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!

karlys
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by karlys » Wed May 02, 2018 2:48 am

Quick thought on how to get the best use of your UTH: insulate it! If you search on here, there are posts about how to do it with cardboard and aluminum foil. I've never done it because I just went out and got this:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Reflectix-1 ... /100012574
And then just duct taped it over the UTH. More expensive than cardboard and aluminum foil but it's super easy. During the winter/power outages, you could wrap all or most of the tank to help as well. Never do this with a pad that's already insulated though, like the ZooMed ones that are black and stick on cuz it's a fire hazard.

It's hard to tell if they're eating oftentimes because they don't eat much but you'll see their substrate in their food from where they touch it. If you were using sand, I'd suggest smoothing it around the food dish so you could see their little feet tracks but that won't really work with eco earth.
And, I wouldn't say there's any one thing you could call a staple for them. They need all of the food groups, like humans. I would say protein and calcium (you can give them egg shells or buy them a cuttle bone) are very important but you definitely want to make sure they're getting fruits, veggies, and fats (coconut oil, nuts/seeds, animal fat). Organic is encouraged but, if not, do your best to wash and/or peel the skin in case of pesticides. Leaf matter is important too, if you live somewhere that you have access to trees that haven't been sprayed with chemicals. I, for one, can't trust the trees around my house so I order leaves and flowers for them to eat online.

I would just add and reiterate that they really don't eat much at once so you don't have to put much of each thing in their dish. For three little crabs, dime sized portions of each thing you're feeding them that night would be more than enough. I used to give my crabs way more than necessary and got frustrated by how much I would throw away.

Edit regarding your light question: as long as the room they're in gets dark at night and then gets light during the day, they will be okay. If you want to add a light to their tank that turns on and off, you have to buy a timer that plugs into the wall and then the light goes into the timer. You can find them on Amazon for about $12.

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Hermias_mom
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by Hermias_mom » Wed May 02, 2018 8:15 am

HermiesAreGreat wrote: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
A few thoughts for you.

4) Most folks on here use plastic craft mesh and zip ties to secure the mesh to the sides of the plastic containers. Other folks use aquarium safe silicone (have to make sure it cures fully before use, and that you use the right type silicone) with rocks or sand embedded in it adhered to the sides of the container. Rocks and silicone look super cool, but craft mesh is faster.

6) Wouldn't use the well water unless you have a water report and know exactly what's in it. Be aware that the composition of well water can change over time, and you may not know. Things that are fine for humans can be bad/deadly over time for crabs. Safest bet is Distillled for now. I don't think you have to treat the distilled water because there's nothing harmful in it (definition of being distilled).

5) The point of having a damp substrate is so that the habitat will retain moisture and you won't have to mist (well, maybe once a year to replenish moisture lost over time). The other point of having damp substrate, is that you want it to hold molt caves for the crabs. If you can build a sand-castle out of your substrate, and it will hold together when you push pencils in horizontally, then you know you've got the amount of water in it correct. If the caves or tunnels fall apart, then not enough water. Too much water can pool in the bottom of the tank and cause algal bloom (bad for us for sure, maybe bad for crabs, I forget). The reason folks recommend playsand (and not some other sand) is that it wicks the water up properly (without caking when it dries) and retains it, especially when mixed 5/1 sand/coco-fiber by volume. You would reconstitute the coco-fiber (moisten it up and then squeeze out any extra) prior to mixing with the sand. If you want to do full coco-fiber, I can't help you much there except to tell you it should hold the molt caves for the crabs. I can tell you that if you do have a 5/1 mix of play sand/coco-fiber, mix it with distilled water to sandcastle consistency, and then heat your tank to 80F, the humidity will naturally go where it needs to (90%+). Pretty cool that. Also, if you want to reduce mold in your crabitat, use marine saltwater (distilled water mixed with Instant Ocean according to package directions) in order to moisten your substrate instead of straight distilled water. The salt helps prevent mold. Be aware, if your substrate dries out later, the salt is still there, so you should use straight distilled to moisten it up again. [Too much salt in the substrate can burn the crabs during a molt, but I've only heard of this happening a time or two.]

Hope this helps, good luck!!!
4PPs and tons of FUN in a 29 gallon!
Hermia(F), Helena(F), Branch(M), and Tiger (M)
RIP Athena

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GotButterflies
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by GotButterflies » Wed May 02, 2018 7:46 pm

First of all, Hello! Welcome to the HCA! :)

Distilled water isn't recommended for hermit crabs. It doesn't have any mineral content. Tap water is fine as long as you use a product that removes chlorine, chloramine, and neutralizes ammonia and heavy metals. A lot of us prefer Prime :)

The water we use in our substrate is to be dechlorinated as well...so hopefully you did that ;) We want it to be sandcastle consistency to help hold the tunnels and molting caves that the hermit crabs dig. We don't want the hermits to suffocate because the substrate collapses on them. Also, the damp substrate helps with humidity in the tank. :)

Humidity is extremely important to the crabs because they have modified gills.

I personally prefer my tank temps to be from 79-86. My humidity is 99%. But, you will find everyone has a different opinion on this. :)

You will definitely want to get more shells. There are lots of sheets to read in the forum sections. Please read up on safe foods, and unsafe foods as well.

I definitely recommend a glass lid - if you can purchase one - but, you cannot use heat lamps with them. They will crack.

We are here for your questions! :) Good luck!
Truly blessed to have incredible creatures, wonderful friends and my amazing family in my life!! I'm very thankful & grateful for all of them! www.thehealthyhermit.com


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HermiesAreGreat
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Re: New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by HermiesAreGreat » Thu May 03, 2018 8:25 pm

(I bolded the questions that I have, the rest is just update/discussion I guess.)
Update: The crab I bought in the painted shell changed last night! It was late and I was asleep, but when I checked on them in the morning he had left it! I can't find him so I'm assuming he's hiding in one of the hiding spots (I think I saw him once).

Also, what would you guys recommend for substrate? I used just EE but many people seem to enjoy the playsand/ee mix.

I'm also still worried about my little guy that buried himself, and I know I can't check on him. It's scaring me, but I'm gonna trust his instincts over mine.

My tank is really bare so far: I have no second level, only two hiding spots, and one fake plant. I looked for small shower caddies to make a moss pit but I couldn't find any today. Also, how do you make moss safe for the crabs?

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JoeHermits
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New Crab Owner and Clueless!

Post by JoeHermits » Thu May 03, 2018 9:23 pm

HermiesAreGreat wrote:(I bolded the questions that I have, the rest is just update/discussion I guess.)
Update: The crab I bought in the painted shell changed last night! It was late and I was asleep, but when I checked on them in the morning he had left it! I can't find him so I'm assuming he's hiding in one of the hiding spots (I think I saw him once).

Also, what would you guys recommend for substrate? I used just EE but many people seem to enjoy the playsand/ee mix.

I'm also still worried about my little guy that buried himself, and I know I can't check on him. It's scaring me, but I'm gonna trust his instincts over mine.

My tank is really bare so far: I have no second level, only two hiding spots, and one fake plant. I looked for small shower caddies to make a moss pit but I couldn't find any today. Also, how do you make moss safe for the crabs?
In terms of substrate, most of us use a 5:1 ratio of playsand and EE mixed thoroughly (see HCA care sheets). In the U.S you can get a big bag of playsand at Lowes for about $4 for a large bag. You may need a couple.

Most reptile mosses such as sphagnum (not sphagnum peat) or beaked moss will work fine. Soak in saltwater for an hour or so to prevent mold growth, then microwave for a few minutes to kill any bugs.

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