Surface Molting??? Please help!

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Randomperson428
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Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by Randomperson428 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:27 am

Hello!

I've had my two crabs, Jabba and Boba Fett, since September 10th this year. They've been great! My first two crabs died rather soon because of pet store diseases. These two have been alive twice as long!! I had Jabba molt, and was entirely expecting Boba's molt next.

However last night I pulled both my crabs out for a bath. It had been a long time since their last bath and they tend to smell sorta bad if I don't keep up on them. I noticed that Boba was acting really tired last night after the bath (which I understand is a sign of molting) so I left him where he was. When I woke up this morning I saw his exoskeleton hanging in front of the shell. My knee-jerk reaction was that Boba was definitely dead. I decided to pick him up to see if he was alright and to my surprise he was in there! His skin was red/pink and he was all the way back in his shell. I stared in disbelief for several seconds before placing him back down in the tank, several inches away from his skin. I'm nervous that I might have killed him by touching him, and how do I deal with a surface molt? I've never had crabs that have molted before.

I'm new to posting so I'll try to include a picture but no promises that it works. Had to make an account for my dear Boba Fett!!

Image

https://imgur.com/a/ItYVh Here's the link in case it doesn't work.

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aussieJJDude
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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by aussieJJDude » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:58 pm

Welcome to HCA!

First thing first, seperate the crabs from each other. A small container or a divider can be used, as long as your other can not come across the moulter than it will work. Ensure that the container has enough space to place a large scallop shell or hidey hut. And recommended to have a small dish - like milk bottle cap - of freshwater for when he finishes. Have enough substrate in there to line the bottom. If using a scallop shell, enough substrate should be used to form a small 'cave/hole' under the shell. Place the crab and its exo - the discarded part - in the divided section and cover with shell/ hidey hut. And wait.

May i ask you to fill out the emergency template, surface moult normally indicates something is wrong with your tank conditions. (They bury usually)

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Randomperson428
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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by Randomperson428 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Currently I have a plastic container over the molting crab and a blanket over the tank to keep it dark. What is the emergency template? (sorry for not knowing before I posted). I use a mix of calcium sand and coconut fiber as substrate. It's about 5 inches deep, and I've been trying to keep it as moist as I can. Last night he was trying to climb a piece of wood so I placed him on top and went to bed. His exoskeleton wasn't far from that piece of wood.


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Randomperson428
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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by Randomperson428 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:42 pm

Alright, I think I found the template. The substrate I mentioned above. I do use a gauge to measure the tank. They're located in the upper left of the tank, near the very top, and generally speaking heat is always at a flat 70, while humidity fluctuates. The substrate is a lot warmer than that though.

I use a heat pad and it's located under the tank right in the middle. Jabba likes to sleep right on top of the heat pad whereas Boba would always sit in the corners.

I've got both salt and fresh water in the tank. I buy salt water from the pet store and the freshwater is filtered at home.

I feed to them apples, pellets and dried krill. It's changed every day, once per day.

I don't know the species of the crabs but I've had them since September 10th.

Jabba molted last month while I was vacationing in Florida. He turned out fine, and did bury himself.

I've got a ten gallon fish tank with a mesh top. The top I usually cover with a towel because the winter is getting very dry.

Boba is the size of a quarter while Jabba is larger by a little.

I keep three extra shells in the tank, all unpainted.

No fumes or chemicals near the tank whatsoever.

I clean the tank monthly. I was going to clean it today or tomorrow, but now that Boba is molting I can't.

I keep a sponge in the freshwater dish and I clean it by squeezing and refilling it repeatedly until I feel all the substrate is off it.

Nothing has been added to the crabitat recently.

I've been trying to clean both of them on a regular basis, but that hasn't happened much. Boba was burying himself too much so I stopped searching for him. Last night was the last bath I've given. I try to refrain from touching them as much as possible.

That should be everything!!

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aussieJJDude
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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by aussieJJDude » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:20 pm

I assume the container still has air flow - aka, so it can breathe?

Some things that I want to mention (keeping it brief, hate typing on phone).

Its far safer to place the heat mat on the side of the tank. Substrate is a very good insulator, and can trap the heat in basically turning it into a glorified oven - which has kill many crabs in the past. Putting the heat mat on the side also helps to heat the air, which is what they need.

Calci sand has the tendency to clump when wet, and then harden to a rock like finish. This inhibits the crabs ability to dig, and also is rather abrasive and can puncture the abdomen of a hermit crab. What is the ratio of sand: ee (roughly)? If its a very low, it should be fine and not cause that much issues but if its roughly 50:50 I would take out a large proportion throw it out and then use playsand and/EE to a depth of around 3x the height of your largest crab - for many, its roughly around 6 or so inches. Substrate can settle in time, so you may want to have a little more in there so when it settles ut doesnt 'drop too far' - aka. Compensate.

Having a variety of food is important for their health. I recommend looking in the food and water section of the forum for good and easy tips (plus the guides) to increase variety of food.

Sponges are just bacteria colonies, unless you microwave it daily - ensure its dry, if not it will shrink. If its a natural sponge, feel free to leave it in there 'dry' and the crabs enjoy nibbling on it. Otherwise, there is really no need since they dont drink from sponges.

Edit: we encourage that the heat and humidity remain around 80F and 80% respectively for healthy metabolism. The bare minimum would be around 75F/75%, but its far better to go slighty above and allow the tank to have a small degree of fluctuation in a safe range.

How exactly is the water filtered?

You may find that more shell options to be a wise investment - reduce potentual shell fights and attacks. This is something that we slowly accumulate over the years, since after the initial investment crabs are rather cheap (monthly costs include for most; food, electricity, water (from water bills if you use tap) and small purchases ranging from shells to decor.)

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Crabs || Fish || Shrimp || Snails || Plants || Insects

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I've never had any problems with 'Impulse Buying'... They're just things I forgot I had planned to get || Self Designated 'HCA Pic Fan' 2012+


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Randomperson428
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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by Randomperson428 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:37 pm

The sand is a relatively small amount compared to the coconut fiber. I occasionally turn the top substrate over to allow for airing, and there aren't any clumps or anything of the sort.

My water is well water, so it gets filtered pretty well before entering the household. It hasn't been an issue for these crabs so far. I have been looking into a Brita filter or something like that.

When I go to do food tonight, I can poke holes into the top of the plastic container.

The idea of microwaving a sponge was never even brought up to me. How long would I microwave it and how often? I mainly use it to provide more stable humidity levels throughout the tank.

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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by Kaleighshermies » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:32 am

I agree with aussie.
The heat pad on the bottom of the tank might be too warm for your crab's liking and therefore doesn't want to dig down. You did state this particular crab rather stay in the corners under ground then go near the heat pad. Moving it to the backside of the tank may help encourage him to want to dig down for the next molt and you may find that it helps keep the temperature where it needs to be much better.

I used calcisand years ago before I heard it was bad for them and it was fine for several months and then no lie it did clump reaaaally bad and was pretty hard to the touch. It was the green one and one day I looked into my tank and my crabs were dyed green!!! From it caking on them and clinging to their legs it sorta dyed their exoskeleton the color of the sand. You stated you clean your tank monthly; maybe take out some every month as you clean it and start swapping it with playsand? I promise you will like it much better and once you get the combination of playsand and EE just right you wont even have to clean the tank monthly just spot check and clean the little poops or spoiled food on the surface. The playsand and EE stay relatively clean under the surface and it really helps with not throwing away good substrate and will last awhile.

The sponge is really up to you if you have the dedication to take care of it every single day. Honestly you may like using moss better then the sponge if humidity is your concern. I found the moss stays moist for awhile and my sponges always dried out within a day. (That's just my experience though) Also is the sponge blocking your crab from the water if he wanted to bathe himself and fully submerge? That way you wont have to handle them and bathe them, they will do this themselves like they would naturally do in the wild.

Salt water: If you purchase a box of instant ocean you wont have to buy the expensive salt water bottles at the store and make it right at home and it will last you a very very long time! :)

Just some tips, hope this helps!
7 PP Hermies I think? Lost count tbh 5 PPs and 2 Es
Crabbing since 2004

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GotButterflies
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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by GotButterflies » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:53 am

Hello :) Ditto all of the above but I would like to add a few things :)

I personally don't recommend bathing your crabs. That really is a practice that is more "old school". It is recommended that you provide them with a dechlorinated marine saltwater pool and dechlorinated fresh water pool that they can fully submerge in and safely get out of by themselves. A lot of us use cheap tupperware containers purchased from the dollar store. Here is a link that LJJ did that is very helpful in explaining. :)

Another thing is the food. I recommend tossing the pellet food all together. They can eat a lot of the things you do, minus seasoning. I personally prefer organic because it is free of harmful pesticides and fertilizers that can hurt hermits. Check the following lists:
Safe food list: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92557
Unsafe food list: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92556
Food pyramid: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92554

Definitely make sure you provide calcium for your little guys. Cuttlebone, oyster shell, coral are all great options. :)

Good luck!
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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Randomperson428
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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by Randomperson428 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:28 am

I will definitely try moving the heater. I've also got a 5 gallon tank heater which I can apply to a different side. It's getting cold in New Hampshire, so the idea of a heater under the tank seemed good.

When I say 'bathing' I mean letting them walk around in a container with some salt water. However the sponge could very well be blocking them from getting into the freshwater.

Thank you all so much for the information! I'll take a serious look at the tank later on today.

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Re: Surface Molting??? Please help!

Post by GotButterflies » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:48 pm

Sorry, I forgot to post that link about the double dish pools: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=113691&hilit=double+dish+yo
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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