Hermit Crab Looks to be in Bad Shape (maybe bad molt, shell rot?)

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Spot
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Hermit Crab Looks to be in Bad Shape (maybe bad molt, shell rot?)

Post by Spot » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:06 pm

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? Coconut fiber and it is 2 to 3 inches deep. There are also minimal aquarium stones near the food and water dishes.


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? They are located in the upper part of the tank on the wall and usually read 70% humidity and 75F.


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what? An electric heating pad is located on the outside of one of the glass walls.


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, dechlorinated water (dechlorinated from out tap water attachment) is provided. Salt water is provided, but not always available because it is often spilled.


5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced? Food is replaces every day to every other day and is a combination of fresh fruit and vegetables along with organic crab food that is hand prepared and ordered from a seller online. Include a variety of things that are specifically selected for hermit crabs. The food is all organic and hasn’t been treated. I have also feed them on occasion a few fish flakes and some dried red shrimp which I have been told are okay as a treat for crabs.


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known? i have had the crab for nearly ten years (it lives with two other crabs that I have had for several years). The crab is a purple pincher and usually is darker in appearance, but currently is quite pale.


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen? My crab went into hiding a while ago so I assumed that they were molting (so did their roommates because they all moly around the same time). I recently discovered them at the surface in their shell heading to the food bowl, but in pretty bad condition.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing? A 20 gallon, glass tank with a wire cover (they sometimes climb on the roof).


9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they? 3 crabs and they are all relatively the same size.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any? 15 to 20 extra shells, but not all fit their preferred shell type and many become buried.


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 take every few months, but regularly spot clean it to remove food or debris. The tank is always filled with mites and they return immediately even after I clean it which consists of removing all substrate and cleaning the container with hot water along with all the shells and fixtures. The mites are mostly food mites, book mites, and a few fungus gnats. I don’t believe there are any crab mites and have never had a problem with them before and no new crabs were recently introduced that could have brought them.


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? 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.)? I worry that the mites may bother them (even if they are harmless), but have been unable to get rid of them despite deep cleaning the crabitat.


16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail. I have had my hermit crab, Opal, for nearly ten years and have never encountered any problems with her. She has always molted successfully and is a pretty active crab. I have not changed my crab care routine in the past ten years as well. All three of the crabs tend to molt at the same time so they all buried themselves and she was the first to do so. I hadn’t seen her for a good while (typical when she molts), but she recently returned to the surface and looked to be in pretty bad shape. Most of her front legs appear odd (seem extra dangly and are bent in the wrong direction: they normally bend at the lower joint back toward her shell, but are bent outward as if we were to bend our knee in the wrong direction). Her large claw is also droopy, seems swollen (I have not seen her use it) and has a black splotch on its end (looks like dirt has caked onto it, but it won’t come off despite being bathed). Her antennae are less active and she seems to be uncomfortable. She still has good strength in her small claw though and can get around slowly. Her shell still seems to fit. Her eyes are also a bit cloudy. I was hoping that maybe she has yet to molt and that her exoskeleton is just misshapen and working it’s way off, but it seems to be pretty solid. It also looks like there may be a pinch mark on one of her legs, but the crabs have never really fought and I doubt a fight would make her look like this. My worry is that she was in a bad spot when she molted and her exoskeleton hardened, misshaping her. The black spot makes me think of shell rot, but I don’t think that shell rot could lead to the leg issues. Her big claw almost seems to be rotting. She may smell a little more fishy than usually, but it may also be my worried imagination. I have her in an isolation tank in case it is shell rot :( She has been my friend for so long and I am really worried about her. I am so grateful for any and all help. I have pictures that I can send if needed.

Edit: maybe she was attacked while molting? One of her antennae is short and a few of her legs seem stubby. Her eyes each have a white spot but I don’t think they are mites.


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curlysister
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Re: Hermit Crab Looks to be in Bad Shape (maybe bad molt, shell rot?)

Post by curlysister » Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:45 pm

My biggest concern is that your tank is crowded and does not have deep enough substrate. I have had my crabs for almost ten years, and they are really big. The substrate should be at least 3 times as deep as your largest crab. Having deep enough sub and a tank that is not crowded is important so they don't come across each other when molting. After ten years of molting in less than ideal conditions, she might be running out of energy, unfortunately.
What brand of salt do you use?
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


Topic author
Spot
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:36 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Hermit Crab Looks to be in Bad Shape (maybe bad molt, shell rot?)

Post by Spot » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:41 am

I use HBH hermit crab salt. I agree about the substrate depth although. The largest crab is about the size of a golf ball and the substrate is 4inches in depth in some parts of the crabitat, but I have gone ahead and provided the remaining crabs with an additional 2 inches of substrate. I have also provided the sick and isolated crab with additional substrate. I am purchasing crab safe herbs that I read about on “crabstreetjournal” to make a salve for Opal’s claw and hopefully it will help to promote molting so that she can shed her misshapen exoskeleton sooner. Her claw seems to be in very bad shape and I think:hope she will drop it if it is infected as opposed to letting the infection spread :( She just seems so weak and I don’t know what else to do. Thank you for your time and help.

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curlysister
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Re: Hermit Crab Looks to be in Bad Shape (maybe bad molt, shell rot?)

Post by curlysister » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:00 pm

I'm not sure whether that salt is a marine salt or not? Unfortunately, most products marketed for crabs aren't actually appropriate for them.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


Topic author
Spot
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Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:36 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Hermit Crab Looks to be in Bad Shape (maybe bad molt, shell rot?)

Post by Spot » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:57 pm

Thank you so much for your help!! We are following some advice that has been given to us by an exotic vet friend of ours and are hoping for the best. Opal is such a sweet friend and loving crab.

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