New Crab Owner, is my setup okay? Do I need anything else?

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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Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:21 pm
Location: New Jersey

New Crab Owner, is my setup okay? Do I need anything else?

Post by shesse » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:37 pm

Hi All! I am a first time hermit crab owner (with the exception of the poor souls I bought on the beach in a wire cage as a child :( I knew so little then) and I want to provide a great life for my new crabs! I have a 24 in by 12 in tank (30 gallons?) With a 5 or so inch mix of sand and coconut fiber as substrate. I have an under gravel heater on one side of the tank. 2 very small bowls of fresh and salt water (salt is freshwater fish salt) and 2 food options available. Shell with sponge over heater, fake plant, drift wood, sea glass in one area. Also salt water soaked reptile moss from the pet store on one side near the water bowls. Humitity is hanging between 70-80 and temp is at around 72. Any suggestions? Is this sufficient? I brought home 6 small crabs today. They seem to be loving it... all have been active. Really hoping they stay this active :clap:

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Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:35 pm
Location: NJ

Re: New Crab Owner, is my setup okay? Do I need anything else?

Post by Kydra » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:57 pm

Hi! New as well. Just going to go through what you wrote...

5" is alright, but you'll get recommended minimum of 6" substrate with it being at least 3x your largest crab (whichever is deeper). Is it playsand or the calcium sand they sell at pet stores? Calcium sand is no good and can harden like cement when wet in the hermit crabs shells. The coconut fiber is fine. I'm currently doing about 3:1 sand and eco earth (coconut fiber) now at 6". The substrate should be wet to sandcastle consistency and most use a 5:1 ratio of playsand to EE. Heater seems good placed on side of tank above substrate.

All water should be dechlorinated to remove chlorine, chloramines, ammonia, and heavy metals. Easy and cheap with a water conditioner from a pet store; just avoid any with the aloe vera slime coats added. After this, the saltwater can be made using a marine salt such as "instant ocean" which is what I'm currently using. Hermit crab salt and fish salt aren't adequate; I use API fish salt in a koi pond, but not for the hermit crabs.

I removed all sponges from the water, but not sure what you mean RE sponge over heater. Try to up the humidity to at least 80+ to help the hermit crabs breathe with their modified gills. You may be able to achieve this with some misting/seran wrap over tank lid. The temperature is sustainable, but ideally would be closer to 75-80. I now have a 10 gallon with one crab as the other decided to soak in the instant ocean for an hour the day I put it and then ate and buried in a temp tank to molt as I was transitioning from the wired cage with gravel from the boardwalk. So I'm maintaining both at 80/80 with a variety of foods.

Ordered extra shells from Amazon and boiled in the instant ocean water and just ordered food from the hermit crab patch which will be helpful not only for their health, but I am away a few days a week.

Check out the care guide here and any questions will be answered fairly quickly from my experience here so far. Good people with good advice. Good luck with your new hermit crabs!

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