Compilation of information by Vanessa Pike-Russell and Stacy Griffith
To keep your hermit crabs healthy and happy their environment should be kept in optimum temperature and humidity levels. If you are not able to keep the environment stable then your crabs will weaken and become stressed which will lead to death.
Sources of heating suitable for crabariums/crabitats are:
1. Under-tank heaters
There are many types of under-tank heaters used with reptiles but you need to make sure your crabs do not overheat. The UTH should cover approximately 1/2 of the tanks outside floor. The best kind are those that keep the temperature stable between 72 (cool side) and 80 degrees F (22-26.67oC) warmer side. Hermit crabs are cold blooded creatures and must have a warmish and cooler side to their substrate. If your temperature falls below 72oF on a frequent basis you need a reliable and safe under tank heater. Whatever type of under tank heater or other heating method you use, it is STRONGLY recommended that you buy a temperature control device such as a thermostat or rheostat.
Crab Island Heat Mat
The most widely used line of heat mats in the world. For use with plastic or 5 gallon glass hermit crab cages or tanks. Easily attaches to the cage bottom using ordinary household tape and can be removed as needed. Approximately 3 Watts. Operates on 120 V, 60 Hz household current. Not recommended for use in tanks larger than several (5) gallons in size. Made with UL listed components. Approximately 4″ x 5″ with a 7 foot long cable.
Not made for use in Australia.
Heat Mats are available in multiple sizes.
Download PDF file
Can be used on plastic tanks (plastic tanks are not recommended for use as crabitat)
Habistat heat mats are the traditional carbon impregnated glass cloth type heaters. Whilst some manufacturers have moved to the cheaper printed elements, EuroRep believe that their style of heaters are better and more reliable. EuroRep have been selling this type of heater for 15 Years now and genuinely believe it to be their best design. Habistat products are used in many countries worldwide.
Heat Mats produce ultra long wavelength infra red heat. This wavelength is invisible to the human eye and tends to furnishings in the cage rather than the air. This action of heating is very similar to the sun and it has the ability to heat anything that it strikes but with the air temperature remaining much lower. Reptiles absorb this at in a manner very similar to basking in a natural environment. Heat mats do get warm but provide a very gentle warmth which the animal can sit under or on top of. It should be noted that heat mats give a gentle background heat. If you are keeping animals that requires higher temperatures, then you may require additional supplemental heating. Many diurnal or day active species of lizard require basking spots of rather high localised heat. Additional heat sources should then be provided for these species. Heat mats are excellent primary heaters for most applications requiring night time heat
Heat Strips are manufactured in the same way as mats. They are made narrower and are generally used to heat small boxes and the cages used for housing juvenile snakes and some other species. The principles of use are the same as those for mats and the same precautions should be exercised. In small enclosures the heat buildup can be very quick. The temperature should be adequately monitored and controlled with a HabiStat thermostat.
Heat Strips are available in multiple sizes.
Download PDF Instruction manual
Heat Strips are manufactured in the same way as mats. They are made narrower and are generally used to heat small boxes and the cages used for housing juvenile snakes and some other species. The principles of use are the same as those for mats and the same precautions should be exercised. In small enclosures the heat build up can be very quick. The temperature should be adequately monitored and controlled with a HabiStat thermostat.
Heat Pads are available in the following sizes:
- 1-5 gallon – The only under tank heater made by ZooMed which is suitable for use with plastic tanks. (plastic tank not recommended for use as crabitat)
- 10-20 gallon
- 30-40 gallon
- 50-60 gallon
Heaters range from 4 to 24 watts
Solid state nichrome heating element!
Permanently adheres to your terrarium, forming a solid bond for better heat transfer.
Comes complete with 8 page instruction booklet and rubber terrarium feet.
Note: Some hermit crab owners have found that the adhesive loses its strength and the UTH is no longer in contact with the tank. Check regularly for this.
A 240 V version has been made for UK/ Europe and Australia.
The Repti Therm U.T.H. heater is designed to economically heat reptile, amphibian, small animal, and plant terrrariums.
- Extremely economical to use! Heaters range from 4 to 24 watts and cost almost nothing to operate!
- U.L./C.U.L. approved for safety (GS/TUV / CE in Europe.)
- Solid state nichrome heating element! The Repti Therm U.T.H. heater uses a solid state Nichrome heating element which uses only 24 watts of electricity and costs only pennies a day to operate.
- Permanently adheres to your terrarium, forming a solid bond for better heat transfer!
- Comes complete with 8 page instruction booklet and rubber terrarium feet.
- Quality! Quality! Quality!
- For Terrarium use only. Not for aquariums.
- For indoor use only
- Always use the enclosed rubber feet to slightly elevate your terrarium allowing excess bottom heat to escape and avoid damaging the powercord. (wooden 1 inch blocks or legos recommended)
- Placing terrariums with an under tank heater on household furniture may cause furniture’s finish to discolor. ZooMed Labs Inc., does not guarantee against furniture finish discoloration. ZooMed recommends placing terrrariums on stands designed for use with terrariums.
- For use on glass terrariums only. Do not use on wood, plastic, acrylic or any other type of terrarium except those made of glass. (Only exception is the Repti Therm RH-7 Mini Heater can be used on plastic terrariums).
- One adhesive side “sticks” directly to your terrarium for optimum heat transfer. Optional mounting on bottom or side of your terrarium (runner feet enclosed for bottom mounting).
- Can be used with a thermostat and/or in conjunction with an additional heat source for higher temperature species.
- Full one year warranty.
It is important to regulate the temperature output of under tank heaters. Temperature control devices such as Thermostats and Rheostats are strongly recommended for this purpose. See the section below about Thermostats and Rheostats.
Lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Below are just the common styles to give you some ideas of what is available. Because hermit crabs require a regular cycle of day/night it makes sense to use overhead lights that emit heat. This fills two needs with one item. Reptile bulbs come in day glo and moon glo (with a rare black phosphorus coating) so that you can have warmth at night, which is necessary. The wattage of bulb needed depends on your tank size.
- Ceramic socket reptile clamp lamp
- Reptile lamp holds light and heat-emitting incandescent bulbs
- For use above screen-top terrariums or cages
Zoo MedLight or heat your terrarium easily with this custom ceramic socket clamp lamp. Designed for reptile incandescent light or heat bulbs. Includes an in-line on/off switch on cord for your convenience and a heavy-gauge black/white aluminum dome that glows in the dark. Clamp is rubber coated for better grip and protection of clamped surfaces. For use above screen-top terrariums or cages only. Do not use inside the terrarium. 6 ft. UL-Listed cord.
The 5-1/2″ Clamp Lamp is rated for bulbs up to 100 watts.
The 8-1/2″ Clamp Lamp is rated for bulbs up to 150 watts.
Make sure wattage of bulb or wattage of ceramic heat emitter is correctly rated for your size terrarium to avoid overheating terrarium.
Also available with inline dimmer.
You will need to switch bulbs from day glo to moon glo or purchase two lamps.
Multi fixture hoods – Available in a variety of lengths
Pack your reptile’s daytime and nighttime heating all under one hood with this handy light fixture. Reptile terrarium heating and lighting has never been easier. Two independently-controlled ceramic sockets can each hold an incandescent heat lamp up to 40 watts. Ideal for creating a timed lighting schedule. For larger reptile terrariums, just place multiple fixtures side-by-side. Not for use with spot style reptile lighting.
The Bi-Light 2 Reptile Hood Lighting Fixture features two single high-heat ceramic sockets on separate switches and separate power cords and accommodates two incandescent bulbs.
These are more difficult to find now.
Designed exclusively for terrariums, the Tri-Light fixtures feature high-heat porcelain sockets built to withstand the intense heat that is emitted from high-wattage incandescent lamps. A single socket and a double socket on separate switches and cords hold three incandescent lamps up to 150 watts each. The lamps can be plugged into individual timers for both day and night cycling. Available in 30″ size.(6″L x 31″W x 4″H)
A combination fluorescent and incandescent light fixture designed to maximize the benefits of both types of lamps.
This allows for the use of a full-spectrum, UV-emitting fluorescent lamp along with incandescent full-spectrum daylight/heat lamps and/or incandescent nocturnal/heat lamps. The fixture contains special heat-resistant ceramic sockets for the incandescent lamps and is designed to direct light and heat down into the terrarium. With the combo-light, hobbyists can create an ideal lighting environment for their terrariums.
- Halogen heat and fluorescent light in a single fixture
- Toggle controls allow accurate, independent direction of halogen bulbs
- Features 24-hour timer for worry-free operation of daylight and heat
This combination fixture provides both the warmth and the heightened ultraviolet output pet reptiles need for maximum health. Works on screen tops for quick and easy setup. External toggle controls allow you to direct energy efficient halogen bulb without removing fixture while moveable halogen bulb socket allows the halogen’s heat and light output to be aimed anywhere in the terrarium. 24-hour mechanical timer makes day/night cycles easy to manage. Features sleek, designer black aluminum housing, 6 ft cord, separate power switches for easy day/night cycling, white powder-coated reflector for maximum light and heat efficiency, easy bulb access and installation.
For use with T-5 fluorescent bulbs and halogen bulbs (bulbs not included). Bulbs are ideal for these desert-dwelling reptiles: African Fat-Tailed Gecko, Bearded Dragons, Blue-Tongue Skinks, Emerald Swifts, Leopard Geckos, Nile Monitors, Red-Footed Tortoises, Savannah Monitors, Schneider’s Skinks, Tegus, and Uromastyx.
- Amazingly easy to use
- Heat, light, reflectors, and more in a single terrarium hood
- Requires less wattage for heating and enables optimal lighting
Discover the ultimate in reptile lighting fixtures. Tthis distinctive terrarium hood offers extreme convenience with the innovative features you desire. Vertical, high-temperature porcelain sockets let you mount 2-3 heat emitters or spot bulbs (up to 150 watts each) plus one T-8 or T-12 fluorescent bulb (bulbs not included). Adjustable mounting brackets allow quick, easy access and maintenance. Simply slide open, or back into a secure “No-Lift” closed position. Independent switches and two power cords let you use individual timers to suit your unique heating and lighting needs. Aluminum reflector enables optimal lighting. Also includes removable screen for your pet’s protection, an internal 3-prong receptacle for an in-tank electrical supply, air hose port, internally mounted ballast, and grounded frame. Heavy-gauge welded steel construction in elegant black alligator powdercoat finish. Fits most 12″ wide tanks in 24″, 30″, 36″, and 48″ lengths.
Hood Incandescent Fluorescent
24" Holds 2 bulbs 1- 18" bulb
30" Holds 2 bulbs 1- 24" bulb
36" Holds 3 bulbs 1- 24" bulb
48" Holds 3 bulbs 1, 36" bulb
3. Heat Cable
Greenhouse cable can be a heating alternative for people who are unable or uncomfortable with other sources of heat. Using GHC, however, requires some additional precautions to protect the crabs and yourself. Only use enough cable to cover 2/3 of your tank floor. This allows your crabs to seek out temperature zones for resting and molting underground. Place cable in tank and secure with small strips of heat resistant tape.
Purchase a reptile mat to lay over the cable. This works best if the reptile mat is the same size of your tank floor. Cut a small hole in the corner of your reptile mat and thread the power cord through the hole.
The cord should then be threaded through a piece of PVC pipe that has been cut to fit the height of your tank.
The thermostat should be placed under the reptile mat as well. Crabs can and will cut through rubber and other types of cable insulation. Every part of it must be protected from the crabs.
Once this setup is in place, lay your substrate out on top of the reptile mat and continue with your setup as you normally would.
Check substrate frequently over the next few weeks to confirm that your reptile mat is working correctly
These heating cables speed seedling germination and growth with gentle bottom heat allowing you to get a head start on the growing season. They have a built-in thermostat that automatically activates the heating element if the soil temperature drops below 70 F which is the optimal root zone temperature for most seedlings and starts. Each heating cable includes installation instructions and helpful tips. 110/120 volt electricity required.
Available in these sizes
- 5-10 gallon
- 10-20 gallon
- 30-40 gallon
- 50-100 gallon
RHC-15to100 Instuction Manual
RHC 150 Instruction Manual
Thermostats and Rheostats
Should I use a Rheostat (dimmer) or a Thermostat?
Features include a 6 foot remote sensor probe, a dual port plug receptacle to control multiple heating devices, and adhesive pads for mounting. Excellent for use with Zoo Med’s Ceramic Heat Emitter and the Repti Therm Under Tank Heater. Safety cover prevents accidental bumping of the temperature control dial! When used in conjunction with a timer, natural conditions are replicated by providing the proper photoperiod for your reptile, along with a beneficial nighttime temperature drop (consult a good book on your species to determine its specific temperature requirements). Range is from approximately 70F to 110F (21C to 43C).
ESU Reptile Thermostat
Use in conjunction with a basking bulb or other heating device (sold separately) to maintain the correct temperature in your reptile’s environment. Set the ESU Reptile Electronic Temperature Controller to the correct temperature for your reptile, and when the temperature dips below that, it will turn on the attached basking bulb, under tank heater or other heating device (all sold separately) until the correct temperature is achieved. Helps to ensure your reptile’s habitat does not get too cold. Not for use with heating devices exceeding 500 watts; automatically shuts off at 110 degrees Fahrenheit for safety.
- Plug in up to two reptile heating devices to manually adjust their temperature
- Excellent for non-thermostatically controlled reptile heating devices, such as heat mats, overhead incandescent heat bulbs, and more
- Use to turn heaters up in winter or down in summer depending on your room temperature
For precise, fingertip control of ceramic heat emitters, heat pads or undertank heaters, heat lamps, or other reptile heating devices. Has a standard plug-in and a two-port outlet for use of up to 2 devices. 150W unit uses dial adjustment and will control up to 150 total watts of heating devices.
With a turn of the knob, you can adjust the temperature of most heating devices! Plug in up to two compatible heat sources with a combined wattage of up to 150 watts! Turn your heaters down or back up depending on the ambient room temperature.
Combined wattage not to exceed 150 watts.
Great for use with Zoo Med’s:
Repticare Rock Heaters
Ceramic Heat Emitters
Repti Basking Spot Lamps
HabiStat Temperature Thermostat-UK
The Temperature Thermostat is an on / off switching device, that can be used with a variety of heaters. It has an accurate dial calibrated in both Farenheit and Celcius. Ideal for controlling heat mats, and other low powered heaters up a maximum load of 300 watts.
Thermostats are a MUST in any enclosure for Exotic Pets. They control the temperature ensuring this doesn’t go to low or high which could cause illness in your pet. The Habistat range has an external turn able knob to make this easier to adjust.
To help you select the correct thermostat for your enclosure, use the below as a general guideline:
Mat Stat 100 – Heat Mats ONLY
Temp Stat 300 – to use with heat mats and non emitting light source
Dimming Thermostat – to use with any heat/light source
Pulse Thermostat – to be used with non emitting light source
Twin Channel Thermostat – to use with non emitting light source