Molting for 6 months+ ?

This forum is where you discuss issues relating to molting hermit crabs, including pre- and post-molting issues. If you are having a molting emergency please post in the Emergency Forum.
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austinfamily82
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:16 pm

Molting for 6 months+ ?

Post by austinfamily82 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:28 pm

Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum and looking for some advice. We have a hermit crab (Spongebob) who we've had for 5 years now. He has had several successful molts but none have lasted longer than about a month at most. Last November we moved him to a larger tank and put down fresh substrate (mixture of coco fiber and calcium sand). He immediately dug down to molt (not unusual for him) and he came back up in January freshly molted. He stayed in the same corner of the tank though and wasn't terribly active, then the next day he dug back down and began molting again. He has been down there ever since and hasn't come back up. My husband is worried that he may have died but I'm sure there would be a smell if that were the case. He is a large crab and I know it can take some time for them to molt, but is this excessive? I know not to disturb him, but is there maybe some enticing strong smelling treat I could perhaps put in his tank to see if it would bring him back up, or should we just be patient and give him more time?

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: Molting for 6 months+ ?

Post by Hermiesguardian » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:08 pm

austinfamily82 wrote:Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum and looking for some advice. We have a hermit crab (Spongebob) who we've had for 5 years now. He has had several successful molts but none have lasted longer than about a month at most. Last November we moved him to a larger tank and put down fresh substrate (mixture of coco fiber and calcium sand). He immediately dug down to molt (not unusual for him) and he came back up in January freshly molted. He stayed in the same corner of the tank though and wasn't terribly active, then the next day he dug back down and began molting again. He has been down there ever since and hasn't come back up. My husband is worried that he may have died but I'm sure there would be a smell if that were the case. He is a large crab and I know it can take some time for them to molt, but is this excessive? I know not to disturb him, but is there maybe some enticing strong smelling treat I could perhaps put in his tank to see if it would bring him back up, or should we just be patient and give him more time?
I just wanted to mention that calcium sand is actually bad for them. Even if it's labeled for hermit crabs. It turns to cement when wet. So when it gets into their shells it can turn to cement and kill them. You can use play sand sold at most hardware stores for under $5. And of course sandcastle consistancy. He could just be digging for digging sake.
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi

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leah610
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Re: Molting for 6 months+ ?

Post by leah610 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:04 pm

If the crab died under the sand, it is very likely that you will not smell it. The substrate usually masks death smell- that was the case for me. Personally, I would give it more time. It is safer to wait it out no matter what. When this happened to me, I was worried at the 6 month mark too. I waited past 8 months to go with my gut instinct and dig- I knew something was wrong, and I was right about it too. If that's the case for you, I would wait until you are absolutely sure and it is safe for you to investigate.


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Topic author
austinfamily82
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:16 pm

Re: Molting for 6 months+ ?

Post by austinfamily82 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:51 pm

Thank you both so much! I didnt realized the calcium sand wasn't good for them... once he comes back up we will switch to regular. I'm so attached to this little guy and want to do what's best for him. He has a lot of personality and we miss him being awake and active.

He actually isn't dug down as deep as he usually does for a molt, so I think we would notice any smell. When he dug down in November it was fairly deep, but when he came back up and dug down again in January, he's actually almost still on the surface. His shell is still mostly above the substrate but his body and part of the shell is underneath (he kicked away the substrate to make it shallower before he dug back down). I keep replenishing his water and moistening his moss (and leaving a small amount of food in his dish) so that his tank is ready whenever he does come back up. My gut tells me he's fine and just molting, but after all this time I sure will be relieved when he rejoins us!

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Rawrgeous
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Re: Molting for 6 months+ ?

Post by Rawrgeous » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:37 am

Try looking in the middle of the night, around 2-3. Sometimes they dig down to sleep for the day.

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