Welcome to The Crabstreet Journal

Login or Signup to meet new friends, find out what's going on, and connect with others on the site.

Sign Up Now

Registering for this site is easy. Just fill in the fields on the registration page and we'll get a new account set up for you in no time.

Forgot Your Password?

A new password will be e-mailed to you.

Member Login

You are browsing the archive for heating.

Profile photo of Stacy

by Stacy

Do I need a light?

February 18, 2014 in Crabitat

This was originally posted on All Things Crabby: http://www.allthingscrabby.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/25/do-my-crabs-need-a-light?blog=3

Yes they do.

Light and proper food fuels a hermit crabs metabolism. A hermit crab’s metabolism enables them to adjustment to their surrounding environment. Hermit crabs require a normal cycle of day and night to maintain their metabolic functions. Along with a nutritious, balanced diet. A cycle of 12 hours light and 12 hours night is commonly recommended and used. With overhead lights you will notice that your crabs will be more active during the day. We’ve always been told that because crabs are nocturnal, they are not active during the day. Try turning a light on them and you will see how false that is. Hermit crabs are primarily nocturnal but not exclusively.

Your overhead light can also be your heat source. I recommend you use a set up with a day bulb and night bulb. You can purchase a bi light hood that will accommodate two bulbs that are controlled with two switches. This means you can buy a couple timers and set your lights on a timed cycle to come off and on as needed. The wattage of the bulbs will be determine by the size of your tank and if you are using the bulbs for your heat source. If you don’t need the bulbs for warmth, go with a very low wattage. You are looking for incandescent bulbs that provide UVA rays. These are bulbs sold for reptiles.

Even molting crabs should be kept on a normal cycle. This flies directly in the face of advice we have been given for several years. Molting is a metabolic process. Now if you consider molting in the wild, a crab simply digs down and molts. It doesn’t go into a dark cave or den, then dig down and molt. When the crab digs down, it is obviously in the dark but there is no reason to deny the crab of light pre or post molt.

Sue Latell of Coenobita Research has been conducting a light study and continues to research the benefits and affects of light cycles on hermit crabs. This information has been derived from her current research articles or conveyed to me directly during our discussions on hermit crab care.

The relationship between light, food and a hermit crab’s metabolism and how it plays a role in environmental adaptation, is exclusively the result of Sue Latell’s many hours of research and study. Sue’s ability to decipher and apply research papers and her consultations with experts in the field, have revealed some large flaws in our previous methods of crab care. It is always an effort to change the popular, common methods but in the case of hermit crab care, it is vitally necessary to improve the quality of life we provide to our hermit crabs.

Profile photo of Stacy

by Stacy

FAQ How can I keep my tank warm during a power outage?

October 16, 2012 in FAQ

Aaaamory asked:

Because of last night’s storm, power went out and we were out almost a full 24 hours. The temperature in the crabitat dipped to 55 degrees and all the little crabs half dug themselves into the sand and hid in their shells. I have four PPs and a strawberry. It looks like they all came out okay. When the temperature came back they were active again. I tried not to worry too much because I was in Florida during a cold spell and it got as low as the 40s and even high 30s at night. I was more concerned about my strawberry iPinch because I don’t think cold spells are too common where she comes from.
It looks like some other folks aren’t so lucky. They will be out of power for days. I used a blanket to cover the habitat and try to keep it warm for as long as possible, and I think I should make a fully-encompassing ‘Crabgloo’ for such emergency occasions to try to keep heat in for even longer.
Has anyone else had this sort of problem? How did you solve it? What do you suppose a cold-region crabber should do when something like this occurs?

Ladybug15057 answered:

Friday before last we had high winds of 60 mph and it broke the top off of my neighbor up the streets pine tree off. The top landed on the power lines, wrapped it self up in them and tore down the lines. We were without power for over 24 hours, and I noted even with me burning in our wood burning stove, (but the blower didn’t work due to no electric) the room was at 72 but the tanks began to dip below 70 and so did the substrate temp. What I did was I made up some soda bottles with hot water in them. I placed these in a couple places on the warm end of the tank to try to help keep the surface sand warmer. (which it did) I also used blankets to help keep some of the heat in.

That’s a good idea. Our water heater is gas. How useful that turns out to be! We also have a fireplace but don’t use it because of our parrot. The vet specifically advises against it. Good thing outages don’t happen too often. Maybe once a year or every other year (one year it was a squirrel exploding inside a transformer).

Prior to me having so many tanks in our home, a hot water bottle also works to help keep an area of the substrate warm, but with so many tanks now…I would have a small fortune in hot water bottles.

I live in the Pacific NW too! Some storm that was eh! Wow! I was one of the lucky ones in this area and only lost power for a few hours. Some people are still without power.
One year, after an ice storm, I was without power for a week! Fortunately this was before I had hermies! Unfortunately, everything in my house is electric except the wood burning stove, so I was cooking with my camp stove out in the snow.
I always wondered what I would do for my crabs and bettafish should that happen again. I’ve even thought about buying a generator because it seems the power goes out frequently in this area due to storms. I like ladybug’s suggestion of pop bottles filled with warm water.

An added plus, because I too live in an all electric house and the hot water tank will only stay hot for so long too…but with a wood burning stove, one can heat cold water for the soda bottles too. (been there and done that as well) One can also warm water up on a kerosene heater if one has this as a back up heating source if the power goes out.

That storm was a stinker!The power was out for awhile! What I did for the hermies was to heat up rocks on the woodstove,placed them in orchid pots(clay pots that have holes on them) and put them in the tank. I also heated slate tiles,placed them on cookie sheets and put them on top of the tank, then iglooed the tank in with foam insulation and a space blanket. The tank stayed at 69 temp. and 75 humidity.
The wind was phenominal. The woodstove really couldn’t belch out enough heat to keep the hermies toasty in the other room,considering the fan was useless.
Are there links to emergency heating methods. It might be a helpful to others to see different coping methods when the power goes out for an extended period of time.I would like to download a list of heat approaches for the next time. I hadn’t even thought of ladybug’s hot water bottle method of heat. I know I worried about the hermies more than the tree that landed on my house!

Nora, thank you for the rock idea too…that’s one I didn’t think of. Being in the country I do have plenty of them, now to think of what to put them in to help out with the warming of the tank. Thank goodness power outages do not happen very often around here, and especially for extended periods of time.

And please all, if anybody is going to use a kerosene heater for warmth make sure it is safe…they do require maintenance. Here are some links for reading for maintenance of kerosene heaters too: (I posted this on Hermies Group too because the question of keeping hermies warm came up today)

I did a little searching, and it appears that with the cotton wicks one should not burn the wick dry. (I never had or knew there were cotton wicks) But when we did burn ours dry, thre was always a blackish residue on the top of the wick and it was a little hard. So I did get a toothbrush and went along the top of it. This did scrape majority of the black off and made the top of the wick soft again. But here are some links that maybe of some help so you hopefully will be prepared: (and the kerosene heater should always be stored dry)

Main link with reading:






Due to this storm moving east, I live in southwestern Pa, so got all my hermie heater gear together today just in case.

Profile photo of Stacy

by Stacy

Methods for heating your crabitat

September 25, 2012 in Caresheets

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

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.

Euro Rep Habitstat Heat Mat

Euro Rep Habistat Heat Mat
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)
Eurorep Heatmat Diagram
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

EuroRep Habistat Heat Strips

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.

Hagen Exo Terra Under the Tank Heater

Exo Terra Heat Mat

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

Product Manual
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.

Zoo Med Under the Tank Heater

Exo Terra Repti Therm U.T.H.
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!

Helpful Hints:

  • 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.

2. Lights

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.

Clamp light

Zoo Med Clamp Lamp

  • 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

Bi Light Fixture

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.
Zilla Bi Light Hood
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.

Tri Light Fixture

ESU Tri Light

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)

Tri Light Combo Fixture

ESU Combo Light
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 Fluorescent Combo Light Fixture

Halogen Tri Light

  • 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.

Reptile hood “The Slider”

The Slider Reptile Hood

  • 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

Soil Heating Cables

Greenhouse 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.

Zoo Med Reptile Heat Cable

Zoo Med Repti Heat Cable

Available in these sizes

    • 5-10 gallon
    • 10-20 gallon
    • 30-40 gallon
    • 50-100 gallon
    • Breeder

RHC-15to100 Instuction Manual
RHC 150 Instruction Manual

Thermostats and Rheostats

Should I use a Rheostat (dimmer) or a Thermostat?

Zoo Med Repti Temp 500R

Zoo Med Thermostat 500R
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

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.

Zoo Med Rheostat

Zoo Med Rheostat

  • 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.

Additional Information:
Combined wattage not to exceed 150 watts.

Great for use with Zoo Med’s:

Repticare Rock Heaters
Ceramic Heat Emitters
ReptiTherm U.T.H.
Repti Basking Spot Lamps

HabiStat Temperature Thermostat-UK

HabiStat Temperature Thermostat
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

ChatClick here to chat!+
%d bloggers like this: