Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Please post here if you are having a crab care emergency! Use a real subject and not just "HELP!"
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AutumnFalls
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Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by AutumnFalls » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:17 am

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
I use Eco Earth, no sand. It’s over twice the depth of my larger crab, about 5-6 c.m.

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?
I have a small circular humidity gauge by the two water bowls. It used to be on the other side of the tank by the shell shop. It usually reads 90%. I have a stick on temperature gauge on one side of the tank. It’s about 26⁰C in the day, about 24⁰C at night. I also have a moveable combination gauge that I routinely move around the tank. At the back of the tank, near the heaters, I get ~28⁰C and 85%-90% humidity. At the front, it’s about 26⁰C, same humidity range.


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
I have Exo Terra heat tape covering the back and part of one side of the tank. In winter, I use a heat lamp as well.

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 both in deep pools. I think I use Nutrafin Aqua+. Instant Ocean salt mixed according to the box ratio.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I use a mix of fresh scraps (fruit, veggies, meat) and egg shells with some powdered foods from Canadian Crab Connection. Food is replaced every day to every two days.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
Two purple pinchers. I’ve had them about six years.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
One molted around Christmas, the other is down now.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
30 gallon glass tank. I don’t have the dimensions on me. The lid is metal grating but covered in saran wrap/duct tape except for the hatch. That’s usually covered with a plastic bag.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
Two. Both are large crabs, I think.

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

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
No, but yesterday dry wall was cut nearby. I’ve moved them far from that area though.

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I change water once a week on average and scoop out leftover food every couple days. I also have isopods to help. A couple times a year, I’ll remoisten soil and mix it all up since it condenses.

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

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
A plastic plant climbing wall

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.)?

Described below. I’m not currently living in my house until repairs etc are done. I’m in a smaller town an hour away and can only get home to the crabs a couple days a week.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
For a brief bit of background, I redid my tank on Friday, including moving where the two moss pits were in the tank. I also added some plants on the walls of the tank for a climbing wall. After all this, the humidity was fine. On Saturday, we had a really bad hail storm and I had water in my basement. I've had to leave the place so that contractors etc. can come in to dry things out and open a couple spots on the walls. I've been back twice to check progress and grab a few things I've forgotten. Both times, the humidity in the crab tank has been at or below 50%! After the first day I returned, I added more moss, rewet the moss (it was still damp), and added more saran wrap to the tank lid. It got up to 70% by the time I left, but it was back to below 50% two days later when I returned. I'm really worried about the crabs, especially since I can't be there daily to check on things. I'm honestly not sure what else to try or how to make sure it doesn't drop while I'm gone. I've had steady humidity until this point in time so I'm not sure what's gone wrong. My thoughts are that me not being there cooking/showering etc has reduced the humidity outside the tank and that's causing this issue, that the saran isn't keeping the humidity in, or that the gauge is off. Unfortunately, my small, moveable humidity and temperature gauge has gone missing in the storm chaos so I can't double check. Usually, I move it around the tank to check the temp and humidity in different spots. I'd really appreciate any suggestions or tips.
Last edited by AutumnFalls on Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:02 am

Sorry about your house and hermit troubles!

Is there anyway you could get out to buy a glass aquarium top? Usually you can buy the glass tops separate from light strips etc. I bought the glass top to my 20 gal L at Petco, and the top to my 55 gal online. I've noticed the glass tops keep in humidity a lot better than mesh tops covered in saran wrap. My humidity in both tanks always reads 99%.
Also, if you have a small iso tank, you could always pack up the hermie that's not under and take him with you.

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AutumnFalls
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Re: Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by AutumnFalls » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:08 am

CrabbyLover77 wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:02 am
Sorry about your house and hermit troubles!

Is there anyway you could get out to buy a glass aquarium top? Usually you can buy the glass tops separate from light strips etc. I bought the glass top to my 20 gal L at Petco, and the top to my 55 gal online. I've noticed the glass tops keep in humidity a lot better than mesh tops covered in saran wrap. My humidity in both tanks always reads 99%.
Also, if you have a small iso tank, you could always pack up the hermie that's not under and take him with you.

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
I don't currently have an iso tank sadly and the small town I'm in doesn't have a pet store. I can maybe try to get one in the city, but it's tricky right now. And, until the last few days, I haven't had humidity trouble. I will look into it though.

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Re: Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:11 am


AutumnFalls wrote: I don't currently have an iso tank sadly and the small town I'm in doesn't have a pet store. I can maybe try to get one in the city, but it's tricky right now. And, until the last few days, I haven't had humidity trouble. I will look into it though.
I totally understand. It's so weird the humidity would drop like that. It sounds like it may be related to all of the work being done in the house. I'm sorry I don't have any better ideas. Image

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 4 hermit crabs.
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Re: Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by curlysister » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:17 am

I would wonder if the gauge is off. You could try calibrating it to see if it's accurate or not?
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Re: Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by AutumnFalls » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:24 am

curlysister wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:17 am
I would wonder if the gauge is off. You could try calibrating it to see if it's accurate or not?
I'm going to try that when I can get back into town. Hopefully that's the problem.

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Re: Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by wodesorel » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:15 pm

I wouldn't freak out over a few low days, it happens in the wild.

Your contractors are likely drying out the air in the house to get the basement as dry as possible as quickly as possible to combat mold growth. If the house is too dry, the tank will leak humidity, like a drying sponge. It'll be an uphill battle until they are finished!
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AutumnFalls
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Re: Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by AutumnFalls » Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:14 pm

wodesorel wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:15 pm
I wouldn't freak out over a few low days, it happens in the wild.

Your contractors are likely drying out the air in the house to get the basement as dry as possible as quickly as possible to combat mold growth. If the house is too dry, the tank will leak humidity, like a drying sponge. It'll be an uphill battle until they are finished!
The contractors didn't get there with the big fans until yesterday, a week after the storm. But, we have had our small fans on all week. I hope they'll survive it okay.

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Re: Sudden Extreme Humidity Loss While I'm Away From Home

Post by C_fiesta » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:41 am

I had the same thought about the contractors drying out the house. A glass top will help a lot!

Something else you could try is taking a towel, dampening it (wet and squeeze out) in dechlorinated water and placing it on top of your lid. It might help seal things in in the meantime, but don't put it over the heater. I haven't heard of anyone trying my method, it's just a gut idea I have. You can try it and let me know how it goes. At worst it does nothing. At best it creates a barrier between tank air and house air.

Try calibrating the humidity gauge. Also you could add some more moss (another moss pit) so they have another nice humid spot to hangout in. Also check the temp of the heater and make sure it's not going haywire and over heating the tank.

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