New crabs not moving or eating

Questions about very inactive hermit crabs on the surface.
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tammi
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New crabs not moving or eating

Post by tammi »

Hi all,

My name's Tammi, I'm new to the forums and I'm also new to keeping hermit crabs. We've purchased 2 very small crabs (small enough to fit on a quarter) which I believe are purple pinchers; I'm not 100% sure on that though. One of them that we call George was active the first night. He walked around and explored the crabitat, and inspected the water dishes, Then he burrowed into the sand, and as far as I know, he hasn't moved since. I've heard that this is normal behaviour for a new crab, because they're stressed out from being moved to a new home, but I just wanted to double-check. I'm concerned that he may not be eating or drinking anything.
The other crab, Hermie, has really got me worried. On the first night, he poked his head out of his shell a bit and I could see his little feelers moving, but he never walked around or anything. He still hasn't moved from that spot, and now he doesn't come out of his shell at all, even at night. His legs are hanging out a little bit, but they don't seem to be moving at all. I gently picked him up by the back of the shell to see if he would respond, but he appears to be lifeless. I'm really concerned for him, and I'm pretty sure he's still alive; there's no trace of a fishy smell in the tank. If there's anything I can do for him, please let me know! I thought he may have been starting a surface molt, but since this is my first time keeping hermit crabs, I'm not sure.

I'll list our crabitat conditions here, in case that helps. The crabs are in a 10-gallon aquarium with a little less than 2 inches of Crabworx sand covering the bottom. The sand was moistened with some salt water to the point where it was just a bit damp. There are two shallow (approx. 1/2 inch deep) water dishes in the tank; one for fresh water and one for salt water. All water is dechlorinated first. Also in the tank are 8 empty shells which were boiled in water for 5 minutes beforehand to kill any parasites. There are 2 clamshells that I use for food. One has crushed eggshells, and one is used for fruit, veggies, etc. which is changed daily. Some foods we've tried are strawberries, peanut butter, dried krill, hard-boiled egg, and peas; all of it was left untouched. The tank is heated by an overhead heat lamp with a very low wattage. We have humidity and temperature gauges inside the tank at the back. The temperature reads 74.5 degrees, and the humidity is at 90%. I've heard that 90% is too high, so I took off the glass lid of the tank in an effort to reduce the humidity. We've had the crabs for about a week.

Any help is greatly appreciated! I hope our new little crabbies will be okay...

Merry Christmas,
Tammi
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ladybug15057
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Re: New crabs not moving or eating

Post by ladybug15057 »

Did you help the hermies adjust per the PPS article? (shallow substrate so they cannot burrow)
http://crabstreetjournal.com/xoops/modu ... toryid=165

Did you notice the conditions at the pet store? (temp and humidity)
What are the brand names of the dechlorinator and ocean/sea salt you are using?
Depending on the species many times depend on the shells they prefer. (species ID can be found in Crab Care section)
Did you calibrate/test the humidity gauge, and is it at substrate level?
Please also keep a check on the substrate temp. (way too many times there is a difference between air temp and substrate temp) Make sure there is a cooler side of 71-73* F and a warmer side of 78-80* F.
Are the hermies getting a night and day cycle?
Please do read through the Crab Care section, lots of good info there:
http://www.hermitcrabparadise.com/crabcare/
Marie (aka ladybug15057)

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tammi
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Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:44 am
Gender: Female
Hermit crabs: 2
Total gallons: 10
Total tanks: 1

Re: New crabs not moving or eating

Post by tammi »

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly!

I unfortunately did not read that particular PPS article before bringing the crabs home, so the substrate is not all that shallow. It's between 1 1/2 and 2 inches deep. I don't think it would be a good idea to disturb the crabs now by fiddling around with the substrate, but correct me if I'm wrong.
The pet store was not taking very good care of their crabs, I don't think. I know more about hermit crabs than I did then, though, and since I'm new to keeping them I was kind of naive about buying them. There were no gauges in the store's tank, but I'd assume the crabs were warm enough, because the store was heated. I'm not sure about humidity. If I could do it all over again, I'd buy from a different store, because I see now that this place wasn't doing a very good job with their crabbies.
Dechlorinator is the same I use for my fishtanks; Nutrafin Aquaplus. It's supposed to remove chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals. I use Instant Ocean for my sea salt.
Like I said, I'm fairly certain my crabs are purple pinchers. They have shells with a d-shaped opening now, but some of my extra shells have d-shaped openings while others have round ones.
I did calibrate the humidity gauge, and it's resting against the substrate and the middle of the back wall. The same thing with my temperature gauge. I haven't been monitoring substrate temperatures, but I just checked them and it appears to be 70 degrees on the side furthest from the overhead light, and around 73 on the other side. I don't have an UTH and I read that it dries out the substrate too quickly; is there any other method of raising the substrate temp?
I use a night-glow light at night, and a sun-glow light during the day. Both are low wattage.

And thanks for the link, I've glanced through the care sheets a bit but I plan on reading them more thoroughly once I get a chance.

Again, thanks for your help. It is much appreciated.
Tammi
Last edited by tammi on Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wai
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Re: New crabs not moving or eating

Post by Wai »

Welcome, Tammi!

The substrate doesn't have to be moist. Although most people here have a moist substrate, Marie has been using a dry substrate for many years without problems. Hermit crabs can wet the substrate themselves with their shell water if they want to.

All heat sources will dry out the substrate. You can always spray the substrate with water if it gets dry.
Wai
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ladybug15057
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Re: New crabs not moving or eating

Post by ladybug15057 »

If the hermies are burrowed I would strongly recommend not to go moving the substrate about. But if they are on the surface (or you are positive where one of them is if one is on the surface) should be no problem removing a bit of the sand away from where it is burrowed at. This would help them adjust being on the surface to the temp and humidity percentage.
To attempt to encourage them to resurface, you could try to offer them some really stinky smelly foods. (sardines in spring water or fresh, tuna in spring water or fresh, silversides, etc.)
As for the hermies being warm enough? The temp of a room does not actually matter. Here we use a wood burning stove and the great room (45 feet by 65 feet) thermometer on the other side of the room on our thermostat usually reads around 80*F- 80*F + yet many times throughout the day the electronic temp controllers turn on our UTH's. It does not do much to heat the substrate to 78-80*F for the hermies warm side If you do not wish to use an UTH this is fine. You could possibly invest in another heating source and put it on your warm side and have it directed at the substrate.
When I attempted to click onto the embedded link, it would not open. Appears when typing or pasting the link it added an extra h so it is hhttp: this is what I found with a search
http://www.hagen.com/uk/aquatic/nutrafi ... ioning.cfm and the tap water conditioner appears to have a slime type coating added to it for fish? (Valerian Root...Wai??)
If so, the slime coating could possibly effect the nutrients the hermies are able to absorb from the foods they eat.
Seems majority of PP's prefer the turbo style shells with the round openings that fit their rounded torso's better. (there is always that exception too) But here ours like the light weight brown tapestry style shells:
Brown tapestry shell
Marie (aka ladybug15057)

If you are contacted privately (via pm or e-mail) and enticed to join another forum, please contact a Crab Crew member. This is an unethical practice.
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