Molting or not?

Please post here if you are having a crab care emergency! Use a real subject and not just "HELP!"
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Topic author
Horsegirl297
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:50 am
Location: Verona, WI

Molting or not?

Post by Horsegirl297 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:19 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?
A mix of coconut fiber and playsand. 5 inches 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?
Yes. Humidity is typically between 80 and 90. Temperature is around 80-85.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
Yes, Zoo meds UTH (sidemounted)

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)?
We have fresh and salt water available. We treat the tap water with Zoo med's freshwater conditioner. For the salt water I mix 1/2 a tablespoon of instant ocean/cup of water.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I replace food besides pellets twice a day. (morning, evening). We mostly use fruits and vegetables with a calcium supplement (Exo Terra w/ D3)

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
I don't know the species. We got it friday, august 23rd 2019 (less than a week ago). One crab lives next door that we are watching. Don't know the species, but she has had him for a little over a year. This totals to 3 crabs.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
None of the three crabs have molted under the care of their current owners. Our issue right now is whether they are molting or not.

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 kept in what is technically a 10-gallon glass aquarium with a glass lid that has 2 small ventilation slots.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
3 as of right now. One is the size (shell included) of a golf ball. His legs completely extended average an inch. The other two are distinctly larger, I just ordered shells for them between an inch and a quarter of an inch.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
We managed to find three of the right kind in our home and they are currently in there. More are on the way.

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

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I scoop out poop daily and replace the water every 1-2 days depending on how dirty it got. I haven't done a deep clean yet.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
Yes, sponges are used in both. I rinse them in dechlorinated water and scrub EE out with my fingers.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Kind of everything? We just got them.

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.)?
Homer (friends smaller crab) has dug a lot when he has been over here before. Sheldon also tends to feel most comfortable (when resting) with the top of his body even with the level of the substrate.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
My friends smaller crab, homer stayed the night with us and our two crabs, Shelly and Sheldon. In the morning we came up to check on them. Shelly was in her usual spot in the corner, while Homer and Sheldon were no where in sight. We dug around in the substrate and found them both buried quite a few inches into the substrate (not next to each other or the glass). This seemed fairly sudden for both of them; no signs of molting were really shown at all. The humidy since the glass lid was shut and I since I had rewet the sponges was in the high 90s. We did notice Homer sitting in the saltwater for a while, which he does not have available to him at home. Homer didn't fully peek out of his shell like he normally does. Otherwise, nothing was out of the ordinary. Their exoskeletons were not at all cloudy and the eyes weren't glassy either. Sheldon hasn't excessively eaten or drank anything; I was concerned for a few days that he wasn't eating at all actually. The substrate can definitely hold its shape, but there were no remaining tunnels at all in the substrate. Homer is supposed to go home in a few hours, and him molting here would definitely be a challenge for us and his owner. I have never had hermit crabs before, and I don't know what to make of this situation. Are they able to breath with no ventilation down there? Should we dig them up (or at least Homer, which would be convenient for us. We don't have an ISO) or leave them? If they aren't molting when will they come back up and are they able to do that without pre-existing tunnels?

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curlysister
Posts: 1310
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:54 pm
Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: Molting or not?

Post by curlysister » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:09 pm

I have given my suggestions in bold below.

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
A mix of coconut fiber and playsand. 5 inches deep.
Curly - Your substrate needs to be at least 3 times as deep as your largest crab, or 6 inches, whicever is deeper. If your crabs are larger than a gold ball, 5 inches may not be deep enough.

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. Humidity is typically between 80 and 90. Temperature is around 80-85.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
Yes, Zoo meds UTH (sidemounted)

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)?
We have fresh and salt water available. We treat the tap water with Zoo med's freshwater conditioner. For the salt water I mix 1/2 a tablespoon of instant ocean/cup of water.
Curly - Instant Ocean is good, but Zoo Med may not remove all the things needed in tap water. See the 'water' care sheet for more info.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I replace food besides pellets twice a day. (morning, evening). We mostly use fruits and vegetables with a calcium supplement (Exo Terra w/ D3)
Curly - Commercial hermit crab food such as pellets isn't considered safe, as it contains additives and preservatives. Crabs need both calcium and protein daily. Check out the 'food' care sheets for info on safe/ unsafe foods and the food pyramid.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
I don't know the species. We got it friday, august 23rd 2019 (less than a week ago). One crab lives next door that we are watching. Don't know the species, but she has had him for a little over a year. This totals to 3 crabs.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
None of the three crabs have molted under the care of their current owners. Our issue right now is whether they are molting or not.

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 kept in what is technically a 10-gallon glass aquarium with a glass lid that has 2 small ventilation slots.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
3 as of right now. One is the size (shell included) of a golf ball. His legs completely extended average an inch. The other two are distinctly larger, I just ordered shells for them between an inch and a quarter of an inch.

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
We managed to find three of the right kind in our home and they are currently in there. More are on the way.
Curly - Great that you have ordered more, HCA recommends 3-5 extra per crab.

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

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I scoop out poop daily and replace the water every 1-2 days depending on how dirty it got. I haven't done a deep clean yet.
Curly - With proper substrate, you never need to do a deep clean unless there is an emergency like a bacterial bloom or flood.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
Yes, sponges are used in both. I rinse them in dechlorinated water and scrub EE out with my fingers.
Curly - Sponges are not needed, and only serve to harbor bacteria, so you can pitch them. Water dishes need to be deep enough that the crabs can fully submerge, but also have a way to climb out.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Kind of everything? We just got them.

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.)?
Homer (friends smaller crab) has dug a lot when he has been over here before. Sheldon also tends to feel most comfortable (when resting) with the top of his body even with the level of the substrate.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
My friends smaller crab, homer stayed the night with us and our two crabs, Shelly and Sheldon. In the morning we came up to check on them. Shelly was in her usual spot in the corner, while Homer and Sheldon were no where in sight. We dug around in the substrate and found them both buried quite a few inches into the substrate (not next to each other or the glass). This seemed fairly sudden for both of them; no signs of molting were really shown at all. The humidy since the glass lid was shut and I since I had rewet the sponges was in the high 90s. We did notice Homer sitting in the saltwater for a while, which he does not have available to him at home. Homer didn't fully peek out of his shell like he normally does. Otherwise, nothing was out of the ordinary. Their exoskeletons were not at all cloudy and the eyes weren't glassy either. Sheldon hasn't excessively eaten or drank anything; I was concerned for a few days that he wasn't eating at all actually. The substrate can definitely hold its shape, but there were no remaining tunnels at all in the substrate. Homer is supposed to go home in a few hours, and him molting here would definitely be a challenge for us and his owner. I have never had hermit crabs before, and I don't know what to make of this situation. Are they able to breath with no ventilation down there? Should we dig them up (or at least Homer, which would be convenient for us. We don't have an ISO) or leave them? If they aren't molting when will they come back up and are they able to do that without pre-existing tunnels?
Curly - Crabd do not need to be isolated to molt, they should be left in the main tank. With deep enough substrate, and not being over crowded, other crabs will not dig them up. Once a crab has dug under the substrate, it should never be dug back up except in very rare emergencies such as a flood or bacterial bloom. They back fill their tunnels, and make themselves a little cave to molt in. They don't necesarily stay in the same place they went down, they often move around under the sub, and will dig a new tunnel up to the surface when they are ready. They can be under for many weeks or months. They can breathe, and do not need any additional food or water other than their shed exo. It is important not to disturb them when they are under - they need to be left alone. Digging them up can be fatal. Sometimes crabs dig to de-stress, or just for fun. It is impossible to know which one they are doing, so the best advice is to NOT dig them up.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers

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