I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Please post here if you are having a crab care emergency! Use a real subject and not just "HELP!"

Topic author
Nessiandnoah
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:43 pm

I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Nessiandnoah » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:30 pm

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? Coconut fiber ecoearth and idk maybe 2 inches?


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? Yes the guages are on the side of the tank halfway up and the temp stays around 70 and humidity 70-80


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?I have a heating pad on the side because it was a crappy one that said to only put on the side but I use a heat day light during the day.


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)?I have fresh water to drink it’s bottled water like distilled or something and the salt water is measured out to the standards it said on the container and it’s salt for hermit crab and I always measure it.


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? I feed hermit crab food pellets and worms and shrimp and blueberries a veggie mix and occasionally other stuff like different fruit


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? I have had these since June 2017 so going on 2 years

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? I believe it’s molted recently just one of them has so far


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?It’s a 10 gallon tank, I keep a plastic lid on half of it to retain moisture but half is open to air where I have a heat lamp set up


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? 2 crabs and medium to small

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? I’ve got 4 extra shells


11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?No


12. How often do you clean the tank and how?Idk maybe every couple months? I just pour out old ecoearth and wipe the inside down with water. I don’t use any chemicals.


13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?Yes 1 and I just rinse it out with water


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?I added a second level for them about a month ago but they haven’t climbed it as far as I know


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.

Ok so I had a crab molt and died out of his shell a few months ago and idk what went wrong.....Now my little crab is molting but because the last one died idk what I should expect. At first (a few days ago) she was hiding under the water bowl that had mostly spilled. I filled up another because I didn’t want to bother her. I left her alone and then one day I realized her shell was empty and there were bits of exoskeleton around the shell so I knew she was out of her shell and hiding. I didn’t see her in any of the extra shells. I left her alone. My other crab was hiding in a different area and he is super chill so I didn’t separate them. Then yesterday, she was back in her shell hiding under the empty water bowl again. I left her alone. Then this morning, she was butt naked sitting on the sponge in their soaking salt water dish! Just laying there butt naked! I have NEVER seen this so I was freaking out, but I have read about how vulnerable they are before and after a molt so I left her alone. Now today I get home from work and she is back in her shell so I moved the empty water bowl that was now sort of next to her and I filled it up. She is now moving a lot like wiggling in her shell and sort of like maybe wiping herself with her claws? Or maybe removing more exoskeleton? Idk she is just moving within her shell but still in her corner not going anywhere but moving. Does that make sense? She’s wiggling a lot. She looked super pale this morning but this evening she is looking a bit more pink in some areas almost reddish. Is this normal? Should I do anything? She is in a corner where it’s glass and I can see her and her see us and our movement has scared her some. Should I put a drape over that corner to give her more privacy? Idk what to do or if I need to not do anything. My last molting crab died and I really don’t want to lose her! She’s my favorite! Thanks in advance!
:crabblush:
Last edited by Nessiandnoah on Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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curlysister
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Re: I am new crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by curlysister » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:59 pm

I have answered in bold below.

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it? Coconut fiber ecoearth and idk maybe 2 inches?
Curly - Substrate needs to be at least 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab, whichever is deepest. Many of us use a mix of 5 parts play sand to 1 part of EE. It needs to be moist enough to hold it's shape (so they can dig tunnels and caves that don't collapse) but not so wet that there is water pooling. This kind of mix also helps with humidity.

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? Yes the fishes are on the side of the tank halfway up and the temp stays around 70 and humidity 70-80
Curly - Your temperature and humidity are both a bit low. Ideas is around 80 for both. Crabs have modified gills and need humidity to breathe. Over 80% humidity is fine. Digital gauges are more accurate than analog ones.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? I have a heating pad on the side because it was a crappy one that said to only put on the side but I use a heat day light during the day.
Curly - How low do temps get at night? An UTH (under tank heater) should only be used on the side or back of a tank, never underneath. Some (ie- Ultratherm) can be insulated over, while others (ie- Zoomed) can not. A heat lamp will decrease the humidity.

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)? I have fresh water to drink it’s bottled water like distilled or something and the salt water is measured out to the standards it said on the container and it’s salt for hermit crab and I always measure it.
Curly - Bottled water isn't ideal. Tap water treated with a dechlorinator such as Prime is recommended. What brand of salt are you using?

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? I feed hermit crab food pellets and worms and shrimp and blueberries a veggie mix and occasionally other stuff like different fruit
Curly - Commercial foods like pellets are not safe. Many products marketed for crabs aren't safe, unfortunately. Be sure to check out the nutrition section for info on safe foods and the food pyramid. Crabs need protein and calcium every day.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? I have had these since June 2017 so going on 2 years

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? I believe it’s molted recently just one of them has so far


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? It’s a 10 gallon tank, I keep a plastic lid on half of it to retain moisture but half is open to air where I have a heat lamp set up
Curly - Having the lid open will let the humidity escape. It's better to use an UTH on the back, and have the top of the tank covered with plastic wrap or a lid.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? 2 crabs and medium to small

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? I’ve got 4 extra shells
Curly - HCA recommends 3-5 extra shells per crab. Check the Shells section for information about the proper shells to buy.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently? No


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? Idk maybe every couple months? I just pour out old ecoearth and wipe the inside down with water. I don’t use any chemicals.
Curly - If you have proper substrate, it does not need to be changed, just spot clean poop and bits of food that get dragged around.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? Yes 1 and I just rinse it out with water
Curly - sponges are not needed and only harbor bacteria, you can throw it out.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? I added a second level for them about a month ago but they haven’t climbed it as far as I know


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.

Ok so I had a crab molt and died out of his shell a few months ago and idk what went wrong.....Now my little crab is molting but because the last one died idk what I should expect. At first (a few days ago) she was hiding under the water bowl that had mostly spilled. I filled up another because I didn’t want to bother her. I left her alone and then one day I realized her shell was empty and there were bits of exoskeleton around the shell so I knew she was out of her shell and hiding. I didn’t see her in any of the extra shells. I left her alone. My other crab was hiding in a different area and he is super chill so I didn’t separate them. Then yesterday, she was back in her shell hiding under the empty water bowl again. I left her alone. Then this morning, she was butt naked sitting on the sponge in their soaking salt water dish! Just laying there butt naked! I have NEVER seen this so I was freaking out, but I have read about how vulnerable they are before and after a molt so I left her alone. Now today I get home from work and she is back in her shell so I moved the empty water bowl that was now sort of next to her and I filled it up. She is now moving a lot like wiggling in her shell and sort of like maybe wiping herself with her claws? Or maybe removing more exoskeleton? Idk she is just moving within her shell but still in her corner not going anywhere but moving. Does that make sense? She’s wiggling a lot. She looked super pale this morning but this evening she is looking a bit more pink in some areas almost reddish. Is this normal? Should I do anything? She is in a corner where it’s glass and I can see her and her see us and our movement has scared her some. Should I put a drape over that corner to give her more privacy? Idk what to do or if I need to not do anything. My last molting crab died and I really don’t want to lose her! She’s my favorite! Thanks in advance!

Curly - A crab should always dig under the substrate to molt. Molting on the surface indicates that something is wrong. A naked crab is also a sign of stress. You have a number of things that can be improved in your tank, in order to improve their chances of living a healthy long life.

Here is the link to the Care Sheets section - be sure to read through, there is lots of really essential information in it.
http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... .php?f=120
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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Overmountain1
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I am new crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Overmountain1 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:32 pm

Hi! I’m going to do my best to reply here- some others will likely either do the same or chime in with anything I may have missed. Image but first- YES. Cover that corner.
I replied with your questions within the quote, tho it’s likely pretty similar to what was just posted.
Jinx Curly! I’m sure you have more advice on how to handle the little molter than I.
Nessiandnoah wrote:

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?Coconut fiber ecoearth and idk maybe 2 inches?

OKT- the HCA recommends a substrate depth of 6”, or at least twice as deep as your largest crab. Most on here use a mix of 5:1 playsand and eco earth. You can get a 50lb bag of play sand for under $5 at Lowe’s or pretty much any hardware store- you can find it in the concrete section. When you mix it up add dechlorinated water until it is a sandcastle consistency. Crabs need to be able to dig and tunnel, particularly for molting purposes. They typically build a little cave under the sand away from everybody, because they are so incredibly vulnerable during the molting process. Surface molting should only happen when they cannot dig down.

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? Yes the fishes are on the side of the tank halfway up and the temp stays around 70 and humidity 70-80


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? I have a heating pad on the side because it was a crappy one that said to only put on the side but I use a heat day light during the day.

OKT- The heating pad is exactly where it needs to be. For crabs you do not want it under the sand for s few reasons; it can dry out the substrate, but it can also more or less cook a molting crab if it gets too hot. Depending on what part of the country you live in, the heating pad should cover rom the top of the substrate to the top of the tank across the whole back. If you live someplace a bit warmer you can possibly do less here, you will know more than I here- so long as you continue to keep the temp and humidity up. Crabs do not need or do well with heat lamps. They are too drying- for the air and for them.

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)?I have fresh water to drink it’s bottled water like distilled or something and the salt water is measured out to the standards it said on the container and it’s salt for hermit crab and I always measure it.

OKT- Tao water treated with a dechlorinator is fine, and recommended. Do you know what brand of salt you are using? The HCA, and many crabbers, recommend using Instant Ocean- it contains a ton of minerals they need.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? I feed hermit crab food pellets and worms and shrimp and blueberries a veggie mix and occasionally other stuff like different fruit

OKT- Ditch the pellets- they really aren’t good for crabs, despite the fact they always sell them with crabs at the pet stores. Many are actually even toxic to them. I will link the foods list for you to take s look at, as well. It has a ton of great info.
Care: Safe Food List
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?share_ ... are_type=t
Care: Unsafe and Unpopular Food List
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?share_ ... are_type=t
6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? I have had these since June 2017 so going on 2 years

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? I believe it’s molted recently just one of them has so far


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?It’s a 10 gallon tank, I keep a plastic lid on half of it to retain moisture but half is open to air where I have a heat lamp set up

OKT- you can cover the entire lid with plastic wrap and they will be fine with the air from you getting in and out of the tank every day. Don’t have to but it does help keep the humidity up for them.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? 2 crabs and medium to small

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? I’ve got 4 extra shells

OKT- the recommendation here is 3-5 shells per crab- they’re so picky about shells! And some love to change shells like outfits.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?No


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? Idk maybe every couple months?I just pour out old ecoearth and wipe the inside down with water. I don’t use any chemicals.

OKT- you shouldn’t need to deep clean once you get it all set up unless there’s a major issue, like a bacterial bloom for example. A little mold doesn’t hurt the crabs, it can just bother human allergies. Spot cleaning is fine.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? Yes 1 and I just rinse it out with water

OKT- I would ditch the sponge as well- they tend to harbor bacteria.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? I added a second level for them about a month ago but they haven’t climbed it as far as I know


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.

Ok so I had a crab molt and died out of his shell a few months ago and idk what went wrong.....Now my little crab is molting but because the last one died idk what I should expect. At first (a few days ago) she was hiding under the water bowl that had mostly spilled. I filled up another because I didn’t want to bother her. I left her alone and then one day I realized her shell was empty and there were bits of exoskeleton around the shell so I knew she was out of her shell and hiding. I didn’t see her in any of the extra shells. I left her alone. My other crab was hiding in a different area and he is super chill so I didn’t separate them. Then yesterday, she was back in her shell hiding under the empty water bowl again. I left her alone. Then this morning, she was butt naked sitting on the sponge in their soaking salt water dish! Just laying there butt naked! I have NEVER seen this so I was freaking out, but I have read about how vulnerable they are before and after a molt so I left her alone. Now today I get home from work and she is back in her shell so I moved the empty water bowl that was now sort of next to her and I filled it up. She is now moving a lot like wiggling in her shell and sort of like maybe wiping herself with her claws? Or maybe removing more exoskeleton? Idk she is just moving within her shell but still in her corner not going anywhere but moving. Does that make sense? She’s wiggling a lot. She looked super pale this morning but this evening she is looking a bit more pink in some areas almost reddish. Is this normal? Should I do anything? She is in a corner where it’s glass and I can see her and her see us and our movement has scared her some. Should I put a drape over that corner to give her more privacy? Idk what to do or if I need to not do anything. My last molting crab died and I really don’t want to lose her! She’s my favorite! Thanks in advance!
:crabblush:


ImageDave the Wondercrab~Patpat the Scaredy Cat~MaggieMoo-Dumbo~BillyImage


Topic author
Nessiandnoah
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:43 pm

Re: I am new crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Nessiandnoah » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:00 am

Thank you for the replies! Ok so I need more substrate and plan on incorporating the play sand and getting a larger heat pad to cover the back of the tank, plus I will turn off heat lamp and cover top with Sarah wrap. I will also get more shells for them to choose and ditch the sponge plus improve their food! My question now is.....

WHEN DO I MAKE THESE CHANGES SINCE I HAVE A MOLTING CRAB??? I would need to remove them to change the substrate and stuff :-/ I don’t want to disturb her. Also she is in her old shell even though she has molted. Is that ok? She was still in her shell this morning and in her corner. She can’t dig deep enough since I don’t have enough substrate :( I did cover the glass corner with black paper (on the outside) to give her more privacy. Now I want to make these changes ASAP. When can I?! Thanks!

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: I am new crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Hermiesguardian » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:27 am

Crabs stay in their shells when molting. If she's actually molting and has shed her exoskeleton and hasn't hardened yet, I'm pretty sure you shouldn't move her. I'm sure someone with more experience can advise you. I know you can add an inch of substrate every 24hrs. Just don't pat it down. If you have to wait untill the molter is done though, in the meantime you can gather more substrate and other items. If you can possibly upgrade to a bigger tank then take this opportunity. You'll find that with everything they need it becomes crowded quickly. I don't know if it was mentioned above but their fresh and saltwater dishes should actually be deep enough for them to submerge with a safe way in and out. You can find good deals on tanks on craigslist and apps such as offerup and letgo.
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


Topic author
Nessiandnoah
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:43 pm

Re: I am new crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Nessiandnoah » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:09 pm

Oh ok so isn’t she supposed to change into a new shell? Or not necessarily? I think I will add some substrate to the cage and yes I have been thinking of upgrading because there’s so much crap in the tank that even though it’s a 10 gallon and two crabs, it looks super crowded :-/ I do have a soaking salt water dish they can climb out of it’s got little steps and the water dish is shallow enough. Also y’all said I don’t have to change the substrate just spot clean it, I literally can’t ever see their poop? It’s eco earth and it’s dark so idk :-/ maybe with the play sand it’s easier to see? Also do I mix the sand and eco earth? Or split it in the cage? Any links to teach me how to set it up? Thanks again! Sorry for all the questions! I have needed help on this for a while now and am so glad I found this site!!!

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Hermiesguardian » Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:15 pm

They don't necessarily change shells. But they're picky, that's why they need a variety to choose from. You can mix or not mix the substrate. I mix mine. The crabs will eventually mix it up anyway. The water dishes really need to be more like pools. Look at the pictures section to get ideas. And look at the care links. You can also search for phrases and read the posts.
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


Topic author
Nessiandnoah
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:43 pm

Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Nessiandnoah » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:01 am

My hermit crab is still in her corner but her claws are looking darker red like back to normal but she is still in her corner. How do I know when she is fully done molting? I plan on getting a larger aquarium and wondered when I could move them? She has already shed her exoskeleton a few days ago she is just still hanging out in her corner and wondered when she will be done? Thanks!

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Overmountain1
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Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Overmountain1 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:50 pm

Honestly it just depends- crabs do what they want and need to do on their own schedule. Sometimes this is a few days to a few weeks, even, rarely, a few months. (Although a single month isn’t abnormal either.)
With your current situation I don’t think she will stay down as long as she would’ve been if she was in deeper sub. But it still may be a week or two, it is up to the crab... A day or two after she’s been back up and resuming normal activities should be a safe bet. Have fun setting up the new tank!


Dave the Wondercrab~Patpat the Scaredy Cat~MaggieMoo-Dumbo~Billy


Topic author
Nessiandnoah
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:43 pm

Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Nessiandnoah » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:13 pm

Hey guys! So my hermit crab is still in her little corner. She looks good and healthy from what I can tell so I am assuming she is still regaining energy from molting? Should I place some food close to her? I just want the worry to end! Also I am DYING to move them to their new 20 gallon with the proper substrate and stuff! Lol I can’t wait omg!

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purplepincher
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Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by purplepincher » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:13 am

place a small shallow bowl of soft fruit and dust with calci powder to promote a healthy exoskeleton. that is what i did. make sure to isolate other crabs.
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!


Topic author
Nessiandnoah
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:43 pm

Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Nessiandnoah » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:42 pm

Thanks! She is actually FINALLY walking around and back to her good ole self today! I’m excited!

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purplepincher
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Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by purplepincher » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:31 pm

if she surface molted there is something wrong w/ the enviorment. my first crab did that and died later. hope your crab lives a long, happy life. sounds like she has a good caretaker.
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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ROSIEonFIRE
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Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by ROSIEonFIRE » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:17 pm

i hope everything is going well with your crab! just a quick note on care, once you get the substrate in there you really dont have to worry about cleaning it pretty much at all. many people (myself included) dont do anything more than pick stray food off the top of the substrate in terms of cleaning.


Topic author
Nessiandnoah
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Re: I am new to hermit crabs and don’t know what’s going on!

Post by Nessiandnoah » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:49 pm

ImageOk update and question! My molter is still doing great, walking around, and I moved her and my other hermit to their new aquarium. It has two heating pads on the side, sand and eco earth mix, and the humidity is great! However, I can’t get the temperature to stay above 70. It always drops between 65-70 and it was like this with my other tank too. I use a heat lamp but it dries out the tank and drops the humidity to 65ish. I was going to try not using the heat lamp but it gets too cold :-/ so today I turned the heat lamp on and when I got home from work the temp was 80 and the humidity 60 so I turned it off which I always do on the evening anyways. Now the temp is below 70 and humidity is fine. how do I warm them up?! One of my heating pads is tiny, should I buy another big one? Thanks :)

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