FAQ

The Crab Street Journal FAQs

How big is that hermie in the window?

How do I measure my hermit crab?

What’s a micro hermit crab? What’s a jumbo hermit crab? Size can be subjective and hard to define but we are trying anyway!  Our friends in Indonesia have developed two more realistic size charts based on leg length or leg span. Indonesia is home to many of different species including the large C. brevimanus. With much more data to work with the group created these new sizing charts which are more accurate.

Why does size matter? When determining how much space is needed per hermit crab we need to know how large the crabs are. Small crabs can be happy in a smaller habitat while jumbo crabs need a minimum of 10 gallons per crab. More than 10G/crab is always better! A hermit crab must live many decades to reach jumbo size.



How to measure your hermit crab using the circle chart

How to measure your hermit crab using the circle chart



How to measure your hermit crab using the leg length of the third walking leg.

How to measure your hermit crab using the leg length of the third walking leg.


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Kelomang Lovers Indonesia logo

Kelomang Lovers Indonesia


Setting up a proper crabitat

Surviving is not thriving

How to set up a proper crabitat

Let’s look at how to set up a proper hermit crab habitat, which we refer to as a crabitat.

Basing your tank set up on what you saw at the petstore or mall cart where you may have purchased your hermit crabs is a recipe for disaster. Kritter Keepers and wire cages are death boxes and should never be used.

Listed below are the primary components of a proper set up and we will discuss them in detail. If you are not willing to equip the tank properly you should return your hermit crabs or rehome them, they will not thrive without a properly set up habitat. Captive hermit crabs can live over 30 years in the proper habitat. Most hermit crabs die either in the first month of ownership, during the first molt of ownership or within the first year to 18 months.  So yes, they can technically ‘survive’ in poor conditions but why on earth would you purposely do this to an animal???

A simple list of the items you will need to properly outfit the crabitat. There are low cost options for most of these items.

  • Tank
  • Lid
  • Light*
  • Heat
  • Substrate
  • Gauges
  • Bowls
  • Climbers
  • Hiders
  • Plants and Vines

The tank itself should be glass or lexan and large enough to comfortably house your hermit crabs. A MINIMUM of 2 gallons of space per small or medium hermit crab but 5 gallons per crab is much more humane. Large and jumbo crabs will need much more space, 10 gallon minimum. A 10 gallon tank is too small for even one large or jumbo crab. Plan for the future when purchasing your tank, allow for the growth of your crabs or additions to the herd.   A used tank is perfectly fine and will greatly reduce the cost of supplies.

The tank must have a lid that retains humidity. A screen lid with glass, lexan or plastic wrap on top is what is typically used. Hermit crabs require humidity to breathe. Opening the lid for feedings and water changes each day usually provides enough air exchange. Fresh air flow reduces mold, mildew and fungus growth.

Light is required, whether they are used as your heat source or not. Hermit crabs require a normal 12 hour cycle of light and dark, it is vital to the molt process. If your crabitat is in a well light room that will meet the need of daytime light. Do NOT place your tank in directly sunlight!

UVB is believed to extend the life span of captive hermit crabs. UVB bulbs must be mounted in such a way that there is no glass or plastic barrier between the bulb and the hermit crabs. Most people mount the lid inside the tank.  Bulbs must be replaced every 12 months.

For nighttime viewing, LED in red or blue is safe. Your hermit crabs do not require a light at night.

Hermit crabs require warm temperatures. This can come from overhead lights or from heat pad (often called under the tank heater or UTH) which is placed on the wall of the tank and not under it. Over head lights or heat emitters are not recommended for inexperienced pet owners. They make it challenging to maintain the correct environment in the tank.

Ways to heat your crabitat

Global Temperature and Precipitation Maps by Month

Gauges are the only way to monitor and maintain proper heat and humidity levels. The tank temperatures should be a range of 75F to 82F.  72F is the absolute minimum and your tank should not remain at this temperature long term. A temporary dip or spike in temperature is not cause for concern. A range means that your tank should have areas of different temperatures. Some species seem to enjoy slightly warmer temperatures but the common clypeatus is happy in the 75-82F range. Check the substrate temperature as well to make sure it is not too hot. Overly warm substrate will kill molters or discourage molting. Humidity ranges should be 70-80% this is relative humidity. Occasional higher humidity is not cause for concern but maintaining excessively high humidity could lead to flooding or lethal bacteria due to over saturation of your substrate. Your analog hygrometer will need to be calibrated before use. Wireless, digital gauges are relatively cheap and are more accurate than analog gauges.

Substrate should be a mix of play sand and eco earth. The ideal mix will keep the sand moist throughout. The consistency should be so that you could easily make a sand castle. That means that molting burrows will not collapse from drying out. The eco earth will help maintain humidity but you may need to add some moss pits if your levels are too low. Not all moss is safe so be sure to check our list: Which types of moss are safe for my hermit crabs? Excessive misting or dampening of the substrate can lead to lethal bacteria blooms and/or flooding.

Substrates for hermit crabs

Three bowls will be needed. Two of the bowls should be deep enough to allow your hermit crabs to submerge themselves. One should be fresh water and one should be ocean water made with marine grade salt mix. All water that comes in contact with your hermit crabs must be treated to remove chlorine, chloramines, ammonia as well as other chemicals. The third bowl will be for food. These don’t have to be reptile dishes specifically but they should be something that your smallest crabs can easily enter and exit. Many people use disposable Gladware type bowls for water pools. We recommend placing a rock, fake plant or coral in the pool for the smaller crabs to climb out.

Places to hide, things to climb on, as well as plants and vines are important to create an environment that is stimulating and enriching for your hermit crabs. Huts do not have to be made of coconut shells, many things will work. The same holds true for things to climb on. There are lots of DIY ideas or less expensive ideas for creating vertical climbing opportunities. Fake plants and vines from a craft store will work as well as the ones you find at the pet store. Some live plants are safe for the crabitat but your hermit crabs will most likely kill them.

Creating additional levels in your crabitat to maximize usable space

Your goal should be to create an environment that is as close to what hermit crabs experience in nature as possible. Hermit crabs live primarily on beaches, so think tropical!

Here are some examples of properly set up crabitats:

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Measuring Hermit Crab Shells

Wee wants to be big so bad

Wee wants to be big so bad


Hermit crab shells sold online are typically sold based on the size of the opening. When purchasing new shells for your hermit crab, measure their existing shell and then choose several shells that are somewhat larger. Hermit crabs typically prefer a shell that fits snugly allowing them to fully seal off the opening to protect themselves from predators and dessication.

The photo shows how to take measurements properly.

Measuring hermit crab shells

Measuring hermit crab shells



Ecuadorian (C. compressus) typically prefer a shell with a D shaped opening and commonly wear shells that are too small.
Other species will wear a variety of shells, both with circular and D shaped openings.

HPIM2673

Circular opening shell



D shaped opening shell

D shaped opening shell



My shell is too small!

My shell is too small!



Coenobita cheliped pincer claw

My shell fits just right!

Hermit Crab Surface Molt

Hermit crabs typically go about their molting business below ground away from your prying eyes and nosey tank mates but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you will find yourself with a surface molter on your hands. Surface molts can be very cool for you but additionally stressful for the crab.

Coenobita clypeatus - Purple Pincer Hermit Crab Surface Molt

Coenobita clypeatus – Purple Pincer Hermit Crab Surface Molt

C. compressus surface molt. Top most leg is a newly regenerated limb.

C. compressus surface molt. Top most leg is a newly regenerated limb Photo by Nichole Edwards.


Let’s look at the best way to handle a surface molter.

  • First do not touch or move the crab! (unless you feel you must to ensure it’s safety)
  • Second find a way to securely isolate the crab.
  • It is extremely important that your tank temperature and humidity are in the proper ranges at this time.
  • Do not mist a soft hermit crab, there is danger of causing an infection by over wetting the soft exo.
  • Do not remove the shed exoskeleton (skin), your molter is going to eat that and it’s important that he does!
  • Do not place your molter in total darkness. Normal light cycles are needed!
ISO bottle should be pushed all the way to the bottom of your substrate so there is no way for another crab to burrow in from below.

ISO bottle should be pushed all the way to the bottom of your substrate so there is no way for another crab to burrow in from below.

In place isolation of a surface molter can be accomplished by cutting the bottom off of a 2L plastic bottle and then placing it over the molter and pushing it down (gently!) into the substrate, all the way to the bottom of your tank if possible. This will keep tank mates from cannibalizing the molter while it is soft and defenseless. Remove the lid from the bottle top to allow air flow.  If you can’t get the bottle all the way to the bottom of the tank, keep an eye out for signs of other crabs trying to burrow their way in.


Kritter Keeper used in main tank as an ISO for surface molters

Kritter Keeper used in main tank as an ISO for surface molters

If you simply can not securely isolate the surface molter, you may be forced to move them. You need to have some sort of container ready, preferably something that can stay in the same tank where the molt has occurred. Very small kritter keepers are ideal for this as they have secure lids but are vented for air flow. As gently as possible move the molter AND the shed exo to the isolation container. Do not poke, prod or otherwise futz with the molter.


Post Molt Photo by Jenny Velasquez

Post Molt Photo by Jenny Velasquez

When the molter begins moving around on his own you can gently move him from the 2L bottle enclosure to a larger isolation tank stocked with food and water and a hut. When your molter has fully hardened up it’s time to go back to the main tank. Monitor the molter and the tank mates for signs of aggression. If you witness ongoing aggressive behavior, place all crabs upside down in your water pools. This will rinse off the molting scent and everyone will smell the same again. Unless there is a problem, bathing is UNNECESSARY and should not be done. Aggressive behavior is an indicator of a bigger problem, usually over crowding or inadequate diet.


I understand that it is very fascinating to be able to watch the molt process happening but remember your presence is threatening to the hermit crab at this time. If you want to take photos, do NOT use the flash! Limit your photo taking and time spent hovering and try really hard to let your poor little crabbie do his molting business in peace and quiet.


Coenobita rugosus post surface molt munching on some delicious exo:

Unsuitable shells for hermit crabs

There are a lot of shells being sold as hermit crab shells which are, in reality, not suitable at all. The obvious painted shells should be avoided at all costs but here are some other shells, painted or not, that you should not buy for your hermit crabs.

Our video on choosing the right shells
Suitable shells for hermit crabs
How do I choose suitable shells for my hermit crab

Despite these hermit crabs being forced into these shells, they are NOT acceptable. These are not only covered in clear varnish but I've never seen a hermit crab voluntarily wear this type of shell.

Despite these hermit crabs being forced into these shells, they are NOT acceptable. These are not only covered in clear varnish but I’ve never seen a hermit crab voluntarily wear this type of shell.


Despite these hermit crabs being forced into these shells, they are NOT acceptable. These are not only covered in clear varnish but I've never seen a hermit crab voluntarily wear this type of shell.

Despite these hermit crabs being forced into these shells, they are NOT acceptable. These are not only covered in clear varnish but I’ve never seen a hermit crab voluntarily wear this type of shell.


Angaria delphinus – these shells are too narrow and the spiral is wrong. These hermit crabs I found at Earthbound Trading have definitely been forced into these shells and were likely trapped. There were too many of them for me to buy them all in hopes of saving them.

Despite these hermit crabs being forced into these shells, they are NOT acceptable. These are not only covered in clear varnish but the shell spiral is wrong for a hermit crab. They will not voluntarily wear these delphinias.

Despite these hermit crabs being forced into these shells, they are NOT acceptable. These are not only covered in clear varnish but the shell spiral is wrong for a hermit crab. They will not voluntarily wear these delphinias.


Despite these hermit crabs being forced into these shells, they are NOT acceptable. These are not only covered in clear varnish but the shell spiral is wrong for a hermit crab. They will not voluntarily wear these delphinias.

Despite these hermit crabs being forced into these shells, they are NOT acceptable. These are not only covered in clear varnish but the shell spiral is wrong for a hermit crab. They will not voluntarily wear these delphinias.


unsuitable for a hermit crab

unsuitable for a hermit crab


Muffin shell

Muffin shells are often sold as hermit crab shells but I never once had one of my crabs even try them on.


Tectusconus unsuitable for a hermit crab

Tectusconus is sometimes seen in use by exotic species but not commonly used in captive hermit crabs


Cassispilia not an ideal shell due to the long narrow opening and rough edges

Cassispilia not an ideal shell due to rough edges. If the crab is able to modify the shell and wear down the ‘teeth’ these would be usable.

Deep cleaning your crabitat

Tank from a rescue - Photo by Heather Barnhart

Tank from a rescue – Photo by Heather Barnhart

The information in this article is somewhat outdated in that we generally no longer do scheduled deep cleanings. If your tank is set up properly it can be self cleaning, self sustaining. However if you have a flood or a bacteria outbreak or some other emergency situation you may find this information beneficial.

written by Michele Stephens

You’ve set up the perfect crabitat, the hermit crabs have been roaming happily about the place for weeks, even months. You change the water and the food but now, the substrate just isn’t looking as fresh as it use to and you suspect that it might be time to do a deep clean (a total tank teardown). Crabs in the wild are in an ever-changing environment that is cleansed by the elements, like rain and running water, sun and wind. Our crabs don’t get that in their tank so it’s up to us to do it for them. Okay, how do we do it? Well first you need to decide if it’s the right time. There are several factors that you need to consider before deep cleaning the tank.

  • How long has it been? Generally you can expect your tank to need a deep clean every 3-5 months depending on how crowded it is in there.
  • What is the status of the colony? Is everyone up? Is there anyone you haven’t seen in awhile? Are there any new additions? You want to try to time it so that you do the deep clean with as many crabs topside as possible.
  • Emergency deep clean. Sometimes you may have to do a deep clean earlier because of emergency circumstances. A major mold outbreak, mites, or ants would be good examples. Those types of deep cleans require some special directions that I will not cover here.

Supplies
Once you’ve decided that you’re ready for a deep clean you need to get some supplies. It really depends on your tank and your preferences, but most of the following supplies apply to all deep cleans.

  • Lots of salt water (the same kind you give your hermit crabs to drink).
  • Substrate – if you are replacing yours. Some people prefer to remove, sift, and bake theirs but I prefer to fully replace mine.
  • A cookie sheet
  • Some bowls, the bigger the better
  • Vinegar and a couple of lemons
  • Paper towels
  • garbage or big bin for holding the substrate in as you remove it
  • an ISO or isolation unit

What you can do the night before

  • I usually am short on time the day of the deep clean so I like to get my work down as early as possible. There are some things you can do the night before to save you time on deep clean day.
  • Prepare your ISO tank. Make sure your humidity and temperature are within range. Especially if you are baking the sand/FB and they will be in there for a prolonged period of time. I’ve found that some Fiber Bedding reconstituted with warm water boost temp and humidity quickly.
  • If you are adding any new climbing elements or other toys, caves, pools, you can sterilize them now. With plastic and resin items I wash in a straight vinegar spray followed by peroxide before rinsing. Wood and cocohuts are soaked in salt water and baked at 250 for 20 minutes. Netting is soaked in salt water and microwaved in a glass bowl for 2 minutes.
  • If you are using fiber bedding you can hydrate it the night before so it’s ready, if you like to bake your sand, this is a nice time to do that too. (if you’re adding new)
  • One of my favorite things to do the night before the deep clean is to have the “Grand Stinky Feast”. Pull out your grosses, stinkiest foods and line them up. Shrimp, tuna, silversides, you name it. You don’t have to worry about where it will end up because you’ll be cleaning it all out tomorrow!
  • Then while you watch them eating the eyeballs out of your silversides you can stare at the tank and plan the new layout you’re going to execute perfectly tomorrow.

Tearing the Tank Down

Empty 150 gallon tank

Empty 150 gallon tank

First you will want to remove the climbing items and nets and sterilize them the same way that you did the new items the day before by soaking and baking. As you remove each item check it carefully for mold and for clinging crabbies. Items with mold need to be treated more aggressively than items that are mold-free. When you have your climbing items removed and soaking your tank will be empty except for the substrate. Grab two bowls. One bowl for shells, filled with salt water, one to give your crabs a bath in, filled with fresh water. You should also have an isolation unit or holding tank ready for them to wait in while you clean out the tank. As you remove “empty” shells put them in the salt water. A shell should always be treated as though there is a crab in it. Placing it in the water will force a hiding crab to emerge if it’s very small in the shell. Turn the shells over and over in the water to get the water all the way to the back. You’ll know you’ve gotten it completely full when no more bubbles come out and the shell no longer floats.

Once the “empty shells” are dealt with remove any surface crabs, give them a quick bath and put them in the holding tank. I use a 10 gallon aquarium for mine. You should have a good idea of how many crabs that you have. During deep cleans I like to photograph each of my crabs to chart their progress. The next step is the most delicate and the most nerve wracking of the whole process. During this particular deep clean I had 9 of my 15 crabs down. I was sure that many of them were just buried (maybe someone told them my plan) but I also knew that odds were very good that a few were molting. To prepare for this possibility I set up my 3 gallon ISO.

Grab an empty garbage can and line it with a new garbage bag. Starting with one corner carefully remove the sand one handful at a time. I usually empty each handful into a large plastic cup, sifting each one, then pour it into the garbage bag, sifting again. I cannot stress enough how important it is not to rush this part of the deep clean. Once you have a small area cleaned down to the bottom of the tank slowly widen the circle a little at a time. You want to find the buried crab from the side rather than the top, that way if their cave collapses it is only for a very short time. As you come across your buried crab assess whether or not he is molting. Obviously the presence of an exoskeleton will indicated a freshly molted crab but other signs will let you know where your crab is in the process. A pale crab with sharpened nail tips who withdraws far into the shell may indicate a freshly molted crab. Usually these guys are safe to return to the regular group but you can isolate them for a few days to be sure. If you find a crab in mid-molt carefully remove them and their exo to the isolation tank. Place a cocohut over them or nestle them into some moss. Put the ISO in a low traffic area and keep an eye on them, most crabs do quite well, even when disturbed as long as its not repeatedly.

Once all of your crabs have been collected do a head count. Even with this double sifting one of my crabs made it through the system and I had to get her out of the bag of sand. Your next job is to clean the tank. You can do this a number of ways. High concentration salt water, vinegar, or lemon juice are all good alternatives. My favorite method is to cut a lemon in half and use it to scrub down the glass. To minimize scratches from sand take a damp paper towel and carefully push all sand to the bottom of the tank. Whatever method you use, rinse the tank until the smell is no longer detected. This is when your advanced preparation pays off. Place your substrate in the tank. Remember that substrate should be twice as deep your biggest crab. I use damp substrate and I wet it in the bottom of the tank and mix it together as I add it. I slope mine toward the back of the tank so that it is almost twice as deep in the back as it is in the front.

Finally, the fun part, arrange your tank however you want. Try something new! Your crabs like variety and change, it keeps them active and curious. Once you’ve got your crabitat set up the way you want, add your empty shells and your crabs. Grab your camera. This is the best time to take pictures of your crabs, they are always at their most active when exploring their new territory.

Basic cleaning guide

FAQ Can I put ladybugs in my crabitat?

Can I put ladybugs in my crabitat?

Can I put ladybugs in my crabitat?

Question:
Craboza asked:
I want them to eat the bad things.
Will they eat aphids and other bad bugs in there?
Or anything that is not the crabs?
I want them to keep all possible parasites out.

If I can use ladybugs, how many can I put in? Where do I get them? Thank you.

 

Answer:
Bugboy (aka King Arthur-Pod) answered:
Don’t…..lady bugs are toxic, that’s the reason for the orange and black coloring.
If one should die and the crabs eat it, could be harmful.
Put one on the tip of your tongue, you’ll no how nasty they really are(OK so I’m an entomologist and only we do crazy stuff like licking beetles).

Which types of moss are safe for my hermit crabs?

Hermit crabs enjoying some moss while their tank is being cleaned!

What kind of moss is safe for hermit crabs? Photo credit – Stacy Griffith

Hermit crabs love moss! Not only is it a great way to create and maintain humidity but your crabs will burrow in it and even eat it. They key is to select safe moss. This page should give you a starting pointing for determining which types of moss are safe for your hermit crabs.

There are over 1200 types of moss so it would be impossible to address all of them. Listed below are the most commonly encountered types. In all instances you are looking for 100% natural, chemical free, dye free moss. When collecting your own live moss, know what you are collecting and do not collect from areas that may have been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides or contains pine needles/pine cones.

Unsafe Moss

Peat Moss (Sometimes this is labelled sphagnum peat moss)
ladybug15057 answered:

Doing a quick search, here are a couple of links about Sphagnum moss:

“Don’t confuse sphagnum moss with sphagnum peat moss. Sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat moss are not the same product. Sphagnum moss is used in the floral industry to line wire baskets and make wreaths. It is the LIVING moss that grows on top of a sphagnum bog. This is a safe moss. Sphagnum peat moss is used as a soil conditioner by gardeners. It is the dead material that accumulates in the lower levels of a sphagnum bog. Harvesters of the horticultural peat moss remove the top few inches of the live sphagnum moss before harvesting the peat from the lower levels of the bog.

There has also been some confusion about which of the two is actually the source of a fungal disease called Cutaneous Sporotrichosis, which according to Gerry Hood of the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, is causing some concern within gardening circles. Sporotrichosis is a chronic infection identified by ulcerous skin lesions and is caused by coming in contact with the fungus, Sporothrix schenckii. Research has found no cases of sporotrichosis being transmitted in sphagnum peat moss. However, the fungus Sporothrix schenckii,does live in the top, living portion of the bog that is removed before peat harvesting.”

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mossph54.html

http://www.ipcc.ie/infosphagnum.html

http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/envirohort/articles/misc/sphagnum.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagnum

Peat moss can also acidify its surroundings by taking up cations such as calcium and magnesium and releasing hydrogen ions.

Cypress
Sue Latell answered:
Cypress is a conifer. Coniferous wood/needles are toxic to crabs when ingested. Crabs typically graze on their substrates, making cypress a bad substrate. Cypress mulch according to my herp expert is really best for reptiles that are carnivorous. Cypress has uses only in EXTERNAL application, for most mammals and other animals it has toxic properties, and depending on the species of cypress, the most common is arsenic.

Spanish Moss (sometimes called Cypress moss) is often treated with chemicals

Reindeer/Caribou (lichen) Moss – usually dyed and therefore unsafe.

Safe Moss

Frog Moss/Pillow Moss
Sold by Zoo Med

Zoo Med Frog Moss

Zoo Med Frog Moss

Pillow Moss

Pillow Moss

Completely natural frog moss for use with frogs, toads, salamanders, garter or green snakes, and all other moss environment species. Use as a top substrate or decorative accent in vivarium/terrarium applications.

Frog Moss (also called “Pillow Moss”) will come back to life and grow in proper terrarium conditions.
A beautiful, decorative living moss to accent your naturalistic terrarium.
Increases humidity in terrariums making it perfect for all high humidity loving species of reptiles or amphibians.


Additional Information:
Zoo Med’s Frog Moss can be washed and reused several times before needing to be replaced with new moss.

Beaked Moss

Zilla Beaked Moss

Zilla Beaked Moss

100% natural terrarium moss is great for amphibians and reptiles that inhabit moist environments. The moss holds moisture, generating higher levels of humidity that is beneficial for tropical and forest species. Ideal for Chameleons, Frogs, Green Anoles, Rainforest Geckos, Salamanders & Newts.

• Holds Moisture
• Provides a Realistic Setting for Reptiles and Amphibians
• Completely Natural (no dyes or chemicals)

Moisture stability with natural beauty
From the lush coniferous rain forests of Oregon, we harvest a moisture-loving moss that tropical reptiles thrive in. Its natural moisture retention properties keep humidity levels uniformly high, while forming a lovely green carpet that’s the closest thing to home for rainforest reptiles. Looks great, and your favorite pet will love having it under foot! Since it’s 100% biodegradable, mulch it into your garden for natural disposal.

Ideal for Chameleons, Frogs, Green Anoles, Rainforest Geckos, Salamanders & Newts.
Zill Beaked moss

Flukers makes dyed and undyed moss. Both are listed as all natural. They are easy to tell the difference though. The undyed is perfectly safe, the jury is out on the other.

Hiawatha Moss

Hiawatha Moss

Hiawatha Moss

Hiawatha moss is grown naturally in the Pacific Northwest. 100% natural terrarium moss is great for amphibians and reptiles that inhabit moist environments. The moss holds moisture, generating higher levels of humidity that is beneficial for tropical and forest species.


Sheet (Hypnum) Moss

Sheet Moss

Sheet Moss



Sheet moss or Hypnum moss is transplantable and may be a moss you could coax into growing live in your crabitat.
Exo Terra is selling Forest Moss which is actually Plume moss and I’ve used it in my tank with no issues.

The Exo Terra Forest Moss Tropical Terrarium Substrate is real compressed moss grown in tropical Asia. This ecological substrate is ideal for increasing humidity in the terrarium and is totally safe for frogs, salamanders and burrowing or digging animals. The Exo Terra Forest Moss Tropical Terrarium Substrate is extremely absorbent and is recommended in humidifying shelters such as the Exo Terra Snake Cave or Reptile Cave. It is also an ideal egg-laying or incubation medium.

ExoTerra Forest Moss (Plume Moss)

ExoTerra Forest Moss (Plume Moss)



Sphagnum moss
Used in the floral industry to line wire baskets and make wreaths. It is the LIVING moss that grows on top of a sphagnum bog. This is a safe moss.

Don’t forget the moss – Naturally Crabby


FAQ Why can’t I use tap water?

Prime Water Conditioner

Why can’t I use tap water for my hermit crabs? Prime Water Conditioner

All water that comes in contact with your hermit crab must be dechlorinated. Most cities add chlorine to their water supply. Some add chlorine and chloramines to the water. Unless you have contacted your water department and determined if they use both, you should use a treatment to remove both. In the past, it was enough to let water sit out for 24 hours so the chlorine could evaporate out. That no longer is sufficient because chloramines will never evaporate out nor ammonia. A bottle of water treatment will last for years.

Stresscoat should NOT be added to your crabs water.

Chlorine and chloramines cause burning on the gills of a hermit crab and will eventually kill the crab.

Here is a list of just a few of the chemicals routinely added to our water supply:

  • Liquified chlorine
  • Fluorosilicic acid
  • Aluminium sulphate
  • Calcium hydroxide
  • Sodium silicofluoride

Typical Tap Water Content:

  • Chlorine
  • Fluorine compounds
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Salts of:
    • arsenic
    • radium
    • aluminium
    • copper
    • lead
    • mercury
    • cadmium
    • barium
    • Hormones
    • Nitrates
    • Pesticides

Prime water conditioner’s shelf life is indefinite, as long as the Prime stays away from direct heat or cold, the components will not break down or degrade. Even very old bottles of Prime are still safe and effective. Safe water can be made in clean milk jugs and stored for months so long is the water is kept in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

http://freshlysqueezedwater.org.uk/waterarticle_watercontent.php

The importance of the right kind of salt

written by Jennifer Nielsen

Freshwater aquarium salt is not the same as marine or ocean salt

Freshwater aquarium salt is not the same as marine or ocean salt

The existence of an ocean water dish is a source of great controversy in the world of hermit crab owners. Why the importance of this type of water is rarely debated, it seems that the products used in the creation of Ocean Water are the source of much debate. Just as all hermit crab owners know not to use table salt for their crabs, there are two types of salt available for aquarium use. Fresh Saltwater as well as Ocean Water Salt, which although made of the same components have vastly different role within the world of fish keeping.

A saltwater dish is offered as a means for hermit crabs in captivity to gain access to the ocean with in the habitat. In the wild, a hermit crab would normally crawl down to the sea side to get sea water to help balance the ph/ion levels within their shells. However, in the man-created environment within the habitat, this cannot happen unless a human is providing this type of water. The product used to create this water is of critical importance for this reason, plus in case of injury, salt water is also naturally defecting that will assist in healing of wounds. Hermit Crabs have been known to be seen soaking an injured claw within the salt water pond. Also, molts tend to go a better in the habitats where salt water is readily available.

In order to understand the difference in the product lines, we need to see what Natural Sea Water (NSW) is composed of. The first ingredient is salt of course. However, it also contains about 70 other trace chemicals within it. So while the primary ingredient is in fact common salt (NaCl) there is also several other elements which are key to the composition of Ocean Water. The major components in addition to Chlorine and Sodium are Magnesium, Sulfur/Sulphur, Calcium, and Potassium. Also, common minor components are Bicarbonate, Bromine, Strontium and Silicon. These are considered to be essential to the creation of artificial salt water. This is in addition to other elements, which are in lower amount but found in NSW, such as Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Fluorine/Fluoride, Iodine/Iodide, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Phosphorus/Phosphate, Selenium, Tin, Vanadium and Zinc. Also it is important to note that in the creation of artificial ocean water mixes also tend to be over in Nitrogen/Hydrogen, Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus as well as Silcon. So offering just one of these elements, such as just the salt, is not truly providing a Salt Water, for several ingredients are missing from the equation.

Now, this is not to say that the salinity level found around the world is stable. Factors such as weather, heat, and location are also factors in the composition of salt water. The Dead Sea is in fact the saltiest body of water in the world. Water located around the equator is also saltier than that which is found in the arctic. While this could be important to different varieties of Hermit Crabs, that is a subject for more research to find out which products mimic different water conditions world wide.

Ocean or Marine salt is required by hermit crabs

Ocean or Marine salt is required by hermit crabs

Freshwater Salt is designed to primarily be a treatment of illness in fish. Specifically, freshwater fish can tolerate low slowly introduced salt in their water. Natural Freshwater does contain salt, but compared to the amounts found in NSW water, the volume of this is significantly lower. Products designed with only this purpose in mind, tend to lack the other elements found in Sea Water. The same is true for cooking salt made from evaporated ocean water. For while the salt is sea salt, it is lacking the other components that make ocean water what it is.

Ocean Water salts, however, provide not only the salt needed but the other components as well. In fact, the label Ocean Water mixes might be a better term for these products because of the fact that they are not just containing one part of the water, but a variety of components that are found in NSW. For the Aquarist who keeps salt water tanks, this is of critical importance to their pets. Therefore, they tend to go with mixes that are more than just salt. In trying to offer Hermit Crabs ocean ponds, it is important that a mix with true composition closest to NSW is used which is why ocean water salt is preferred over Freshwater Salt.

Websites used to provide information in this article are:

Gore on Salinity
Dead Link-Page not Found See archive of webpage here.
Sea Salt mixes

Brands of salt to look for:

  1. Instant Ocean
  2. Oceanic
  3. Red Sea Salt
  4. Fluval Sea Salt
  5. Coralife
  6. Tetra Marine