Articles about hermit crabs that don’t fall into other categories.

Pet Expo 2017 here we come!

That’s right kids we’re going to the Pet Expo again this year!! Thanks to a very generous donation from an amazing couple the expo is fully paid for!! I am so excited! I hope some of you nearby have a chance to come see us. Should be in early November. From the bottom of our crabby little hearts we thank you for your donations and for being part of our community!

Where is all of the water coming from?

flooded substrate

Photo credit Jeanne Singhass – flooded substrate

A couple years ago when we created our Facebook group to go along with our website I was shocked to find so many people with flooding issues and bacterial blooms in their crabitats. The response to this was a false bottoms.  In 14 years of crab keeping I’ve never encountered this, so it’s on my mind all the time…where is all the water coming from?

I think I may be on the path to the root cause – overly wet substrate at the beginning.

When you take sandcastle wet sand, add wet ecoearth, add bubbler pools and heat and it’s no wonder the humidity in tank skyrockets and stays there. And it’s no wonder the tank floods, all that excess water has to go somewhere after the substrate becomes completely saturated.

When temperatures fluctuate outside of the tank, condensation can occur. Condensation in the tank is going to end up in the substrate, wetting the ecoearth even more. Ecoearth gets warm when it’s wet, have you noticed that? Hot, soggy tank = disaster.

Prior to my house fire I had my 150 gallon set up and had switched from exclusively using overheat lights to using lights with heat pads. I also put in larger pools and one with a filter, in a segmented section of my tank with Growstone around it. This was to monitor for pool leaks but that never occurred.

Before long I could tell my substrate was getting wetter. Algae was beginning to grow on my cork wall divider a few inches below the surface. My humidity was in range but that was likely because I was still using my overhead light hoods at the time and they burn off a lot of humidity.

After the fire I set up my 150 gallon with dry sand. It wasn’t dusty dry but it was pretty close. I chose to use only one thin layer of dry ecoearth and instead added in some coarse chunks of coconut shell. Eco earth was originally added to help the sand retain moisture, now it may be overkill. This decision was based on @Lisa Dawson ’s flood which was trigger by extreme Australian heat causing her tank to overheat and sweat, then the ecoearth got warm and she ended up with a nightmare in her beautiful crabitat. My tank has two LARGE filtered, waterfall pools.

In the photo below you can see how the moisture is creeping down through the layers of sand. I’m sure the sand around the pools is wetter from splashing and minor spills during cleaning.

The tank has been set up about three months now and successful molts are occurring. My humidity is stable, not climbing over 80% unless we have an unusually warm winter day. I will try to take additional photos in the coming months. I don’t know how long it will take the sand to get saturated at the current rate, hopefully never if my humidity stays controlled. After bringing the lights inside the tank my humidity has dropped to the lower end of the safe range at times. I am thinking of bringing the pools up higher when everyone is above ground so that I can add more sand (miscalculation at set up). I will use dry sand again and that should give me some additional information to work with.

So I’m presenting my suggestions for modifications in our instructions for setting up the substrate for further discussion. Those suggestions are as follows.

  • When setting up your tank don’t add water to the sand. My sand felt dry but in reality had enough moisture to pack right out of the bag.
  • Wet sand should be dried before adding to the tank.  
  • Mix up your ecoearth far enough in advance to allow it to dry out completely before mixing into your sand.
  • If you are installing bubbler or filtered pools I don’t think you will ever have to wet the sand. If your humidity comes up to the safe range after a few days, the sand will absorb moisture from the air.
  • If you are using standard pools (deep enough but no bubbler/filter) you might have to lightly mist the top layer of sand to get things going.

Obviously it is much easier to correct a substrate that is too dry than it is to correct a substrate that is too wet. I don’t agree that it is beneficial to the hermit crabs to allow the substrate to become completely saturated.

We have never recommended extremely high humidity. 90%+ humidity coupled with already saturated substrate will result in a tank flood if maintained at that level for too long.

2018 update: The 150 gallon tank has had no issues, many successful molts. My 75 gallon vertical tank was set up using dry sand only in 2017. The sand in this tank is about 16 inches deep. The tiny crabs in this tank are able to dig deep and form caves.

75 gallon vertical tank started with dry sand May 2017

75 gallon vertical tank started with dry sand May 2017

75 gallon vertical tank started with dry sand May 2017

75 gallon vertical tank started with dry sand May 2017

CSJ has also officially changed it’s stance on mixing moss INTO your substrate, read more about that. 

Note: cross posted on my personal blog (All Things Crabby)as well as our Facebook group to encourage discussion.

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Four new Local Reps join the team!

LocalRepThe Land Hermit Crab Owners Society is thrilled to announce the addition of FOUR new Local Representatives!

Mary is joining us from Tennessee. Her super power is search. If the answer is out there, she will find it. She is a Facebook moderator for our group.

Pam is joining us from Pennsylvania. She is part of the Hermit Emergency Response Team and contributes content to CSJ. She moderates our Google+ community

Amber is joining us from Western Canada. She is a our food guru and also contributes content to CSJ and the Coenobita Species site.

Anne is joining us from North Carolina. She is part of the Hermit Emergency Response Team and moderates our Facebook group. She frequently assists with gathering or compiling of information for our many projects.

These ladies are a great asset to the community so please join me in welcoming them to their new role.

Interested in becoming a Local Rep?

Welcome Max the first Junior Local Rep!

The Land Hermit Crab Owners Society is happy to announce our very first Junior Local Representative Max!

The Junior Local Rep program is a mentoring program for hermit crab owners between the ages of 13 and 18 who fully understand the importance of proper care and embrace the LHCOS/CSJ mission. We have a very high level of expectation for this program and Max has worked hard to earn his new title.

Max is very active on Instagram and Youtube, devoting his time to helping other hermit crab owners provide better care. Max is the king of hermit crab DIY and you can see his work over on his YouTube Channel. Max also participates on the CSJ forums and in the LHCOS Facebook group so if you see him around be sure to congratulate him!

His hermit crab website:

2016-11-16-15-59-41 2016-11-16-15-59-51

Adoption Program Beta

Welcome to the Land Hermit Crab Owners Society hermit crab adoption program! We are hoping this process will be a little more efficient for everyone.  

Our adoption program is open worldwide and we don’t exclude anyone simply for not being part of our Facebook group or a member of The Crabstreet Journal.  

Placing hermit crabs for adoption:

Fill out this form:

We will do our best to find an adopter close to you but there is no guarantee.  Please note most adopters expect the adoption to be free.

To become a forever home adopter, a temporary foster home or a transport assistant for adoptions/rescues:

Fill out this form:

  • Adopter – All hermit crabs adopted will remain with me
  • Foster – Hermit crabs fostered by me will be kept with me until a forever home is located
  • Transport assistant – I am willing to drive to meet someone to pick up or deliver hermit crabs involved in an adoption or foster transaction.

A minimum standard of care must be observed in order to be approved. We will work with you to improve anything that is not up to standard to help you get approved. We do require adopters to be at least 18 years old. Please use care and caution when arranging in person hand offs and make your own personal safety the top priority.

If you are on Facebook we have added a page for hermit crab adoptions (please like and share to help us reach more potential adopters).

Adopters Map

Pet Expo 2016 Wrap Up

Overall the expo was a huge success! Both days brought a steady flow of people past our booth. We were located right next to the only concessions. Because of this I wanted to take advantage of people lingering so I set up a monitor with a playlist from Youtube on a loop.  I also hung the facts and myths on the back drape so people would be able to read them while waiting in line.

The first day I encourage people to pick up our activity sheets and some did. The second day I handed them out and ended up giving away ALL of them!  I had some remaining crab hat beanies and I gave those away for free to the kiddos. The actual caresheets weren’t as interesting to visitors as the food guides I had on hand. People were shocked by all the things a hermit crab can and will eat. Everyone loved the story of my Indo wheel walker (hamster wheel). The second day I gave away nearly all of the food samples I received from Isopod Connection. If the visitor told me they had hermit crabs, I gave them some food. I also sent some with the petstore employees. The isopods drew a fair amount of interest too.

I tried to keep a rough count of the people who at least lingered long enough to read our signs but that quickly became hard to keep up with. I spent so much time talking that I was quite exhausted both nights. Even when I took a break my helper was talking to someone when I returned. My binder with the expanded care booklet was a great reference for people looking to buy shells and food.  It’s unfortunate more stores were not interested in participating. This show is the most popular in the Amazing Pet Expos series (nationwide) and sells out every year.  I haven’t seen the actual number of attendees yet but they expected 25,000.

I was invited to attend two local reptile shows that happen in alternating months. I plan to do this but not in the next few months. I need to get my living situation sorted out first.

So many people thanked me for being there with a message of education, it was amazing! There was so much positive feedback from people that had no particular interest in hermit crabs but were pet lovers and clearly understood that education and awareness are so important. This more than anything gave me hope and told me I had made the right decision. More than one person stopped by on Sunday to tell me how much they had learned from me! To say I ended the weekend with a full heart would be an understatement.

Who I met

I met lots of families, a senior hermit crab owner, a senior pet owner wondering if a hermit crab would be good for her as she ages, teachers, parents of teachers, pet store employees, vet techs, hermit crab owners (young and old).

I spoke to a couple parents who were thinking of getting hermit crabs for their child. I was honest and told them that most kids would quickly get bored. I shared with them that many people who join our community are parents who inherited their kids hermit crabs.

A woman in her 60’s was thinking about a low needs pet after her elderly dog passes. She took lots of information after we discussed how easy a hermit crab would be for her once she had the tank all set up.

Two different employees from the same store stopped to see me (one on each day). They said a customer told them the calci sand they were using is dangerous. Both girls were upset and eager to improve the hermit crab tank. They both stayed and spoke with me at length about what they could do differently. I armed them with info and offered to come to the store to help if need be. Awesome people!

I met some of our existing members and followers too which was so cool!

Small world story… one of our newest members is friends with Kay from the MARR group that was next to me with the beautiful Rotties.

One darling little girl wanted to hear all about the bad side of painted shells. She listened to every word and was so angry. She is going to be a fierce voice for animals as she grows up!  All of the kids picked up my shells to listen for the ocean, so adorable and unexpected.

What I would do differently

I would potentially like a bigger booth or a corner booth so I could make use of the second table. I can see how I might re-arrange things a bit differently as well. I tried to pay attention to what people were drawn to.

Put the words HERMIT CRABS somewhere big and immediately visible. I could tell that people were not instantly aware what my booth was about.  The fact/myths signs didn’t always catch their attention if they were focused on the table and tank.

Next show I will plan to bring some live hermit crabs with me. Now that I know I can get electricity and keep them warm it will be ok.  People were disappointed by my empty shell in the 5 gallon trick. 🙂

I would definitely bring some shells to sell and some food. People were really interested in the worms, acorns, greensand and my samples from Isopod Connection. I forgot to bring worm castings!

I would create a slideshow instead of the full videos. The videos really need an annotation so that people know right away what they are watching otherwise they were not drawn in.  A slideshow might work better.

I will be printing some photos of the dangers of painted shells and putting them on display. People were horrified by the process so for those that don’t stop to talk the photos would get the message across.

A simple game for kids might draw them in. The booth next to me had a wheel that you could spin for $1 and get a random prize. That seems simple and I could probably give away a shell or a packet of food…something along that line.

CSJ stickers to hand out to the kids might work well in addition to the activity pages.

Next time I will definitely print a few caresheets for petstores.

There wasn’t a ton of interest in the species poster but that might be different at the reptile shows. I was thinking of offering a few shirts for sale but not sure if it’s worth the upfront investment and maybe I should just make a catalog of designs for sale.

If you visited me at the show, thank you! I hope I was helpful and answered your questions. Speaking to humans is not exactly my comfort zone. 😀

I posted a few short videos each day on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope if you are interested.

Periscope: crabstreet

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Spirals In Time Book

Spirals in Time

Spirals in Time

Product Name: Spirals in Time

Product Manufacturer: Bloomsbury Publisher

Where it was purchased: Amazon

When it was purchased: 7/29/2016

Price: $13.00

Do you feel this product is a good value for the price: Yes

Would you recommend this time: Yes

Why or Why Not: This book is so well written that you do not have to be an expert to understand some of the most fascinating things about seashells beyond sea creatures using them. Helen Scales writes so the average reader can understand and you want to read more and more after each chapter. She covers so many interesting topics of the seashell. I found it very interesting of the many ways shells have been used and how far back the sea shell as been around. I really enjoyed this book.

Reviewer: Pam L.

Support CSJ by purchasing this item on Amazon:

Amber M

Before finding this group I thought I knew a lot and was doing everything right. Boy was I wrong!
They helped me create not only a home for my crabs that would keep them happy and healthy, but that is aesthetically pleasing. Something that is front and center in my home, not hidden away in a corner or closed off room.
The many years of past research and ongoing research and willingness to change care guidelines based on new studies makes me confident that I will always be on top of their care and I will have them as part of the family into old age.
The outreach and community education done by the group really makes a difference. It’s more than just a website, or a Facebook group. It’s a community that I’m proud to be a part of 🙂

Submitted August 14, 2016


15th birthday giveaway

October 17, 2016 CSJ turns 15!

October 17, 2016 CSJ turns 15!

That’s right! We are turning 15 years old October 17, 2016! To celebrate we are giving away a prize pack with a minimum value of $100. To enter this giveaway simply submit a testimonial about The Crab Street Journal.

All entries must be in by MIDNIGHT CST on October 17, 2016

One entry per person. Duplicate entries will not be counted.

Contest open to all – we will ship your prized internationally.*

Stores interested in donating products for our prize pack please Contact Us

*Items banned by customs will be replaced for acceptable items at our discrection prior to shipping