Help! Crab hanging out of shell

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Topic author
CrabMom925
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:38 pm
Location: Georgia

Help! Crab hanging out of shell

Post by CrabMom925 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:18 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?
mix of coco fiber and playsand. 7.5-8 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. Gauge is in front left corner - typically 79%-83% humidity and 82 degrees. I also have a thermometer/thermostat hanging in the front right corner - it reads slightly higher around 85 degrees.


3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
Yes, heating pads along the back wall (outside of tank). They’re at substrate ground level and higher. If the gauge/thermometer are at the front and reading low to mid 80’s, I’m sure it’s much hotter towards the back with the pads. Could it be too hot?


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. Tupperware containers deep enough for them submerge with craft mesh ramps to get out. Also have air bubblers in each. I use prime dechlorinator and instant ocean for salt water.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
Typically replace every other day Unless there’s fresh food in there, and that i try to change daily. I bought a bunch of food from hermit crab Etsy sellers (a couple from this forum), cuttlebone, egg shells, lobster shells, tuna mixes, honey, lettuce, fruit, etc.


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
A little under 2 months. Got them from a pet store where conditions weren’t ideal. I think they’re all purple pinchers but many have been hiding And i haven’t gotten a good look at all of them.


7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
Not sure if it has molted. When we first brought them home, they were in a 10 gallon tank and they all buried. I quickly got a 29g tank and this particular crab was the last one to surface in the old tank so last one to join the new tank. It’s been in the new tank for 1.5-2 weeks now.


8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
29g glass tank with a wire top that’s covered in plastic wrap to help with humidity.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
4 crabs. All small/medium.


10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
15-20 extra shells. Not all are the correct size for them currently (Some are too big) but it’s been hard to find the right sizes. This crab is still in the painted pet store shell 😕 two out of four crabs have moved to new shells but this is one that hasn’t yet.


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

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
The 29g is still new as of a few weeks ago. Haven’t cleaned the substrate but do wipe the sides with a paper towel if substrate has been kicked up. Have only done that once.

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

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
It’s a new-ish tank. I have two huts on the ground level, a shower caddy on the second level with moss, a hanging “hut” on the second level, a hamster wheel, cholla, fake hanging green plants for climbing, bridge, etc

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.)?
No


16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
A couple days ago i noticed this particular crab flipped on its side (shell opening Faced out) and tucked into the shell. I thought it was odd but left it until the next day but when it hadn’t moved, i picked it up to check and it did move a little in the shell. I put it back down and it started moving a bit... i saw it eating and at the water pool. I noticed yesterday it was hanging out of its shell more than i had seen and wasn’t really responding to my sudden movements like it had in the past. Tonight i found it practically hanging out of its shell, looking very limp. The skin/exoskeleton looks gray and ashy. It’s in a room that gets dark early and i was shining my phone flash light near it so i could see and it didn’t react at all. I Then replaced food dishes that were inches away from it and it didn’t react. His antennae seem to be drooping down too. There’s no smell yet so I’m hoping it’s not dead but i don’t know what to do. I didn’t touch it because if it is stressed, or possibly surface molting, i don’t want to stress it out anymore. I’m going to try to add a picture.

Also, since I’m already on the emergency forum.... one of my other crabs has been completely flipped upside down for about 3 days now. Upside down, meaning the shell opening is facing up. It’s right next to the back wall where there is egg crate so i feel like it could flip itself over, but should i do it for him?

Thank you in advance for any advice!!

Image


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Mom to a 5 year old wild child, 1 dog, 2 cats and 4 hermit crabs :-)

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Help! Crab hanging out of shell

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:21 pm

Your tank conditions sound good. It may be a case of PPS. Here's an HCA link on what to do with your crabby:

viewtopic.php?t=92522

Since your other upside-down crab isn't stuck or injured, I would just leave him be.

Hope this helps!

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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
CrabMom925
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:38 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Help! Crab hanging out of shell

Post by CrabMom925 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:08 pm

CrabbyLover77 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:21 pm
Your tank conditions sound good. It may be a case of PPS. Here's an HCA link on what to do with your crabby:

viewtopic.php?t=92522

Since your other upside-down crab isn't stuck or injured, I would just leave him be.

Hope this helps!

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

Thank you for the reply! I read that link and it says to try to protect it in case it’s molting and vulnerable. I’m not really sure how to do that in it’s current location. It’s right next to the water pool so i don’t want to block that from the other crabbies. If i did try to protect it, what would i put around it? The link also mentions having food and water nearby it but if it’s “covered” to protect it, how will it get to food and water? I know it says not to move it, but i feel like it would be safest in an iso tank but I’m worried moving it would make things worse 😢

I can’t tell if my picture posted or not. I see it in my view but when I’ve tried posting pics in the past, it was hit or miss if they showed for other people.

If you can see the pic, does it look like that could maybe be the exoskeleton hanging out and perhaps the actual crab is in the shell? Or do you think that’s his actual body hanging out? The link you shared said the shedded exoskeleton can look exactly like the body of a limp crab, so I’m not really sure.

I’m so worried!!
Mom to a 5 year old wild child, 1 dog, 2 cats and 4 hermit crabs :-)

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Help! Crab hanging out of shell

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:02 am

CrabMom925 wrote:
Thank you for the reply! I read that link and it says to try to protect it in case it’s molting and vulnerable. I’m not really sure how to do that in it’s current location. It’s right next to the water pool so i don’t want to block that from the other crabbies. If i did try to protect it, what would i put around it? The link also mentions having food and water nearby it but if it’s “covered” to protect it, how will it get to food and water? I know it says not to move it, but i feel like it would be safest in an iso tank but I’m worried moving it would make things worse Image

I can’t tell if my picture posted or not. I see it in my view but when I’ve tried posting pics in the past, it was hit or miss if they showed for other people.

If you can see the pic, does it look like that could maybe be the exoskeleton hanging out and perhaps the actual crab is in the shell? Or do you think that’s his actual body hanging out? The link you shared said the shedded exoskeleton can look exactly like the body of a limp crab, so I’m not really sure.

I’m so worried!!
You're welcome! I can see the pic, but I can't be sure if he's surface molting (which isn't good), or hanging limp.
I believe some members use a soda bottle with the bottom cut out to put around the crab to isolate it while remaining in the tank. But if you can't do that, I would go ahead and isolate him in a separate container, with a little food and water. I know it's probably stressful to move him, but if he's surface molting, and you can't isolate him within the tank, moving him by himself to protect him would be my next move.
I'm sorry your crabby isn't feeling well!

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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
CrabMom925
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:38 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Help! Crab hanging out of shell

Post by CrabMom925 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:55 pm

I'm back with sad news :-( He ended up passing away. We got the isolation tank all set up and we went to pick him up to move him and he fell completely out of his shell and smelled terrible. I couldn't help myself but I started sobbing. I didn't realize I had gotten so attached to these little guys.

Now I'm worried about the one I mentioned was upside down. He had been completely upside down for at least 5 days. After we moved the one who passed away, i went back to the tank to clean out the water pools and food a couple hours later, and the tank still smelled pretty bad. I decided to pick up the upside down hermie to check him and he didnt move at all in his shell. I looked like a weirdo but I put him up to my nose to smell him and he didn't smell very good. Granted, he didn't smell like the one who did die, but he does smell a little fishy. Is it normal for them to smell a little even when healthy? He's tucked up tight in his shell and wasn't budging, and I think I read somewhere that if they did in fact die, they're almost always limp and will fall out of the shell. Is that true? I'm really hoping that him being tightly tucked in there is a good sign. I moved him close to the food, where I put some honey out so I'm hoping if he is still alive that he'll get some honey and get some energy. Any ideas on what else I can do?

The one who passed away and the one I'm now worried about have both remained in their pet-store painted shells. My other two quickly moved and they seem to be fine (however, they're both still very shy and hide out in a back corner near the heating pad, but I do see them moving and eating some days). Could the painted shells be causing this? I know they're toxic, so that's the only thing I can think of since the crabitat conditions are pretty good. I have plenty of shells in there so I wish he would move! I'm at such a loss, I feel so bad I can't do more :-(
Mom to a 5 year old wild child, 1 dog, 2 cats and 4 hermit crabs :-)

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Hermielover121
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Re: Help! Crab hanging out of shell

Post by Hermielover121 » Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:51 am

Probably PPS very common in hermit crabs from the pet store there’s nothing you can really do the second one sounds OK just the fishy smell is something to be concerned about keep an eye on him and try to get him out of that painted shell fast


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CrabbyLover77
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Re: Help! Crab hanging out of shell

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:43 pm

CrabMom925 wrote:I'm back with sad news :-( He ended up passing away. We got the isolation tank all set up and we went to pick him up to move him and he fell completely out of his shell and smelled terrible. I couldn't help myself but I started sobbing. I didn't realize I had gotten so attached to these little guys.

Now I'm worried about the one I mentioned was upside down. He had been completely upside down for at least 5 days. After we moved the one who passed away, i went back to the tank to clean out the water pools and food a couple hours later, and the tank still smelled pretty bad. I decided to pick up the upside down hermie to check him and he didnt move at all in his shell. I looked like a weirdo but I put him up to my nose to smell him and he didn't smell very good. Granted, he didn't smell like the one who did die, but he does smell a little fishy. Is it normal for them to smell a little even when healthy? He's tucked up tight in his shell and wasn't budging, and I think I read somewhere that if they did in fact die, they're almost always limp and will fall out of the shell. Is that true? I'm really hoping that him being tightly tucked in there is a good sign. I moved him close to the food, where I put some honey out so I'm hoping if he is still alive that he'll get some honey and get some energy. Any ideas on what else I can do?

The one who passed away and the one I'm now worried about have both remained in their pet-store painted shells. My other two quickly moved and they seem to be fine (however, they're both still very shy and hide out in a back corner near the heating pad, but I do see them moving and eating some days). Could the painted shells be causing this? I know they're toxic, so that's the only thing I can think of since the crabitat conditions are pretty good. I have plenty of shells in there so I wish he would move! I'm at such a loss, I feel so bad I can't do more :-(
So sorry to hear he passed away! Like HL121 said, it could very well be a case of PPS. The best thing you can do for the other crabs is keep the conditions optimal. Offering honey for a boost was a good idea.
If the other guy is still tucked up in his shell, he's alive. Do you have plenty of shells for the ones in painted shells to choose from? If so, it's sort of a game of wait until they get in a new shell, and grab the painted one out as fast as you can.

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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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