I hear a lot of discussion about salt and fresh water.
How do I safely get my salty water salty?
How necessecary is salty water to hermit crabs?
Also, I was hoping to get a sloping, deep reptile dish with good traction to let the hermit crabs bathe themselves instead of me misting them or taking them out of their cage to be bathed. Should that dish have salt or fresh water?
Originally written by CrabbyJo
To get your salt water salty, the safest way is with an ocean salt mix you can purchase at your pet store. NEVER use table salt meant for humans. There are anticaking agents in them that can be dangerous for your crabs.
Pet stores may have some salt water mix for hermit crabs, do not purchase these salt waters or mixes. Use the salt used to make ocean salt water specifically for salt water fish tanks. There are a few brands you can choose from.
It is VERY important that you get a water dechlorinator, preferably one that removes chloramine, chlorine, and heavy metals if you are using tap water. If your water is fluoridated, it is highly recommended you use distilled water as there currently is no way to remove fluoride from water, and fluoride can be deadly to your hermit crabs.
If you do use distilled water, you will need the properly mixed ocean/sea mix to replace what the distilled water is lacking. Distilled water does not need a dechlorinator to be used as it has no elements or minerals within it.
As for hermit crabs needing saltwater, it’s very important. These crabs live near the ocean, and can adjust the salinity of their body themselves if they have the proper access to both fresh dechlorinated and ocean salt water. Ecquadorians and perlatus are more sensitive and need it more than clypeatus. Often you will see your crab, pre molt, sitting in the salt water dish filling his shell with water. He needs it to help him have a successful molt, as well as for his general all over health.
As for the bathing, I have a deep dish myself full of fresh dechlorinated water so my crabs can bathe themselves, and a slightly shallower salt water bowl so they can dip their shells in if they want to, although it’s not deep enough for them to “swim” in. Bathing practice of hermies is now in question except for in cases of a “need to” situation (such as reintroducing an isolated molter to the main tank, or possible mites or fungus), and many crabbers are forgoing this practice and allowing their hermies to bathe themselves in a large dish as you describe.