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by Stacy

How do I clean my hermit crab tank (crabitat)?

February 22, 2014 in Crabitat

Originally posted on AllThingsCrabby.com

You will need to set up a temporary house for your crabs in advance of cleaning your tank to establish proper temperature and humidity. 10 gallon tanks are inexpensive and you can often pick them up for next to nothing at yard sales or even find them sitting on the curb. So long as you don’t have a huge number of hermit crabs you can keep them in a 10 gallon tank for a day or two if you are doing a deep clean of your large tank.

If you are able to leave your tank empty to air for 24 hours:
Use a mild (and I do mean MILD people, very very mild) bleach dilution to wash and sterilize the tank. Rinse it very well with water and then rinse again with vinegar to neutralize any traces of bleach. Allow the tank to air out for 24 hours.

If you are unable to leave the tank empty, use vinegar only and rinse well.

Sand should be checked every day for stray bits of food that will mold. Once per month, remove the sand and place it on a baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes on 350F. Allow it to cool completely before returning it to the tank.
If you choose to buy new sand each time, it should still be baked to ensure it’s sterile.

Forest bedding substrates should be thrown out and replaced as often as needed. Be diligent about picking out stray bits of food each day to prevent mold.

Empty shells and other heat resistant items can be boiled monthly.

Wood logs, branches and cocohuts can also be baked but be vigilant and don’t leave them unattended.

Netting can be soaked in a vinegar and water mix to clean it. You should do this with all newly purchased netting. Allow it to soak over night, then change the water out and soak it again. If the water is clear after a second soak, you should be fine. Otherwise, continue changing the water until it’s clear.

Avoid using soap or chemicals on anything that your hermit crabs will come in contact with.

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by Stacy

A guide for setting up a large crabitat on a budget

October 16, 2012 in General

Setting up a proper crabitat can be expensive even with a 10 gallon tank and the bigger the tank the bigger the price tag for stocking it. With some planning and creativity you can upgrade to a large crabitat without going broke. This article is about ways to save money when setting up as well as some common mistakes to avoid.

The first thing I can’t stress to people enough is that there are places you can shop that are far cheaper than a pet store!!

Empty 150 gallon tank

Empty 150 gallon tank

A new 50 gallon tank will cost you hundreds of dollars new.

I bought my 150 gallon tank out of the newspaper for $60.00.



Places to buy used or inexpensive new items:

  • Yard sales
  • Flea Markets
  • eBay
  • Freecycle or ReUseIt (yahoo groups)
  • Thriftstores (Goodwill)
  • Dollar stores

There are places where you absolutely should not cut corners.

Digital Cigar Hygrometer

Digital Cigar Hygrometer

Gauges – A high quality, accurate hygrometer will run you about $25.00 on most cigar websites. Cheaper gauges will stop working and have to be replaced frequently. In the long run it’s less expensive to buy a quality hygrometer.




Plexiglass or Lexan Lid

Plexiglass or Lexan Lid

Lid – use glass or plexiglass. Plexiglass or Lexan is available at home improvement stores. It’s inexpensive and they will cut it to size for you, for free. So measure your tank opening before you go.



Tri Light Hood

Tri Light Hood

Light fixture- you need day and night bulbs and combo hoods are perfect for this. You can get a bi-light or even a tri-light hood. You can get hoods that take a variety of bulb styles. Invest in a couple timers to control the lights and they become hassle free. If you use a light hood with higher wattage bulbs you won’t been another heating source.




Under Tank Heater

Under Tank Heater

Heat source – UTH or lights (Heating and Lighting Article)

Substrate can be an ongoing expense. Playsand or ecoearth is the least expensive. Eco earth or coir fiber can be purchased online in bales at very reasonable prices. If you have invested in a more expensive substrate such as aragonite and want to continue to make use of it, you can divide your tank into different substrate areas. You can use plexiglass,legos, natural stones, driftwood or grapevine to make an inexpensive divider.



Inexpensive options

Paint Tray Pool

Paint Tray Pool

Bowls or pools don’t have to be expensive reptile dishes. You can use nearly any sort of glass or ceramic people dish that is the right shape and size. You can use empty scallop shells as food dishes or the clay trays for flower pots. A soap dish from the dollar store or clearance aisle works as a food dish. For pools you can use plastic paint trays or Tupperware dishes. To make them safe for all size crabs you can use aquarium sealant and glue river rocks or other items to the inner walls.

You can get really creative with your decorations. If you pick up stones or driftwood be sure to check for insects and bake or boil first to sterilize. Buy your vines and plants at a craft store. Flowerpots, bowls and cups all make good ‘caves’. PVC pipe has been deemed unsafe and I can no longer recommend its use. You can convert Tupperware bowls into Humid Hides very easily. Natural fiber baskets provide a place to hide and something to climb on but check them regularly for mildew if your substrate is very damp. Use things like zip ties and suction cups to anchor decorations.



Plexiglass and Suction Cups Second Level

Plexiglass and Suction Cups Second Level

Second or third levels are a great way to maximize the use of the space in your larger tank. There are so many different ideas out there for creating usable space out of thin air! A couple items to consider: plexi glass, plastic gutter guard, netting (fish or hemp) plastic canvas grids (like for latchhook rugs), plastic coated mesh wire and wooden dowels.





Skip the expensive backgrounds sold at the petstores and instead use a very clever idea submitted by one hermit crab owner: shower curtains! Vinyl shower curtains come in an array of designs and can be found dirt cheap at close out stores or dollar stores. Simply cut it to fit and affix to the outside of your tank. Soaking or washing first to remove the odor is recommended. If you are talented enough, consider painting a mural on the exterior of your tank. Use non toxic paints!

Things to ask yourself:

  • Will some items be too hard to clean around?
  •  Should items be permanently affixed?
  •  How heavy is the sand? How far do I have to carry it? Where will I dispose of it?
  •  Can I easily reach the food and water dishes?
  •  How much does substrate cost and how much will I need? How often will I replace it?
  •  How will I clean a reusable substrate?


  • Take into consideration how your design will impact your crabitat cleaning.
  • Clean and sanitize anything you put in your tank.
  • Shop online first. Light bulbs and fixtures are traditionally less expensive online.
  • Before you invest in one or more large heat pads (UTH) consider that if one or both go bad, you will need to empty your entire tank in order to replace it. Overhead bulbs are far easier to replace and maintain.


  • Keep metal away from food and water dishes.
  • Watch for rust-remove anything that shows signs of rusting.
  • Check wire coating to make sure the crabs aren’t eating it –remove if they are.
  • Avoid putting any sort of paint in the tank. It peels and the crabs will eat it.
  • Avoid items that will easily mold or mildew.
  • Don’t make the second level too high or your crabs will escape.
  •  Don’t think for a second that your crabs will respect how feng shui their crabitat is and NOT completely destroy it.
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by Stacy

Hermit Crab Essentials Shopping Checklist

September 27, 2012 in Caresheets, Crabitat

Originally written by Vanessa Pike-Russell

Hermit crabs are advertised as cheap and easy to maintain, which is not necessarily true. To keep your hermit crabs happy and healthy, you will need to provide a lot more than food and water.

The following is a list of the essential items your pet hermit crabs will need:

Essential items for optimum land hermit crab care

Glass tank with lid:

A glass tank is preferred over plastic tanks, which will scratch and will not be able to hold the humidity within the ventilated lids. A glass lid on a glass tank helps keep the temperature and humidity within hermit crab’s habitat, allowing for a slight gap for airflow. This airflow of fresh air into the humid environment will help to cut down on mould and bacteria, which can cause illness and even death among hermit crabs, often detected by a musty or ammonia odor.


Substrate is what we call the material that lines the bottom of the tank, and creates the ‘beach’ within your crabitat. The most popular substrates being: sanitized beach sand; silica dust-free play sand; fine river pebbles (such as Australian Pet Supplies or Estes NaturalStone); crushed coral; and coco fiber bedding sold in compressed bricks. You will need enough of a depth to cover your largest Land Hermit Crab; often twice the height is sufficient for them to bury.

Under Tank Heater:

An Under Tank Heater or U.T.H. is a heat pad made especially for small animals and reptiles. Popular brands are: F.M.R. (US-only), Four Paws(U.S.); PetZone (Australia); ZooMed(UK/Aus and US versions). An U.T.H. is used to keep the hermit crabs warm by gently warming the glass floor of the tank, in turn warming the sand. You may need a thermostat to regulate the warmth of the sand at the glass level within your tank if the artificial heating temperature rises above 26oC or 75oF.

Overhead light:

Hermit crabs require normal cycles of day light and darkness at all times. An overhead light can also be used to warm the tank in place of an UTH. If you want to use the light as a heat source be sure to get one that had two fixtures so you can use a day bulb and a night bulb. Or use in conjunction with a UTH and a thermostat so that your tank temperature does not fall too low at night. Reptile bulbs are recommended. A bi light hood placed on timers makes easy work of controlling the light cycles in your tank.

For more on lights visit: Using Lights to Keep Them Warm


You will need at least three dishes: a fresh water pool, ocean water pond, and a food dish, non metallic.


Your Land Hermit Crab has been used to a varied diet of foods and needs a mixture of ‘meat and vegetable’ type foods, such as the commercial pellet types, as well as staple dried foods that will not perish as quickly as the fresh foods they need on a regular basis. A sample diet may be a dish with ground Aussie Hermit Crabs Pellets, a sprinkling of Tropical Banquet, and a scallop shell with fresh food such as grapes, rice, fish or vegetables. Try to alternate the food types and offer small servings to avoid spoilage.

For more on foods visit: Hermit Crab Cuisine


A thermometer is used to observe the temperature inside the tank. Thermometers come in three main types: the adhesive fish tank style, based on a sticker that changes colour as the temperature at the glass raises; the circular reptile-type thermometers which are based on a coil which contracts or expands; a digital gauge which uses a probe and allows you to measure the temperature at more than one location.

For more on substrate temperatures visit: Substrate temperature V air temperature


A hygrometer is used to observe the humidity inside the tank. Just as with temperature, humidity is very important. If the humidity drops and the air is dry, your land hermit crab will have difficulty in breathing through their modified gills, which act as lungs when moistened and correctly functioning.

Read The Importance of the Right Kind of Salt
For help on mixing ocean water visit: Mixing Ocean Water

Extras – Optional extras

Mister Bottle:

A mister bottle produces a fine mist of water, to moisten the hermit crab’s gills. You may know them as facial misters.

Water Glass, Marbles or Glass Pebbles:

Great to use in deeper water dishes to enable crabs the traction they need to get in and out, plus acts as a decoration.

Sea Sponges:

Natural Sea Sponges are added to the water dish to provide humidity and moisture within your tropical crabitat. Place one in your water dish to minimize spills and maximize humidity.

Plastic Plants and Vines

There are many types of plastic or fabric plants and vines which can improve the look of your crabarium, as well as to add entertainment for the crabs as they climb over, hide under and travel among the greenery. It is a good idea to create some dark spots in the tank, but be careful that they can’t climb out!

Shopping Checklist


  • Tank
  • Lid
  • Substrate
  • Gauges (hygrometer and thermometer, look for adjustable ones)
  • Dishes 2 for water, you can use scallop shells for food
  • Heat source
  • Light source (can be your heat source also)
  • Food
  • Ocean salt for making ocean water
  • Dechlorinator
  • Shells
  • Furniture (for climbing and hiding)


  • Mister
  • Water glass, Marbles or Glass pebbles
  • Sea Sponges
  • Plastic Plants and Vines
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by Stacy

A home for your Hermit Crab

September 25, 2012 in Caresheets

Originally written by Vanessa Pike-Russell-Updated by Stacy Griffith

NOTE: The tank or habitat of land hermit crabs is often referred to as a Crabarium, Crabitat or Crabitank. This is a pet name for a hermit crab’s home.

M:\My Pictures\Family\Pets thru 2007\Crabs\Tank\2006tankmarch_004.jpg The best housing is a glass tank with securely fitting lid.
A glass tank with lid helps keep the needed humidity and temperature levels stable. You should allow a small gap between the tank sides and the lid if condensation begins to appear on the sides of your tank.


Glass tanks, unless second hand, are somewhat expensive but worth the extra expense. If you have a lid that doesn’t allow for a gap for air circulation you can get a build up of condensation on the walls, which can cause bacteria build-up within the tank and create unsavoury conditions for your hermit crabs to live in.

Hermit Crab habitat


A ten gallon (10G) glass tank with lid is the minimum recommended size and will house up to 20 small hermit crabs. If you have hermit crabs larger than a grapefruit then you will definitely need to upgrade to a larger tank. Larger crabs need more area to dig and moult, and to de-stress. For more information on ‘how many per Gallon’ please read the in-depth article here.

Hermit Crab Habitat

Different shapes and sizes

There are different shapes and sizes of glass tanks. The most popular type are called ‘breeder’ tanks and they are more cube-shaped than the standard ‘tall’ fish tank.

M:\My Pictures\Family\Pets thru 2007\Crabs\Tank\2006tankmarch_004.jpg

Custom Made Tanks

If you want a crabarium that will be more hermie-friendly, why not save some cash and get a custom tank built. Land Hermit Crab tanks do not need to have a bottom made as thick as with fish tanks do since they are not filled with water. If you phone around the different pet stores and aquariums, there are some custom tank builders that you can get a quote from to build to your specifications.

M:\My Pictures\Family\Pets thru 2007\Crabs\Tank\2006tankmarch_004.jpg A popular size of custom made tank is a 2ft by 2ft by 1.5ft tank. It looks much like a ‘cube’ in shape, and has a base of 4 square feet. You will find that it is much easier to fit everything inside the tank that is essential, and that hermit crabs will not need to do the ‘spider walk’ along the edges of the glass because there is more room. Most fish tanks are very long and tall because fish are able to make use of the vertical height.
Hermit Crab Habitat If you cannot get a custom made tank, try making use of the extra vertical space by installing levels or fixing climbing items such as sanitised mangrove root trees, sanitised driftwood, coral trees, ZooMed’s Jungle Gym, or even more creative, a network of choya (or other sanitised wood logs) that hermit crabs can climb and hang upside down and move along the network.
Hermit Crab Habitat

Glass is better than plastic

Despite what your pet store or crab cart will tell you, land hermit crabs do not fare well in the plastic tanks with vented lids. If you do have a plastic tank with vented lid, the first thing you will need to do is cover some of the vents. You can use saran wrap (cling wrap) or sticky tape for this purpose.

Photo Credit: Stacy Griffith, Michelle Stephens

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by Stacy

What size tank do I need for my Hermit Crabs?

September 25, 2012 in Caresheets

Having the correct tank for your hermies is very important. Following is a list of the different size tanks that are available:

This chart was originally published at: http://www.leisure-time.com/aga.htm but the site has since been shut down.

Tank Size Exact Outside Dimensions Weight Weight Tempered
(inches) (L x W x H) Empty Full Bottom
(Including frame) (lbs) (lbs)

2 1/2 mini 12 3/16 x 6 1/8 x 8 1/8 2.6 27
5 1/2 Gallon 16 3/16 x 8 3/8 x10 1/2 7 62
10 Leader 20 1/4 x10 1/2 x12 9/16 11 111
10 Long 24 1/4 x 8 1/2 x12 5/8 16 116
10 Gallon 24 1/4 x12 1/2 x12 3/4 21 170

15 High 20 1/4 x10 1/2 x18 3/4 22 170
15 Show 24 1/4 x 8 1/2 x16 5/8 22 170
20 High 24 1/4 x12 1/2 x16 3/4 25 225
20 Long 30 1/4 x12 1/2 x12 3/4 25 225
25 Gallon 24 1/4 x12 1/2 x20 3/4 32 282

29 Gallon 30 1/4 x12 1/2 x18 3/4 40 330
30 Gallon 36 1/4 x12 5/8 x16 3/4 43 343
30 Breeder 36 3/16 x18 1/4 x12 15/16 48 348
33 Long 48 1/4 x13 1/2 x12 7/8 52 382 X
37 Gallon 30 1/4 x12 1/2 x22 3/4 45 415 X

38 Gallon 36 1/4 x12 5/8 x19 3/4 47 427 X
40 Breeder 36 3/16 x18 1/4 x16 15/16 58 458
40 Long 48 1/4 x12 3/4 x16 7/8 55 455 X
45 Gallon 36 1/4 x12 5/8 x23 3/4 66 515 X
45 Long 48 1/4 x12 3/4 x19 60 510 X

50 Gallon 36 7/8 x19 x19 5/8 100 600
55 Gallon 48 1/4 x12 3/4 x21 78 625 X

60 Gallon 48 3/4 x12 7/8 x23 7/8 111 710 X
65 Gallon 36 7/8 x19 x24 5/8 126 775
70 Gallon 48 7/8 x19 x21 5/8 165 865 
90 Gallon 48 7/8 x19 x24 5/8 182 1080 
100 Gallon 72 7/8 x19 x19 5/8 189 1180 

120 Gallon 48 7/8 x25 x25 5/8 230 1430
125 Gallon 72 7/8 x19 x23 5/8 236 1480
150 Gallon 72 7/8 x19 x28 3/4 358 1850 
180 Gallon 72 7/8 x25 x25 3/4 430 2230 

20 X-High 20 1/4 x10 1/2 x23 3/4 32 232
30 X-High 24 1/4 x12 1/2 x24 3/4 41 340
50 X-High 30 1/4 x12 3/4 x30 1/2 98 590
80 X-High 48 7/8 x14 x30 3/4 200 990
110 X-High 48 7/8 x19 x30 3/4 228 1320

10 Hexagon 14 1/2 x12 9/16 x18 3/8 12 110
20 Hexagon 18 3/4 x16 1/4 x20 5/8 23 220 X
35 Hexagon 23 1/4 x20 3/16 x24 3/4 43 390 X
60 Hexagon 27 1/4 x24 1/8 x29 1/2 110 750 X
26 Flatback 36 1/4 x12 1/2 x16 5/8 42 300 X

4 Designer 8 1/4 x8 1/4 x18 7/8 9 49
6 Designer 8 1/4 x8 1/4 x24 7/8 10.5 70
10 Designer 13 5/8 x13 5/8 x19 18.5 115
15 Designer 13 5/8 x13 5/8 x25 25.5 175

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by Stacy

Preparing to purchase Hermit Crabs?

September 25, 2012 in FAQ

Compilation of information by Vanessa Pike-Russell and Stacy Griffith

It is important that the hermit crabs are in good health when you buy them,as it is often very difficult to undo past damage, especially poor hygiene which leads to bacteria, fungus. Try to purchase hermit crabs from a pet store which has a range of hermit crab accessories, or at least from a pet shop that will get items in for you on request. If the store keeps their hermit crabs in wood shavings or other unsuitable substrate, then I would either try and recommend a more suitable one (sand, coral sand, playsand, etc) or find another pet store which will provide you with healthy hermit crabs that start off on the right foot. Studies have shown that poor conditions and bad hygiene have led to bacteria contamination, which can cause limbs to drop off, mould and fungus, leaving them stressed and in many cases, they will not make it through a moult.

Please read the PPS article how to help your new hermit crab to adjust to his environment when you get him home.

Preparing your crabarium and items for your hermit crabs is a very important part of hermit crab care. It is important that any item you introduce to your crabarium can not harm your hermit crab. Chemical residue could be fatal to these gentle creatures so it is recommended that you rinse, wash or boil the following items:

How do I prepare items for my tank?

The Crabarium/Crabitat/Tank

If the tank is to heavy to lift it out, I usually spoon the sand/gravel into a plastic bag -lined bin and then wipe out the tank with a vinegar and water solution and then a cloth scented with pure vanilla essence. Just a drop is all you need to freshen up the tank, and since Vanilla is known as a natural antibacterial agent it helps fight those germs! I then wipe out the tank with paper towels and allow to dry.

Once the tank is dry I gently pour the alternate substrate I prepared earlier since I have two batches. That way you can clean your tank, put the clean substrate in and you have time in the next month to get the other sand clean and dry. It is a little bit like the two sea sponge method, where you take the smelly sponge out and replace with a clean and dry sponge and go out and see to the smelly one. I prefer to sun dry my sponges as they not only last longer but absorb more water when you most need it. It also cuts down on bacteria since the sun’s rays partially sanitise them. Another method to sterilize the sea sponge is to rinse it and boil it in dechlorinated water for 5 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and let it dry.


Cleaning Method One – House With Yard

  • Take the tank outside on the grass. Tip the substrate into a clean container used specifically for this task(kitty litter tray, paint tray or bucket).
  • Pour a small amount of vinegar into the bottom of the empty tank and fill the tank using the hose, aiming at dislodging any substrate and scrubbing with a scourer as you do.
  • Once the tank is clean, start rinsing your substrate– stirring repeatedly, until the water runs clear. Dry in the sun, making sure that you keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t blow away. If there is no sun, then follow the directions below for cleaning the substrate inside the home.

Cleaning Method Two – Cleaning Inside Home

  • Scoop out the substrate into a clean container used specifically for this task(kitty litter tray, paint tray or bucket).
  • Wipe out the tank well and then wipe the sides and base down with a clean rag using a very weak vinegar (or salt) and water solution. Rinse your rag often and wipe out with paper towels until dry.
  • Once the tank is clean, start rinsing your substrate, stirring repeatedly, until the water runs clear. Make sure none goes within the sink or bathtub. It will clog the drain and then you will have a plumbing bill as well.

If you cannot dry your substrate in the sun, pour the sand onto a baking tray. Heat oven to 125oC (250* F)and bake for 30 minutes. Check that the sand/pebbles is dry and if needed, continue to bake until completely dry or your substrate (especially sand) will develop a musty, stale smell. One may also use an oval roaster for this task to help prevent sand spillage within the oven. Fill the roaster about 1/2 full and stir every 30 minutes. This will take longer than the cookie sheet method, so make sure to stir the sand at least every half hour to prevent it from scotching. When the sand is almost dry, you may wish to start stirring it every 15 minutes.

If you cannot use an oven, place the empty tank over the under tank heater and add a thin layer of substrate, stirring frequently and drying in batches. There may be condensation on the side walls of the tank, so make sure to wipe it down with a clean rag/paper towels before returning tank items and your hermit crabs once the substrate is dry and cooled. Make sure for how long this process takes, to have your hermit crabs in a controlled area during this long process.

Note: Make sure that the substrate doesn’t go down the sink!

It is very important that you do not use any chemicals which may cause stress to your hermit crabs. Bleach, Ammonia, Chlorine, Acetone and other powerful chemical-based cleaning agents should be avoided. If you use them in your buckets, basins or tubs make sure that you thoroughly rinse and wipe them out before using with hermit crabs.

Where possible, go for natural cleaning agents such as vinegar and water for cleaning the tank; vinegar and salt for deep cleaning; baking soda on a damp sponge for wiping out tubs and containers before rinsing; salt water for cleaning tank items such as coral, cuttlebone; vanilla essence diluted on a clean rag for a clean scent.

Natural Sea Sponges

My method is to rinse in dechlorinated water and squeeze dry. Then soak in dechlorinated and squeeze dry a second time before lowering the sponge into the water dish. Carefully cover with dechlorinated water for drinking.

As mentioned above, you can use a ‘two sea sponge method’ first suggested by Crablover Don, where you take the smelly sponge out and replace with a clean and dry sea sponge and go out and tend to the smelly one. Some crabbers microwave their sponges but one must make sure the sponge is dry or a sponge the size of a walnut will shrink to the size of a pea. I prefer to sun dry my sponges as they not only last longer but absorb more water when you most need it. It also cuts down on bacteria since the sun’s rays partially sanitise them and they don’t fall apart. Another method as mentioned above is to boil them in dechlorinated water.


Another rinse, boil and dry method. Sometimes when you buy seashells there is a gunk inside from the mollusk that had inhabited it, other times there is just dust or bits of seashell. Even if there is no noticeable gunk inside it is always best to sterilize the shells before offering them, and perhaps leaving a small amount of water in the shell if placed ‘hole upright’. I always start off by tapping the shell against the driftwood after making sure there isn’t a hermie inside. (it is always best to do an antenna count befor boiling any shells that have come out of the tank) Any substrate or bits that sometimes get caught inside the spirals are dumped into a ‘refuse’ bucket and then I rinse the shells and soak for a while, ready for boiling afterward. Sometimes if the shell is relatively clean I pour boiling water into a heatproof container (like Pyrex) filled with some shells, then repeat a few times after rinsing.

Climbing Toys

If made of wood I often rinse and either place in the microwave or sit in the sun to dry out. Some crabbers like to soak the wood before placing in a microwave in case the wood catches fire (yes it has happened before) and still others like to place the item within a plastic bag so that the steam actually helps to sterilize the wood and keep it moist, rather than evaporating off and leaving the wood too dry and thus catching fire on thin pieces.

If made of plastic, you want to be careful with the preparation method. Most plastic items are not boil friendly and definitely not bake friendly, so I often just pour some ‘recently boiled’ water onto them and let them soak for a bit

Water and Food Dishes

During the daily regime of removing the food and water dishes to replenish, I always empty excess or old food into a plastic bag-lined bucket/container and scrape with a piece of shell or plastic spoon, then wash them in water that is rather hot and with a drop of Tap Water Conditioner (or other dechlorinator) and set them to dry, either outside or on the windowsill. The ZooMed ReptiRock water dishes I use often develop a layer of ‘scum’ or residue from the bathing of the hermit crabs


Boil water and then pour it over the coral and let it sit for a while, especially if it has been bleached to whiteness and there is the faint smell of chlorine. After washing the coral, some have also baked it in the oven on a cookie sheet. Hermit Crabs often eat the coral and they definitely love to climb all over it. Try to be careful with the coral while cleaning as it is fairly fragile and usually expensive.

Plastic Item

Items such as Dwarf RunAbout exercise balls, feeding syringes, tank items and everything plastic that isn’t microwave proof should be treated with boiling water and left to sit, then rinsed and dried. If you have used it in the tank with damp sand or gravel or foodstuffs, it is often a good idea to add a little bit of vinegar and/or salt but make sure to rinse well before returning to the tank or using again. Whatever you do, don’t boil the exercise balls, or you will need to buy more.

Resin Items

Resin Items should be treated similarly as Plastic Items, especially if they are delicate. Because they are usually artificial rock or wood they are usually pretty easy to clean. You can use a scrubbing brush to get into small parts with any gunk, and remember to check for dust on a regular basis.

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