New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Please post here if you are a new crab owner and someone will be along shortly to welcome you to the HCA! This is also the place to welcome new crabbies to your clan!

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HermiesAreGreat
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New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by HermiesAreGreat » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:39 am

I bought a crab from a mall yesterday, extremely impulsive I know. I have some knowledge on how small animals (fish basically) need big tanks with very acute environmental settings and I've been doing research ever since I got this crab. I plan on getting a 10 gallon tank tomorrow, as well as proper substrate (coconut fiber), instantocean salt, an under tank heater (amazon), a hygrometer (amazon), and a thermometer. I will also be getting a second crab soon as I learned they are social animals, some more shells (and a new one, his is painted) as well as trying to set up an iso tank (I need immense help with that, I have no clue what I'm doing) I feel bad as my hermie (Earl) is stuck in a prison basically as it's those small plastic ones they give you. I am honestly not sure what else I need for his tank, so please, help! Also, I read that people iso their molting crabs, and I'm assuming they look for signs then iso them if they see the signs. I also don't know how to go about bathing. Also, is distilled water ok? What do I need to do to treat water and make ocean water mixes?
Please help! When do I isolate my crab during molting?

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aussieJJDude
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by aussieJJDude » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:30 am

Many on here only iso new crabs to make sure they not carrying illnesses - like fish - otherwise they just use them for spare tank for emergencies and a place to keep them temp if you need to mess around in their tank. As result, many dont actually have a iso tank rather a spare container that they can place in the tank for those emergencies.


In a proper setup, a crab can moult in the main tank without worry. So as long as you follow the basic care guide, you'll be fine!

As for bathing, many here encourage the hands off approach. They know what they doing, so as long as their water bowls are deep enough they will do it themselves. Bathing them can disrupt their shell water - a mix of salt and fresh - so letting them take charge is the best course of action IMO.

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wodesorel
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by wodesorel » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:02 pm

Treat them as land-based fish! They are just as sensitive as their water-based crustacean cousins when it comes to chemicals, so if you have fish care down then you're already in the right headspace.


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HermiesAreGreat
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by HermiesAreGreat » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:19 pm

Thanks for all the help! However, I still have many more questions. My friend just gave me a 20 gallon tank, but someone living with her had chew cans piled up in it, resulting in the tank having tobacco in it. How would I go about cleaning this tank thoroughly? As of right now, he is still in his little plastic home which is prison to him. I'm trying to feed him and keep him watered (all I can do at this point is boil water for 20+ minutes so he at least has drinking water, which is better than no water) What water do I buy when I get his tank set up? Will distilled work? I am planning on getting instantocean salt for his salt water source, but I don't know what mixing that looks like at all. Any advice? Also, I'm 17 and make $8 an hour so I'm doing what I can, thought I just got my check this week which is 296 dollars. 30 of it is going back for a 1099. Thanks, and I'll most likely be back with more questions as I progress further along.

Feel free to include anything that I may be missing that I need to do/buy, as I want to make the Hermies I have as happy as can be! : )

NOTE: I cannot drive independently yet.

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Mamakins
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by Mamakins » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:23 pm

I clean all my tanks for crabs and other reptiles with a 50% vinegar water solution. Rinse well until you can no longer smell the vinegar.
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by Hermias_mom » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:25 am

HermiesAreGreat wrote:Thanks for all the help! However, I still have many more questions. My friend just gave me a 20 gallon tank, but someone living with her had chew cans piled up in it, resulting in the tank having tobacco in it. How would I go about cleaning this tank thoroughly? As of right now, he is still in his little plastic home which is prison to him. I'm trying to feed him and keep him watered (all I can do at this point is boil water for 20+ minutes so he at least has drinking water, which is better than no water) What water do I buy when I get his tank set up? Will distilled work? I am planning on getting instantocean salt for his salt water source, but I don't know what mixing that looks like at all. Any advice? Also, I'm 17 and make $8 an hour so I'm doing what I can, thought I just got my check this week which is 296 dollars. 30 of it is going back for a 1099. Thanks, and I'll most likely be back with more questions as I progress further along.

Feel free to include anything that I may be missing that I need to do/buy, as I want to make the Hermies I have as happy as can be! : )

NOTE: I cannot drive independently yet.
Congrats to you on wanting to do right by your crabs!!! That is awesome!!! I did a similar thing as you - my first crab was a bit of an impulse, and then after I got her I realized I had no idea what I was doing. At least you've kept fish before, which is more than I had done. Best thing to do is read the care sheets here (viewtopic.php?f=51&t=92457 and here: viewforum.php?f=61) but it is a bit like drinking from a firehose, so please do ask questions if you're confused. We're here to help.

A few items to get you started (kinda random order): boiling water is good. If you have some fish water treatment products, that's a good start. Crabs need a product that removes chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, and ammonia from the water. You can use distilled water instead - works great, but I know you have a small budget. Products used for beta fish are a good place to start when looking for a good water treatment method. After the water is treated, it is "freshwater" (or distilled water), then you can separate some out and add the Instant Ocean to create the separate saltwater pool. Make sure they have a way to climb in and out of the pools. Mix the Instant Ocean according to the package directions (purple package or orange package will work fine), and it will work out just great. I got a salinity meter and measured it a few times, but as long as you're accurate with your mixing, I found I didn't need to check any more. Also, the crabs like to mix the salt and fresh water to create their shell water, so if you're off from the specific ratio on the salt by just a bit, it shouldn't matter much (in my opinion). You can use distilled water for both fresh, and to mix the salt into - that should work great! Crabs like a minimum of 80F / 80% humidity. You can use a space heater in the room where your crab is at to help them stay warm until you get the tank set up, if you want to. Any attempt on your part to keep them warm will be an improvement over when they were captured and collected and shipped.

20 gal is a much better size than 10 gal for starting out (in my opinion) - gives you a lot more space to work. Once you get 6" of substrate in the bottom (5:1 playsand/coco-fiber, or all coco-fiber if that's the way you want to go), there's not much space left in a 10 gal. If your tank has a mesh lid, you can put plastic wrap over it to hold in humidity. If you have a glass lid, that's great, they hold humidity and heat pretty well. Air turnover from changing out food is enough to keep hermit crabs healthy when you change food every day or two. It is recommended that water be changed out every three days at most.

Here is the cheapest, most accurate gage that I have found for measuring heat/humidity although other brands work too (though you should still calibrate it -see the care sheets): https://www.walmart.com/ip/AcuRite-Digi ... 3=&veh=sem. What I would not recommend is any humidity and temp gage marketed to hermit crabs. Most of the things marketed to hermit crabs are either wildly inaccurate or at times harmful (most commercial crab food is harmful).

A lot of food sold for turtles and reptiles is fine for hermit crabs, or you can forage outdoors in an area that doesn't have pesticides or fertilizers applied. They love oak leaves and branches, and many things on the safe food list (see care sheets).

As a UTH I'd only recommend either Flukers or Ultratherm brand (see recommended vendors list for folks who sell Flukers, I know www.beanfarm.com or reptilebasics.com sells Ultratherm). The other UTHs just don't work well for our application (placing the UTH on the side of the tank above the substrate in order to warm the tank air). You'll want a UTH that covers almost all the back of your tank above the level of the sand. You can hook it to a thermostat if you're worried about it getting too hot, but it may be fine without one. The FLukers and Ultratherm UTHs can also be insulated to increase heat input into the tank when needed (other brands could cause a fire).

Also, when you get a minute (like you have any spare time when you're trying to get all this together :) ) you might want to read up on PPS (post-purchase syndrome). Sometimes crabs sicken and die after we get them, even when we do all we can to care for them. If this happens to you, please remember it's nothing you did. You're giving the best home and attention that you can. The capture and shipping process is quite inhumane and difficult for them, and many just don't make it. If you adopt from other crab owners, or from someone on this Forum for your next crabs, usually those crabs are no longer at risk for PPS. Something to think about. Crossing my fingers for you that your crab will be just fine!!!!!!
4PPs and tons of FUN in a 29 gallon!
Hermia(F), Helena(F), Branch(M), and Tiger (M)
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ciaraalston
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by ciaraalston » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:36 am

Hi there! Congrats! I'm a new crab owner myself and also on a budget but here's what I've gathered.
The instant ocean salt mix on Amazon is cheaper if you buy the 15 pound bag. Instructions on my bag said 1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon water. So i took a gallon of water, added Prime seachem (white bottle, red label, small bottle cost about $10 but you only use a couple drops per gallon) to it, let it set with the lid off for 24 hours, then added the salt and shook the gallon till it mixed.

I use plastic bowls from dollar tree as my water bowls, they're deep enough to let the crabs soak but I also have rocks from Wal-Mart (97 cents a bag) in the bowls so the crabs can climb out.
I have a bubbler in my fresh tank, but I didn't add that until recently and my crabs were fine without it. It just adds humidity.

There's coconut huts on Amazon for cheap, mine was a 2 pack for $6 And my crabs love them. They climb on the outside and hide under them.

Flukers has a sand/cocofiber/protein mix on Amazon for $6. Its a PERFECT match, the sand is already moist and they crabs love it. Only downside is that you can only order it in 5 pound bags, and a 20 gallon tank needs a lot of sand. So i took a bag of play sand from Wal-Mart ($3) and used that as the base, then put 2 bags of flukers across the top. My crabs seem okay with that mix so far.

The heater is great for the tank, but try to get a heater thermostat with a probe. The heater plugs Into that and the probe goes into the sand a ways. That will regulate your temp so the heater doesn't stay on constantly and get them too hot. Mine is set at 75. This cost me about $14.

My first crab came in a painted shell. I ordered some from Amazon and bought a couple from petco local. It took him 7 months to change shells. I immediately removed the painted so my other crab wouldn't move into it. The shells on Amazon were about $5..

Climbing materials could be burlap, some cocowalll from petco, or some cholla wood from amazon. (Cholla wood was $8 for 3 pieces about 6 inches each. I haven't seen my crabs climb it much but I heard they munch on it too so I left it in there)

All of this seems like a lot, but I spread it out across a few months worth of checks and they didn't seem to mind. Look for deals!! My petco had their tanks $1 per gallon so I jumped into a 20 for that sale. Along with price matching stuff between Amazon and petstores. I'm still learning along the way, this is just some stuff I've gathered from hours of reading on here and google. Haha
If there's anything else I can help with let me know!
4 purple pinchers & 2 ecuadorians living a life of luxury in south west Louisiana.
Follow my hermit crab learning journey on instagram! @hermitcrabs_in_the_boot


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HermiesAreGreat
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by HermiesAreGreat » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:05 pm

Thanks for all the help! Today I bought quite a bit of stuff, including two (way smaller!) PP crabs. I also bought:
24 quart bag of Coco Fiber, UTH (reptotherm), Some fake plants and a hiding place, two water bowls, a thermometer, InsantOcean, Substrate Scooper, a spray bottle, distilled water, terrarium moss (pretty sure it isn't dyed, very brown-green and natural looking), cuttlebone, dried shrimp and krill, lots of shells, and a coconut. I set up their crabitat. I put the substrate in then dampened it with distilled water, then I washed everything that I was gonna put into their tank with HOT distilled water with some instantocean in it. I now have the crabs in it, and one of my two new little crabs just burrowed under! I'm not sure if he's doing it in preparation to molt or just stress/boredom. Also, the tank doesn't have a lid yet (came without one) but I am going to Michael's tomorrow to get a plexiglass one made. I have some more questions yet again!:

1. I got a small UTH that was recommended for 10-20 gallon tanks but it doesn't seem like it will do much. Should I get a light or another UTH? I attached it to the side. (Imgur Link Below)

2. What daily/weekly/monthly/yearly, etc. tasks do I need to do? When do I feed and change water, change substrate, etc. How do I feed? In a bowl (I have one for feeding) or scatter food around?

3. What do I do about my little guy that burrowed? I'm obviously not gonna dig him up, but I am worried about him molting and the other two trying to get him.

4. What should I use to help them climb in and out of their water bowls?

5. I dampened the substrate (just coco fiber) by pouring water in after I poured the substrate in and mixing it with my hands, spreading the water evenly. Was this the correct way to do it? Also, how often, if ever, do I mist the tank with a spray bottle?

6. Our city water is actually well water (town of 800) so would this be safe? I am pretty sure they don't treat it. If it isn't, will distilled water work? Do I need to treat distilled water if I use it?

7. I'm going to post pictures of my bare setup so far, and I am gonna ask for any recommendations/changes you would make.
https://imgur.com/a/eTzGYY9

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ciaraalston
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by ciaraalston » Tue May 01, 2018 5:34 am

That sounds like an incredible tank!!! Awesome!!
I can't answer all those questions as I'm still new, but my 20 gal didn't have a lid either and I use plastic wrap across the top for now. I never thought about Michael's plexiglass, that's an awesome idea!
My first UTH was a small one for like 10 gal tanks. I plugged it into the thermostat and it worked just fine because the thermostat kept it heating if the temp was low and once it got up it turned it off until it needed to warm up again. It worked great. I literally just finished putting my new UTH on, it's a bigger one I found on Amazon for $12. I don't remember the brand but it's for reptile tanks.

I wouldn't mess with your little guy just yet. I'd give him a few days and just keep an eye to make sure nobody's getting too close to mess with him. My little one always buries when I make changes and comes up within 24 to 48 hours. I think he just stresses easily. My big guy could care less what I do, he does what he wants anyway. Haha

You're doing a great job!!! Good luck :D :D :D
4 purple pinchers & 2 ecuadorians living a life of luxury in south west Louisiana.
Follow my hermit crab learning journey on instagram! @hermitcrabs_in_the_boot

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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by Hermiesguardian » Tue May 01, 2018 8:38 am

Hi! Isn't it fun putting it all together!! Just a couple of things that I feel comfortable mentioning, since I've only been doing this about 9 months. The heater should cover the entire back side of the tank. How deep is your substrate? It should be a minimum of 6". Or 3 times the height of your largest crab. Whichever is deeper. If yours is less than that, you can add an inch every 24hrs. Just don't pat it down. I find it easier to mix the ee in a large bowl then transfer it. Just make sure it's sandcastle consistency. If you squeeze it and it drips water, add some more ee. Or playsand. It's cheaper than only ee. As long as you're feeding a full diet, especially protein and calcium, a molting crab should be safe. Just never dig them up, which you already know. I'm not sure about well water. Maybe someone else can answer that. I also bouggt a substrate scooper. I found it useless. Lol. They can be fed every couple of days. The water changed every 3 days or so. I don't remember if you mentioned a thermometer and hygrometer. The one a lot of us use is found at walmart. AcuRite Digital Humidity and Temperature Monitor 00325

http://www.walmart.com/ip/AcuRite-Digit ... 5/16888914.

Oh, and they're also climbers as well as diggers. You can make a second level. A moss pit as a second level is a good idea. A shower caddy from walmart works real well for that. I use a bird cage ladder for them to climb to it. I attach craft mesh to the ladder.
ImageImage
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi


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HermiesAreGreat
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by HermiesAreGreat » Tue May 01, 2018 4:12 pm

ciaraalston wrote: I plugged it into the thermostat and it worked just fine because the thermostat kept it heating if the temp was low and once it got up it turned it off until it needed to warm up again.
What do you mean plugged it into the thermostat?

Also important detail, I got my thermometer at Petsmart - it's a terrarium one. It's on 70 right now, which isn't what I want. I still don't have a lid on my tank and I'm not sure how often to mist their tank. I also don't know where to put the thermometer or hygrometer (I will get soon) to get accurate readings.

Also, I read somewhere that Hermit crabs need a regular 12 day/night shift. Is this true? If so, is there some kind of timed light that turns on and off every 12 hours?

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ciaraalston
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by ciaraalston » Tue May 01, 2018 4:17 pm

Thermostat https://imgur.com/gallery/jZr0DlG

That's what I ordered. On Amazon it's a reptile thermostat. It just controls the temp with the heater. Some people might say you don't need one and you might not, but I got it "just in case"
4 purple pinchers & 2 ecuadorians living a life of luxury in south west Louisiana.
Follow my hermit crab learning journey on instagram! @hermitcrabs_in_the_boot

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ciaraalston
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by ciaraalston » Tue May 01, 2018 4:20 pm

If you look at the forum "crabitat conditions " and scroll down to the post titled "double dish bubbler pics, yo!" By ladyjinglyjones, I just recently added that to my tank and it adds humidity so I no longer mist! :D
4 purple pinchers & 2 ecuadorians living a life of luxury in south west Louisiana.
Follow my hermit crab learning journey on instagram! @hermitcrabs_in_the_boot

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by Hermiesguardian » Tue May 01, 2018 7:44 pm

HermiesAreGreat wrote:
ciaraalston wrote: I plugged it into the thermostat and it worked just fine because the thermostat kept it heating if the temp was low and once it got up it turned it off until it needed to warm up again.
What do you mean plugged it into the thermostat?

Also important detail, I got my thermometer at Petsmart - it's a terrarium one. It's on 70 right now, which isn't what I want. I still don't have a lid on my tank and I'm not sure how often to mist their tank. I also don't know where to put the thermometer or hygrometer (I will get soon) to get accurate readings.

Also, I read somewhere that Hermit crabs need a regular 12 day/night shift. Is this true? If so, is there some kind of timed light that turns on and off every 12 hours?

There's no way to keep humidity up if there's no lid. Until you get a lid, you can cover the tank with plastic wrapping, saran wrap. Tape it along the top.
raising son's dog, Dante. Husky/hound.
Raising daughter's hermit crabs, Shelder, Paras and Derek. Added 2 more of my own (of course) Pete and Stryper. Former mommy to 2 guinea pigs and beloved cat, Nissi


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HermiesAreGreat
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by HermiesAreGreat » Tue May 01, 2018 8:14 pm

Some questions! How do I tell if my crabs are eating/what should their initial staple be in their diet? Thanks!

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