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by Stacy

Which types of moss are safe for my hermit crabs?

February 22, 2014 in Crabitat, FAQ

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.

Note that the TERRARIUM MOSS currently being sold at Petco is Sphagnum moss so be sure to read the labels!

Zoo Med Terrarium Moss is Sphagnum

Zoo Med Terrarium Moss is Sphagnum


Sphagnum Moss/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. 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.”





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

SUE 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


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.


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

Sheet Moss

Sheet Moss


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by Stacy

FAQ Why can’t I use tap water?

February 18, 2014 in FAQ

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. A bottle of water treatment is under $5.00 and will last for years. This is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Stresscoat is also a dechlorinator. Stresscoat should NOT be added to your crabs drinking water.

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

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by Stacy

What are the common species of Land Hermit Crabs kept as pets?

February 21, 2013 in Biology, FAQ

The most common species kept as pets are:

C. brevimanus Wrinkled Land Hermit Crab

C. cavipes Concave Land Hermit Crab

C. cylpeatus Carribeans (commonly known as PurplePincers)

C. compressus Pacific Hermit Crabs (commonly known as Ecuadoreans/E’s)

C. perlatus Strawberry Land Hermit Crab

C. rugosa Tawny Land Hermit Crab

C. variabilis Aussie Hermit Crabs (commonly known as CrazyCrabs)

C. sp. Calico Crab (India)

For pictures of the above species, please refer to Coenobita Species.

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by Stacy

FAQ A Close Look At Salt Products

October 16, 2012 in FAQ, Food and Nutrition

Hermit crab enthusiast Jennifer Nielsen compares several brands of sea salt mix in this article.

Written by Jennifer Nielsen (aka redjln)

While many hermit crab owners realize the importance of providing Ocean Water to their pets, there is a question over which type and which specific product is the best. To answer this, I got Instant Ocean and Reef Crystals enriched blend by Aquarium Systems, Doc Wellfish’s Aquarium Salt, and Aquarium Salt by Jungle. I have gotten a container of Distilled Water to test the products in.

Now, I will disclaim right now that I do not have access to a laboratory of equipment. All I have to test with is a test kit by the name of Marine Master Saltwater test kit. This test kit was not the most expensive, not the cheapest. The test kit can test for pH, Nitrite, Ammonia, and Nitrate. Nitrate/Nitrite is both forms of Nitrogen that is on its way to be coming ammonia. Too much of both of these are deadly to both humans and animals, but are the final stages of the breakdown of waste products from living things. This is a critical part of marine fish keeping, and which is why it was included in the test kit. However for the sake of Hermit Crabs which consume the water, and the fact that nothing is living in this water, testing for pH is the only test that is logical.

What pH is defined as is a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen and hydroxide ions, as well as measures how acidic or alkaline it is. The scale ranges from zero to fourteen. Seven is the ideal number for that is neutral. Less than seven is an acidic solution, and greater than seven is alkaline solution. A good ocean water mix should have between 8.0 and 8.3 pH as that is what the ocean’s pH is. For the sake of this test, I am using this as means to discover if anything else is present in any of the waters.

I also got an inexpensive hydrometer for this testing. What a hydrometer is a means of measuring the amount of salt in water. Natural Sea Water is about 3.5%, yet this is affected by a variety of factors including water temperature. According to my research, marine tank owners tend to want their salinity to be between 1.021-1.024 and since the marine tank owners animals live in imitation ocean water I defer to the range that believe to be best. It has to be tested within a container that allows for the meter to float, which with it being a rather long glass tube posed it own challenges. Eventually I found containers that would work and they were boiled to sterilize them.

For a truly fair test, I decide to use distilled water. Distilled water is water that has no additives in it. Unlike tap or well water which will have minerals or other items in it which I figured could effect the results, I decided to go with as pure of water that I could find.

The first thing about The Doc Wellfish and Jungle products is terms such as “General Tonic and Stress reducers” or “Tropical Fish Treatment or with a remedy” on the packages. The Jungle product even gives a nice set of instructions on how to use this product to clean the tank. Neither the Jungle nor Doc Wellfish products truly give a method of creating ocean water. Which is what the hermit crabs are in of needed. Now the Instant Ocean product just explains that it comes close to being a natural ocean environment. Crystal Reefs also makes the same claims, but that their product also has added calcium.

The looks of the products vary. Doc Wellfish salt is shaped like large crystals. The Jungle Product has smaller crystal. However the Crystal Reef product has tiny crystals and Instant Ocean is a powder. From the standpoint of having to dissolve these products, Instant Ocean would appear to be the easiest to do so with. However, it turns out that all the salts were quickly and easily dissolved, Doc Wellfish only requiring a bit more stirring than the other products in the distilled water.

Now, both Instant Ocean and Reef Crystals give the instructions of a half cup to a gallon of water. There are sixteen cups in a gallon. There sixteen tablespoons in a cup, which meaning eight tablespoons in a half cup. Also there is a ratio of three teaspoons per tablespoon. Now to make a cup of ocean water with these products, I worked out that sixteen cups of water divided by twenty four teaspoons equals about one and half teaspoons. For a cup of water, I would need to use one and a half teaspoons. Now for the Jungle Salt and Doc Wellfish, I figured out that the directions of one tablespoon per five gallons worked out to about less than one-tenth of a teaspoon per cup. Plus, the ratios seemed a bit small, that I was not sure my hydrometer would be able to trace it. So I decided that one quarter of a teaspoon to four cups of water would have to work.

Then containers with the mixtures would also be given a chance to sit overnight to give the salt time to mend with the water and measurements taken. Although the packages claimed that the water would to be pretty much ready to use right away. My research suggested that allowing the water to rest prior to use. Also considering the amounts that most hermit crab owners use, any effects of the ocean water sitting would have an effect. This would show what the levels as if they water had been sitting for a bit. I know that with my thirteen hermit crabs it takes about a week to go through one cup of water.

The first test results were interesting taken after about an hour from the time the water was created. Instant Ocean landed in the center of the 1.020 to 1.030 range. Crystal Reef measured 1.034 to 1.036 ranges. This is higher than the preferred range for salt. Jungle’s salt, in spite of the ratio being higher than what the packaged suggested turned out to be ranking very low salt content of 1.000. Which when I tested my drinking water, is the same amount of this. Doc Wellfish tested to be 1.002. The next day, the hydrometer show no results when I tested the Jungle water. However, the Instant Ocean and Crystal Reef stayed the same with regards to the results I had gotten the day before. I waited a few more days and tried again. The result with Crystal Reef had changed, for the salt level had stabilized within the proper range after four days.

The pH test worked my changing the Ocean Water color. Instant Ocean and Crystal Reef measured a pH of 8.0 after creation and remained stable at this for the next few days. I could not get a reading for the Fresh Water Salt products. They had less than 7.8 pH content in it. The pH for Doc WellFish continued to decrease as well as for the Jungle Product, as I could tell by the color, but was not able to measure with my kit.

I would say the besides the fact the Ocean Water Mixes designed for Marine Tanks do contain more items in it than the products designed for Freshwater tanks. That the fresh water products would require a lot more salt than their packages suggest to create ocean water and are also missing the “something” that cause the pH in the marine products to stabilize. The Jungle Salt even breaks down to not even being in measurable in the water. The fact that Instant Ocean was within range for everything from the start it might be the preferred product to use. Yet, Crystal Reefs could be modified with the addition of some more fresh water to fall within the proper range. However, after sitting four days, it came into range on its own. If I had added the water would have made it back out of range for being too low in salinity.

The main conclusion I came to was that there is something different about the products that are used/designed for Marine Tanks. Something is present in the water that makes the pH stay stable and not decrease. For this reason alone, I advise that people use a Marine Salt mixture, and since most people may not have access to a hydrometer, mix the mixture light so as not to burn the hermit’s gills with too salty of water, considering that tap water also might contain a trace of salt in it.

For further information regarding freshwater salt mixes vs. ocean/sea water mixes that has been recently discovered, please see the end of Ocean Mixes at:
How do I mix ocean water

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by Stacy

FAQ How do I mix ocean water?

October 16, 2012 in FAQ

Special credit thanks to Wendy at Hermit Crabs R Us for compiling and sharing this list!!

After mixing all ocean/sea mixes leave sit for at least 12-24 hours prior to offering to ensure that all the crystals have dissolved.

Crystal Sea Marine mix Bioassy Formula
The site from which I purchased this mix indicates 1/4 lb or 1/3 cup will yield 1 gallon. I found it to only be 1.016 SG when mixed this way. I tested it using 2 different hydrometers-one that was also purchased at the same site as the salt mix. I mixed it using 1/2 cup and got 1.021. (I add an additional tablespoon for my C. Perlatus to raise it 1.023)
* 1 1/2 tsp per 8 oz (1 cup) water
* 1 TBSP per 16 oz (1 pint)
* 2 TBSP per 32 oz (1 quart)
* 4 TBSP per 64 oz (1/2 gallon)
* 8 TBSP per 128 oz (1 gallon)

Instant Ocean
The package indicates to use 1/2 cup (which=8 TBSP) per gallon.
* 1 1/2 tsp per 8 oz (1 cup) water
* 1 TBSP per 16 oz (1 pint)
* 2 TBSP per 32 oz (1 quart)
* 4 TBSP per 64 oz (1/2 gallon)
* 8 TBSP per 128 oz (1 gallon)

Oceanic Natural Sea Salt Mix
The package to make 5 gallons indicates .29 lbs/gallon. I measured the package and it was approximately 2 1/2 cups. Which is 1/2 cup per gallon or 8 TBSP
* 1 1/2 tsp per 8 oz (1 cup) water
* 1 TBSP per 16 oz (1 pint)
* 2 TBSP per 32 oz (1 quart)
* 4 TBSP per 64 oz (1/2 gallon)
* 8 TBSP per 128 oz (1 gallon)

* This is the salt I am currently using and 8 TBSP makes a specific gravity of 1.021. I use an additional tablespoon to raise the specific gravity for my C. Perlatus. I also provide Doc Wellfish crystals in the food dish as well.

Red Sea Salt
The package directions indicate 2.8 lbs. dissolved in 10 US gallons, which is .28 lbs for 1 lb which again is basically the same as Oceanic 1/2 cup per gallon (or 8 TBSP)
* 1 1/2 tsp per 8 oz (1 cup) water
* 1 TBSP per 16 oz (1 pint)
* 2 TBSP per 32 oz (1 quart)
* 4 TBSP per 64 oz (1/2 gallon)
* 8 TBSP per 128 oz (1 gallon)

Tropic Marin Sea Salt
The package instructions indicate 151 grams = 1 gallon. 151gms x .0353 = 5.33 ounces.
5.33oz/8(oz in a cup) = .66 or 2/3 cup per gallon. There are 31.68 or 32 tsp in 2/3 of a cup.
* 2 tsp per 8 oz (1 cup) water
* 4 tsp ( 1TBSP+1tsp) per 16 oz (1 pint)
* 8 tsp ( 2TBSP+2tsp) per 32 oz (1 quart)
* 16 tsp ( 5TBSP+1tsp) per 64 oz (1/2 gallon)
* 32 tsp (10TBSP+2tsp) per 128 oz (1 gallon)

So basically all of the dry salt mixes tend to be 1/2 cup or 8 TBSP per gallon of water. If you are unsure if your sea water is salty enough or too salty you can purchase a hydrometer which measures specific gravity. The specific gravity of sea water varies depending on location, but is generally somewhere between 1.020 and 1.025. To get an accurate result with your hygrometer, the water should be around 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are offering both a de-chlorinated fresh water dish as well as a de-chlorinated salt water dish, you needn’t worry if the mix is too salty. The crabs can adjust their shell water accordingly. If you have C. Perlatus, saltier water is more beneficial as their shell water has been shown to be much higher in salt content than those of other species.
In addition, if the salt water dish is not salty enough, they will need to obtain natural sea salt from other sources such as their diet. One option is to provide a small pile of the Sea salt crystals with their food.
Here is some additional reading about specific gravity (versus salinity)

Saltwater Salinity and Specific Gravity


* CUP tsp TBSP
* ¼————–12——–4
* ½————–24——–8
* 1————–48——–16
* 2————–96——–32

* How many ounces in a:
* 8 cup
* 16 pint
* 32 quart
* 64 1/2 gallon
* 128 Gallon

Conversion Table

Additional information added to Wendy’s compiled Ocean mix, by Marie (aka ladybug15057)

Both the ZooMed Part 2 and HBH hermit crab salt mixes were tested for salinity levels. If mixed per the products instructions, they do not register a salinity level on a hydrometer. Land hermit crabs should be offered an ocean/sea water pond with a salinity level of 1.021-1.024.
ZooMed Part 2 has a yellow dye within it, something a hermit crab does not need within their diet. Within this product, it does not contain an ingredient to remove heavy metals from tap water, as well as ZooMed Part 1 fresh water conditioner does not contain a heavy metal neutralizer.
HBH Hermit crab sea salt Ingredients: sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, potassium iodide
It contains the wrong form of calcium and it contains normal table salt ingredients sodium chloride/ potassium iodide. HBH salt mix also contains a highly corrosive magnesium chloride that is used to stabilize the iodine. (Thanks to SUE, RFCrabs for this information regarding HBH salt mix)
It is not known for fact whether either of these Salt mixes for hermit crabs are made with freshwater salt mix or ocean/sea water mix. This includes the Glub Salt water sold for hermit crabs.
Ocean/sea water elements are different than those of freshwater. Hermit crabs need the elements that are found in ocean/sea water to remain healthy:

Advanced Aquarist Salt Mixes Part 1

Advance Aquarist Salt Mixes Part 2

Salinity GPC EDU

Saltwater Salinity and Specific Gravity Algone

Why is the Ocean Salty Palomar EDU

Sea Salt Mixes- About.com

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by Stacy

FAQ Cost Cutting Tips

October 16, 2012 in FAQ

Written by Travis Wease
Tips for saving money and having a safe crabitat:

First off there are certain things that you can’t really skimp on when it comes to setting up a safe and fun crabitat. Things like a heat source whether it be lights or a UTH, substrate has a cost, although some are cheaper, humidity gauges, temperature gauges, and the tank itself has a cost, but here are some tips to save money and use items that you may already have laying around the house.

1.Look on Craigslist or Freecycle for tanks. Sometimes you can find them at Goodwill or other re-use stores very cheap. Most Wal-Marts sell a 10 gallon tank for 10 dollars, and that is the smallest I would recommend to house Hermit Crabs in.

2.Hidey huts can be made out of a lot of things. You can use a coffee mug turned on its side, a small plastic cup, and what I like to use are small Terra Cotta pots used for plants. Another thought is to buy a coconut from the grocery store and break it in half. Once you have all the milk, and meat out of the coconut you can cut a hole in the half and have a homemade cocohut for your crabs as well as some food for them. Another thing you can make a hidey out of are Lego’s.

3.Decorations are the same way you can use a lot of things to decorate your tank. Silk plants can be used, if you happen to have an aquarium a lot of the decorations for an aquarium can be used in the tank as well. Dollar stores, or Wal-mart, or crafts stores often have hanging vines that can be used with suction cups to hang in the tank as well. Cholla wood can be found in stores as can be used for climbing and the crabs love it and are known to snack on it. Another thing I use is cuttlebone. I stick the whole piece in my tank and the crab can climb on it and it is great calcium for post molters, lava stones are popular as well.

4. Shells can be found at dollar stores, craft stores, Wal-mart, and many online stores a lot of time quite a bit cheaper than you will ever find in a pet store.

5.Food/Diet is one area that you definitely don’t want to neglect but it is also an area you can save money as well. A lot of the foods we eat can be given to the crab as long as no pesticides or preservatives or seasonings of any type have been used. Also no table salt should be used or offered. Many of the fruits and veggies though are great for the crabs and some of their favorites. There are many online stores that sell great food and products and are very reasonably priced and ran by some very good crabbers.

6.Dishes can be made out of just about anything. You can use large clam shells for food or even things like tops of jars like plastic peanut bar jars, small Tupperware bowls, and lids from Tupperware bowls as well.

These are just some areas meant to help save money but there are many others as well. If you know that you or your neighbors do not use pesticides on your yard you can get things from there as well. Oak and maple leaves are very popular with crabs, dandelions are another favorite. Barks from oak and maple trees are great as well. Roly poly bugs can be put in the tank to help keep the substrate clean and don’t bother the crabs. Dollar stores have various containers and baskets that can be used in crabitats for hidey huts and dishes, containers for substrate.

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by Stacy

FAQ Locating an Escaped Hermit Crab

October 16, 2012 in FAQ

Written by Marie Davis

On occasions one may find that when they do an antenna count they seem to be missing a hermit crab? Where possibly could it be? All empty shells have been looked into, including doing the precaution of turning the shells upside down and placing water within them. There have been occasions when a hermit crab has changed shells and fits so far down within it they are impossible to see. By placing water within the shells and turning them hole side up, if the shell moves hole side down a crabber knows there is a resident within it.

Could he be hiding that well in the crabitat? If one has looked within every tank item, including the little crevices some items have, as well as completely sifted through their substrate inch by inch there maybe a chance he has escaped.

Even if one feels this is impossible for the hermit crab to do because none of their crabitat items come close to the top of the tank, unless one has a screen lid to cover the top of the tank it is possible for the hermit crab to have escaped. They are expert climbers and are even capable of climbing the silicone on the inside of the tank corners.

Now the whole inside of the tank has been checked. Each item has been looked at inside including the holes of any and all logs and huts within the tank. The substrate has been gone through as well as all empty shells have been looked into. Hermit Crab count is still missing one.

Look around the outside of the tank, including around the legs of the stand the tank is on. Make sure to check all wiring around the tank and what maybe leading down from the tank. Check under couches, chairs, tables, beds, plants, along the wall of the room and other rooms close by. Check curtains, closets, within shoes, under refrigerators, in bathrooms or where it maybe warm and a bit humid. If you have other pets, check around the water and food dishes.

When it gets to be dusk, place newspaper or aluminum foil along the edges of the wall on the floor. Place some smelly food (eg. Sardines, shrimp, krill, tuna, etc) on the paper/foil as well as a water source. Sit quietly in a very dim room, or a dark room and listen carefully. It may also help if you have a flashlight handy so if you do hear a scooting across the paper/foil you will be able to turn it on and see where the sound is coming from. This method may take a couple of nights for one to find their hermit crab, so one does need to be patient.

Here are a few ideas/tips from other Crab Street Journal members:

Grant wrote:
I imagine you would want to consider their needs and plan from there:
Mine always head for dark areas when I let them roam.
Limit the dark areas to a place you can easily corner them.

Remove all electrical wires from the floor and other things that can be used for climbing to make sure that they stay safely on the ground.

In the dark area(s) set up for them maybe place some food, maybe even a fan to provide a breeze to draw their attention to the area.

If you plan on hanging out and wait: set up some glasses or things that their shell will clank against.

Daethian wrote:
Grant in a research article I was reading last week or so about the amazing sense of smell of hermit crabs, the researchers actually set up large fans at night and the crabs consistently traveled away from the fans. Even when it meant they were travelling away from their home sea. Where without the fan blowing they tended to almost always naturally orient toward their home sea. They can definitely smell ocean water.

CtryLuv wrote:
here are the things I have listed on my site.

* Check dark, damp places, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and closets. They will try to find a place where they feel safe and where there is more warmth and humidity than anywhere else in the house.

* Place a nice smelly food that your crabby enjoys out in the open. Place it on something such as wax paper, tin foil or paper so that when he crawls on it, you can hear him.

* If you have other animals watch them. Cats and dogs are very good at knowing when there is something around that isnt there usually. If they seem to be sniffing around somewhere, or trying to get to an area they dont normally go to, check it out.

* Also check under certain appliances such as refrigerator and washers. These are dark warm places hermies might like.

* Look up high. Alot of people have found their crabbies scaling curtains and drapes. Anything you have that they can climb, check it out.

Not sure if those are just repeats of others listed above, but these are things Ive picked up over the years. Ive only had one escaped crabbie “Bob” and of course he was just strolling across house like he owned it, so he didnt apply to any of the above, but Bob was a macho hermie, hehehehe.

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by Stacy

FAQ What foods are good and bad for hermit crabs?

October 16, 2012 in FAQ, Food and Nutrition

Hermit Crabs are beach scavengers and they can and will eat a wide range of things. General rules:

Avoid chemicals, pesticides, table salt, moldy foods, plants that are toxic to animals.

For a sample list of safe and unsafe foods check out the list below the video.

For hermit crab nutritional needs and the foods that provide them, download the nutritional food chart as a PDF by clicking in the gray box below.

Hermit Crab Nutritional Needs -The Crab Street Journalwm
Hermit Crab Nutritional Needs -The Crab Street Journalwm
Hermit Crab Nutritional Needs -The Crab Street Journalwm.pdf
58.9 KiB

Awesome video of a huge  gathering of Coenobita perlatus eating garbage

Written by Kerie Campbell

Fruits – Fresh or Wrinkly? I’ve read alot about fresh fruits being in their diets, which I use alot of BTW. But I’ve read alot about people putting in fruits that are old and wrinkling up. Is one better than the other?

Answer by: Kerie
Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 7:52 am
The crabs like it fresh, and they like it wrinkled. Mine also like stuff that’s gone mushy from being thawed after freezing. Alternating fresh and older fruit is a good way to vary their diet. The sugars and other compounds like terpenoids in the fruit will tend to change composition and break down for different flavors as the fruit ages. If it’s citrus fruit, though, you should always let it sit until it is wrinkly. The peels contain substances like limonene that act as insect repellents. Limonene breaks down quickly in the fruit peel as it ages, so letting it go wrinkly makes it much more attractive to the crabs. Citrus has compounds in the pith and stringy stuff that are extremely beneficial to crabs, such as beta carotene, and so citrus should be offered them on occasion, in order to promote a healthy diet.

What foods are good for hermit crabs?

Almonds, crushed
Amaranth (Ancient grain – calcium)
Anchovy oil
Apple and natural, unsweetened apple sauce
Barley (calcium)
Bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green or purple)
Bee pollen
Blackberry leaves
Broccoli and leaves
Brown rice, soy, wheat or 7 grain cereal
Brown rice
Carnation flowers
Carrots (carotenoids)
Carrot tops (vit. E)
Cauliflower and leaves
Celery leaves
Chamomile flowers
Chicken bones
Chicken, cooked and unseasoned (smash the bone for marrow access)
Cholla wood
Clover blossoms and leaves
Coconut and coconut oil
Cod liver oil
Collards (calcium)
Cooked eggs
Cork bark
Corn (on the cob, too)
Cranberries (dehydrated)
Cuttlefish bone, powdered
Dandelion flowers, leaves and roots
Egg, scrambled or soft boiled
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fish flakes w/out chemical preservatives
Fish Oil
Flax seeds (crushed)
Flax seed oil (small amounts infrequently)
Frozen fish food (esp. algae, krill and brine shrimp)
Garbanzos (calcium)
Grape Leaf
Grapevine (vines and root)
Green and red leaf lettuce (not iceburg; dark green)
Green Beans
Hempseed Meal
Hibiscus flowers
Hikari products: brine shrimp, krill, crab cuisine, sea plankton (no preservatives)
Honey (organic, or at least locally produced, for anti-microbials)
Honeydew Melon
Irish Moss
Jasmine flowers
Kelp (calcium)
Lobster with crushed exoskeleton
Marigold flowers (calendula)
Marion Berries
Mint (but not peppermint!)
Most organic baby foods
Nasturtium flowers
Nettle (wilted)
Oak Leaves and bark
Olive and olive oil (extra virgin)
Oysters (zinc)
Pansy flowers and leaves
Parsley (calcium & vit. C)
Peanut butter (avoid sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated oils)
Pecan bark
Plain calcium carbonate powder
Popcorn (unseasoned, unflavored, unbuttered)
Potato (no green parts, including eyes)
Quinoa (New World grain – calcium)
Raisins (no sulphur dioxide)
Red raspberry leaves (highest bio available calcium source + vit. C and trace minerals)
Rolled Oats
Rose petals
Rose hips (high in Vit. C)
Royal Jelly
Sand dollars
Sardines (calcium)
Sea biscuits
Sea fan (red or black)
Sea grasses
Sea salt
Sea Sponges
Sesame seeds (crushed)
Shrimp and exoskeletons
Spirulina (complete protein and chlorophyll source; highest in beta carotene)
Sprouts (flax, wheat, bean, alfalfa, etc.)
Strawberry and tops
Sunflower Seeds (crushed), flowers and leaves
Swamp cypress wood (false cypress, taxodium sp.)
Sweet potato
Tuna (zinc)
Turnip greens (calcium)
Violet flowers
Wasa All-Natural? Crispbread (Oat flavor)
Watercress (vit. A)
Wheat grass (magnesium)
Wheat (calcium)
Wheat germ (B vitamins)
Whole Wheat Couscous

* This food list is mainly adapted from Summer Michealson and Stacey Arenella’s book, The All-Natural? Hermit Crab Sourcebook, and expanded on by Julia Crab and others

What foods are bad for hermit crabs?

While it is true that crabs are scavengers with a wide repertoire of foods they can eat, there are many plants and foods that just should not be fed to a crab. The foods on this list are to be avoided. Some are toxic, some are insect repellents or used as insecticides, and some the crabs just won’t go near, such as lemon — lemon won’t hurt them, but they certainly won’t eat it.

Aconite (Monk’s Hood)
African violet leaves
Alder bark
Aloe vera (interferes with potassium absorption)
American Hellebore
Avocado leaves
Bird of Paradise Flowers
Bottlebrush flowers
Carnation leaves
Castor Bean
Cherimoya Seeds
Citrus (leaves and branches to be avoided; part of the evergreen family. The fruit is fine)
Compost (unless 100% organic)
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) (contains cyanogenic glucosides)
Crown of Thorns
Cube Plant
Custard Apple (young fruit)
European pennyroyal
Evergreen (pine, cedar, juniper, etc.)
Golden Pothos
Green hellebore
Holly Berries
Ivy (of any kind)
Juniper Berries
Larkspur seed
Lemon Balm (Sweet Melissa)
Lemon Grass
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Morning Glory
Oxeye daisy
Papaya seed
Parsley Seed (fruit)
Peace Lily
Pencil Tree Cactus
Pine or cedar wood or needles
Prickly juniper
Pride of China fruit
Prunus species trees (apricot, bitter almond, cherry, cherry laurel,
nectarine, peach, plum) Fleshy fruits are edible, everything else
contains a cyanide-like compound and is fatally toxic, including
seeds, wood, leaves, bark and flowers.
Red Emerald
Sago Palm
Stargazer Lily (Lilium x Stargazer)
Sweet Flag
Tea Tree
Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
Wild Angelica fruit

From: The San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society


And other sources

Profile photo of Stacy

by Stacy

FAQ How can I bath my hermit crab?

October 16, 2012 in FAQ

ladybug15057 answered:

If one has the room to offer a pond deep enough that their hermies can completely submerge themselves into, one does not have to bath their hermies.

Even though I do offer the deep ponds for our hermies to submerge in, I do still bath our hermies. This is a post I had done on Hermies Group from November 2005, so it has been over 2 years now since I have used stresscoat in the bath water: (but I did use stresscoat for almost 4 years for bathing)


I have went back to an older post I had done about the way we bath our hermies. Reason being, even though we do still bath our hermies,
it has been almost a year since I have used stresscoat in their bath water and they have been doing very well without it. So when reading this bathing method, please do remember, I no longer use stresscoat.

When we bath our hermies we use almost 1/2 U.S. gallon o> water, and I put 2-3 drops of Stresscoat to the bath water. I do preheat the bath water to take the major chill off of it. (till it is ‘tepid’, not warm, but no major chill to it) I fill the bath bowl until it is deep enough to completely cover the largest hermie of that tank so their antenna’s and eyestalks all get the benefit of the stress coat. (One should never add stress coat to water that has already had a dechlorinator added to it. This is a double dose of a dechlorinator and can be harmful to the hermies.)

We very gently place the hermies in upside down so when they right themselves back up, the water flushes all the gook out of their shells. We leave them in the water scooting about for no more than 1 minute. (no need to do it any longer, good chance they could become stressed over it) We also do this prior to reintroducing our molters to their tank mates again.

There are some crabber’s who do not bath their hermies, but they provide a deep enough water source within their crabitat’s where the hermie can completely submerge themselves and soak in the water, fill their shells, or bath themselves. I will mention that those
who do not bath their hermies will give their molters a dip in the deep water source in their main tank so that molter will smell like
the others, and to help wash off the molt smell which can cause the tank mates to be aggressive to the molter.

However when we do bring the hermies home they are to receive a bath. This helps with a couple of things. Some pet stores will bath their hermies upon arrival with tetracycline water. This is suppose to kill any bacteria’s that the hermies may have, and to rehydrate them. The tetracycline is harmful to the hermies and can actually create more harm to them if not flushed out of their shells. So a bath when they get to our homes does flush this out of their shells. It also helps us to rehydrate the hermies as well, along with checking to see if they have any pests or any other problems/illnesses.

Daethian writes:

Should I bathe my hermit crab?

Well the answer to that depends on who you ask! This could be one of the most hotly debated topics in the crabbing community. I’m not going to give you a answer, but I will try to offer both sides of the argument and you can decide for yourself.

Camp One: Actively bathing their crabs by the flip and dunk method. This entails preparing a bowl of stress coat treated water and placing the crab upside down under water. The crab will, hopefully, pop out and right itself. Thus flushing out the shell of any matter. This is done on a weekly basis by most people who employ this method. The crab should NOT completely abandon its shell during its bath. Leaving its shell is a sign of stress. If one of your crabs exhibits this behaviour, I strongly suggest you discontinue bathing it in this manner.

Camp Two: Actively bathing their crabs by placing them in a shallow dish of water to wade around. Some use stress coat treated water.

Camp Three: Inactively bath their crabs by not really bathing them at all. Offering at all times shallow pools of fresh water and salt water so the crabs can wade in and bathe themselves when they choose to. No stress coat should be added to drinking water.

Pros of Camp One’s method:

* The crab’s shell is kept clean of any fecal matter
* The crab’s exoskeleton is kept supple by the stress coat
* The crab’s seem to enjoy the bath
* The crab’s are move active after a bath
* A bath can help soften the exo prior to a molt
* Requires no additional tank space

Con’s of Camp One’s method:

Hermit Crab Submerged

Hermit Crab Submerged

* The flip and dunk is not natural and causes great stress in the crab
* There is no evidence that stress coat is beneficial (or harmful for that matter)
* The flurry of activity after a bath is really a sign of a panicked and stressed crab
* Bathing too close to a molt can be hazardous
* Disrupts the delicate balance maintained in the shell water by flushing it all out and replacing with unbalanced water

Pro’s of Camp Two’s method:

Hermit Crab Wading

Hermit Crab Wading

* All the same as Camp One, minus the stress of the flip and dunk

Con’s of Camp Two’s method:

* All the same as Camp One, being forced to wade in the water is still stressful

Pro’s of Camp Three’s method:

* This is the most natural approach to bathing
* The crab can clean its shell as needed
* The crab can maintain the balance of shell water

Con’s of Camp Three’s method:

* No exposure to stress coat (again there is no current evidence about the harm or help of using stress coat

My personal opinion is that you should not forcibly bathe your hermit crabs or use stress coat. There is no evidence to prove that stresscoat is even beneficial.If you have purchased new crabs, I suggest you give them ONE bath to make sure they are mite free before placing them in your main tank.

Special credit and thanks to Kerie Campbell for the photo of her Perlatus. This photo is and remains her property.

Originally posted on All Things Crabby the Hermit Crab Care Blog

Profile photo of Stacy

by Stacy

FAQ Is it ok to add stress coat to the salt and drinking water?

October 16, 2012 in FAQ

No. Hermit crabs should not consume stress coat.

Additionally, there is no hard evidence that adding stress coat to bath water benefits the hermit crab. If you prefer to use stress coat it should never be added to the drinking water in your crabitat.

If you do add stress coat to your hermit crab bath water, do not use a separate dechlorinator in the water. The stress coat acts as a dechlorinator. The stress coat will not be able to bond if you use a separate dechlorinator.

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