Written by Travis Wease
Tips for saving money and having a safe crabitat:
First off there are certain things that you can’t really skimp on when it comes to setting up a safe and fun crabitat. Things like a heat source whether it be lights or a UTH, substrate has a cost, although some are cheaper, humidity gauges, temperature gauges, and the tank itself has a cost, but here are some tips to save money and use items that you may already have laying around the house.
1.Look on Craigslist or Freecycle for tanks. Sometimes you can find them at Goodwill or other re-use stores very cheap. Most Wal-Marts sell a 10 gallon tank for 10 dollars, and that is the smallest I would recommend to house Hermit Crabs in.
2.Hidey huts can be made out of a lot of things. You can use a coffee mug turned on its side, a small plastic cup, and what I like to use are small Terra Cotta pots used for plants. Another thought is to buy a coconut from the grocery store and break it in half. Once you have all the milk, and meat out of the coconut you can cut a hole in the half and have a homemade cocohut for your crabs as well as some food for them. Another thing you can make a hidey out of are Lego’s.
3.Decorations are the same way you can use a lot of things to decorate your tank. Silk plants can be used, if you happen to have an aquarium a lot of the decorations for an aquarium can be used in the tank as well. Dollar stores, or Wal-mart, or crafts stores often have hanging vines that can be used with suction cups to hang in the tank as well. Cholla wood can be found in stores as can be used for climbing and the crabs love it and are known to snack on it. Another thing I use is cuttlebone. I stick the whole piece in my tank and the crab can climb on it and it is great calcium for post molters, lava stones are popular as well.
4. Shells can be found at dollar stores, craft stores, Wal-mart, and many online stores a lot of time quite a bit cheaper than you will ever find in a pet store.
5.Food/Diet is one area that you definitely don’t want to neglect but it is also an area you can save money as well. A lot of the foods we eat can be given to the crab as long as no pesticides or preservatives or seasonings of any type have been used. Also no table salt should be used or offered. Many of the fruits and veggies though are great for the crabs and some of their favorites. There are many online stores that sell great food and products and are very reasonably priced and ran by some very good crabbers.
6.Dishes can be made out of just about anything. You can use large clam shells for food or even things like tops of jars like plastic peanut bar jars, small Tupperware bowls, and lids from Tupperware bowls as well.
These are just some areas meant to help save money but there are many others as well. If you know that you or your neighbors do not use pesticides on your yard you can get things from there as well. Oak and maple leaves are very popular with crabs, dandelions are another favorite. Barks from oak and maple trees are great as well. Roly poly bugs can be put in the tank to help keep the substrate clean and don’t bother the crabs. Dollar stores have various containers and baskets that can be used in crabitats for hidey huts and dishes, containers for substrate.