really at a loss...

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annopia
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really at a loss...

Post by annopia » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:32 pm

Hey there guys…I haven’t posted in a while, but I used to be quite active on the HCA. I have about zero time for anything fun while I’m in veterinary school, though :(. But I’m having some trouble with my colony and I’m really stumped and sad and thought I’d see if you guys had any ideas.

About three months ago, a male ruggie I’ve had for 3 years, Sugarplum, became lethargic. He grew increasingly lethargic over the course of about a month before he finally passed. He did not lose limbs or go shell-less, he simply got slower and slower until he finally died. I was upset at his death, but wasn’t too concerned about the cause at that time.

This week I noticed another crab, a female ruggie I’ve had for 7 years, Merangue, was starting to become lethargic. I have gotten her in isolation, but it is just like with Sugarplum. No outward problems, but she is so lethargic she can barely move her limbs. I am slowly watching her die, and it is crushing me. She is a very sweet and special girl and has been with me so long, she is like my baby. I spend all day studying about how to diagnose and treat disease in animals, and yet I am clueless and helpless to help her.

Any thoughts or ideas you might have would be appreciated. A little more about my setup:

-I have 5 tanks: 3 main tanks and 2 isos (10Ls). Both affected crabs were in the same tank, a 20L that also has 5 more teenies (2 ruggies, 2 PPs, and a strawbaby). I also have a 40L with 4 violas and an indo and a 20L with an aussie. In one of my iso’s is a recent purchase (teenie PP), in the other is Merangue.

-In that tank, temperature ranges from 85 to 79 in different places in the tanks. Humidity is about 90%, which it has been for about the last 5 years, so that's nothing new.

-All the crabs receive the same food. I make mixes from fresh food (7 different mixes) and freeze them and thaw out a little each time I need it. i also add premade mixes from places like hermit crab addiction. none of the other tanks have had problems, and I make sure to cook any meat, fish, or other seafood. I change the food every two days, but occasionally mold will grow on the food before I remove it.

-All the crabs receive fresh (dechlorinated) water and salt (oceanic) water that are mixed up in the same tubs before they are poured into each tank. each tank has water deep enough to submerge in.

-There have not been any important chemicals that have been near the tanks. I use Swiffer sweeper stuff on the floor, but am careful not to open the tank then (and have been using it in the same way for years). There was recently a carbon monoxide leak in the house, but I am positive this would have not affected the crabs (researched this).

-I did recently purchase a new crab, but she has been in a different tank and nothing has crossed between those two tanks.


I’m just really at a loss and really upset. Merangue is still alive for the moment, but barely. I’m just trying to keep her comfortable in her final days. She has water and honey/powered food nearby.

Please, if you have any thoughts or ideas, let me know. If there’s anything I forgot to mention, just ask.

Caroline
26 LHC: 6 PPs, 5 Es, 1 Straw, 6 Ruggies, 2 Indos, 1 Blueberry, 4 Violas, 1 Aussie

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shanedaman112
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by shanedaman112 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:13 pm

I know it's a strange question but did you check for mites? I don't know an awful lot about them but I know that they can hurt crabs. Seems to me the crabs have about perfect conditions. Sorry this is happening D: and I hope I've been any help.
2 small PPs: Leonardo, Biscuit
3 medium to large PPs: Kermit Rocketson, Lulu, Strawberry (named because he is red, not actually a straw)
1 Neon Tetra: Stevie. 1 Crawfish: Larry
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Ryry
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by Ryry » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:24 pm

Just a shot in the dark but I'm wondering about the food. Could there maybe be some nutrient they are deficient in? If conditions are that perfect and the food (sounds like you have awesome food) is fine then I have no idea!
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by wodesorel » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:27 pm

I had this problem in my teeny tank earlier this year. I thought it was the new ones having froze during shipment and they couldn't recover, but then three more of the ones I had had for nearly two years also died. Same thing that you're seeing - they slowed down dramatically and then stopped moving and then just passed away where they were sitting. They had been eating like crazy the whole time they had slowed down, spending most of their time in the food dish, so it was a surprise every time. It was bizarre, and I still don't know why it happened. To try and make it stop since there was no red flags, I did a major tank clean, changed all of the substrate and scrubbed the tank down. I also upped the sources of calcium and minerals in the tank. The last crab that was lethargic didn't make it, but the rest of have been healthy and molting fine since the clean and diet change. It might be worth trying, if you think it could help. I'm usually against cleaning for no reason, but if I have mysterious deaths (this happened before years ago when I first started out crabbing) then the first thing I do is a full clean and it's always fixed whatever was wrong.

I am so sorry you're losing your old crabs! It was hard losing my new guys, if anything ever happened to my originals I'd be despondent. I really hope she pulls through okay! *hugs*
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YYWW
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by YYWW » Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:28 am

Are these mysterious deaths specific to exotics?


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Re: really at a loss...

Post by annopia » Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:14 am

thanks so much for your replies guys, i'm really appreciative...

i actually hadn't thought of mites. i've been lucky enough to never experience them in my 9 years of crabbing, so they don't generally come to mind. i haven't seen any, but i will check her for them tonight (i try to handle them just once a day) and will give the healthy guys a once over.

as far as the food, it is possible theyre deficient in some way. my 7 mixes have 1 protein, 3 fruits, 2 veggies, 1 grain, and 1 nut. i use every fruit/veggie/nut i can find, and i try to supplement with egg shells and cuttlebone for calcium. i add in the kibbles i buy online to try and make up for any deficiencies in the diet. i was actually really concerned about the possibility for contaminated shrimp, since shrimp is a protein in one of the mixes and shrimp and hermit crabs have been shown experimentally to transmit diseases to each other (like white spot syndrome virus). the mixes were made fresh in july, and eating the shrimp at different times could be a possible explanation, i suppose. but no one in any other tank is ill, so i've kinda moved away from food being a cause. just to be safe, though, i'm removing the shrimp from that mix and supplementing with freeze dried krill instead.

both affected crabs have been exotics (ruggies). they are the two larger ruggies in that tank, and two smaller ruggies (had for 3 and 7 years respectively) have not shown any signs yet. theres also two PPs in there (had for 3-4 years) that are no showing signs. there is also a straw (had for 3 years), but i'm less able to assess lethargy in her since she is typically a slow mover anyway. the ruggies and crazy climbers and runners, so its really obvious when then slow down.

i did also think about doing a presumptive deep clean, wodesorel. it will be a week or two before i have the time outside of class to do the really intensive (vinegar scrub, everything boiled) deep clean that would be indicated. However, i have thought about "condemning" the tank for the time being. i have another 20L with just a large aussie in it. she has been dug down for 2-3 months and i'm honestly not sure if she's still alive. the teenies don't take up much room, and i could bath them and move them in tonight. there is always the slim possibility that they would both her if she is still molting or that she might come up and harm them (she has not been the nicest crab), but since i'm not sure if she's still with us i'm not sure how concerned i should be about that, if at all. but do you think i should go ahead and move then to that tank? its a new tank (just set up this summer) that should be pretty clean, especially since there has only ever been one crab in it.

thanks for all your replies.

Caroline
26 LHC: 6 PPs, 5 Es, 1 Straw, 6 Ruggies, 2 Indos, 1 Blueberry, 4 Violas, 1 Aussie

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CallaLily
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by CallaLily » Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:02 am

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I would handle it much like Wode suggested. If you can't do the deep clean for a while, moving them over to the other, unaffected tank sounds like a good idea to me. Hope you can put a stop to whatever is causing this. :grouphug:

It's good to hear from you. I wish it was under happier circumstances.

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Re: really at a loss...

Post by annopia » Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:50 pm

thanks calla...

well, i switched the crabs over the other 20L. the only things i took from their tank were them and their spare shells, and i made sure to boil their shells well. i bathed them all in salt water as well before putting them in, and i didn't see any signs of mites.

in sad news, i think my straw, Lychee, may be lethargic too. it's really hard to tell with her, though, because she has never been a very outgoing crab. but i think she is probably less active than she used to be. the two PPs seem to be in good shape, as do the other two ruggies.

as devastated as i am about merangue, who i've had for seven years and have a big bond with, i will be absolutely crushed if one of the other ruggies, Bones, falls ill as well. I've had him for the same amount of time as Merangue, and about a year back I hand-nursed him back to health. he had either had a super bad molt or been attacked, but I found him naked with only one walking leg remaining. that's the only time i've really managed to successfully reshell a lethargic crab and have it take. i was amazed that he was able to make a complete comeback, and he is a special guy. so hopefully this move will prevent that. hopefully it is not something infectious, but it could literally be anything.

another odd thing that i forgot to mention: when Sugarplum passed, there was no death smell. It was weeks before we buried him (because there was no smell and i really wanted to be sure because i am paranoid about burying one alive), and still no smell. usually, when i've had a dead crab in my tank is smells so much even quadruple bagging doesn't help. so i found that really, really odd. wodesorel, did you notice anything similar from your deaths? also, we are about 2.75 hours away from each other...small world.

Caroline
26 LHC: 6 PPs, 5 Es, 1 Straw, 6 Ruggies, 2 Indos, 1 Blueberry, 4 Violas, 1 Aussie


hermitcrablover1
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by hermitcrablover1 » Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:00 pm

Hi, Unfortunately I have experienced the same problem with several crabs. They were fine at first then started to get slower and slower and very weak. They finally died. I didn't know what was wrong with them. I remembered reading somewhere that they can get an infection in their gills. It recommended giving them a bath using water mixed with fish antibiotics for so many days. I could not find where I read it or the exact directions or what type of antibiotic so I did not try it. I also was not sure if the treatment would kill them.
Luckily I have not had any other crabs get this illness for the last year.
Has anyone else heard anything about this treatment?

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Re: really at a loss...

Post by annopia » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:51 pm

hermitcrablover, i'm sorry to see that you have had the same thing happen. merangue's gills do not look overtly abnormal to me, but that doesn't mean there isn't something wrong with them. i also haven't had any experience with give antibiotics to crabs (it seems that therapeutic dosing would be a nightmare to get right).

i had the thought yesterday about possible salmonella poisoning. there are raw egg shells in one of my mixes, and it is possible that they were not rinsed enough and that those eggs had salmonella. sugarplum and merangue could be the only crabs who have eaten the shell from that particular egg, or they may have eaten more of it or been more susceptible to it. still, its just a random, perhaps far-fetched thought. i did ask my zoonotic disease professor about it, and he was unsure if hermit crabs could be symptomatic but know that shrimp can sometimes be carriers. i might just be grasping at straws there, though.

merangue is still hanging on. i just mixed up her new food and water. she wasn't as interested in it as she was yesterday, but she was slightly more interactive than yesterday. she spends any time that i am not manipulating her in the exact same position, not moving in the slightest. whatever position i place her in, she will stay there. when she in the water or the food she will move her legs and occasionally her eyestalks. i think at this moment she's just barely hanging on. i'm trying to keep her as non-bothered as possible and just hope for these best. my level of hope isn't very high though.

in more positive news, the strawbaby i thought might be starting to get lethargic has been nice and active since my last post. she normally has periods where she is less active, so hopefully i just caught her at one of those times. the crabs seem to be settling in to the new tank so far with no signs of other problems.

i just hate this wait and see game...i don't like seeing a crab i have such a close bond with being so uncomfortable and lifeless. its not the merangue i have known for the past seven years...

Caroline
26 LHC: 6 PPs, 5 Es, 1 Straw, 6 Ruggies, 2 Indos, 1 Blueberry, 4 Violas, 1 Aussie

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Re: really at a loss...

Post by annopia » Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:23 pm

merangue died two weeks ago after a week of hand care. i found a third crab from that tank (post move and clean) dead this afternoon, a strawbaby named Lychee who i have had for over three years. that makes three out of the six crabs in that tank dead.

lychee's death wasn't like the others. she did not have a long period of lethargy before death. she had dropped her small pincher but had grown a considerable gel limb. when i found her, her gills, mouthparts, and portions of her upper abdomen had black growths. her abdomen was neon green when under light. has anyone seen anything like this?

Caroline
26 LHC: 6 PPs, 5 Es, 1 Straw, 6 Ruggies, 2 Indos, 1 Blueberry, 4 Violas, 1 Aussie

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YYWW
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by YYWW » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:34 pm

I'm so sorry for your loss! to have those crabs for years, losing them so suddenly must be so terrible. I'm so sorry and hope you can find some closure regarding their manner of death.


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Ryry
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by Ryry » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:03 am

That is absolutely crazy! I hope some one has information on this for you, all I can offer is my condolences. I am so sorry and I hope things start to get better for you
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really at a loss...

Post by Drakezilla » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:07 am

I can't even imagine the pain losing all your babies like that! I had a scare with my original today and i was terrified until more reseach and advice from these guys proved my worst nightmare wrong. Image

However in my research, I came across this; http://www.hermitcrabparadise.com/crabc ... ellrot.php

I'm mobile so in the chance it doesn't show, have you ever heard of a disease known as shell rot? I'm hardly a vet, but this is the closest thing I could think of to what you described.

I'm very bonded to mine and I can't even imagine the loss you must be feeling...you have my most sincere condolences. Image
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Cᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ;
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Re: really at a loss...

Post by CallaLily » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:56 am

I'm so sorry, Caroline. :grouphug:

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