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16 Feb 2021: Gosh, it was back in early 2017 when I made a major update! I have successfully migrated this website to a new web host. The Forums have been upgraded to phpBB 3.3.3 for better security and features.

Care Sheets

Care Sheets
Our very basic care sheet is available for download in Australian and American English. Please refer to our Crab Care section for more thorough explanations.


If quoting any text from this website, please reference back to our page with a hyperlink. Do not copy any images without the original photographer's permission.

Supplies List

What supplies will my hermit crabs need?

The remaining sections of this guide will assume that you have the proper supplies suggested below. If not, purchase them as soon as possible. If you are having trouble locating supplies, consult our Forums for advice. If you cannot afford the supplies, then consider putting your hermit crabs up for adoption.

What is the recommended tank size?

You must keep your hermit crabs in a glass tank no smaller than 38 litres (10 gallons), which can fit up to three small hermit crabs. You should try to give each hermit crab at least 11.4 litres (3 gallons) of room so they can space themselves out to moult. Larger tanks offer more room and flexibility, so buy the largest tank you can use. The tank must also have a secure glass lid to help hold in heat and humidity. Hermit crabs can scale the silicone glue on the inside corners of the tank, so make sure that your hermit crabs cannot slip through the air gaps. Do not use plastic carriers or wire cages, although the former may be placed inside a glass tank to use as an isolation unit.

What bedding should I use?

You may use one or a combination of the recommended substrates below. Although gravel is blacklisted below, Carol Ormes uses fine smooth river rock for her main tank and has a separate tank containing Eco Earth for moulting.
Recommended Blacklisted
Beach silica sand (if fine)
CaribSea Aragamax Sugar Sized Sand
Coconut fibre (if pure)
T-Rex Forest Bed
ZooMed Eco Earth
Bark (any)
Clay (any)
'Hermit crab' substrate products (any)
Red desert sand
T-Rex (all except for Forest Bed)
Wood shavings
Zoo Med (all except for Eco Earth)

What heat source should I use?

You may need to experiment with different heat sources to determine which is best for your tank. Hermit crabs should not be exposed to bright light at night.
Heat sources Advantages Disadvantages
Ceramic heat emitters (CHEs) Does not emit light or flash on and off when plugged into a thermostat. Long lifespan. Only suitable for large tanks due to intense heat output. Sharply reduces humidity unless a moss pit is used.
Fluorescent lights Very low energy consumption. Negligible impact on temperature.
Incandescent bulbs Available in a wide variety of wattages, colours and wavelength emissions. Night-time bulbs available. Short lifespan. May sharply reduce humidity. Hermit crabs may get irritated if the thermostat frequently switches the bulb on and off at night.
Heat mats Does not emit light or flash on and off when plugged into a thermostat. Releases more heat into the tank than a UTH of the same wattage. Since they are placed inside the tank (unlike UTHs which stick on the outside), hermit crabs may get burnt easily by the mat. UTHs are safer.
Under tank heaters (UTHs) Does not emit light or flash on and off when plugged into a thermostat. Suitable for tanks of all sizes. Need to prevent hermit crabs from burying themselves over the UTH. Glue may wear off over time, causing the UTH to detach from the glass.

How many dishes will I need?

You will need three dishes; one each for fresh water, salt water and food. The water dishes should be deep enough to allow your hermit crabs to fully submerge themselves, but make sure your hermit crabs can climb out of them easily to avoid drowning. You do not have to use fancy rock pool dishes from the pet stores. Cheap plastic containers will suffice, but you may need to build an escape route out of them for your hermit crabs.

May I use any brand of dechlorinator to treat water?

You need a dechlorinator that can neutralise chlorines, chloramines and heavy metals unless you plan to use distilled water. Some crabbers feel the need to treat bottled spring water with a dechlorinator, although this is optional.
Recommended Blacklisted
API Tap Water Conditioner HBH Hermit Crab Safe Soak and Spray
JurassiPet Hermit Safe
Zoo Med Hermit Crab Part 1

May I use any brand of sea salt?

No, especially not those that claim to be designed for 'hermit crabs'. Different brands of 'hermit crab' sea salt products were tested, but all failed to significantly affect the specific gravity of water. It is questionable whether these 'hermit crab' products are actually sea salt. On the other hand, the sea salt mixes designed for salt water fish demonstrated much better results.
Recommended Blacklisted
Crystal Sea Marinemix
Instant Ocean Sea Salt
Oceanic Natural Sea Salt Mix
Red Sea Salt
Tropic Marin Sea Salt
API Aquarium Salt
Fresh water salts (any)
Happy Hermits Salt Bath Crystals
HBH Hermit Crab Salt
Petco Saltwater Glub
Table salts (any)
Zoo Med Hermit Crab Part 2

What do hermit crabs eat?

Do not feed your hermit crabs any commercial 'hermit crab food' products. See our Database for food lists.

Are thermostats worth the money?

Thermostats switch heat sources off once a set temperature is reached. This reduces the chances of your hermit crabs getting overheated and the costs of your electricity bills. Australian crabbers can buy their thermostats on eBay for about $60 AUD. Thermostats also function as a thermometer.

Why do I need a thermometer and hygrometer?

Since your thermostat will operate in the warm end of your tank, place the thermometer at the cool end to make sure the temperature there does not drop too low. A hygrometer is used to measure relative humidity. Place it above the bedding where your hermit crabs spend most of their time.

How many spare shells do my hermit crabs need?

Offer a wide variety of unpainted gastropod shells. Hermit crabs cannot wear bivalve shells, so do not bother with those. Do not put empty painted shells in your tank.

Are climbing toys necessary?

Hermit crabs enjoy climbing for exercise. Make sure you have at least one hidey cave in the tank so that your hermit crabs may rest in darkness if they wish to do so. Once you have the essentials set up in the tank, you can add other climbing ornaments.

What other optional supplies should I consider getting?

A second smaller tank will come in handy to isolate surface moulters and injured hermit crabs. You may alse want to buy a second set of dishes, extra hidey caves and a hydrometer (not to be confused with a hygrometer) to help you mix salt water. If money is not an issue, you can buy a second thermostat and heat source for the smaller tank.
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