New to the crab world

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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New to the crab world

Post by calumo2 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:33 pm


About 6 weeks ago my daughter "convinced" me to get her a hermie during a trip to the beach. Long story short, we ended up with 2 (Sebastian and Sheldon) and a lot to learn!! I am very sad to say that Sheldon passed away about a month after we got him, but we went out and got another one (Sheldon Jr.) to ensure Sebastian was not lonely since we were told when we originally got them that they do better when there's more than 1. Sebastian is getting huge but after the whole Sheldon Sr. Incident, I'm completely paranoid about keeping the other 2 safe and alive.

We have a 5.5 gallon tank, and based on the advice of a teacher my daughter had for a Hermit Crab class she took, we created a mixture of sand and coconut substrate for them to burrow (it's about 5 inches deep). Humidity in the tank right now is about 90% (is that too high?) And temp is about 73 degrees (no heater yet - is that too low?). We have been feeding them the food we purchased at the beach shop, every other day we give them a piece of fruit, and they have a shallow bowl of fresh water (I'll be putting in a salt water bowl tomorrow) and a sponge. What else should we be doing? How wet should the actual substrate be?

Tonight Sebastian (the big one) completely disappeared under ground. This is the first time he's done that so I'm assuming he's getting ready to molt. Could he suffocate? My fear is that the sand might not be wet enough. I thought about trying to dig him out but everything I've read states that could kill him. Should I just let him be?

Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide 😊

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Re: New to the crab world

Post by CrabbyLover77 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:29 am

Hi, and welcome to crabbing!

Here is the link to the basic care guide to get you started:

5 gal tanks are ok for isolation tanks. However, their permanent enclosure should be a minimum of 10 gals.

Is the sand/cocofiber moistened to sand castle constancy with dechlorinated fresh or salt water? Substrate should be at least 6" deep, or 3x the height of your biggest crabby, whichever is deeper.

Higher humidity isn't an issue for the crabs. It may cause more mold growth though. My tank is usually at 99% all of the time. I just sift or pick out any mold puffs that pop up.

For Purple Pinchers, shoot for 75-85°F. For exotics, shoot for 80-85°F. If you decide to purchase an uth, mount it on the back or sides of the tank above the substrate line. Ultratherm is the brand most recommended on here.

Many foods marketed for hermies aren't that great for them. It's important they have a constant source of protein and calcium. Hermies can eat many of the things we eat. Here is the HCA safe food list:

For water dishes, they should be deep enough for the crabs to submerge in, but have a way to climb out. Water should be dechlorinated (Prime is great for that, it detoxifies heavy metals too), and a marine salt used for the salt water pool (Instant Ocean is a good choice). You don't need the sponges. They will only harbor bacteria when wet. You can leave them dry in the tank for the crabbies to munch on though. Here is the guide for water:

If Sebastian has dug under, you should leave him be. You should only dig for crabs in an emergency, like a bacterial bloom or flood. If your humidity is 90%, I would guess your substrate is moist enough. Just be careful if you are misting the tank, as too much misting can cause flooding.

I hope this helps! Image

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My Pets: 1 Pomeranian, 1 Russian tortoise, fishes/snails(40 gal freshwater aquarium), and 11 hermit crabs.
"Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends".
-George Bernard Shaw

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Re: New to the crab world

Post by GotButterflies » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:23 pm

Hello! Welcome to the HCA and the addicting world of crabbing!

Please check out our care guides! If you have any questions, we are here for you!
Truly blessed to have incredible creatures, wonderful friends and my amazing family in my life!! I'm very thankful & grateful for all of them!

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