New Crabber, review my Crabitat

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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CombatMist
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New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CombatMist » Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:06 pm

Please and thank you for the help
Preparing to upgrade my crabitat

Tried embedding pics through drop box. Could see it. Then when I came back to post hours later it broke. So I did it as links

Hi all. I've been lurking hermit crab association for months. In my quest to learn more about hermit crabs this site came up the most often and seems to have good info and community. Here is my first post.

Been crabing since December. I'm starting to grasp much of the basics. I often research on my lunch breaks. I'm welcome to any constructive critiques.

First crab started as a Christmas gift. As such I made most the common starting mistakes. Read as much as I could and did all I could to improve it. Started with a hermit crab starter kit. The 2.5 gallon critter keeper. Starts with the basics but ended up replacing much of it.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9nr53xodytizp ... 7.jpg?dl=0

Critter Keeper
Here is the current critter keeper. Food dish is in the 10 gallon (2 metal food caps adhered together so they stop tipping it). Crab safe branches tied together with all natural none died jute twine. Excess of the coconut hut I made for hide. Bark from said coconut. Sponge because why not. At work we have snails climbing a vinyl fence. Been collecting the dead and empty shells. I boil and clean all new objects to the crabitats. Boil the snail shells and put them in. At first they ate half of 1 over night. Think they wanted the calcium. Substrate is about 1-2 inches deep on purpose so they don't hide too deep.

My wife surprised me with a 10 gallon hermit crab starter kit tank and more crabs. Now I have 5. I'm now using the 2.5 critter keeper as an isolation tank or when I need to take crabs out to clean tank. Don't worry I'm working on my 20 gallon tank. Have it and waiting on supplies to arrive.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3vmq0kg0eb2ts ... 4.jpg?dl=0

10 gallon
Has more of the same branches but bigger tied with more jute. They really like the branches. Cut grooves on underside of long 1 to help the crabs persistently wanting to climb upside down. Found log hide. The shy crabs dash to the log. Made my own coconut hide which is 2nd favorite hide. They also dig and hide by concave parts of both branches sometimes. Have hermit crab salt solution. Have both salt and fresh water. Sponge for fun. I keep finding it in the fresh water. Using tiny souffle dishes for water. Will switch back to traditional pet dishes on bigger tank. Coconut bark in corner. They like to play in it. Shells in left corner. Got variety pack of 10 turbos on amazon in 1/2 - 1in size. Made with jute and skewers a rope bridge. Haven't actually seen them use it in the 2 weeks it's been up. I've soaked all the furniture in pure none iodine sea salt water. Had slight molding but now it's stopped. Temp and humidity gauge I check daily. At first not enough objects to hold humidity. Made from work a piece of corrugated plastic to cover 2/3 of mesh lid. That and adding more moisture holding furniture upped my humidity to the recommended level. Humidity ranges from 65-80%. Its summer and temp reads 70-80. We don't lower AC below 80. Want crabs warm enough. Sand side is about 2 inches deep. They rarely bury deep in it. Not sure if they like the depth of the coconut fiber or the qualities of it better or just that there are more places to hide in it. The coconut fiber shallow is about 4 inches and the deep side about 6 inches. Deeper is helping to retain moisture so it does not dry out very fast. Maybe need to rehydrate the tank every 4-6 weeks.

The only possible issue is I now have 5 crabs and I'm well aware and don't even start with me that 10 gallon is too small for 5 crabs. I bought a 20 gallon on a 1$ gallon sale. Have a blue print already drawn out and too scale. I have most of the items planed. Just waiting for a few items to arrive in the mail. Probably get another pack of 10 shells once I see how it all actually fits in the tank. I plan a similar ratio of about 80% coconut fiber and 20% sand. The sand will be 1-2 inches deeper taking it to about 3-4 inches. The coconut fiber I may make slightly deeper by 1-2 inches taking the deep side to about 6-8 and low to about 4-6 inches.

Food. I give them a snail shell they munch on. Used to do cooked egg shells for calcium but figure snail shell is better. I change food weekly but still check daily. I avoid food that molds quickly. All food broken into no bigger than size of 1/2 a bean. I give them a few smashed pellets, broken dehydrated banana (I see them carry it away for later), unsweetened coconut shavings (also carried away. Their favorite), dehydrated craisins, dehydrated date, unsalted dry soy nut. Food doesn't mold. I don't give them seasoned food. Not sure if for 5 crabs I will need a second food dish? Can they share?

I will offer my fresh produce after I've researched it. Such as cilantro, carrot, unseasoned cooked chicken, day dry tomato, bell pepper. Planning to get dehydrated protein for them like cricket, meal warm, tiny shrimp, tiny silver fish.

As soon as I added the shells 2 switched. Still see those 2 temporarily switch to others. My first (Pincher) was in a D opening and it was probably too small. Moved up probably 2 sizes. He has never switched back to his tiny D shell just between 2 turbos. Ate most of a snail shell and gorged. Then as you can guess disappeared for almost 3 weeks to molt. Came back up bigger and hungry with light colored body. Haven't seen the others change shells. Molted in the 4in coconut fiber. Seemed plenty deep enough for that size for now.

I'm glad I've created at least a good enough crabitat for Pincher to molt. Food, both waters, shelter, secure, temp, humidity, hides, deep enough substrate, friends
Craber since (december 2019)
5 pps, 1 successful molt 🥳
20 gallon long

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CombatMist
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Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:53 pm
Location: Utah

Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CombatMist » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:45 pm

Sad,
I was very excited to show off my crabitat and get community feedback
Craber since (december 2019)
5 pps, 1 successful molt 🥳
20 gallon long

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:55 pm

CombatMist wrote:Sad,
I was very excited to show off my crabitat and get community feedback
Hi!

I'm sorry, I never even saw your post. When I get home later I'll do a good read and give some feedback.
You can always bump your post to the top of the feed by adding another post to your original. Your second post is how I saw the first.

Welcome to crabbing!! Image

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 4 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:25 pm

Hi again!

I went through your post and came up with a few suggestions for you.
If you download the Tapatalk app, it makes it super easy to attach and post pics.

The critter keep is cute! I would suggest using plastic lids/dishes for food instead of metal. Metal can rust and be harmful to crabbies. Also, you can keep a sponge in the tank for them to munch on dry, but leaving it in the water will habor bacteria.

I like your 10 gal! Glad you have a 20 gal in the works. That will def provide more ground space and climbing room.

I would also get rid of the metal lids in this tank too. I keep 2 food dishes for my 7 crabbies so they can spread out a bit to eat.

You may want to get a digital therm/hygrometer gauge instead of the analog one you have. They tend to be more accurate.

Your water pools should also be deep enough for them to submerge, but have an easy way out. The salt you use for the salt dish should be a marine salt, like Instant Ocean. It has all of the minerals crabbies need. You can mix it with dechlorinated tap water. Prime is a great dechlorinator, and it detoxifies heavy metals too.

I would def order more shells when you get the chance. The HCA recommends 3-5 shells per crab, so you would need 15 minimum.

Humidity should never fall below 70%. Ideal is 80%+. You can cover the entire lid if you need to. There will be enough air exchange when you change their food and water every couple days. The ideal temps are 75-85°F.

Substrate should be at least 6" deep everywhere, or 3x the height of your biggest crabby, whichever is deeper. It needs to be mositened to sand castle consistency. You can create a higher/lower side as long as both sides are at least 6" deep.

Protein should be offered at all times. Mealworms, freeze dried crickets/grasshoppers/shrimp, are good options. Variety is key. That's good you have the snail shells available for calcium. You could also add a piece of cuttlebone and/or calcium powder in a dish for different options.

I hope this helped some. Feel free to ask any questions!


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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 4 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by Hermiesguardian » Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:44 pm

Welcome!
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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GotButterflies
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Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by GotButterflies » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:07 pm

Hello! Welcome to the HCA! :) Welcome to the wonderful addicting world of crabbing!!! :)

It looks as though you have put a lot of thought into your crabbies housing :)

These are the suggestions that I recommend:

Substrate should be 6 inches or 3 times the height of your largest crab (whichever is deeper). Substrate should be mixed with dechlorinated marine saltwater or dechlorinated freshwater to make the substrate sandcastle consistency. I personally mix mine with dechlorinated marine saltwater.

IMO it would be better if you could get your heat up to at least 80. Most of us use ultratherms to keep our tanks warm. We use them to heat the air of our tanks. We place them on the backs and or sides of our tanks. They are great heaters. www.reptilebasics.com or www.beanfarm.com sells them.

Hermit crabs have modified gills, and need humidity to breathe. I cannot see what kind of lid you have on your tank. If you have a glass lid - awesome! They help keep humidity and heat in. They also keep hermit crabs in! They are escape artists! With mesh lids you can cover them in Press-N-Seal, or cut open gallon sized Ziploc bags and tape them to the outside with packaging tape to help keep the humidity in the tank.

Humidity boosters: Bubblers definitely do help boost the humidity. Double dish bubblers: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... r#p1030806

You can also add moss pits to help. You would use organic moss (as well as moss that is on the safe list), and moisten it with dechlorinated fresh water. Then, put the moss in a shower caddy or a glass vase laying on it's side so the hermits can walk in and out of it.

Unfortunately most products marketed for hermit crabs are not safe. A lot of us use a product called Instant Ocean which is what aquarium hobbyists use to make saltwater aquariums. It has the essential trace elements that hermit crabs need. :) You need a dechlorinator that removes chlorine, and chloramine as well as neutralizes ammonia and heavy metals. A lot of us use a product called Prime. As far as salt, you need marine salt, to mimic the ocean. You have to use the dechlorinator for both freshwater and marine saltwater. Both pools should be deep enough for them to fully submerge in and safe enough for them to get out of.

Hermit crabs can eat a lot of the same things that we eat. Just check to make sure the item is on the safe list. Foods should be organic when possible. Hermit crabs are sensitive to pesticides and fertilizers.
You also want to provide one or more calcium sources at all times. Examples would be Cuttlebone, Organic Eggshell, Oyster Shell, Lobster Exo, Shrimp Exo.
Make sure you cover all aspects of food pyramid :)
Safe food list: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 25&t=92557
Unsafe food list: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 25&t=92556
Food pyramid: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 25&t=92554

The HCA recommends 3-5 shells per hermit crab. I personally recommend more. It never hurts to have more :) There are incorrect shells to buy. Here is the shell guide: http://hermitcrabassociation.com/phpBB/ ... 24&t=92552
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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CombatMist
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Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CombatMist » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:07 pm

Thanks for replies.

The metal food lid I'm using is from a salsa jar. I figure if it can survive the corrosion of salsa acid and is a food jar should be fine. Haven't seen any corrosion on them yet.

Looked up metal screw lids. Most are aluminum or steel with tin plate to resist corrosion. Aluminum doesnt rust and has been used for canned foods for over a century and is fairly safe. I will check I'd my lid is iron with a magnet. If its iron I will remove it just to be safe. I dont think the crabs can overcome the hardness of the metal to pull off a piece and eat it. Inside for sure is food safe. Outside less sure about.

I'm more worried they would eat a plastic Tupperware. Though I've seen them used.

I plan for my 20 gallon to go back to the traditional pet shop rock looking food and water dishes. They can fully submerge and ramped and they wont tip it. Just wish they wernt so large of a footprint using up valuable floor space.

The souffle cups are big enough. They are deep enough but possibly to deep for any to want to jump in. I've yet to see any get in it. Only sit on side and drink. Perhaps I will try a Tupperware with a ramp.

I tried small metal tinsel. They tipped 1 over and I saw it was starting to rust on inside. I removed after seeing rust.
Craber since (december 2019)
5 pps, 1 successful molt 🥳
20 gallon long

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CombatMist
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Location: Utah

Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CombatMist » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:22 pm

Ya I may need 2 food stations so they can share. The metal lid was for food only so it's not submerged and no rust yet.

I plan on getting a dry protein source soon. They seem to like the land snail shells I put in. Some had dead snail in it and after a boil put in. They are the snail right away. I'm considering a more permanent calcium source as cuddle bone, sand doller, star fish, corral and protein with exoskeletons.

Thanks for water and salt info
I'm using the salt water conditioner treatment squirt bottle that came with the hermit crab kit. I make sure any item it put in the tank is clean, lightly boiled, and if it can absorb water I soak in pure sea salt that had no other ingredients and no iodine. I haven't researched the exact aspects of the hermit crab salt water conditioner. I have seen recommendations for instant ocean lots. Read about declorenating water. Many ways to remove chlorine from water. Read on an aquarium info forum. I'm using tap water in a pint sized Tupperware. Set it outside in the sun for about 12 hours and call it good and keep in a thoroughly cleaned out water jug for crab water only. From my research the chlorine can escape from non moving water with large surface area in a few hours per gallon. As my Tupperware is only 500 ml 12 hours is over kill. Chloramine lasts like 10x longer and if we had it in our water I'd just buy purified water. We dont have chloramine in the water here. My wife works in water pretreatment and assured me our water doesnt have it and that tap water doesnt normally have it. She and research says chloramine is most often used in bodies of water like pools to keep the chlorine levels stable for long periods of time.
Craber since (december 2019)
5 pps, 1 successful molt 🥳
20 gallon long

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CombatMist
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Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:53 pm
Location: Utah

Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CombatMist » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:27 pm

I currently have 11 extra shells and 8 are in the tank. I read several shell guides. Including the best ever from this forum. Read about types and sizes and shapes for days.

1 I removed was with the kit. It's a D shape and covered in spines. No body, not a single crab I can tell wants it. It's considered a far from ideal type. For a while it was all I had. Then I got a 10 pack of various turbos. It was like Christmas! They were so excited to check out all the shells. My 2 new crabs haven't switched. I plan on getting an other 10 variety of type and size pack. Need more of the 3/4-1 inch size. The pack had 2 of each size.
Craber since (december 2019)
5 pps, 1 successful molt 🥳
20 gallon long

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CombatMist
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Location: Utah

Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CombatMist » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:39 pm

It's been near impossible to get a spray bottle for months! Finally found 1 at dolley tree last week. Been spraying about 10 times in the morning all around. I cover the food dish so it doesnt get soggy and mold. Humidity has been up maybe 2-5%. Seems to help some. About every 4-6 weeks when I see substrate starting to dry I will rehydrate it 1 handful at a time. I've been using my home brewed dechlorinated water. Put in water, squeeze out water and put back in but not packing it in. Humidity is being more stable. It does vary some but so does humidity in nature.

My temp ranges some. Temp maybe 85-90 before we turn ac on. We set ac to cool only to 79 to keep crabs warm and only from 12-6pm. When I say 79 the tank takes hours to cool down to that. Guess more accurate temp range is 75-85. Their temp currently may fall to low 70s at night when the house drops to that and have windows open. The moving air definently pulls humidity out of crabitat I've seen. I'm working on improving temp and humidity and making gradual improvement.

My lid is a wire mesh. I had humidity problems and covered 3/4 of it with corrugated plastic. It keeps humidity better and I like to think the corrugated aspect helps insulate.

Is it safe to cover the entire top? Dont want to suffocate my shell babies? My next tank I got another piece of plastic sheet. I plan to dripl holes in it. Not sure how spread apart the holes should be.

I'm using mostly coconut fiber. Holds moisture well. I bought more substrate so the lowest part of new tank should be at least 4 inches and highest maybe 8. Eco earthy here was very hard to find past few months.

I plan on 2 hydrometer/temp gauges. 1 for each side of tank. Dont have a heater yet. Heaters seem a debate over. Planning in next few months to get under tank heater put on side as many.
Craber since (december 2019)
5 pps, 1 successful molt 🥳
20 gallon long

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:56 pm

Hi there!

It's totally up to you, but I would still use something like Prime in your water. As far as I know, heavy metals, nitrites, and nitrates won't evaporate from the water. Something like Prime will help neutralize/detoxify all of these. I have well water (so no chlorine), but I still use Prime when I mix up my gallons. You don't have to, but just a suggestion.
I use the plastic ziplock containers with craft mesh attached for their water pools, and have never had a crabby pull it apart. I double them up, so if there is a digger underneath, I won't disturb them when I take out the top container to change water. I used to use dishes made for reptiles, but they got to be so heavy and awkward that I switched once I found the HCA recommendations.
From what I've read on here, the Zoomed conditioner doesn't use marine salt. So it won't hurt the crabs, but it doesn't give them the minerals they need like marine salt does. I used salt marketed toward hermits crabs for a long time until I realized they weren't benefiting from it.



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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 4 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:00 pm

PS- Yep, it's totally ok to cover the entire top of the tank. I have glass lids on my 55 gal and my 20 gal iso. They will get air exchange when you open the lid every day or two to do tank maintenance/food and water change.

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 4 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw

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CombatMist
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Location: Utah

Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CombatMist » Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:23 am

For the full cover lid. I'm planning a water proof plastic lid.

Should I drill holes in the lid at all? I measured and cut it to exact size. I figure if I put a few holes in and leave for 3 days they wont die
Craber since (december 2019)
5 pps, 1 successful molt 🥳
20 gallon long

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CrabbyLover77
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Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:02 am

CombatMist wrote:For the full cover lid. I'm planning a water proof plastic lid.

Should I drill holes in the lid at all? I measured and cut it to exact size. I figure if I put a few holes in and leave for 3 days they wont die
You can def drill holes if you want. That's totally up to you. If the humidity ever drops, you can always cover the holes up.

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 4 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw

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CombatMist
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Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:53 pm
Location: Utah

Re: New Crabber, review my Crabitat

Post by CombatMist » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:55 am

Ok great idea thanks.

At least 1 that has no holes.

At least 1 with starting out just a few holes evenly spaced.

Maybe every 12 inches with 1/4 inch bit for 4 holes. If I need more I'll space to 6 inches for 8 holes. That should up my humidity.
Craber since (december 2019)
5 pps, 1 successful molt 🥳
20 gallon long

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