

User avatar

Topic author
wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 10270
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wodesorel » Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:06 am

I had this awesome dream last night where two more of my really little ones had eggs. I think they were Sierra and Tsunami. :lol: In the dream I figured out that what made them produce eggs was being in captivity (or possibly even the same enclosure) for a number of years, like they had to adapt to it or something. That's why this is the first year I'm seeing them - the crabs have been in that tank now for two summers. (Especially since I think it really is Sierra who is egg laden, and I've had her since nearly the beginning of crab keeping. She was crab number 4 back in November of 2009.)

Wolf and annopia and others who have had eggs - does this seem likely? Where any of the crabs that you thought produced eggs brand new? Had you moved them into different tanks recently? I know it sounds crazy, but that's the best theory I can come up with on why some have eggs and others don't.



Thanks for the tips parrothead! Emily takes good care of me PurePet so I'm sure she'll get me a very mature and bacteria laden hunk of rock. :D I could even pick up a small bag of live sand while I was there if I really felt there was a need. it's nice to have an expert that actually cares more about her customers than just the sale she makes. :)

I'll look into the that TLC stuff and see if I can find some locally. I've always been wary of "bacteria in a bottle" since bacteria used in tanks isn't shelf-stable, but it looks harmless and it could be helpful.
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

User avatar

wolfnipplechips
Posts: 1038
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Auke Bay, Alaska
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wolfnipplechips » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:01 pm

So very excited!!!! :D :D

My only question right now is...what about spirulina powder? Can they eat that?

As for the crabs producing being new, Cat has been a member of my clan since May 2010, and Big Mamma since sometime in 2010. She may have come with cat for all I know. That was a big year for crabs for me. However, one of the boys has been with me since Feb of this year! He was a rescue from horrible conditions. He molted, came up, and started chasing the ladies almost immediately! :lol:
Crabby since May 2009
Hermit Crab Food Store: http://alaskahermit.com/
Pets: crabs, cats, lizards, flesh eating beetles, isopods, betta fish

User avatar

Topic author
wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 10270
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wodesorel » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:13 pm

Micron sized spirulina is sold as fry food, so they should be able to eat it. Whether they would is the big question! It has to be moving to trigger their food response, although with a fine powder and a filter it should drift for a while through the tank before sinking/floating. Good idea! I'll have to try to find some. :)
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram


Pepe4Life
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:13 am
Location: I dunno....i'm lost...

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by Pepe4Life » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:11 pm

[quote="wodesorel"]
I'm sure explaining this one to non marine fish keepers or crabbers would be a hard one! :lol:
Image


Haha, nice. And good luck. I seriously hope this goes well for you.
I've got crabs...
3 E's

User avatar

annopia
Posts: 786
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 9:49 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by annopia » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:40 pm

i'm rooting for you! i'm not 100% on all of the moms of the eggs that i have had, but the two moms i am sure about have both been with me a long while (Lilith since 2005 and Merangue since 2008).

if i were you, i would advise (if at all possible) to do two tanks for them, even if the tanks are small, and divide up the babies. as you know, the smaller the marine tank, the harder it is to regulate and the easier it is for the parameters to get out of hand. since babies tend to come in a "season" and this is your shot...i would do two tanks if possible.

annopia
26 LHC: 6 PPs, 5 Es, 1 Straw, 6 Ruggies, 2 Indos, 1 Blueberry, 4 Violas, 1 Aussie

User avatar

Topic author
wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 10270
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wodesorel » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:44 am

Next summer I'm sure I can get two tanks set up, but this year it's a bit tight and it's honestly a scramble since I wasn't expecting any eggs. I do think it's a good idea to have back-ups, too. :)


I think the shopping is done. I'll get the brine shrimp started when I wake up so there's no waiting for them to hatch when it's time. (It can take two days, and I don't want starving babies during that period!) Hubby will help me move tanks around to make room when he gets home tomorrow.

I decided to put the bubbler in the salt water pool until the eggs are laid. I thought it would be better for them to have oxygenated water until I'm able to find them. Hopefully the crabs won't pick it apart. :roll:

Image


I managed to find some small shells in a surprising place:
Image

Image
Hubby was all excited that he got to say that a hermit crab product was actually good for hermits. :lol:

I spent about an hour and a half sorting through, and I still have a lot to go. This is what I've found so far. (Sizes are relative!)

Teeny, and hopefully the perfect size for their first shell:
Image

Small:
Image

Medium:
Image

Large:
Image

I'm sure there will be plenty more teeny and small to sort out. There was also a ton of the crushed coral, so that should help buffer the water. :)

I will still be hitting the craft store to see if I can find more small shells! We didn't make it to Hobby Lobby before they closed, but we'll be in Boardman again this weekend anyway for kitty litter, and to hopefully pick up an E that needed a bigger home. :)
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

User avatar

wolfnipplechips
Posts: 1038
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Auke Bay, Alaska
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wolfnipplechips » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:26 pm

I think you're going to need shells a bit smaller than your smallest shells. They are seriously tiny when they take their first shells. Just a couple mm according to this place http://biodiv.sinica.edu.tw/~coconutcra ... intro.html and here is a pic of them in their first shell.
Image

I'll give you an example of how small I think they need to be.
Image
Those shells are just a few mm.

But maybe my eyeballs are playing tricks and you have some that small. :) I dunno. Just needed to say it! I don't want your little guys to lose energy carrying too big of shells.
Crabby since May 2009
Hermit Crab Food Store: http://alaskahermit.com/
Pets: crabs, cats, lizards, flesh eating beetles, isopods, betta fish

User avatar

Topic author
wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 10270
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wodesorel » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:39 pm

I'm going to post this and then figure out of they're similar!

The smallest:
Image

And the "average":
Image



Edit: Okay, it looks like the tiniest of them will be the right size. I still have about 5 pounds so sift though, and that will contain the smallest of the shells.

I've got one more pet store I can check for substrate that might have teeny weeny shells.

Thank you for the photo! I was trying to picture how small they would be based on the E babies I had. I'm not great with measurements, much more of a visual aide type person. :D
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

User avatar

wolfnipplechips
Posts: 1038
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Auke Bay, Alaska
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wolfnipplechips » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:46 pm

This is helping me a bit. :)
Image
I got the quarters to the same size.

Your teeny weeny shells look good. :)
Crabby since May 2009
Hermit Crab Food Store: http://alaskahermit.com/
Pets: crabs, cats, lizards, flesh eating beetles, isopods, betta fish

User avatar

Topic author
wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 10270
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wodesorel » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:54 pm

Oooh - you're good! :D

Looks like I need some slightly smaller shells. :? (How am I going to explain that to hubby - yes, they're really tiny but they have to be even tinier. He's going to accuse me of being a shell hoarder again! :lol: ) I have to get to that pet store anyway as I'm out of crickets, just trying to figure out if it'll be tonight or later this week. I'm anxious to get everything set up!
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

User avatar

Rocky
Posts: 1267
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:22 pm
Location: Vernon, BC (Canada)
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by Rocky » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:38 pm

wolfnipplechips wrote: However, one of the boys has been with me since Feb of this year! He was a rescue from horrible conditions. He molted, came up, and started chasing the ladies almost immediately! :lol:
Well.. honestly I'm not shocked ;)

Way to go wode! I'm so excited for you :) If anyone was going to have thousands of hermit babies, I figured it'd be you :D (or wolf.. but college.. :? )
Do you need any ocean fresh goodies? :D Like seaweed, barnacles, oysters etc.. just to make them feel more at home ;) I'm sure they'd eat seaweed :) and they'd probably float around hanging onto it, like baby sea horses when they rest :) I can send you dried stuff and I'm sure it'll re-hydrate :D (I can also scavenge for other beach goodies if you think of any you want/need)
Woo hoo! :cheer: This is going to be a very interesting few weeks (hopefully years!)
Another quick Q.. If you are successful, unless you throw out your husband and replace your bedroom with a giant tank, are you going to give away some of your babies? Assuming that if some survive, it'll be hundreds.
(and adding to that question, would you, could you, ship accross the border? I'll pay for overnight priority shipping or anything to get him here quickly!)
We're not asked to do great things, we're asked to do all things with great care.
Rocky's Reptile Rescue: https://www.facebook.com/RockysReptileRescue
Stop the demand. End the trade.

User avatar

Topic author
wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 10270
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wodesorel » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:03 pm

:cry:

So sometime last night one of the females laid eggs. I found a big clump of them in the corner of the salt water. I don't think any of the larvae are going to make it. Most are already dead, and the ones that are alive are at the bottom of the bowl twitching every so often. None are free-swimmers. I also found a lot in the fresh water bowl, so either she got spooked away or got confused or something.

So.... yeah.... I'll wait on the ones that are up there to see what happens with them, but I guess it'll be the next group I get to try on.
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

User avatar

Topic author
wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 10270
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Prepping for Babies!

Post by wodesorel » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:42 pm

Thanks CrabbyMom.

This one is hitting me hard. With the Es they were unexpected so it wasn't such a big deal. But I prepped and planned with this one. Been changing the water every night so it was clean - I even checked the tank at 8 and 12 this morning and didn't even see them though I have a feeling they were there all along! And the silly crabs made a giant mess of the water with a ton of poop (and part of a leg tip o.O) so I'm sure that fouled up the water overnight too much.

Guess it's more that there's a lot of unanswerable questions as to why they all died, then the fact they died. There's nothing I can change for the next attempt to try and correct whatever went wrong.

We're going for DQ. I got into a bad habit of drowning my sorrows with ice cream when I was a teen (a quart at a time), and while I haven't done it in years, I really want ice cream right now.
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram

Locked