Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

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

Topic author
AuntCrab
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Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by AuntCrab » Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:14 pm

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?

6” eco soil with a small amount of sand

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. Temp has been at about 70 and humidity has been at 80. Rear center top placement.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?

UTH on side, just switched to a bigger one today to try and get the temp up

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)?

Both fresh and salt. Bought them from Petco premixed for use in aquariums

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?

Commercial food (I know, working on changing it), various fruits/veg/meat that they haven’t eaten, coconut flakes for hermit crabs, baby river shrimp, and a commercial fruit treat

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?

16 days and it is a PP

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?

No

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?

10 gallon aquarium with glass lid

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?

2, both PP and I would say small or maybe medium

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

6 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?

Never, just switched to the larger tank last Saturday

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?

Yes, haven’t yet, just rinsed out weekly when water is changed

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?

Yes. Water dish, maple branch, sopa (?) log, hide, and some maple leaves.

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.)?

Not that I can think of right off the bat.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.

I was changing out food and water today and did a quick shell check. A crab we’ve had for about two weeks switched shells about 3 days ago to a much larger shell. That shell is now empty as are all the other shells except the one it used to be in which they other crab moved into after it was empty for a couple of days. Not sure what to do if I can do anything.


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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:34 pm


I'll put my suggestions under your replies. Hope it helps, good luck!
AuntCrab wrote:1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?

6” eco soil with a small amount of sand

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. Temp has been at about 70 and humidity has been at 80. Rear center top placement.

CL77-Temp is a little low. Ideal temp is between 75-85°F. That's good you bought a bigger mat. What brand is it? I've heard that Zoo Med mats are not very efficient.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?

UTH on side, just switched to a bigger one today to try and get the temp up

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)?

Both fresh and salt. Bought them from Petco premixed for use in aquariums

CL77-What kind of salt is in the bottle? You should use a marine salt like Instant Ocean for their salt water. Also, it's cheaper to use Prime with tap water and add IO than to buy premade.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?

Commercial food (I know, working on changing it), various fruits/veg/meat that they haven’t eaten, coconut flakes for hermit crabs, baby river shrimp, and a commercial fruit treat

CL77-Do you offer any source of calcium? Calcium should be offered at all times. Egg shells, crab exoskeleton, calcium powder, and cuttlebone are good sources of calcium.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?

16 days and it is a PP

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?

No

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?

10 gallon aquarium with glass lid

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?

2, both PP and I would say small or maybe medium

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

6 extra shells

CL77- 6 is good, but the more the merrier.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?

No

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?

Never, just switched to the larger tank last Saturday

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?

Yes, haven’t yet, just rinsed out weekly when water is changed

CL77- Sponges will harbor bacteria when left in the water. You can either throw them out, or leave them in the tank dry for the crabs to munch on.

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?

Yes. Water dish, maple branch, sopa (?) log, hide, and some maple leaves.

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.)?

Not that I can think of right off the bat.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.

I was changing out food and water today and did a quick shell check. A crab we’ve had for about two weeks switched shells about 3 days ago to a much larger shell. That shell is now empty as are all the other shells except the one it used to be in which they other crab moved into after it was empty for a couple of days. Not sure what to do if I can do anything.

CL77-If you are pretty sure that your crab is naked and buried, then you will need to gently dig for him and re-shell him asap. You'll have to isolate him too. I'll post the link to JoeHermit's guide on how to re-shell a hermit crab in the next post.

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 7 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:37 pm

viewtopic.php?t=122302

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 7 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw


Topic author
AuntCrab
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by AuntCrab » Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:27 pm

I put my replies under yours, thank you!
CrabbyLover77 wrote:I'll put my suggestions under your replies. Hope it helps, good luck!


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Thank you


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Topic author
AuntCrab
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by AuntCrab » Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:33 pm

Gah. Sorry I am failing at this answering on my phone. My quoting did not work.

I think the heater is Zoo Med. Any brand suggestions?


The water is mixed at Petco in huge tanks. They sell it for $1.00 or $0.50 depending on if it’s fresh or salt water.

Do the Zoo Med conditioners work? Or are they not good?

Would a shell store be better than strewing them about the tank?

Just added a cuttlebone today.

Really good to know about the sponges!

When trying to find him I am assuming starting under his last shell is a good place to start? Just gently start brushing the substrate away? Thank you for your help!


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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:23 am


AuntCrab wrote:Gah. Sorry I am failing at this answering on my phone. My quoting did not work.

I think the heater is Zoo Med. Any brand suggestions?


The water is mixed at Petco in huge tanks. They sell it for $1.00 or $0.50 depending on if it’s fresh or salt water.

Do the Zoo Med conditioners work? Or are they not good?

Would a shell store be better than strewing them about the tank?

Just added a cuttlebone today.

Really good to know about the sponges!

When trying to find him I am assuming starting under his last shell is a good place to start? Just gently start brushing the substrate away? Thank you for your help!


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No worries! Image

Ultratherm is usually the best brand recommend by many on here. I think Fluker's is ok too, but not 100% sure on that.

I didn't realize Petco mixed water like that. As long as they are using a marine salt that works. The pools/dishes you use should be deep enough for the crabbies to submerge in, but have a way to easily climb out.

I don't believe the ZM conditioners detoxify heavy metals, so if you could get your hands on some Seachem Prime, that would be better:
https://www.amazon.com/Seachem-Prime-Fr ... B00025694O

Using a shell shop or putting the shells on the sand is totally up to you. I do both, but try to keep the majority of them in the shops. It drives me crazy picking them out of the sand when they burry them lol.

Glad you got the cuttlebone!

Brushing the sand away in the last place you think he was, or where his shell is, is good. Just be ready to isolate and re-shell if needed.

I hope it all works out ok. Please keep us updated!

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 7 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw


Topic author
AuntCrab
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by AuntCrab » Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:24 am

Not out of shell! While carefully digging I finally found him. In the third green shell we have. Hopefully I didn’t stress him out too much, but I’m sure I did. Put him underneath the hide and have given the girls strict instructions to leave them completely alone.

In the meantime, any heater recommendations? This one is useless and I’ve already blown $75 on heaters that don’t work.


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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:45 am

AuntCrab wrote:Not out of shell! While carefully digging I finally found him. In the third green shell we have. Hopefully I didn’t stress him out too much, but I’m sure I did. Put him underneath the hide and have given the girls strict instructions to leave them completely alone.

In the meantime, any heater recommendations? This one is useless and I’ve already blown $75 on heaters that don’t work.


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So glad to hear he was ok. Do you know if he was molting or not? If he was molting, you'll still need to isolate him from his friend (make sure to put his shed exoskeleton in with him. He'll eat it for calcium). The smell of a molting crab is yummy to other crabs, and he could be attacked by the other crab. If he wasn't molting, it's ok to leave him in the main tank.

Here are 2 websites for the Ultratherm mats:

https://www.reptilebasics.com/ultratherm-heat-pads
https://beanfarm.com/

Get a mat that will cover the entire back of your tank, don't go by gallon size. If it heats up too much, you can always turn it off. But if it doesn't heat enough, it's more of a pain to buy another mat. Image

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Last edited by CrabbyLover77 on Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 7 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw


Topic author
AuntCrab
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by AuntCrab » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:47 am

I don’t think he was molting, normal color and no exoskeleton.

Thank you, I will look at those links!

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Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:50 am

AuntCrab wrote:I don’t think he was molting, normal color and no exoskeleton.

Thank you, I will look at those links!
That's good news!Image

You're welcome! Image

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 7 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw


Topic author
AuntCrab
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by AuntCrab » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:21 pm

Oh thank goodness! They are very stressful!


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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:24 pm

AuntCrab wrote:Oh thank goodness! They are very stressful!


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They certainly are! Image

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 7 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw


Topic author
AuntCrab
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by AuntCrab » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:52 pm

I just peaked and he has buried again. Now I know and I’ll just leave him be. Tank is actually warming up a bit, at 72 now. The other one is at the back right under the heater.


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Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:06 pm

AuntCrab wrote:I just peaked and he has buried again. Now I know and I’ll just leave him be. Tank is actually warming up a bit, at 72 now. The other one is at the back right under the heater.


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That's good. I'm glad he wasn't shell-less or molting. Glad the temp is going up a bit too. Not sure where you keep the crabbies. But if they are in a room you don't use much, you can close the AC vent (if you have one) to stop cold air from coming in. I shut the vent off in my pet room and it stays pretty warm in there with no uth. I also have fish and a tortoise in there. I tend to sweat a lot though when I'm doing crabby maintenance on the tank lol.

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 7 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw


Topic author
AuntCrab
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Empty shell - Crab not to be found, possibly buried

Post by AuntCrab » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:02 pm

They are in the kids’ room, I do have the vent blocked, but it doesn’t make a huge difference. They have to be up high too because of our dog. That really limits where they can be upstairs and downstairs is way too cold.


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