Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is…

Good friends in a pinch! Forums Chewin’ the Choya Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is…


This topic contains 45 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Simon 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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    Stacy (not Jay Z haha)
    I am the currently owner, webmaster, tech support and anything else required here at CSJ. I took over the site many years ago when Vanessa asked me to take the reins and keep CSJ going. I never realized that hermit crabs would become such a big part of my life. You can read more about me in my short little bio article: here.

    The intention of this thread is not to talk about me but instead for each of you to introduce yourself and share whatever you would like about your hermit crab history.


    Maxwell Isenberg

    Well, my name is Maxwell Isenberg.
    I first wanted to adopt hermit crabs when I was in Florida. I was walking in the water and felt a shell by my feet. I took it out of the water and examined it, realizing it was cool. So, I put it on the table where I was collecting shells. The next thing I knew was that there was a weird creature walking around on the table! I looked a little closer and realized it was a hermit crab. I was so amazed by the thought that little animals that lived in old shells existed. I did a little research and found that there was such thing as land hermit crabs. I begged and begged my parents for some and finally, they said yes. So the next thing I knew was that I owned 2 Ecuadorians in a 10 gallon tank. After about 3 months I wanted more. So I begged my parents to let me get 4 more. Then I came home with 4 more PP crabs. I have had all them now for about 4-5 months except one. This crab, Nick, passed away for unknown reasons. He lived for about 2 months and then I found him burred under the Eco Earth half out of his shell. I cried for so long at the loss of my beloved hermit crab, and to this day, I strive to make sure my hermit crabs have the BEST life possible. This has led to many things such as, a new 40g tank, lots of driftwood, a custom mister/fogger, timed day and night lights, and much more.

    I am always open to adopting more crabs. Any chance I get to improve a Hermit Crabs life, I will take it.

    Thank You!


    Hi! My name is Vanessa Pike-Russell and became addicted to hermit crabs at age 5. Then 17 years later in 1994 I saw some in a pet store in Westfield Warrawong, NSW Australia and bought one I named Mornay (get it – crabs mornay. It’s a white sauce served with seafood) with a cappuccino coloured shell. I bought the ‘complete package’ (NOT) which consisted of a plastic tank with a lid with grooves, wood shavings as substrate, bowls, dishes, ‘Crazy Crabs care book’, ‘Crazy Crab salt’ and ‘Crazy crab food’. I then bought another hermit crab named fudge that was in a land snail shell the colour of chocolate fudge. By now you may notice that I am a foodie lol My sister Renee who is 14 years younger than me demanded I rename Mornay ‘Cappuccino’ once I helped her make the connection between crabs and mornay sauce hehe. I won a radio competition talking about the strangest pet names. I won $20 from the Figtree, NSW pet store where I bought shells and supplies.

    Mornay and Fudge died about a year after I purchased them when they tried to moult in wood shavings. I did some research on the natural environment of hermit crabs at University and learned more about their modified gills and need for a tropical environment. Wood shavings were the worst thing to use as a substrate! I bought a larger glass tank and swapped the wood shavings (what were Crazy Crabs thinking???) for some very fine river pebbles which I bought from an aquarium store which were recommended by the manager of the store. I invested in an under-tank heater that came from the inside of a foot warmer for a whole $10. I bought a mister bottle and would mist the substrate and generated enough humidity that the crabs were REALLY active. Then I bought a piece of mangrove driftwood and some sea sponges which I would mist and place in the tank. The UTH kept the tank to 25oC and I had my first successful moults.

    I switched to beach sand with an area of shell grit and had more successful moults. I started a website on my pet hermit crabs at TPG my internet company which is still around today. I started receiving emails from hermit crab owners asking me questions. The questions started coming thick and fast and I decided to put the questions and answers on my website. It soon grew and I created a mailing list on ONE List which then changed into a community site which was converted to a Yahoo!Group and became the Land Hermit Crab Owners Society Yahoo!Group.

    There were discussions that a book should be created with the articles and caresheets created by members of the LHCOS and then in 2000 I had an idea of a magazine website with current information that is updated every month and the aim of a printed magazine every quarter. We had over a thousand members of the which is now after many different changes from Content Management Software (PHP Nuke, Nuke Evolution, Xoops and now WordPress).

    I was living in Hobart, Tasmania and running a webstore called Hermies ‘N’ Herps selling hermit crab and reptile products and also writing two books on land hermit crab care. The second with Mary Francis and Matthew Turnbull.

    After two years I moved back to Wollongong, NSW and had given up my 3ft cube tank and hermit crabs and most of the products.

    In 2003 I closed the web store. My health was poor and I had been sick many months of the year in 5oC temperatures without heating in Tasmania. I had been spending 18 hour days working on the websites and communities and burnt out. I have a rare disease called panhypopituitarism. I was advised by my Endocrinologist specialist to take a leave of absence from my online communities and focus on getting well. Stacy took over the running of CSJ and moved it to Xoops and then WordPress and I took a much needed break from the crabbing world and the politics of running an online community and website.

    I thought it would be only a few months but it became years. I am so thankful that Stacy took ownership of CSJ and brought it from strength to strength. I am forever thankful that I left it in such competent hands.

    In 2015 I made the decision to come back to the crabbing world now that I settled in Cleveland, Brisbane QLD Australia. I’ve moved around a lot in my life, having lived in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales then Queensland again. I’ve finally settled down and realised there was just something missing in my life without hermit crabs 🙂 I bought a 4ft vivarium off Gumtree and setting it up and getting ready to buy and/or adopt hermit crabs. I can’t wait to watch the antics of hermit crabs once more!

    As usual I’ve written a tome 🙂 You’ll get used to that with me. Hopefully I didn’t put you to sleep!


    Maxwell Isenberg

    I am wide awake!



    Some of us are crabbers to our core 🙂


    Thanks, Maxwell!
    Stacy. Yes, there are some addicted crabbers out there 🙂
    I’m known as the ‘crazy crab lady’ by the Australian pet industry.
    I asked them to call me something else as any association with ‘crazy crab’ company is not appreciated. I really detest that company and how they have killed millions of hermit crabs over the years due to their care book advice and substrate choice.


    Anne Grady

    Without you and Stacy this site would be far less than it is, thank you both!


    Anne Grady

    My name is Anne Grady. I have had crabs for nearly 6 years. I bought a couple many years ago for a grandchild that was living with me. She was afraid of them and I truly didn’t have time for them. They were in that plastic carrier thing with a fresh water bowl and a sponge and fish gravel on the bottom and pellets. Needless to say they didn’t live long and I was so disgusted with the beach stores for selling them to children, knowing they wouldn’t live and hoping to sell them more the next vacation to the beach.

    I went to visit my middle daughter, who lives a few hours away, and found that she had a beautiful tank set up with hermit crabs. I was hooked from first site, but remembering my previous experience I was hesitant to start over. Eventually she convinced me to take two that she had in a 5 gallon tank and had raised since they were micro mini’s.

    I brought them home and began to read at all the sites she had given me. She gave me lots of information too, of course. I quickly moved them to a 29 gallon tank and bought two more at a privately owned pet store and began to study them and enjoy them and be fascinated with them.

    I now have two tanks, a 55 gallon and a 75 gallon. The 55 has 6 small to med hermits, the larger tank has 6 large ones. I’m never really sure when a crab gets to be called jumbo, LOL. These are just larger to me.

    Only in the last few months did I think to look on Facebook for groups and was surprised to find several. I find this one to be my favorite as I think you make the most sense and give the best information, especially for new crabbers. I understand what Vanessa said about the politics of online things. I got scolded on another site for referring a member with a problem to one of the care sheets here, LOL.

    My older daughter also keeps hermits, so it is a family affair. She has a 55 and a 30.

    I currently have a 10 gallon set up for ISO, but as soon as I get the two in there now out I am setting up a 29 for ISO purposes. Both my daughter and I use it when needed. I have a place that I can do that, even though it is emplty 99 days out of 100, LOL.


    Jenny Velasquez

    Hi I’m Jenny Velasquez

    I started crabbing at September 2012

    I started with 2 in a 10 gallon.

    I’m working on my own website called Land Hermit Crab Care Enterprise that’s both my personal blog and a resource with my careful writings, and also taking pictures to archive my journals .. On my own I have rescued the hermit crabs from my local ocean front shops and local pet stores. I started with 2 in a 10 gallon then in a few months apart I get 2 more at a time

    And then went on to a 20 gallon with 6 , then went on to 8 crabs , then got a 38 gallon and that leads to how many I got today.

    My crabitat size is currently 38 gallons and ISO tank is 10 gallons. I’m will be soon to upgrade to a 55 gallon around the holiday months November, December and so that will be a good time to adopt ; the 55 will be set up

    By the time I get a 55 gallon set up , I will be open to take in new crabs.

    Details on my current setups

    1. have 2 moss pits

    2. Couple of Half log hides but plan on adding a 3rd half log hide

    3. Choya bridges connected to the moss pits

    -but the 10 gallon don’t have Choya instead there’s a mopani wood

    But the 10 is provided also with bubblers.

    4. 2 bubbler pools, each 1 salt, 1 fresh magnaturals to climb on

    I never had other species then PPs

    And also I never had any deaths and my crabs had been getting along great . Until recently I have to split up 2 and put in a 10 gallon and have 9 in the 38 .

    My crabs molted in 1-almost 2 months at a time

    And they been growing little by little

    It’s not big jump growths.

    I have gotten better at my learning curve as I keep studying the proper care and getting ideas on how to make my crabitat nice and fun for the crabs. I recently had my first streak due to a shell fight but I have corrected the situation and the crabs involved are fine.



    Anne I love that you try to be so helpful on Facebook, it’s a shame that people insist on creating drama. I am happy you gave crabbies another chance 🙂



    Jenny what caused you to get hermit crabs in the first place?


    Anne Grady

    Thank you, Stacy. I hope I am helping. I find I bite my tongue a bit because I know it’s not my place to say too much. On the other hand I am glad to offer what I know is sound advice to simple questions. Because I am retired I am online a lot. I like that I can just tag an admin or refer them to care sheets for more serious stuff, and you guys show up and give really good help. I know you have saved a lot of crabs from miserable lives.



    My addiction began in July 1998 when one of my daughters decided the only thing she wanted for her birthday was a hermit crab. That little guy took the household by storm. Before we knew what had hit us, he had us all marching to his beat. We’re animal folk: dogs, cats, horses, birds… there have been snakes, lizards, frogs, bugs… the list goes on. Adding a hermit crab to the family was right along the beaten path. What I didn’t expect though, was to find such an enormous personality tucked neatly inside that little shell. How nature managed to pack so much persona into such a small creature amazes me even today. Hermit crabs are like potatoes chips, you cant have just one. Being social creatures, they need little families of their own. And friends, and extended family… and so we rationalize the addiction. That amazing little guy is still with me btw, though he isn’t quite so little anymore. Technically, he belongs to my daughter. Some of the crabs she had acquired, others I adopted but we have always collectively considered them “ours”.

    Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I feel very fortunate that we started out reasonably prepared and by-passed many of the pitfalls. When she expressed her interest in hermits, I turned to the internet and dove into a LHC crash course. As I’d had herps at the time, most of what was needed for our first crab tank build, we already had on hand. It was during the first shopping trip for a birthday buddy that the harsher side of the education came. Our favorite mom & pop fish/reptile store had land hermit crabs… in an aquarium with colored gravel and about an inch or so of water. I admit, I was rather shocked. These were people I had done bushiness with for years. People that prided themselves in the knowledge and experience of the animals they sold. The lethargic crabs and unpleasant aroma emanating from that tank should have been more than sufficient to let them know that method wasn’t working. The other pet stores weren’t much better. I remember wondering if ANY of them ever bothered to research any of species they keep anymore.
    Two weeks and many miles later my daughter finally found her new bff… sitting atop a pile of woodchips. But at least they were damp and he looked healthy.

    When we got little Crawdaunt home, he sure seemed happy to have sand under him again. He dove into the salt water dish for a good loooong drink and then set up camp in front of a freshly chopped dinner. About what we all experience each time we bring home home a new hermit buddy, right? I am grateful this was my little girl’s first experience with her first hermit crab.

    It was no accident. And on that thought, I want to thank you wonderful ladies… for all the time, work and energy you have put into compiling the information, getting the information out there, and keeping it out there. For your tireless dedication to education, endless amounts of patience in helping others. A well deserved standing ovation. THANK YOU!!



    Awe Michele was a great story! It does help to be reminded that we are helping people and that we are making a difference.

    I had the same sort of light bulb moment in regards to pet stores when I realized they put zero effort into researching proper care for hermit crabs. They all seem to be the same, do the least necessary to keep them alive long enough to sell them. Somehow they miss the part where they could be making so much more money if they educated people about proper care and then sold them the proper supplies.


    Hi Anne, Jenny and Michele! Great to meet you 🙂
    Thanks, Michelle! CSJ has always been a labour of love. I’m so glad Stacy feels the same way.
    It’s so good to see the increase in activity and I hope it continues! We used to have over 1000 members, almost 2000 from memory and I am sure we can get there once more! 🙂

    If you are reading this thread and nervous about introducing yourself, please don’t be shy! We just want to get to know our members and hear more of their story. Tell as little or as much as you want. You can always edit or update it later 🙂

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