Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

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Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Tue May 12, 2020 11:16 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? Play Sand and Coconut Fiber. 4 inches deep. One side kept 'sand castle consistency' and the other side is dry. When not molting they seem to prefer the dry side.


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? Humidity gauge in the middle- 80% humidity. Temp strip on side of tank- 75-78 F.


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? UTH, attached to back.


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)? Fresh & salt treated with AquaSafe dechorinator. Salt used is Cobalt Aquatics. Ratios used according to instructions.


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? Dry: fish flakes, FMR pellets, FMR fruit treat, ground crickets, egg shells, dried seaweed, oyster shell, cuttlebone. Fresh: all kinds of fruit, veggies and meat/egg replaced daily. Sometimes unsalted nuts.


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? 1 year (inherited them). Purple Pinchers.


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? Yes, both have molted months ago.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? 10 gal. glass aquarium, screen lid covered 90% with plastic wrap.


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? 2 crabs, little bigger than a quarter.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? many


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


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? remove poos daily. mix sand up time to time.


13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? do not use these anymore


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? no


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. I have inherited 2 hermit crabs and have had them for a year. They have both molted once, possibly twice since. Recently, when one crab is buried, the other starts to dig around where he is buried- I am wondering if this is because they are vulnerable when molting, and the other crab is trying to attack/cause problems? They are in a 10 gallon tank, with 'sand castle consistency' moist sand on one side, dry on the other. Heater attached to the back- 75-78 degrees F, humidity 80%. Saltwater and freshwater provided, both dechlorinated, fresh foods and dry food. The problem- one crab was buried for 2 weeks. The other crab literally dug out all of the sand that was on top of him, so his shell was still buried, but his body sticking out had no sand on top, and there was just a big hole in the sand. I figured the buried crab would fix it himself, and placed a wooden arch over the hole. Was this correct reasoning? Should I have removed the other crab instead, for safety, until the buried crab finished molting or resurfaced, etc.? Well 5 days go by and the buried crab does not fix his hole, so I pour some dechlorinated water on the sand around him hoping it would encourage him to fix his hole. The next morning I find the buried crab on top of the surface, covered in sand and without his shell. He looked distressed. I dug out his shell and it was really packed down and full of sand, and at that point figured I made the sand too wet and the crab could have died. Thankfully he went back into his shell. I left him alone and he stayed in the same spot until evening. I then placed him under the wooden arch, with shells on one side to block the other crab, although the other crab is being friendly towards him so no problems there. He stayed there for more than 24 hours. I took him out and placed him in a tray with both waters, and hard boiled egg and carrot. He ate, and drank the saltwater like he was really depleted. He is having trouble walking and crawling- is weak, and his outer appendage on both sides seems shaky. It is harder for him to walk on the sand, so I placed him in a separate tank lined with paper towels, but he didn't seem to like that at all, so I placed him back in the main tank and he perked up. I put some food under his wooden arch, and put extra bowls of fresh and saltwater in his tank, buried down in the sand so he can easily reach them. I also noticed his coloring is all dark. That was yesterday. This morning I put him in the tray again because I want to make sure he is getting water. I provided him with freshwater in a bottle cap, his saltwater, and a cap full of natural peanut butter and organic honey (I read this was good to give when they are distressed). He has some color back today, and spent the whole time in the tray playing with a stick- he was not interested in the food or water. I thought this was a good sign though, but he is still struggling to walk. I put him back in the tank with the honey/peanut butter and will not bug him again until evening feeding time. I am not sure if he has actually injured his appendages, and if he has, can he recover from that? I am also concerned about his molt, that was interrupted- he is definitely too weak to bury himself again right now, and I know there are chemicals involved preparing his body, etc. Is there something else I should be doing to help him along? What would have been the best course of action when the other crab dug the sand out from on top of him? What is the best way to keep the sand moist when a crab is buried? (there were no pools of water but it was definitely too wet, and I am stirring it everyday to improve it). Thank you for any help you can give. I feel so bad I caused his distress. -Lorie



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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by avocadocrabbies » Tue May 12, 2020 1:58 pm

Questions:
has the crab actually molted? Or did the other crab disturb him while he was still underground, digging and preparing to molt?

What is the crab up to now? If he is back in his shell and acting normally, I would relax but still keep a watchful eye. His molt was disturbed, and that can be extremely harmful.

If he has gone back down for a molt, I would keep a very close watch on the other crab that dug at him in the first place. Do you have an iso tank? I would prepare an iso tank just in case the offending crab starts digging/acting out again, so you can put him in there for the molter to have peace.

Tips:

Don't worry about poos unless they really pile up, they tend to mix in with the EE and become one with the substrate.

I would make the substrate deeper. You can sprinkle on an inch a day (but down pat it down). It should be at least 6 inches deep.
four crabbies: Pool Guy, Karen, Hurricane Sandy, Igor- 3 PPs and an E :)


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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Tue May 12, 2020 2:26 pm

avocadocrabbies wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 1:58 pm
Questions:
has the crab actually molted? Or did the other crab disturb him while he was still underground, digging and preparing to molt?

What is the crab up to now? If he is back in his shell and acting normally, I would relax but still keep a watchful eye. His molt was disturbed, and that can be extremely harmful.

If he has gone back down for a molt, I would keep a very close watch on the other crab that dug at him in the first place. Do you have an iso tank? I would prepare an iso tank just in case the offending crab starts digging/acting out again, so you can put him in there for the molter to have peace.

Tips:

Don't worry about poos unless they really pile up, they tend to mix in with the EE and become one with the substrate.

I would make the substrate deeper. You can sprinkle on an inch a day (but down pat it down). It should be at least 6 inches deep.
Thank you SO much for replying! I read that the substrate is not deep enough, and that can cause the other crab to 'smell' the molting crab and try to dig him up (they did not do this 6 months ago!). I also read that I can mix in more coconut fiber so the sand mix is looser. I will work to increase the depth.

The crab was only buried for 2 weeks- I do not think he actually molted. He is back in his shell but he is not back to normal by a long shot. He is having trouble walking, is weak, appendages shaky. He cannot even climb up on his bowls to eat or drink. I have buried the water bowls in the sand to make it easier, and his food is being placed right on the sand. Yesterday his coloring was all dark, but today some of his color has returned. He is more alert today as well, but shows signs of either injury, and/or distress. I feel he is too weak to bury himself again at this time. In the meantime, I have placed a cork divider in the tank to separate the 2 crabs.

Thank you for the tip about the poo! I would appreciate any other advice you can give. I hope he heals :|

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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by curlysister » Tue May 12, 2020 3:24 pm

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it? Play Sand and Coconut Fiber. 4 inches deep. One side kept 'sand castle consistency' and the other side is dry. When not molting they seem to prefer the dry side.
Curly - As stated already, you sub should be at least 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab - whichever is deeper. I would recommend having all of it play sand consistency, rather than a 'dry' side. Ten gallons is not a huge amount of space, and one of the ways to prevent crabs digging each other up is having enough space for them to molt and tunnel and not come across each other. If only half the tank is available for tunneling and molting, there is a far greater chance of them digging each other 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? Humidity gauge in the middle- 80% humidity. Temp strip on side of tank- 75-78 F.
Curly - Not sure how accurate the temp strip would be, you might be better off with a digital thermometer.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? UTH, attached to back.


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)? Fresh & salt treated with AquaSafe dechorinator. Salt used is Cobalt Aquatics. Ratios used according to instructions.
Curly - Your dechlorinator might not be removing everything it needs to. Your salt needs to be marine salt, rather than aquarium salt. The marine salt has all the minerals they need. Here's the 'water' care sheet:

viewtopic.php?f=127&t=92553


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? Dry: fish flakes, FMR pellets, FMR fruit treat, ground crickets, egg shells, dried seaweed, oyster shell, cuttlebone. Fresh: all kinds of fruit, veggies and meat/egg replaced daily. Sometimes unsalted nuts.
Curly - The FMR fruit treat I think is safe, but the pellets contain preservatives. It's good that you are giving protein and calcium daily. Here's the care sheet about commercial food:

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92555


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? 1 year (inherited them). Purple Pinchers.


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? Yes, both have molted months ago.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? 10 gal. glass aquarium, screen lid covered 90% with plastic wrap.


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? 2 crabs, little bigger than a quarter.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? many


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


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? remove poos daily. mix sand up time to time.


13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? do not use these anymore


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? no


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. I have inherited 2 hermit crabs and have had them for a year. They have both molted once, possibly twice since. Recently, when one crab is buried, the other starts to dig around where he is buried- I am wondering if this is because they are vulnerable when molting, and the other crab is trying to attack/cause problems? They are in a 10 gallon tank, with 'sand castle consistency' moist sand on one side, dry on the other. Heater attached to the back- 75-78 degrees F, humidity 80%. Saltwater and freshwater provided, both dechlorinated, fresh foods and dry food. The problem- one crab was buried for 2 weeks. The other crab literally dug out all of the sand that was on top of him, so his shell was still buried, but his body sticking out had no sand on top, and there was just a big hole in the sand. I figured the buried crab would fix it himself, and placed a wooden arch over the hole. Was this correct reasoning? Should I have removed the other crab instead, for safety, until the buried crab finished molting or resurfaced, etc.? Well 5 days go by and the buried crab does not fix his hole, so I pour some dechlorinated water on the sand around him hoping it would encourage him to fix his hole. The next morning I find the buried crab on top of the surface, covered in sand and without his shell. He looked distressed. I dug out his shell and it was really packed down and full of sand, and at that point figured I made the sand too wet and the crab could have died. Thankfully he went back into his shell. I left him alone and he stayed in the same spot until evening. I then placed him under the wooden arch, with shells on one side to block the other crab, although the other crab is being friendly towards him so no problems there. He stayed there for more than 24 hours. I took him out and placed him in a tray with both waters, and hard boiled egg and carrot. He ate, and drank the saltwater like he was really depleted. He is having trouble walking and crawling- is weak, and his outer appendage on both sides seems shaky. It is harder for him to walk on the sand, so I placed him in a separate tank lined with paper towels, but he didn't seem to like that at all, so I placed him back in the main tank and he perked up. I put some food under his wooden arch, and put extra bowls of fresh and saltwater in his tank, buried down in the sand so he can easily reach them. I also noticed his coloring is all dark. That was yesterday. This morning I put him in the tray again because I want to make sure he is getting water. I provided him with freshwater in a bottle cap, his saltwater, and a cap full of natural peanut butter and organic honey (I read this was good to give when they are distressed). He has some color back today, and spent the whole time in the tray playing with a stick- he was not interested in the food or water. I thought this was a good sign though, but he is still struggling to walk. I put him back in the tank with the honey/peanut butter and will not bug him again until evening feeding time. I am not sure if he has actually injured his appendages, and if he has, can he recover from that? I am also concerned about his molt, that was interrupted- he is definitely too weak to bury himself again right now, and I know there are chemicals involved preparing his body, etc. Is there something else I should be doing to help him along? What would have been the best course of action when the other crab dug the sand out from on top of him? What is the best way to keep the sand moist when a crab is buried? (there were no pools of water but it was definitely too wet, and I am stirring it everyday to improve it). Thank you for any help you can give. I feel so bad I caused his distress. -Lorie
Curly - As I said above, I think your problem is not enough area for both to dig and tunnel and not run into each other. If you have proper sub, and good temp and humidity, it will often stay the right consistency without having to add more water. Smaller tanks are harder to keep in balance. But if you have a crab who is down, and your sub is too dry, you can add a little water along the edges, and it will seep into the whole sub. Was the crab's exo-skeleton there with him? I would keep the weaker crab isolated from the other one. In hindsight, that would have been what I would have done when he was first dug up. You can iso in the tank with a pop bottle like you did. A crab can re-grow injured limbs, but not until the next molt.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Tue May 12, 2020 5:24 pm

curlysister wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 3:24 pm
1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it? Play Sand and Coconut Fiber. 4 inches deep. One side kept 'sand castle consistency' and the other side is dry. When not molting they seem to prefer the dry side.
Curly - As stated already, you sub should be at least 6 inches, or three times as deep as your largest crab - whichever is deeper. I would recommend having all of it play sand consistency, rather than a 'dry' side. Ten gallons is not a huge amount of space, and one of the ways to prevent crabs digging each other up is having enough space for them to molt and tunnel and not come across each other. If only half the tank is available for tunneling and molting, there is a far greater chance of them digging each other 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? Humidity gauge in the middle- 80% humidity. Temp strip on side of tank- 75-78 F.
Curly - Not sure how accurate the temp strip would be, you might be better off with a digital thermometer.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? UTH, attached to back.


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)? Fresh & salt treated with AquaSafe dechorinator. Salt used is Cobalt Aquatics. Ratios used according to instructions.
Curly - Your dechlorinator might not be removing everything it needs to. Your salt needs to be marine salt, rather than aquarium salt. The marine salt has all the minerals they need. Here's the 'water' care sheet:

viewtopic.php?f=127&t=92553


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? Dry: fish flakes, FMR pellets, FMR fruit treat, ground crickets, egg shells, dried seaweed, oyster shell, cuttlebone. Fresh: all kinds of fruit, veggies and meat/egg replaced daily. Sometimes unsalted nuts.
Curly - The FMR fruit treat I think is safe, but the pellets contain preservatives. It's good that you are giving protein and calcium daily. Here's the care sheet about commercial food:

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=92555


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? 1 year (inherited them). Purple Pinchers.


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? Yes, both have molted months ago.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? 10 gal. glass aquarium, screen lid covered 90% with plastic wrap.


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? 2 crabs, little bigger than a quarter.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? many


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


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? remove poos daily. mix sand up time to time.


13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? do not use these anymore


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? no


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. I have inherited 2 hermit crabs and have had them for a year. They have both molted once, possibly twice since. Recently, when one crab is buried, the other starts to dig around where he is buried- I am wondering if this is because they are vulnerable when molting, and the other crab is trying to attack/cause problems? They are in a 10 gallon tank, with 'sand castle consistency' moist sand on one side, dry on the other. Heater attached to the back- 75-78 degrees F, humidity 80%. Saltwater and freshwater provided, both dechlorinated, fresh foods and dry food. The problem- one crab was buried for 2 weeks. The other crab literally dug out all of the sand that was on top of him, so his shell was still buried, but his body sticking out had no sand on top, and there was just a big hole in the sand. I figured the buried crab would fix it himself, and placed a wooden arch over the hole. Was this correct reasoning? Should I have removed the other crab instead, for safety, until the buried crab finished molting or resurfaced, etc.? Well 5 days go by and the buried crab does not fix his hole, so I pour some dechlorinated water on the sand around him hoping it would encourage him to fix his hole. The next morning I find the buried crab on top of the surface, covered in sand and without his shell. He looked distressed. I dug out his shell and it was really packed down and full of sand, and at that point figured I made the sand too wet and the crab could have died. Thankfully he went back into his shell. I left him alone and he stayed in the same spot until evening. I then placed him under the wooden arch, with shells on one side to block the other crab, although the other crab is being friendly towards him so no problems there. He stayed there for more than 24 hours. I took him out and placed him in a tray with both waters, and hard boiled egg and carrot. He ate, and drank the saltwater like he was really depleted. He is having trouble walking and crawling- is weak, and his outer appendage on both sides seems shaky. It is harder for him to walk on the sand, so I placed him in a separate tank lined with paper towels, but he didn't seem to like that at all, so I placed him back in the main tank and he perked up. I put some food under his wooden arch, and put extra bowls of fresh and saltwater in his tank, buried down in the sand so he can easily reach them. I also noticed his coloring is all dark. That was yesterday. This morning I put him in the tray again because I want to make sure he is getting water. I provided him with freshwater in a bottle cap, his saltwater, and a cap full of natural peanut butter and organic honey (I read this was good to give when they are distressed). He has some color back today, and spent the whole time in the tray playing with a stick- he was not interested in the food or water. I thought this was a good sign though, but he is still struggling to walk. I put him back in the tank with the honey/peanut butter and will not bug him again until evening feeding time. I am not sure if he has actually injured his appendages, and if he has, can he recover from that? I am also concerned about his molt, that was interrupted- he is definitely too weak to bury himself again right now, and I know there are chemicals involved preparing his body, etc. Is there something else I should be doing to help him along? What would have been the best course of action when the other crab dug the sand out from on top of him? What is the best way to keep the sand moist when a crab is buried? (there were no pools of water but it was definitely too wet, and I am stirring it everyday to improve it). Thank you for any help you can give. I feel so bad I caused his distress. -Lorie
Curly - As I said above, I think your problem is not enough area for both to dig and tunnel and not run into each other. If you have proper sub, and good temp and humidity, it will often stay the right consistency without having to add more water. Smaller tanks are harder to keep in balance. But if you have a crab who is down, and your sub is too dry, you can add a little water along the edges, and it will seep into the whole sub. Was the crab's exo-skeleton there with him? I would keep the weaker crab isolated from the other one. In hindsight, that would have been what I would have done when he was first dug up. You can iso in the tank with a pop bottle like you did. A crab can re-grow injured limbs, but not until the next molt.


Thank you for your reply. I appreciate the insight regarding keeping the entire tank 'sand castle' consistency- before when they molted, they did not dig each other up, and I believe then the entire tank's sand was moist. I do think though that it is also predator behavior, because the crab doing the digging just finished molting, and was only digging where the crab was buried. No I did not find an exoskeleton, and I completely mixed up the sand throughout the entire tank. Currently I put in a divider to separate them. I know it further limits the space, but I will only keep it there until the weak crab recovers. I have a digital thermometer/hygrometer arriving Thursday- it is from Amazon and I will compare it with my analog hygrometer. I used AquaSafe when I kept aquariums, I think it is okay. I thought the Cobalt Aquatics was marine salt, it says "hermit crab salt". I emailed the company to ask. Do you think he will get better? Thanks again.


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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Tue May 12, 2020 6:07 pm

I just found the tip of one of his appendages broken off and in the sand. But looking at him I cannot tell which leg it came from. *sigh*

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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by curlysister » Tue May 12, 2020 6:11 pm

It may have been predatory - without deep enough sub, the other crab may have smelled the molting one. But if it wasn't molting yet, that may not be the case. With limited volume of digging space (shallow sub and only half the tank sand castle consistency), a crab just digging for fun is more likely to come across one that is under.
Time will tell if he gets better or not. Just strive for optimum tank conditions, a good diet, proper water, etc.
Aquasafe does not remove ammonia.
Most products marketed for hermit crabs aren't actually safe or appropriate for them. The company will tell you it's fine. But it does not contain all the minerals that crabs need. You need marine salt - I would trust the HCA care sheet over the company who is trying to sell you their product.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Tue May 12, 2020 7:06 pm

mayzyhermie wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 6:07 pm
I just found the tip of one of his appendages broken off and in the sand. But looking at him I cannot tell which leg it came from. *sigh*
Found another piece of leg, a higher up piece from the tip. I have looked him over though and I am not seeing what is missing. This leads me to believe he will continue to have trouble walking until he molts again.


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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Tue May 12, 2020 7:14 pm

curlysister wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 6:11 pm
It may have been predatory - without deep enough sub, the other crab may have smelled the molting one. But if it wasn't molting yet, that may not be the case. With limited volume of digging space (shallow sub and only half the tank sand castle consistency), a crab just digging for fun is more likely to come across one that is under.
Time will tell if he gets better or not. Just strive for optimum tank conditions, a good diet, proper water, etc.
Aquasafe does not remove ammonia.
Most products marketed for hermit crabs aren't actually safe or appropriate for them. The company will tell you it's fine. But it does not contain all the minerals that crabs need. You need marine salt - I would trust the HCA care sheet over the company who is trying to sell you their product.
Thanks again! I will trust your advice and will upgrade my salt and dechlorinator products. I've heard good things about Prime, and will read the care articles over again. And yes makes sense, if he felt like digging, not much other space to dig. I have just found leg parts in the sand- they are hard, not a shell. Should I add iodine to his diet? I am scared for when he goes to molt again, if he makes it that far. I placed him in a tray I have again, with food and water- I want to make sure he is eating and drinking. But again he just played with a stick, so I popped him back in the tank; I guess he does not require that. I really appreciate your time and responses!


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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Wed May 13, 2020 9:21 am

So I am wondering- does the crab release hard pieces from his body when he molts? Because the leg pieces I found are hard- the end tip, and a higher up piece. When I look at the crab's legs, it looks like everything is there. He is having trouble putting weight on his legs, and lifting them. But today he seems more alert than yesterday, so hopefully that means he is recovering. I think once he seems like he has his energy back, I will remove the divider, because I am thinking he will continue to have issues walking until he molts again. The poor crab. I am going to the pet store today to purchase Prime and Instant Ocean- thank you for pointing those issues out. The new thermometer/hygrometer comes tomorrow. I asked about iodine above, I think I may be asking about the wrong supplement. Thank you.

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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by Links » Wed May 13, 2020 9:37 am

When I moved my tank I found hard pieces or tips of legs at the bottom of the sub left over from a molt. I guess they don’t eat those hard tips but they eat the rest.


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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Wed May 13, 2020 10:07 am

Links wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 9:37 am
When I moved my tank I found hard pieces or tips of legs at the bottom of the sub left over from a molt. I guess they don’t eat those hard tips but they eat the rest.
Thank you. I guess that means he molted after all. He is still experiencing trouble walking and balancing himself.


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mayzyhermie
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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:45 pm

I wanted to post an update in case anyone is experiencing a similar issue. My injured crab just recently began walking better (less shaky, more strength), but still not normal- its been almost 4 weeks since he was injured, so it has been a slow healing process. He also is still eating and drinking sporadically. However, as of yesterday morning, he buried himself in the sand! I read hermit crabs can only really heal through molting. Although he did just molt a month ago, I wonder if his injuries spurred on a sooner molt than usual. My other healthy crab is also buried, and I have an egg crate dividing the two. I am hoping for a successful molt, and that he comes back up better able to walk. Keeping my fingers crossed, and will update when he reemerges. I am nervous though because the sand does dry out, and I do not want to repeat my mistake of re-wetting the sand with too much water. Nerve wracking.

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Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by GotButterflies » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:57 pm

GB for GotButterflies
mayzyhermie wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 11:16 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? Play Sand and Coconut Fiber. 4 inches deep. One side kept 'sand castle consistency' and the other side is dry. When not molting they seem to prefer the dry side.

GB: IMO, for purple pinchers substrate should be 6 inches or 3 times the height of your largest crab (whichever is deeper). All of your substrate should be mixed with dechlorinated marine saltwater or dechlorinated freshwater to make the substrate sandcastle consistency. I personally mix mine with dechlorinated marine saltwater.

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? Humidity gauge in the middle- 80% humidity. Temp strip on side of tank- 75-78 F.

GB: The temp strip that you have is for fish tanks that are filled with water. IMO, Minimum heat and humidity should be 80/80. If you are interested,
You can buy an Acurite guage from Amazon, digital, runs on batteries, tells you temp and humidity currently as well as low and high for last 24 hours: https://smile.amazon.com/AcuRite-00325- ... 184&sr=8-2


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? UTH, attached to back.

GB: IMO it would be better if you could get your heat up to at least 80. You can try to insulate around your heat pad with aluminum foil (shiny part facing the crabitat), then cardboard. Don't insulate over your heating pad if it is a zoomed. If doing the insulation doesn't raise your temperature, you might want to consider getting a better heater. Most of us use ultratherms. They are great heaters. www.reptilebasics.com or www.beanfarm.com sells 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)? Fresh & salt treated with AquaSafe dechorinator. Salt used is Cobalt Aquatics. Ratios used according to instructions.

GB: Both pools should be deep enough for them to fully submerge in and safe enough for them to get out of.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? Dry: fish flakes, FMR pellets, FMR fruit treat, ground crickets, egg shells, dried seaweed, oyster shell, cuttlebone. Fresh: all kinds of fruit, veggies and meat/egg replaced daily. Sometimes unsalted nuts.

GB: Hermit crabs can eat a lot of the same things that we eat. Just check to make sure the item is on the safe list. Foods should be organic when possible. Hermit crabs are sensitive to pesticides and fertilizers.
You also want to provide one or more calcium sources at a time. Examples would be Cuttlebone, Organic Eggshell, Oyster Shell, Lobster Exo, Shrimp Exo.
Make sure you cover all aspects of food pyramid :)
Safe food list: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 25&t=92557
Unsafe food list: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 25&t=92556
Food pyramid: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 25&t=92554


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? 1 year (inherited them). Purple Pinchers.


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? Yes, both have molted months ago.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? 10 gal. glass aquarium, screen lid covered 90% with plastic wrap.

GB: With mesh lids you can always cover them with Press-N-Seal, or tape Ziploc bags on them to help keep the humidty in. I personally love glass tops. Please note that with glass tops you cannot set heat lamps on them – it will cause the glass to crack.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? 2 crabs, little bigger than a quarter.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? many

GB: The HCA recommends 3-5 shells per hermit crab. I personally recommend more. It never hurts to have more :) There are incorrect shells to buy. Here is the shell guide: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 24&t=92552

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


12. How often do you clean the tank and how? remove poos daily. mix sand up time to time.

GB: It isn't necessary to mix the sand up. :)

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned? do not use these anymore


14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently? no


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. I have inherited 2 hermit crabs and have had them for a year. They have both molted once, possibly twice since. Recently, when one crab is buried, the other starts to dig around where he is buried- I am wondering if this is because they are vulnerable when molting, and the other crab is trying to attack/cause problems? They are in a 10 gallon tank, with 'sand castle consistency' moist sand on one side, dry on the other. Heater attached to the back- 75-78 degrees F, humidity 80%. Saltwater and freshwater provided, both dechlorinated, fresh foods and dry food. The problem- one crab was buried for 2 weeks. The other crab literally dug out all of the sand that was on top of him, so his shell was still buried, but his body sticking out had no sand on top, and there was just a big hole in the sand. I figured the buried crab would fix it himself, and placed a wooden arch over the hole. Was this correct reasoning? Should I have removed the other crab instead, for safety, until the buried crab finished molting or resurfaced, etc.? Well 5 days go by and the buried crab does not fix his hole, so I pour some dechlorinated water on the sand around him hoping it would encourage him to fix his hole. The next morning I find the buried crab on top of the surface, covered in sand and without his shell. He looked distressed. I dug out his shell and it was really packed down and full of sand, and at that point figured I made the sand too wet and the crab could have died. Thankfully he went back into his shell. I left him alone and he stayed in the same spot until evening. I then placed him under the wooden arch, with shells on one side to block the other crab, although the other crab is being friendly towards him so no problems there. He stayed there for more than 24 hours. I took him out and placed him in a tray with both waters, and hard boiled egg and carrot. He ate, and drank the saltwater like he was really depleted. He is having trouble walking and crawling- is weak, and his outer appendage on both sides seems shaky. It is harder for him to walk on the sand, so I placed him in a separate tank lined with paper towels, but he didn't seem to like that at all, so I placed him back in the main tank and he perked up. I put some food under his wooden arch, and put extra bowls of fresh and saltwater in his tank, buried down in the sand so he can easily reach them. I also noticed his coloring is all dark. That was yesterday. This morning I put him in the tray again because I want to make sure he is getting water. I provided him with freshwater in a bottle cap, his saltwater, and a cap full of natural peanut butter and organic honey (I read this was good to give when they are distressed). He has some color back today, and spent the whole time in the tray playing with a stick- he was not interested in the food or water. I thought this was a good sign though, but he is still struggling to walk. I put him back in the tank with the honey/peanut butter and will not bug him again until evening feeding time. I am not sure if he has actually injured his appendages, and if he has, can he recover from that? I am also concerned about his molt, that was interrupted- he is definitely too weak to bury himself again right now, and I know there are chemicals involved preparing his body, etc. Is there something else I should be doing to help him along? What would have been the best course of action when the other crab dug the sand out from on top of him? What is the best way to keep the sand moist when a crab is buried? (there were no pools of water but it was definitely too wet, and I am stirring it everyday to improve it). Thank you for any help you can give. I feel so bad I caused his distress. -Lorie


GB: Your crab is potentially getting ready to molt. Crabs become sluggish when they are getting ready to molt. By having your substrate deep enough the other crab should leave him/her alone. As far as the wetness of the sand, you should be able to put the sand in your fist, not squeeze any water out and it still hold its shape. That would be considered sand castle consistency.

.
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


Topic author
mayzyhermie
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue May 12, 2020 10:55 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: Hermit Crab- Stuck in Sand & Now Distressed

Post by mayzyhermie » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:02 am

GotButterflies wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:57 pm
GB for GotButterflies
Wow, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and place links, etc.! Thank you. I will read over the links you sent. I am still pretty new at this and learning. The UTH I use is Vivosun (from Amazon) and it is 6x8, https://www.amazon.com/VIVOSUN-Reptile- ... r=8-4&th=1 (for anyone new on here, the pet stores charge a MUCH higher price for supplies. Online is the way to go!). I now replaced my gauges with digital ones (I calibrated using the salt method, humidity off by -5 so I just add 5 to the reading) and I see the heater isn't doing much. I think it just isn't big enough (my tank is 10gal). I am planning on getting a bigger one and a thermostat. I have also increased the depth of the sand/coconut fiber, and I increased the coconut fiber ratio to make the sand looser, to help prevent the sand from packing anyone down.

Since the injury, I would take my hermie out from time to time, and place him in a tray with paper towels (easier for him to walk on this flat surface than the sand), to make sure he was at least getting water, and to observe his progress. Again for anyone new, the progress has been very very slow, but still progress, so patience is key. He did molt at the time he was injured, which was just under a month ago- if he wanted to bury again, he literally did not have to strength to dig. The last I took him out was June 3rd, and he tried to sit in the water bowl, which is just a small oyster shell. I offered his bigger bowl from the tank and helped him up, but he wasn't having it (he doesn't like me to help most times!). I also noticed, although recently his walking and strength have improved, he was walking funny, and just acting weird. I thought maybe he re-injured himself changing shells. But then it dawned on me, maybe he wants to molt! I checked his eyes because I read they could look cloudy when it's time to molt, but I didn't notice anything. The tank is lined with cholla wood in the sand to help him walk (he couldn't walk in the sand well, he used the wood to grip on), so I picked up the wood in one corner and figured if he wants to bury he can do it there. And the very next morning he was digging down! So he's been buried since June 4th.

I am curious though, can he really molt again so quickly having just molted a month ago (It's possible the leg pieces I found were actually from the other crab. They molt pretty regularly. But this guy was already down a month at the time. Although the other crab kept digging where he was buried- perhaps this stopped him from actually molting)? I am also very nervous about the sand drying out- I can already see the humidity dropping, so I will need to re-wet the sand today. I do not want to disturb them (both are buried), and of course the last time I added too much water and almost killed him. My home is very dry (only 20% humidity in the winter), so maybe I need to get bubblers, because I find myself having to add water regularly. But I also mix the sand up, which I think is drying it out (both crabs buried themselves after I mixed up the sand. I guess it loosens it and distributes the moistness).

Also, I have purchased a bunch of new shells, different sizes, from different places and boiled them for 20 minutes in a glass pot, and they are not interested in them. Then I read to boil them for only 5 minutes. I wonder if the 20 minutes is somehow making them unappealing?

I am just praying he molts successfully and is better healed!

Thank you. :crabbigsmile:

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