Still Down 4 Months Later Explanation

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Motörcrab
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Still Down 4 Months Later Explanation

Post by Motörcrab » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:20 pm

I just wanted to share what I have been experiencing with my 75 gallon tank since December. This is just my observations and don't need any help. I hoping this will help people, especially those who are new to caring for hermit crabs. We see a lot of post wondering if their crabs are ok while molting or haven't been seen for a while and if they should dig. Hopefully this will help put a lot of people at ease based on my experience.

I strive to keep my temperature and humidity at a minimum of 80/80 at all times. Temperature and humidity may both drop to 77, but I work to raise them right away. We also provide plenty of healthy foods covering all aspects of their diet. I can go through a list but they are boring. We are probably more cautious than what the HCA care guides offer when it comes to food. The substrate is an approximate 5:1 mix of Playsand and Eco Earth. It's mixed with dechlorinated saltwater to sandcastle consistency. I check for flooding every month or two. I know everything for their care is correct so I feel I can eliminate almost all issues that may be due to common problems.

All of my hermits, 5 Strawberries and 2 purple pinchers all decided to molts at different times in December. They are have 1-1/8 to
1-1/4 inch shell openings, they are pretty big. I have had all these guys in the 75 gallon tank together since the end of July 2018. I did rescue on strawberry in January 2019 so she is the newest addition.

My first crab up I noticed on January 21st. My next two up were February 3rd and 4th. Next up February 16th. A purple came up March 1st. That is 5 out of 7 I have managed to see and log based on size, seated patterns, and shells before molting.

A lot of these crabs were only up for a day or two, only to bury again. They have been coming out around 9pm and being gone before morning. I have caught a few crabs on my cams and notice some activity under the substrate like clunking, and molting holes.

Currently on April 23 I have only one crab up. The last time I saw four or five crabs was April 7th. I still have not accounted for my second purple either.

This has been a very strange molt pattern this time. Since July of 2018 every crab has molted maybe twice a year. So 4-5 times for me. Normal molting times for everyone has been about 6-8 weeks. That falls within the late January early February molter's I have logged. Once the strawberries completed their molts they would hide and be extremely cautious for a week then stay out all the time until their next molts.

I will admit I am still worried and curious as to what they are doing. I'm worried about the purple I haven't seen since December. On the same hand I know he may have came up without me knowing. I also know crabs can take 8 months or longer to molt. If they become hungry or thirsty they can come up when they want. If I dig for them I can cause more damage than good. Especially strawberries, they are more prone to molting issues than other species.

I pretty much decided to let my crabs be crabs. They are way better at being crabs and doing crabby things more than me. As long as they have proper tank conditions, waters, and foods from me everything else is on them.

Hopefully this will give some members confidence and reassurance knowing that crabs can be unpredictable. They make all of us wonder what they are up to. All I can really offer is be patient and crabs are weird!
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Re: Still Down 4 Months Later Explanation

Post by wodesorel » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:46 pm

I don't know where that 8 month or more idea came from, but I really have to call crap on that one. We had one person here who had a crab that she thought was down for 8 months, but couldn't verify as it had only been alone in and emptu tank (switching to a larger enclosure) for around half that time. You know how sneaky they can be! They will come up to replenish food and water in the middle of the night and then immediately dissappear again. Short of having a single crab in a completely bare tank with a motion camera on 24/7, there is no way to verify these extreme molting myths.

Crabs only last so long without food and water. They do go into a kind of stasis when molting, but even then, they will run out of moisture and energy reserves, and I guarentee that they will never make it to a full year. Six months is probably the max for a very big crab with a lot stored up, it will be a shorter period for smaller ones. Four months has been the very extreme for me, even my jumbos would be back up after two full months. The longer they stay underground, the more they have to make up for, and the more likely they are to die from it.

The more I hear about these impossible times underground, the more it sounds like a contest to have the most amazing crab ever. No one can claim to have the oldest or claim to have captive babies because it's too hard to fake those.

I say this only because I think these extremes mythical times are giving too much false hope, and also discouraging the owners who wait and lose crabs.
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Re: Still Down 4 Months Later Explanation

Post by Motörcrab » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:35 pm

I have cams on my 75. I can watch them but can't tell for sure who is who at night since it's black and white. I did mention that I have seen several up only to disappear a few days later and can't say for certain our crabs have been down the entire time.

Our Molting guide says maximum 8 months or longer.

"THERE IS NO SET IN STONE TIME FRAME!
Any crab – regardless of size or species - can take as little as a few days to a maximum of 8 months, and possibly longer.
NEVER DIG UP YOUR CRAB!
That said, average molting times are:
Micro/Teeny - 1 week (but can stay underground for up to 4 weeks), every month
Small - 2-3 weeks, every 1 to 3 months
Medium - 3 to 6 weeks, every 2 to 5 months
Large - 4 to 8 weeks, every 4 to 10 months
Extra Large - 6 weeks to 8 weeks, every 10 to 12 months
Jumbo - 8 weeks to 16 weeks, every 12 to 24 months"

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=92527

I would say our captive babies are legit since they came from Mary Akers and she has the entire process documented from zoea up.
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Re: Still Down 4 Months Later Explanation

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:19 pm

I've had 2 crabbies down in my 20 gal for a little bit now. The smallest one has been under since Feb, I think. I'm super anxious for them to come up to switch them to the new 55 gal. No food or water has been touched for a while. I checked the tank this morning and the food dish was moved, some popcorn missing, and there was someone's butt drag marks going from the food dish back to the coco hut. I was so mad I missed it! I was using an Arlo security cam for the tank, but once I moved, I started using it for the house. So I ordered a wireless Wyze Cam today from Amazon. Can't wait for it to show up. I need to catch the little buggers while they're up so I can move them!

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Re: Still Down 4 Months Later Explanation

Post by Crabby7Crabber » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:31 pm

Thank you for this! My biggest PP has been down for what, a month now (I know not a long time at all, but I still can't help but be worried naturally)? Both my little guys are up, but keep going up and down, so while I'm a little curious, this is also reminding me I shouldn't try to interfere with their antics and my PP's assumed molting. This is the first time he has ever molted since I got him, which was in the end of August, so I'm happy he's finally comfortable. To quote what you said, "They are way better at being crabs and doing crabby things more than me"! I appreciate you taking the time to write this. :D It is agreed that crabs are weird, but hey, you gotta love 'em!
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R.I.P George Washington, Zero, Domino, Billy, Eduardo, Shelly, and Cosmo the dog

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