Home Forums Chewin’ the Choya New Member, New Habitat, New Crabs…Need Some Advice :)

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  • #439
    Tim
    Member

    Hi everyone, very glad I found this place, however I need some assistance with making sure my kids crabs are safe and have the correct habitat.  My kids are 7 (boy) & 3 (girl) they both have crabs, one is called “Hermie” and the other is “Shelly”.

    Right now we have a 10 Gallon Aquarium tank with a hood cover and two lights, it’s filled with sand about an inch & a 1/2 high right now.  We have a nice piece of safe clean driftwood as well as a castle from the old fish props (it’s been cleaned of course) However unfortunately Shelly was purchased with a color painted shell 🙁 so basically I have a few questions being a beginner  to owning Hermit Crabs I want to make sure they are happy and safe, If anyone can help with my questions thanks…I will list them below.

    Should the crabs have a water dish? (Fresh or Salt or Both)
    How deep of a layer of sand should I have in the bottom of the tank?
    How can I get Shelly out of her painted shell and into a natural one?
    How do I know when a Crab has outgrown his/her shell?
    We spray the take 2-3 times daily and keep it around 72-75F.

    I think that’s all for now, we have the standard tank light bulbs that are oblong and they keep the tank warm enough we believe.  Any additional suggestions would be welcomed.  We love them as both of the kids are so happy to have them.

    Thank you again!

    Tim (Enfield, CT)

    #440
    Beth
    Member

    Hello, and welcome!

    Just wondering what kind of lights?  What temp is the crabitat?  Can they get away from the lights, if it gets too hot for them?  You stated there are two lights, how many watts? Standard oblong lights?  Are these fishtank lights?  It may be too hot for them, 10 gallon is a little small, I think, for that.  Can they hide in the fish castle? Temp should be about 70-80 degrees. I do not use lights.  My house is kept warm, even in the summer, when I use the ac, towels cover 3 sides of the tank so it stays about 73-76 degrees.  You don’t mention if you have a hygrometer to measure the humidity, is the 72-75 the temp or humidity?  If you don’t have a hygrometer, you need to get one, and if you do have one, did you calibrate it to ensure its accuracy?  You can use a water bottle plastic cap, fill it with salt, and a few drops of water to make it like sludge consistency, put it in a ziplock bag with the hygrometer a few inches away, and make sure that it is zipped shut properly.  I wait 24 hours and then I read the hygrometer.  It should read 75% humidity.  If it is over or under 75, then you have to either add, or subtract from the reading you get once you put it in the tank.   What kind of sand are you using?  Caribsand oolitic is the best type to use, sugar grain size.  Your substrate should be deeper, maybe just on one side so that the crabs can dig and burrow when they need to molt to grow.  I also dampen the sand with Oceanic Natural Sea Salt mix, to sand castle consistency.  They need to dig a tunnel, and build themselves a “molting chamber” under the sand.  It must me 3-4 times as deep as your biggest crab.  Yes, your crabs need both kinds of water.  Fresh and salt.  Oceanic Natural Sea Salt mix, 1/2 cup per gallon of water.  I use distilled water for fresh, and mix the sea salt with 1 gal of distilled water.  Mix it very well, and wait 24 hours before giving it to the crabs.  Shake the water every so often so it mixes good.  Make sure you also give it a good mix before you give it to the crabs.  Do not use tap water.  You cannot force Shelly out of her shell, crabs do what they want, when they want.  If you provide a few new shells, she will change on her own.  Some crabs, however, are stubborn, and will not change for a long time.  Even though the shell seems too small, they will not part with it, or, even if they do, they may get “buyers remorse, and move into the old shell shortly after the change.  So, even when they outgrow their shells, they may keep them for awhile.  You can tell outgrown shells because the crab will not be able to fully retract into it. What are you feeding them?  Hermit crab food is not safe, believe it or not, it has copper sulfate and a few other things in it that are poison to crabs.  You can get all you need from the Hermit Crab Patch.  Also, plain chicken, salmon, no sauce or seasonings, oranic veggies and fruit, there is a safe food list on this website.  Look to the right of the screen, and click on the blue words.  Good luck to you!  Beth

    #451
    Stacy
    Keymaster

    Be sure to read this article on the essentials:

    Hermit Crab Essentials Shopping Checklist

    Should the crabs have a water dish? (Fresh or Salt or Both)

    BOTH! Fresh and Ocean water are required.

    How deep of a layer of sand should I have in the bottom of the tank?

    Twice the depth of your largest crab.

    How can I get Shelly out of her painted shell and into a natural one?

    Offer lots of shells and cross your fingers! Make sure you boil the shells first to clean them.

    How do I know when a Crab has outgrown his/her shell?

    You won’t…they will. Keep empty shells for them in the tank at all times.

    We spray the take 2-3 times daily and keep it around 72-75F.

    This is not an ideal or consistent way to maintain humidity. Here is another article that might help:

    FAQ How do I create and maintain humidity in my crabitat?

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