Crabitats for Newbies

Questions about tank size and isolation tanks.
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Wai
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by Wai »

I have had hermit crabs successfully moult in the moss pit in the past, but I have taken it out since to make room for other things in the tank.
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by Finnian97 »

Ginger wrote:Thanks Finnisn, in regards to your question, I meant:

"I would strongly recommend keeping food, water and burrowing substrate at ground level as this presents a more natural form."
aussieJJDude wrote:I have offered food on the levels and the crabs soon realised that their food was their and they needed to get their lazy butts up the cholla to get something to eat.
I assume that this would be the same with the other items mentioned; after all; who hasn't heard of all those horror stories of hermit crabs moulting in moss pits?
:D
So they sort of...'adapt' to their environment, for lack of a better word? That's always good.
Wai wrote:I have had hermit crabs successfully moult in the moss pit in the past, but I have taken it out since to make room for other things in the tank.
Hm. I'll have to keep that in mind--though proportionally I wonder if there're more incidents than successes...either way, I'll try to set up proper precautions.

Thanks guys! I think I'll be posting a revised/more detailed blueprint soon just for final look-overs, but other than that, all of your advice has been super-beneficial.
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by emmac350 »

Just got back from a week in Cambodia...chiming in here with a couple of points.

1. 8 inches by 8 inches sounds way too small. I'd say a minimum of 12x12 for the base, if not larger. Crabs do love climbing but some also tend to stay on the ground more.

2. I've never isolated a molter unless he/she was dug up. If you have enough digging space (i.e. enough horizontal space so that your other crabs have options for where to dig) it's not a huge issue at least that I've seen with my PPs/Es. I've had crabs molt in 1 inch of coconut fiber in an upper level before and not be disturbed - even found some exo bits later on, the harder parts like leg tips, that I could throw in the food bowl for everyone to enjoy. I make sure to offer a constant source of meat and calcium in the tank and I've never had a cannibalism incident or a shell fight since I got them in 2008. Maybe different species act differently, but I'm always surprised when I hear about people completely segregating molters in their tanks because it hasn't really been much of an issue.

3. My food bowl is on an upper level with 2 different ways to get to it. The crabs all know where to go (honestly, Benny spends almost all of her time eating it seems like, based on the pictures I have of her, so it's not a problem). I change the food more often than the water so the water is still on the ground level (I have a 30g tall tank so it's harder to get to the bottom of it even with the 8-12 inches of coconut fiber.

4. If you choose to do deeper levels to allow molting, try to vary what substrate is in each one. My crabs almost all prefer molting in coconut fiber to sand. Not sure why, just how they are.

5. Not a cork board like you'd get in an office supply store. You should be able to find cork meant for tanks in pet stores and/or aquarium shops.
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by Kellie »

Hey! I'm looking to get into crabbing but I must make sure I have all the correct supplies before getting my crabs. I will be getting 2.

I currently have a 10 gallon tank, with Eco-Earth and Play Sand (from Home Depot). I will sift though both before placing into tank to be sure they are clear of any potential crab threats. I also have the petco humidity and temperature gauges.

I was thinking for water dishes to get small tuba-wear from target or walmart, and finding some sort or netting and small shells so they can craw in and out easily.
I was wonder if this is ok? And what netting would you suggest for just climbing in and out?
Was probably going to see if walmart had any shells I could use for the crabs/shells that could be used as a food dish.
Also looking to order a coconut hut and some sort of log hide. I got one at petco, but returned upon realizing might be pine.
I also will be purchasing a Hemp net for the crabbies to have an upper level to climb on.
For moss, where would I find safe moss for purchase? I bought some Fluker's online but then realized that it is not safe. Oh well, it wasn't too expensive. I don't know where I would find safe moss though.

In addition, for acclimating my new hermies to the best environment, I will need to slowly increase the temperature and humidity of the cage. How do I do this without any sort of automatic system? Do I need to get an automatic system? If so, what should I get? I have a heating mat I bought from a family run aquarium.

I will be getting my crabbies from petco, as that's the only place within 100miles or more that has crabs available, and they all have painted shells unfortunately. How do I pre-buy shells without knowing the size of my crabs (although most petco crabs look rather large)? I want to make sure they have shells to move into immediately.

For water I was thinking Instant Ocean salt and conditioner. These ok?
For food, what would you suggest? I know many sites have great crab mixes, also I know there is a variety of fresh food I can give them. Are there any safe commercial mixes too? Of course I would combine them with other things so it's less bland.

For tank cover, I was thinking to get a screen top and to cover most of it with duct tape (obviously sticky side up) so it only has a corner of airflow. Or if saran wrap works to keep in humidity?

I currently live at an apartment at college, but live 25min from home. So for winter and summer break, they only have to ride a short trip to their new location.

I have a question about small breaks though, like Thanksgiving for example. With enough water and food left out, can they handle me away for 3-4 days even though I won't have any control over temperature or humidity for that time? It's Thanksgiving, my roommate won't be around to be able to check on them, or really anyone, because Thanksgiving people go home to their families.

Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated. I want the best for my crabbies!
Thanks so much, and nice to meet you all!

Kellie
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by emmac350 »

Let's see, you have lots of questions. I'll try to catch them all.

Netting - check craft stores/Walmart's craft section for those. You can maybe find some crab-safe shells in some of the decorative shell packs in craft stores too. Otherwise, I've had really good luck personally with the Naples Seashell Company's online store as well.

Cholla logs are pretty good for crab climbing. For a log hide, search around online. I don't remember where I got my one non-cholla log for my crabs, it's been years. Cork is another one you can find in pet stores, you might be able to get either a cork climbing wall or a cork hideout for your crabs.

I haven't bought moss so I'm not able to help you there.

I have a thermostat to control my temperature in the tank but humidity is one that I have to manually control. I have a Zoo Med thermostat and (I think) a Zoo Med timer to control the tank lighting.

Estimate the size of crabs at your Petco before you buy shells. Go in every week or so to see the size of crabs they get and use that to gauge your likely shell size. Then once you buy shells, you can just get the crabs closest in size to the shells you have.

I don't use water conditioner, I just use distilled water I buy in gallon jugs from the store. They're usually less than a dollar each and I know that they're safe. I do use Instant Ocean for my salt water.

For non-fresh foods, I'd suggest grabbing some bottles of food from your pet store - dried/frozen crickets, shrimp, plankton, krill, bloodworms, tubifex worms, etc. are all crab-safe! Another thing you can do is unroasted/unsalted nuts from your grocery store, dried fruits (check your ingredients - no sweeteners/preservatives, but dried raisins/dates/etc. will all be safe. Eggshells from hard boiled eggs or cuttlebones are good calcium sources you can keep in your tank all the time.

Saran wrap will work just fine for your tank lid and is adjustable as opposed to duct tape.

3-4 day breaks are fine for your crabs. Give them extra food and water and they'll survive. It isn't ideal but it'll work.
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by Kellie »

Thank you so much for all this info!
I actually found some clean moss at Micheal's (it's a recommended type, and no coloring or preservatives) and I grabbed some shells too.
Also good news is I found an aquarium nearby that sells hermies. Now they aren't in much better conditions than the ones at petco (wire cage ack!) but this store sells tons upon tons of natural shells. So when I grab the hermmies I can grab great shells for them right there.

Also thank you for food suggestions! Seeing I eat hard boiled eggs a lot, my hermies will love to have my shells I normally dispose of!

Very excited to get them, but decided to wait until after Thanksgiving, because I'd like to make sure they are happy and healthy for a bit before I leave them for more than a day. I wouldn't logically be able to get them until next weekend, which only gives me a week and a half to care for them before Thanksgiving. Just seems like the best thing to do (although I did fall in love with a crab I met today at the store. ): )

Thanks again for the great info!
Happy crabbing!
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by emmac350 »

I hadn't had an eggshell in my tank for a while and put one in today...within 10 minutes Rack was sitting on top of it. The shell was 1/2 of an extra-large egg...it's now about the size of a nickel with a few crumbled pieces on the substrate around it. XD
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by ladybug15057 »

Welcome to HCP! It is good to see you're getting prepared for the hermies. (I was caught by surprise when our first ones come home)
Be careful of the moss you use. Some sold has been treated for pests.
Depending where you live, you may want to have cardboard handy too at first to got over the saran wrap. Cardboard will help to hold some heat in too.
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by Kellie »

Thank you guys!
The brand I got from Michael's is called Hiawatha Evergreens Bagged Moss, and on the back it says no chemicals or preservatives. Is this safe? If not, where do I find good moss, I worry about humidity.
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Re: Crabitats for Newbies

Post by ladybug15057 »

Not sure about that moss being it was sold in a craft store? Pet stores usually have the moss that is not treated due to some use it in their tanks for their pets.
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