Crab looks dead, out of shell

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bridgettbiologist
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Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by bridgettbiologist » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:21 pm

Hi everyone, I think one of my crabs killed the other one. It is totally limp, out of its shell and legs have been torn off. It finished molting a couple of weeks ago, but I can't think of any reason the other would attack it. Please tell if I can be sure it's dead and why the other one killed it.


teachincrabbie
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by teachincrabbie » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:13 pm

What’s their diet like? They need protein. How many shells do you have?


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bridgettbiologist
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by bridgettbiologist » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:17 pm

I feed them dried shrimp, fruit, and nuts. There are four available shells. They never showed signs of aggression before today.

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The Crab Maid
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by The Crab Maid » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:09 pm

They need more calcium in their diet, they devour their molts to help replenish that. Could be possible the attack occured for that. Also, each crab should have 3-5 shells...if you have two that means 6-10 shells.

It would help to answer all the questions for emergencies so we can see what your set up is like.
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bridgettbiologist
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by bridgettbiologist » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:11 pm

I've looked closer, and I believe the victim was newly molted, but I didn't know it. I usually get them to the iso tank in time. I was confused because the attacker took the victim's shell.

I'm not sure what to do now. These two were my first crabs and I'm feeling very discouraged. I would appreciate any advice.

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by Hermiesguardian » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:27 pm

bridgettbiologist wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:11 pm
I've looked closer, and I believe the victim was newly molted, but I didn't know it. I usually get them to the iso tank in time. I was confused because the attacker took the victim's shell.

I'm not sure what to do now. These two were my first crabs and I'm feeling very discouraged. I would appreciate any advice.
As long as the substrate is at least 6 inches or 3 times the height of your largest crab, and they are being fed protein and calcium daily, there's no reason to iso for molting.
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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curlysister
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by curlysister » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:41 pm

Here's the link to the Emergency Template. You can copy and paste, and fill in your answers. Then we can further help you trouble shoot what went wrong.

http://www.hermitcrabassociation.com/ph ... 27&t=46102
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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GotButterflies
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by GotButterflies » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:57 pm

I agree with Curlysister. Please fill out the emergency template. One thing I noticed is what you are feeding. Hermit crabs need a variety in their diet - and they especially need calcium eg: cuttlebone )purchase at the petstore), eggshells, coral, oystershell, They really need protein also eg: bugs (purchase in reptile section at pet store), meat (unseasoned), fish.

Please check out the following links: Make sure you cover all aspects of food pyramid :) Foods should be organic when possible. Hermit crabs are sensitive to pesticides and fertilizers.
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
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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bridgettbiologist
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by bridgettbiologist » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:54 am

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
I use playground sand and it's about 3 1/2 inches deep. I meant to add more when my crab came up.

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?
My thermometer and hygrometer are on the right side of the back wall about 5 inches from the substrate. They read 71 degrees F and 50-70% humidity, but I've been meaning to replace them because I know the tank is at least 76 degrees.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
I just installed a flukers 11x11 mat, but it's turned off since my room is warm enough in summer.

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)?
They have fresh distilled water and salt water. I use 1 1/2 tsp salt per cup of water.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I feed them alternately with dried shrimp and dehydrated fruit. I try to supplement once in a while with crushed eggshell and chicken bones.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
I've had both for almost 2 years and they are purple pinchers.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
The victim just molted April, but it could have been molting when he was attacked. The attacker finished molting a few weeks ago.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
They are in a 10 gallon aquarium. I just bought a glass lid for it a couple weeks ago. Before that it was mesh with plastic wrap.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
I had two, they were both about 1 1/2 inches tall.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
I have 6 extra shells in the tank, but one of them is probably too big.

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

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I clean the tank twice a year. I replace the sand, bake the log, boil the dishes and shells, and wipe the tank with a water/vinegar mixture.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No sponges.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Just the glass lid and heating element.

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.)?
I try to get potential molters to a plastic critter carrier with 5 inches of sand that serves as my iso tank. It's only 2 gallons so I keep it inside the 10 gallon when a crab molts.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
On Saturday morning a saw the attacker digging around where the victim was buried, but since I had other responsibilities that day, I couldn't check on them again until late afternoon. I saw the attacker wearing the victims shell next to the body of the victim which had legs torn off. I am afraid to get another crab now. Being a first time crab owner, a crab dying this way was my worst nightmare. I don't want the attacker to hurt another crab and I thought they had everything they needed.

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Overmountain1
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Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by Overmountain1 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:26 am

I know it’s a terrible feeling, and is hard not to get discouraged. I’m really sorry for your loss.
There’s a lot to learn about crabs and crabbing that is all going to be found online, either here or another reputable group. When you have the time, try to Look around and read up and hopefully you can prevent any other future accidents. I’m going to respond to your answers with an S-
bridgettbiologist wrote:1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
I use playground sand and it's about 3 1/2 inches deep. I meant to add more when my crab came up.
S-Many crabbers mix Eco Earth with the playsand to help with the humidity, and yes, deeper substrate is better, as others have already explained.

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?
My thermometer and hygrometer are on the right side of the back wall about 5 inches from the substrate. They read 71 degrees F and 50-70% humidity, but I've been meaning to replace them because I know the tank is at least 76 degrees.
S- most of us aim for closer to 80 degrees for our crabs, or even a little over. The humidity needs to stay above 70% for them to breathe with their modified gills, and many crabbers stuck closer to 80%+ to give a little wiggle room not to drop below the 70 mark.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
I just installed a flukers 11x11 mat, but it's turned off since my room is warm enough in summer.
S- it’s good that you have the heat mat, especially since you’ll be aiming a little higher with the temp. The Flukers mats are ok, I have a couple too, but they aren’t consistent temperature wise, most people use Ultratherm heating mats as soon as they can afford them- they aren’t super expensive but anything is too much for a tight budget, believe me I know. More info available in Crab Care section under heating of course.

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)?
They have fresh distilled water and salt water. I use 1 1/2 tsp salt per cup of water.
S- Crabs need marine salt water, and therefore table salt is insufficient for their biological needs. Many people use Instant Ocean but there are other options available as well. They need the minerals from the marine salt water, and they use it to keep a specific mix of salinity in their shells. I’m sure others will join in to add to this.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I feed them alternately with dried shrimp and dehydrated fruit. I try to supplement once in a while with crushed eggshell and chicken bones.
S- as others have mentioned, variety and protein and calcium, fresh and dried foods, leaves and wood, and more. I saw the link to the food lists, I’m sure you will learn a lot checking thru there as well.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
I've had both for almost 2 years and they are purple pinchers.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
The victim just molted April, but it could have been molting when he was attacked. The attacker finished molting a few weeks ago.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
They are in a 10 gallon aquarium. I just bought a glass lid for it a couple weeks ago. Before that it was mesh with plastic wrap.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
I had two, they were both about 1 1/2 inches tall.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
I have 6 extra shells in the tank, but one of them is probably too big.

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

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I clean the tank twice a year. I replace the sand, bake the log, boil the dishes and shells, and wipe the tank with a water/vinegar mixture.
S- this is not necessary unless you have a flood or bacterial bloom. Many crabbers just stir their sand and scoop out anything specific that is dirty, old food etc, but otherwise just stir it up.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No sponges.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Just the glass lid and heating element.

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.)?
I try to get potential molters to a plastic critter carrier with 5 inches of sand that serves as my iso tank. It's only 2 gallons so I keep it inside the 10 gallon when a crab molts.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
On Saturday morning a saw the attacker digging around where the victim was buried, but since I had other responsibilities that day, I couldn't check on them again until late afternoon. I saw the attacker wearing the victims shell next to the body of the victim which had legs torn off. I am afraid to get another crab now. Being a first time crab owner, a crab dying this way was my worst nightmare. I don't want the attacker to hurt another crab and I thought they had everything they needed.
Again, I’m sorry you had this experience. We have all learned a few things the hard way, believe me. I hope you don’t get too discouraged or overwhelmed, and can start fresh with another friend for your current crabby! I hope that helps.


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Topic author
bridgettbiologist
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by bridgettbiologist » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:43 pm

Thank you for the pointers and encouragement Overmountain. I will keep trying.

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curlysister
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by curlysister » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:22 pm

Overmountain has covered the areas that need to be improved pretty well. I would add that crabs do not need to be isolated to molt - that is old school, and not really recommended anymore. If conditions are proper in the tank, they will do just fine in the main tank.
HCA recommends 3-5 extra shells per crab. There are proper and improper shells to buy - see the shells care sheet for info.

I use the 5 parts playsand to 1 part EE mixture, it really does help keep humidity up. The only time one of my crabs dug up the other was when I didn't have enough substrate. The minimum should be 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab, whichever is deeper. In the almost 9 years of having my crabs, I have never replaced all the substrate, I have just added more as I upgraded tanks and as they grew.
Be sure to check out the food care sheet for the food pyramid and safe/ unsafe food list.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


Topic author
bridgettbiologist
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Re: Crab looks dead, out of shell

Post by bridgettbiologist » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:03 pm

Thank you curlysister, I'm always struggling with humidity.

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