Help! Mites on my crab!

For the discussion of any creepy crawlies that may have taken up residence in your tank, including mites. Please note that isopods have their own forum.

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DreaminginBlue
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Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by DreaminginBlue » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:40 pm

I was checking on Pluto when I saw little whitish bugs running quickly around the edges of his shell opening. I'd never seen them before and I'm not sure what to do! He just molted and now my other crab is down for a molt. Please help. What should I do to get rid of the mites? I do have a spare ten gallon I can use as a quarantine tank. I've never dealt with mites before and I'm not sure what to do. I just set up my 40B and I'm hoping I won't have to tear it apart to get rid of these mites, but if I have to I will. I'm not sure if Apollo has mites or not, either.

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HeyItsEggs
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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by HeyItsEggs » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:41 pm

That's not good at all. I would suggest a deep clean but, you have a molter so I have no clue.


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RebsCritters
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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by RebsCritters » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:07 pm

There is a topic on this stickied right in this section. It includes mite identification and ways of treating them. Here is the link: http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 67&t=92530

If you choose to bathe them it might make the experience a bit less stressful on the crab if you gently pre-heat the water to about 78°F if your room temperature is below this. Just don't cook anyone.

If you decide to buy the predatory mites (which you may choose to do if your large tank is affected) then steer clear of buying them off Amazon. The ones listed there are all scams and the info in the product description is copy/pasted off another website that actually sells the live mites. They aren't exactly cheap but you get a lot and they will survive on other things so hopefully they will be around long enough for your molter to surface and reap the benefits.

I'm currently in a similar situation as I just brought home new crabs from the store with mites, though I have them quarantined for the time being. I've got an aquarium heater and a bubbler in the bath as well. It's like a crabby jacuzzi, haha.

Good luck!


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DreaminginBlue
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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by DreaminginBlue » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:29 pm

I've decided to quarantine and bathe the crab on the surface until he's better, and wait until the molter comes up to see if he has mites. If I keep them in the ISO, I'm hoping the mites in the main tank will die without a food source. How long will it take for the mites to die off?


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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by RebsCritters » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:22 pm

From what I've read they compete their life cycle in about 3 days.. which means they are able to reproduce within that time as well. However, I have to admit I'm not entirely sure what their food source is or what they are capable of surviving on, as Eco Earth is made of coconut fibers.
Waiting two weeks at least is probably your safest bet, if you can keep the crabs comfortable in the meantime.

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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by GotButterflies » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:12 pm

Wait...are you POSITIVE that it was a harmful mite? Are you sure it is not a food mite or a springtail? Both of those are harmless to hermits...PLEASE look at this link first. .http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 26&t=92537
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DreaminginBlue
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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by DreaminginBlue » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:47 pm

I don't have enough experience to say for sure, but they were a pale whitish/slightly brownish color and were running really quickly around the inside rim of Pluto's shell. That's the best description i can give... If they were food mites why were they in his shell? I'm just so confused and honestly a little freaked out. I don't want anything bad to happen to my crabs and if the mites are harmful I need to get rid of them.

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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by soilentgringa » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:48 pm

DreaminginBlue wrote:I don't have enough experience to say for sure, but they were a pale whitish/slightly brownish color and were running really quickly around the inside rim of Pluto's shell. That's the best description i can give... If they were food mites why were they in his shell? I'm just so confused and honestly a little freaked out. I don't want anything bad to happen to my crabs and if the mites are harmful I need to get rid of them.
They are food mites. Harmless to the crabs.

Take all food out every morning and only feed dried/dehydrated foods for a bit. Usually with food mites there will be a population explosion then they will die out for the most part.

I never saw one in my crab tank, but boy did they make it into my isopods and (former) exotic roach tanks.

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DreaminginBlue
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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by DreaminginBlue » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:31 am

Thank you so much for your reply. Your help means so much to me, new as I am, as I try to figure out what's going on.
In the most respectful way possible, I wanted to ask how one could be sure that they're food mites and not something worse? I don't know anything about mites and I know you have a wealth of experience, so I trust your assessment, but I just wanted to know how you got to that conclusion so in the future I will be better able to I.D. mites if the problem pops up again (none of my Google searched have helped much). I also wondered why food mites would go inside his shell?
I was certain I saw at least two running around really fast (faster than videos of food mites I've seen), but I wonder if maybe they ended up in his shell by accident.
One last question- if they are food mites and are harmless, is it necessary to eradicate them? If so, how would I do that?
Thank you again for all your help, and I apologize for all my questions and general lack of knowledge. I'm very lucky to have experienced crabbers like you, GotButterflies and others to help me as I learn about caring for hermit crabs.

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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by GotButterflies » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:54 am

Food mites can be common in crabbing, as are springtails. Also, the parasitic mites stay on the crab. Usually seen on eyes, antennas, and leg joints.


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DreaminginBlue
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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by DreaminginBlue » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:41 am

So is it safe to say he's fine and just put him back in the main crabitat?

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soilentgringa
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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by soilentgringa » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:13 pm

DreaminginBlue wrote:So is it safe to say he's fine and just put him back in the main crabitat?
Probably. The parasitic mites are a red orange color and are usually stuck on the crabs softer areas or antennae. They don't scurry off like food mites do, but remain attached and are hard to dislodge.

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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by GotButterflies » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:54 pm

Agreed. :)
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DreaminginBlue
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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by DreaminginBlue » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:20 pm

Thanks. I was confused after reading this earlier off the mites link an earlier poster provided:
"One type of hermit crab mites are fast and long legged. They can be seen running around the opening to the shell, or on the hermit crabs themselves. They will often take refuge on the eye stalks or in the joints of the crab, but they won't stay in place for very long. They come in shades of white, cream, grey, and brown. These may actually be Mesostigmata mites, but for now we have no way of knowing for sure."
This description sounded like the mites I saw and I freaked out, thinking they were bad mites.
But if you're certain they are harmless, I'll go ahead and put Pluto back.
Sorry for another string of questions... but:
How do food mites get into the crabitat?
They're harmless, but should I try to get rid of them?
Why did I find two of them running around in Pluto's shell? Were they looking for food in there or soemthing?
Thanks again for all of your help.

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Re: Help! Mites on my crab!

Post by GotButterflies » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:24 pm

DreaminginBlue wrote:Thanks. I was confused after reading this earlier off the mites link an earlier poster provided:
"One type of hermit crab mites are fast and long legged. They can be seen running around the opening to the shell, or on the hermit crabs themselves. They will often take refuge on the eye stalks or in the joints of the crab, but they won't stay in place for very long. They come in shades of white, cream, grey, and brown. These may actually be Mesostigmata mites, but for now we have no way of knowing for sure."
This description sounded like the mites I saw and I freaked out, thinking they were bad mites.
But if you're certain they are harmless, I'll go ahead and put Pluto back.
Sorry for another string of questions... but:
How do food mites get into the crabitat?
They're harmless, but should I try to get rid of them?
Why did I find two of them running around in Pluto's shell? Were they looking for food in there or soemthing?
Thanks again for all of your help.
No worries. I personally think that some people just tend to freak out about bugs more thank others ;) Of course, if you are new to crabbing that is easy to do. First of all, we aren't sure what you have. You would need to post a picture for us to determine what you have. :) Food mites and springtails can be cut down in population by having Isopods because they compete for food sources. However, the best bet would be to use the dehydrated foods/or dry foods for awhile, and to remove them first thing in the morning. This will cut down on the food supply, leading to a decrease in population (like Soilentgringa mentioned).
Truly blessed to have incredible creatures, wonderful friends and my amazing family in my life!! I'm very thankful & grateful for all of them! www.thehealthyhermit.com

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