Lost a crab :(

Please post here if you are having a crab care emergency! Use a real subject and not just "HELP!"
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Kitkat7
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:20 am
Location: South Carolina

Lost a crab :(

Post by Kitkat7 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:51 am

Since you've come to the emergency forum, we know you want a fast answer to your question. In order for us to figure out the problem as quickly as possible, we ask that you answer the following questions as best you can. Some of them may seem odd, but they're all designed to give us the information we need to give you a good solution for your problem. The things in the [ brackets ] are there to make this post easier to read once submitted. Thanks!


1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it? Damp coconut fiber, ~4–5" deep


2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read? I do not have gauges. It's winter in SC so I have a large undertank heater on one side of the 40g tank, and the humidity is high enough that there is always condensation on the sides of the tank.


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? Yes. I have a large undertank heater on one end of the tank.


4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)? Both salt and fresh water are available. Both were treated with dechlorinator drops, and I used pure food-grade sea salt to mix the salt water.


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? I offer them dry oak leaves as well as a variety of store-bought foods (including Variety Bites, Jurassic Diet food, Zoo Med food), dried shrimp and blood worms, and the occasional snack (such as hard boiled egg, fruit, or honey). They also have a calci-sand dish in their crabitat. Food is replaced about every other day.


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? Both crabs (including the one who died) are Purple Pinchers. I've had them both for about ten years. :(


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? My crab had just surfaced from a molt when it passed away.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? My crabbies are in a 40g tank with a screen lid that is covered with plastic wrap to hold in the humidity.


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? I had two medium/large crabs in the tank.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? They have seven extra shells at the moment.


11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently? Nope.


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? I replaced all the substrate about three months ago. Since then I have been picking up their poops, scooping their calci-sand with a slotted shovel, and spot-cleaning spilled food and such.


13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? I do not use sponges. My crabs are big enough to crawl out of the water dishes.


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? Not in the past several months.


15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?


16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail. My two purple pinchers had been separated for several years due to fighting. About three months ago I was able to buy them a used 40g turtle tank, which I thoroughly scrubbed with vinegar before filling it with damp coconut fiber, and reunite them. It went well–they spent a few hours sizing each other up and wiggling their antennae at each other. I gave them a cave, large piece of driftwood, fake plants, and a "tree" to climb/hide in, as well as food dish, calci-sand dish, and fresh/salt water dishes. About a month and a half ago both crabs buried and, I presume, molted together. About a week ago Stitch surfaced. I do remember thinking the joints of his legs looked a little off–weak maybe? I tried to get a closer look. He was moving around so I figured things were OK. He crawled across the tank and into the cave, where he did not move for days. Calypso then surfaced as well and was very active and hungry (as I would expect post-molt), and avoided the cave area. I gave Stitch time, but finally was worried and thought I detected a faint smell. When I lifted the cave I saw that Stitch had passed away. I carefully scooped Stitch and the surrounding substrate (I later removed more substrate from that area), and buried Stitch in the yard. :( :( :( He was definitely dead. I've seen surface molting before, plus I could see that his soft body was starting to break down once he fell part-way out of his shell. RIP little friend. So I don't understand why this happened after ten years, except...prior to this new set-up the crabs were in separate tanks. Stitch didn't have the best set-up (I fully admit I was negligent for a period of time). The substrate wasn't deep enough and Stitch surface-molted about two times. I fully understand this was not a good situation for the crab, and am making sure to provide them the best captive crabby life from now on. My question is, could this have had delayed effects on Stitch's health? They've been in the nice new set-up for at least three months, and both seemed very happy and active, eating, drinking, and spending most of their time together on top of the cave or driftwood. However, this was the first molt in the new crabitat. Could previous stress have affected Stitch's molt in the new tank? Thank you for your time. Please no mean comments...I know I should have done better and am very sad about my crabby friend's passing. Once I make sure that Calypso is healthy (which he seems to be as he is currently wolfing down his food) I will look into getting a new little friend or two from a reputable vendor.

P.S. Does anyone know the average age of crabs when they are bought in a store?


.

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angelbearpuppy
Posts: 359
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:20 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Lost a crab :(

Post by angelbearpuppy » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:02 pm

Hi, hopefully someone can come around and help you soon.

In regards to your question about the store and age of the hermit crabs, this quote is taken from the basic hermit crab information sheet found here:

Care Sheet: Basic Hermit Crab Care for All Species
Young crabs (under 2 years) are 0.5 inches across and can fit on a dime. Full grown adults (25+ years) reach 6 inches and are larger than a softball. Average size (5 to 15 years) is 2 to 3 inches.
There is also another article on here that might help as far as ageing your crabs and it is located here:

Putting an Age to Crabs

As far as the rest, the only thing that jumps out at me is that you are using food grade sea-salt. I don't know if that is the same thing as the marine salt they need or not, maybe someone else can help. I know that Instant Ocean is what is recommended.
I have owned Hermit Crabs for 2 Years

I have 1 E named Monkey and 2 PP named Shy Guy and Little P

I also own 1 PP named Dory who stays in my classroom

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curlysister
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:54 pm
Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: Lost a crab :(

Post by curlysister » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:25 pm

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it? Damp coconut fiber, ~4–5" deep
Curly - This may not be enough substrate for medium-large crabs. It should be at least 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab, whichever is deeper. Given that there have been surface molts, you may need more substrate.

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read? I do not have gauges. It's winter in SC so I have a large undertank heater on one side of the 40g tank, and the humidity is high enough that there is always condensation on the sides of the tank.
Curly - You should really have guages. "Guestimating" the humidity and temp aren't recommended. Humidity is relative, so condensation doesn't always give an accurate guess. It is als important to know the temperature in the tank. The digital ones are more accurate than the analog.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? Yes. I have a large undertank heater on one end of the tank.


4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)? Both salt and fresh water are available. Both were treated with dechlorinator drops, and I used pure food-grade sea salt to mix the salt water.
Curly - What brand of dechlorinator do you use? Food-grade sea salt is not recommended. You need a marine salt such at Instant Ocean to provide essential minerals. Dishes/ pools need to be deep enough that the crabs can submerge, with a way that they can climb out.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? I offer them dry oak leaves as well as a variety of store-bought foods (including Variety Bites, Jurassic Diet food, Zoo Med food), dried shrimp and blood worms, and the occasional snack (such as hard boiled egg, fruit, or honey). They also have a calci-sand dish in their crabitat. Food is replaced about every other day.
Curly - Most commercial foods are not considered safe, due to additives and preservatives. Check out the Food section for information about nutrition and the food pyramid. Crabs can eat much of what we eat can be fed to crabs, as long as it contains no preservatives and is organic. Crabs need protein and calcium daily (not calci-sand).

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? Both crabs (including the one who died) are Purple Pinchers. I've had them both for about ten years. :(


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? My crab had just surfaced from a molt when it passed away.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? My crabbies are in a 40g tank with a screen lid that is covered with plastic wrap to hold in the humidity.


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? I had two medium/large crabs in the tank.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? They have seven extra shells at the moment.


11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently? Nope.


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? I replaced all the substrate about three months ago. Since then I have been picking up their poops, scooping their calci-sand with a slotted shovel, and spot-cleaning spilled food and such.
Curly - Many of us use a mix of 5 parts play sand to 1 part EE, moistened with dechlorinated water. It's cheaper and as long as there isn't a major issue like a bacterial bloom, never needs to be replaced completely, just spot cleaned.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? I do not use sponges. My crabs are big enough to crawl out of the water dishes.


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? Not in the past several months.


15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?


16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail. My two purple pinchers had been separated for several years due to fighting. About three months ago I was able to buy them a used 40g turtle tank, which I thoroughly scrubbed with vinegar before filling it with damp coconut fiber, and reunite them. It went well–they spent a few hours sizing each other up and wiggling their antennae at each other. I gave them a cave, large piece of driftwood, fake plants, and a "tree" to climb/hide in, as well as food dish, calci-sand dish, and fresh/salt water dishes. About a month and a half ago both crabs buried and, I presume, molted together. About a week ago Stitch surfaced. I do remember thinking the joints of his legs looked a little off–weak maybe? I tried to get a closer look. He was moving around so I figured things were OK. He crawled across the tank and into the cave, where he did not move for days. Calypso then surfaced as well and was very active and hungry (as I would expect post-molt), and avoided the cave area. I gave Stitch time, but finally was worried and thought I detected a faint smell. When I lifted the cave I saw that Stitch had passed away. I carefully scooped Stitch and the surrounding substrate (I later removed more substrate from that area), and buried Stitch in the yard. :( :( :( He was definitely dead. I've seen surface molting before, plus I could see that his soft body was starting to break down once he fell part-way out of his shell. RIP little friend. So I don't understand why this happened after ten years, except...prior to this new set-up the crabs were in separate tanks. Stitch didn't have the best set-up (I fully admit I was negligent for a period of time). The substrate wasn't deep enough and Stitch surface-molted about two times. I fully understand this was not a good situation for the crab, and am making sure to provide them the best captive crabby life from now on. My question is, could this have had delayed effects on Stitch's health? They've been in the nice new set-up for at least three months, and both seemed very happy and active, eating, drinking, and spending most of their time together on top of the cave or driftwood. However, this was the first molt in the new crabitat. Could previous stress have affected Stitch's molt in the new tank? Thank you for your time. Please no mean comments...I know I should have done better and am very sad about my crabby friend's passing. Once I make sure that Calypso is healthy (which he seems to be as he is currently wolfing down his food) I will look into getting a new little friend or two from a reputable vendor.

P.S. Does anyone know the average age of crabs when they are bought in a store?

[/Curly - I am sorry for the loss of Stitch. Yes, poor conditions, improper diet and salt water can add up and eventually kill a crab. When they use up their energy, they just can't live any longer. Crabs should never molt on the surface; if they do, it means that conditions aren't ideal. Many can't survive more than one surface molt. There are definately some improvements that can be done in your tank, as I have outlined above. b]
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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Topic author
Kitkat7
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:20 am
Location: South Carolina

Re: Lost a crab :(

Post by Kitkat7 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:30 pm

Thank you both for your replies. I should clarify–Stitch's surface molts occurred in the old 10g tank. In the new 40g tank both crabs buried for the most recent molt. I will definitely add some more substrate, however, and will probably mix play sand in with the existing coconut fiber. I'll purchase a thermometer & hygrometer as well, and buy better hermit crab food online. I've seen several online vendors that have some nice mixes that sound tasty to me, so I'm sure Calypso will love it! In regards to the sea salt, I already have Instant Ocean (for my fish tank) so I can use that instead from now on. Thanks for the info on aging! I also read about rings at the base of the antennules but I was not about to go that route on my departed pet. Thanks again for the advice.

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purplepincher
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Re: Lost a crab :(

Post by purplepincher » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:06 pm

nice names! you should look up on high places or leave some fruit on the floor so they can eat.
I love my little Acorn! #besthermitcrabever
I also Love Jesus! My favorite food is doughnuts, my favorite drink is orange soda,
and my favorite color is gold! (I like shiny things)

I am also a Die hard Lego fan!

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