Anna15 wrote: ↑
Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:48 pm
Thank you all for your kind input, this webpage has been a very helpful resource for me!
An update. I did get another crab, who has gone through two molts already this year and very active. I've kept them in separate tanks next to each other; my large crab Billy is in a 40 gallon long and my new small crab is in a separate 10 gallon. They are very curious about one another and I find them often staring at each other or trying to reach through the glass. I have tried twice to put them together, but not for long and both times they seemed aggressive and I was so worried. I read on the hermit crab patch webpage that this behavior is an "antennae war" to establish a hierarchy and will eventually stop, but can still be upsetting to witness. I'm curious what all of your input is on this matter; have you seen this behavior in your crabs? Are there any other aggressive behavior signs to look for? Should I still keep trying to acclimate them, if so any additional tips as to how I should go about it?
If I can't get them to co-exist, I will probably put my smaller crab up for adoption so he can find a home to live with other crabs more his size.
I have a photo or two I'd like to share but I can't seem to figure out how.
Thank you all once again.
Honestly, I think it would be better if they were separate. In my experience, my crabs tended to grow and live much longer (thrive better) if kept separately, in my many years of keeping land hermit crabs.
I would agree with the statements posted by wodesorel, Joehermits, curlysister, and p2gg86 above. I personally think we should actually approach land hermits in the same manner as hamsters, tarantulas, and some species of turtles and tortoises and that one per enclosure might be the best for a land hermit crab for the average keeper. Sounds like blasphemy, but after years of losses of hermit crab lives, I gave up on keeping more than one per tank and I currently I've found it better to keep them solo: no shell fights, no streaking, no molt shrinkage, no dug up molters.
Sadly when I kept crabs in groups in the past, regardless the tank size (from 10 to 55+ gal.) it ended up being a terrible game of "last crab standing" I'm afraid. I also tried the many techniques presented by this forum and others' to make them less aggressive to each other, but successes are generally short-lived. Back then I underestimated the risk of death even by caused by a small hermit apparently attacking a larger molting hermit even in a 55+ gal. aquarium even if there is seemingly lots of space and seemingly deep substrate (then again, I can only assume they can dig very deep chambers in the wild, perhaps over a meter deep?) in addition to daily food provided as well as dozens of empty shells.
Roughly about 9 years ago, I adopted out my remaining two brevimanus (survivors of my last group of brevis and clypeatus) to a member of this forum because I thought I had to (a personal issue). However months later, when said issue apparently was resolved, I just felt like I needed to get back into crabbing, so to ease myself back into crabbing, I bought a small one (C. clypeatus) back in Nov. 10, 2011...but just one since I didn't feel like committing myself with a group again. I had been aware of numerous crabbers who posted stories of their lonesome crab living for years, and I would often reply to their posts, "get them more companions if you can!"
This time, however, I would just keep one in a tank, to see maybe, just maybe, if it really is possibly better to keep a crab solo for the crab's own well being.
If there was an issue arising from that crab being lonely, I got a second crab in a separate tank, just in case, months later, to "socialize" with, but only just in case.
So when I tried to introduce them to each other, they displayed the behavior you described, and then some, like flicking and shell shaking (ie. one crab would grasp the other crab's shell with the two claws and shake it back and forth).
Eventually I stopped the supervised visitation of one crab to the other's tank and since 2012, they are apparently thriving well in solo tanks.
In my opinion, if my own current two 8+-year-old hermits, whom I've kept separately since I first got them, are suffering from depression from loneliness, they sure have a WEIRD way of showing it (ex. growing bigger and stronger compared to any of the group hermit crabs I kept in the past - see my signature for pics).