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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 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
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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?

Alfalfa
Almonds, crushed
Amaranth (Ancient grain – calcium)
Anchovy oil
Apple and natural, unsweetened apple sauce
Avocado
Banana
Barley (calcium)
Bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green or purple)
Bee pollen
Bilberries/Huckleberries
Blackberry leaves
Blackberry
Bladderwrack
Blueberries
Broccoli and leaves
Brown rice, soy, wheat or 7 grain cereal
Brown rice
Canteloupe
Carnation flowers
Carrots (carotenoids)
Carrot tops (vit. E)
Cauliflower and leaves
Celery leaves
Chamomile flowers
Chard
Cherimoya
Cherry
Chicken bones
Chicken, cooked and unseasoned (smash the bone for marrow access)
Cholla wood
Cilantro
Clams
Clover blossoms and leaves
Coconut and coconut oil
Cod liver oil
Collards (calcium)
Cooked eggs
Cork bark
Corn (on the cob, too)
Cornmeal
Cranberries (dehydrated)
Cucumber
Currants
Cuttlefish bone, powdered
Dandelion flowers, leaves and roots
Egg, scrambled or soft boiled
Eggshells
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
Grapes
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)
Kiwi
Lobster with crushed exoskeleton
Mango
Marigold flowers (calendula)
Marion Berries
Mint (but not peppermint!)
Most organic baby foods
Mushrooms
Mussels
Nasturtium flowers
Nettle (wilted)
Oak Leaves and bark
Olive and olive oil (extra virgin)
Oranges
Oysters (zinc)
Pansy flowers and leaves
Papaya
Parsley (calcium & vit. C)
Passionfruit
Peaches
Peanut butter (avoid sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated oils)
Pears
Pecans
Pecan bark
Pineapple
Plain calcium carbonate powder
Popcorn (unseasoned, unflavored, unbuttered)
Potato (no green parts, including eyes)
Quinoa (New World grain – calcium)
Raisins (no sulphur dioxide)
Raspberry
Red raspberry leaves (highest bio available calcium source + vit. C and trace minerals)
Rolled Oats
Rooibus
Rose petals
Rose hips (high in Vit. C)
Royal Jelly
Salmon
Sand dollars
Sardines (calcium)
Scallops
Sea biscuits
Sea fan (red or black)
Sea grasses
Sea salt
Sea Sponges
Sesame seeds (crushed)
Shrimp and exoskeletons
Spinach
Spirulina (complete protein and chlorophyll source; highest in beta carotene)
Sprouts (flax, wheat, bean, alfalfa, etc.)
Squash
Strawberry and tops
Sunflower Seeds (crushed), flowers and leaves
Swamp cypress wood (false cypress, taxodium sp.)
Sweet potato
Tangerine
Tomato
Tuna (zinc)
Turnip greens (calcium)
Violet flowers
Walnuts
Wasa All-Natural? Crispbread (Oat flavor)
Watercress (vit. A)
Watermelon
Wheat grass (magnesium)
Wheat (calcium)
Wheat germ (B vitamins)
Whitefish
Whole Wheat Couscous
Zucchini

* 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)
Amaryllis
American Hellebore
Anemone/Windflower
Aniseed
Avocado leaves
Azalea/Rhododendron
Bindweed
Bird of Paradise Flowers
Bluebonnet
Bottlebrush flowers
Bougainvillea
Boxwood
Buckthorn
Buttercup
Carnation leaves
Castor Bean
Catnip
Cherimoya Seeds
Chrysanthemum
Cinnamon
Citrus (leaves and branches to be avoided; part of the evergreen family. The fruit is fine)
Columbine
Compost (unless 100% organic)
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) (contains cyanogenic glucosides)
Crocus
Crown of Thorns
Cube Plant
Custard Apple (young fruit)
Cyclamen
Delphinium
Derris
Dieffenbachia
Dill
Dittany
Eucalyptus
European pennyroyal
Evergreen (pine, cedar, juniper, etc.)
Feverfew
Fleabane
Garlic
Geranium
Golden Pothos
Green hellebore
Hemlock
Holly Berries
Ivy (of any kind)
Juniper Berries
Kalanchoe
Larkspur seed
Laurel
Lavender
Lemon Balm (Sweet Melissa)
Lemon Grass
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Mayweed
Mistletoe
Morning Glory
Oleander
Onion
Oxeye daisy
Papaya seed
Parsley Seed (fruit)
Peace Lily
Pencil Tree Cactus
Peppermint
Philodendron
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
Rosemary
Sago Palm
Sanseveria
Schefflera
Stargazer Lily (Lilium x Stargazer)
Sweet Flag
Tansy
Tea Tree
Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
Thornapple
Thyme
Tobacco
Verbena
Vinca
Wild Angelica fruit
Wormwood
Yew
Yarrow

From: The San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society

http://www.sdturtle.org/Plants%20that%20Poison.htm

And other sources

Avatar of Stacy

by Stacy

FAQ Should I feed my hermit crab meat?

September 28, 2012 in FAQ, Food and Nutrition

This is a compilation of forum posts from our old site.

Rachelrmf

I really was not all that big on the meat thing untill i came here and read that so many of you feed alot of meets. So i have alway put a little crab or shrimp or tuna in for them, but just every once in a while. So I was wondering is it on a daily basis that you should feed the meat. I have been changeing out fresh every day but can’t really tell about how much of it they are eating because they like to party at night so the food is everywhere. And also how often do you change out the differant meets. I don’t want to upset their little tummys and i know they are not close to dogs, but with dogs it can upset them a little. Well as far as that goes i guess how often do you change out all your foods. For me every week they get 3 sets of choices greens, leaves, seaweed and then on fruit mango, fresh coconut,bannana and on meat oyster,tuna,sardine treats are nuts and rosehipp. Should i be adding in better things for them? I do have to say they eat better than i do as far as fresh wholesome foods! Lol

SUE wrote:

rachelrmf, this is a good question, and one that is continually evolving based on what is observed and coming to be known in terms of what constitutes a robust diet for crabs. I am going to provide a breakdown of the specific food groups and what they are generally good for. Note that I will not have included ALL the foods in the category, and some categories overlap in one or 2 areas too. I try to offer daily a food from each group. I used to also leave home made dry kibble, worrying that they do not all eat at the same time or each thing (which they don’t) but I have a lot of crabs, and I have learned for my herds, the general proportions to offer. I have stopped leaving dry goods in at all times, and find that their foraging is better, and I waste less food! I still feed them dry goods daily, just minimally, and I usually sprinkle it on something that it will stick to like juicy fruit or vegetables. This is something I do because I have tested and offered these foods to the crabs in trial alone before! Here is the list:

Scientists evaluate that crabs use a natural selection imprint to prevent themselves from eating only one type of food source and thus harm themselves with not getting all food resources needed. They are also imprinted to ignore foods that have been smelled or eaten within a 9 -14 hour period of time, and one of the reasons relying on commercial foods is so dismally inadequate. They are not of the type of animal that relies only on one type ofr food like protein, or vegetation or calcium, etc. They must have a robust combination of all of them! Many of the foods must support their ability to metabolize to their environment (heat, humidity, light, growth) and they require a balance of ALL these types of food resources (some more at specific times like pre-molt, or PPS) in order to thrive. These groups are classed in the following way and I will include why:

Protein and lipids: this is for energy to grow, forage, reduce competition or minimize cannibalism which more frequently occurs in captivity. Foods in this class are:

meats, fish like silver sides, gold fish, clams, oyster; bone marrow (all meats including poultry), nut meats (many also fall in the omega fats group) salmon skin(including fat). Some vegetation like avocado meat (only) and bamboo stalks. (which also provide Cellulose, high energy)

Carotenoids, zeaxanthin and cellulose: these foods are necessary to assist the crabs metabolic functions of calcium absorption, processing of minerals, and coloring an individual crab has (darkens pigments). It also improves the crab’s immune system and nervous system functionality.Foods in this class are:

tannin rich leaves, bark, cambium (inner branch skins) of plants like oak, maple, mangrove root, some perennial leaves; fresh fruits and vegetables that are orange, yellow, red or dark green (i.e. squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, natural corn, mango, blue berries, etc); many flower petals (dry), spinach, foliage, bean sprouts, seaweed: spirulina in particular, reptile moss (from pet store) etc.

Carbohydrates: these foods are quick energy foods that will help your crab by immediately fueling them but saving their “stored” reserves necessary for metabolic function. Foods in this group include:

grapes, apple, honey, wheat germ, oatmeal, dried fruit (raisins mostly due to Copper sulfate use in others), banana, pineapple, citrus pulp (inner membrane of skin considered cellulose).

Omega fats: this food group is very important and is totally missed in commercial food formulations unless they are frozen foods! These are necessary for nervous system, exo-skeletal health and processing of carotenoids and other minerals. If there are deficiencies in this group it is typically exhibited by molt death (where you are uncertain), a mildewy appearance to the exoskeleton (they look dehydrated), and they are not active! Foods in this group overlap proteinous groups. They include:

Coconut, walnut, whole fish (like a dead gold fish), fish skin, animal fat, olive oil, some grass seeds, seeds, peanut butter, etc. There is a mirade of these suitable, some found in fresh flower petals like roses, sunflower, crab apple blossom, etc. Take a look at the edible plants list at Epicurean Hermit!

Calcium: it is considered superior to provide more than one natural form of calcium! Calcium of course is used mainly for growth of the exoskeleton. Calcium without the support of light and carotenoids will not be properly absorbed by the crab! The acceptable form for supplementation outside of natural forms is Calcium carbonate powder ONLY! Foods containing calcium, will also provide some proteins as well; here are the main foods ideally used:

freeze dried brine shrimp, meal worms, blood worms, krill (fresh, frozen or freeze dried), shrimp tails, sand dollars, powdered oyster shell, cuttle bone, broccoli heads, milk.

extra resources relating to the above: http://www.epicurean-hermit.com and http://hermitcrabcuisine.com (this site lists specific food groups for each food)

[i][b][color=FF3300]Steam all shell fish prior to offering to hermit crabs![/color][/b][/i]

Avatar of Stacy

by Stacy

FAQ Are gold/feeder fish safe to feed hermit crabs?

September 28, 2012 in FAQ, Food and Nutrition

This is a compilation of forum posts from our old site.

To date we have not confirmed whether diseases fish may have can be passed onto hermit crabs.

Sat Mar 05, 2005
Ladycrab wrote:
Bought some gold fish for the hermies. Froze them last night just need to know if they need to be prepared any special way before serving them???

Julia_Crab wrote:
There’s a bit of controversy afoot about the goldfish method right now. Freezing is a great way to kill any bacteria that might have affected the crabs, if any, though. I’m still not convinced that crabs can be affected by bacteria in the food, but I’m waiting to hear back from a scientist about it.

Thaw your fish and soak them well in some ocean water, then just serve. This is one food you may want to remove promptly in the morning, as it can get smelly. Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat it the first time, either. Sometimes it takes them a couple of tries to catch on.

kvh4 wrote:
I would rinse them in declor water and then soak them like Kali_ma said. I know that store employees are SUPPOSED to treat the water these fish are in, but I know for certain that some stores don’t care, and so a lazy or incompetant employee can mean feeding clorine to your crabs.

They hire just about anyone these days….

ladybug15057 wrote:
Freezing does not kill all bacteria’s, but boiling for 5 minutes does.
(but won’t remove any chemials used that may be on/in the fish)

Julia_Crab wrote:
The theory that I share with a few others is that aggression problems are mainly caused by nutrient deficiencies, though we are uncertain which one or ones.

I heard about this about a month ago from some other crabbers on another forum. I told a few people about it, and tried it myself.

It’s not for the faint of heart, though. The preferred method is to murder the feeder goldfish by putting them in a bowl of the crabs’ ocean water. The theory is that the action of the fish drawing the salt through their systems makes it more attractive for the crabs to eat. When the fish are floating belly up, serve them to the crabs, being sure to remove them within 24 hours or so.

I still feel slightly guilty doing this, as the fish basically suffocate. So I’ll tell you the alternative method, which is to put the bag of feeder goldfish in the freezer until they “go to sleep.” Then soak in salt water and feed to the crabs. It takes longer for them in the freezer, several hours, I’m told. It usually takes less than 20 minutes to kill them in the salt water.

I’ve been told this isn’t humane. I can’t really argue with that point of view on the one hand. However, these fish are all doomed, either to be suffocated or put to sleep for our crabs, or fed alive to arowanna and oscars. So it’s really a choice you have to make for yourself. Like Angel, several people report no more aggression in the tank between crabs, doing this feed once every 7-10 days.

As a note, my crabs always eat the eyes, then the brains, then , if they’re still hungry, they go for the intestines. The same effect might be achieved from feeding fish heads and guts from the fishmonger. But it would definitely be much more smelly and messy. With goldfish, you can choose the size you want.
Don’t put it in the crabs’ water bowl, just some water you’d make for them, LOL. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

Just put the whole fish in the food dish. Sometimes I sprinkle them with spirulina first.

kvh4 wrote:
I know that everyone has their hermit crabs’ best interest at heart, but I have to say that this sort of practice seems very hypocritically cruel.

If someone had a hermit crab in a habitat that was too dry, and it’s gills were being damaged so that it died by suffocation, we would all be very upset, but somehow doing it to a goldfish is okay?

I get the feeling that it would be very easy to get fish guts from your local fishmarket, so this whole suffocating a goldfish thing is very un-necessary.

Vanessa wrote:
I have decided not to feed my crabs goldfish, but I do agree that feeding them fresh fish is recommended. I prefer to give them from the fishmongers (seafood store) than from a pet store.

I prefer to offer the food in a buffet tub since I’ve h ad problems with crabs dragging their food around the tank and burying it for later
I prefer to offer a small fish or the head of a fish rather than a goldfish. I have kept goldfish as a pet, and I feel bad about killing them myself. I have also heard some negative things about giving feeder fish to hermit crabs. If I was to give my crabs a small fish to eat, I would breed them myself or at least quarantine them for a while. More on that further on.

Fresh seafood I have offered my crabs:

o Fish / Fish head (raw or steamed)
o Small fish (bait fish, caught in clean waters)
o Sardines (raw or canned in spring water)
o Prawn heads and full prawns (raw or steamed)
o Scallops (raw or steamed)
o Cuttlefish (raw or steamed)
o Crab Meat and Shell (cooked)
o Cockles
o Conch
o Mussells (raw or steamed)
o Squid (raw or steamed)
o Marinara Mix – all of the above (raw or steamed)

I was talking with MrsPoppyPuff on this subject, and she suggested fresh fish as used in Sashimi (sushi style based on raw fish, cut in thin slices). I also offer my crabs the very fresh raw fish for sale in The Bento Box in Wollongong (near Sydney)

Not only is this fish very fresh, but it comes in finger size pieces or thin slices. Perfect for offering to hermit crabs
I might have to check with my local seafood store and look out for a goldfish-sized fish to offer as an alternative. Garfish and Whitebait are two types of fish sold for human consumption which are small enough, but I have a feeling that the large gelly eyes of goldfish would be more appetising than that of garfish or white bait.

I know that the crabs are welcome to the head and eyes of any fish that is cooked for me. I cannot stomach eating a fish while the eyes are staring up at me

***Note: This thread started in March 2005 and continued through May 2005. There has to date (7-29-09) still been no replies as to whether any diseases can be transmitted to hermit crabs. But about a couple of years after this thread was done an outbreak of bacteria happened among some hermit crabs due to oysters.

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by Stacy

The Power of Protein

September 25, 2012 in Food and Nutrition

Land Hermit Crabs are arthropods. Arthropods have a stiff cuticle made largely of chitin and proteins, forming an exoskeleton that may or may not be further stiffened with calcium carbonate. They have segmented bodies and show various patterns of segment fusion (tagmosis) to form integrated units (heads, abdomens, and so on). The phylum takes its name from its distinctive jointed appendages, which may be modified in a number of ways to form antennae, mouthparts, and reproductive organs.

Land Hermit Crabs are arthropods. Arthropods have a stiff cuticle made largely of chitin and proteins, forming an exoskeleton that may or may not be further stiffened with calcium carbonate. They have segmented bodies and show various patterns of segment fusion (tagmosis) to form integrated units (heads, abdomens, and so on). The phylum takes its name from its distinctive jointed appendages, which may be modified in a number of ways to form antennae, mouthparts, and reproductive organs.

Land Hermit Crabs in the wild eat a lot of protein in the form of dead fish, prawns, seaweed, cuttlefish as well as other forms of protein including plants. Some have been known to eat soft crabs, clams, worms and barnacles. Gourmet food for a hermit crab!

In Lisa Loseke’s table of Hermit Crab Nutrition she states that “High protein level of 50% of total food is required for growth.” and that “sources of protein listed includes “Nuts, Seeds, Beans, Eggs, Spirulina, Fish Food Flakes, Cat Food, Dog Food, or Hermit Crab Food should always be a part of each nightly food offering. Spirulina (dried seaweed) is 48% protein by calories.” ( Dall & Moriarty 1983)
[color=CC0000]****Update: Foods should be ethoxyquin and copper sulphate free.[/color]

Here are some links to find out more:

Links:

Hermit Crab Nutrition Table

Learn which foods are needed for hermit crab nutrition.
Hermit Crab Nutrition Table

SoyStache: Sources of Protein: Plant-based sources vs. animal sources
Plant-based protein and animal protein listed
http://www.soystache.com/plant.htm

Oceanside Meadows Innstitute for the Arts and Sciences presents:
Wonders of the Sea: Crustaceans
http://www.oceaninn.com/guides/crustacea.htm

Smithsonian: ThinkTank: Hermit Crabs
http://natzoo.si.edu/Animals/ThinkTank/Animals/LandHermitCrab/default.cfm

Chesapeakbay Crab Info:
Chesapeake Bay Program

Hikari Crab Cuisine
http://www.hikariusa.com/crab_cuisine.htm

References:

Dall, W. and Moriarty, D. J. W. (1983). Functional aspects of nutrition and digestion. In: Mantel, L H (Ed.) The Biology of Crustacea. Vol. 5. Internal Anatomy and Physiological Regulation. Academic Press, New York, 215-61 bibliography pp. 251-61.

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