1,020gl Crabitat *New Crabitat Update

For presenting do-it-yourself projects for your crabitat and for discussing and displaying custom built crabitats. Also for questions and reviews on equipment and products. *Stores and their reviews now have their own section in Classifieds*
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-*New Pics pg7*

Post by crabzlove » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:05 pm

Ok AWESOME!
I have been crabbing for 4 years. I currently own 3 PPs ; Batman, Robin, Krystal

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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by kip.rogers357 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:41 pm

Hello everyone! I apologize for not keeping you all updated, it's marching band season so I've been busy with all of that. Luckily all of the crabs are doing great! :-D I'm just upset because I finally got my own house (no more rent! i finally own!) and I'm going to have to disassemble and move, then reassemble the ginormous crabitat :x
Now yes i've done it before, twice, but man it is quite an exhausting process! The good thing is that I get to add the background to the sides of the tank, rather than the plain black walls. I'll also be able to cover the substrate bins and shells shops in expandable foam (like the background and side walls) so that they blend in better. I'm also working on some feeding platforms and water dish platforms that will also be covered in expandable foam that will be on the side walls.
I took the old shell shop from the 217gl
Image

And used it for my water dish platforms, with a moss pit in the middle.
Image

Image

Image

Image

Now I want some feedback or some ideas from you all;
I want to add a sort of shelf/ledge type thing all the way around the tank (side wall, back wall, and side wall) that will hold a minimum of 8" of substrate, and is about 12" wide so that there's additional digging/molting room aside from the 4 substrate bins I already have, and the 3 substrate bins that i'll be adding. Do you guys think something like this will work? Is it even possible?
I was thinking of just making it out of wood, sealing it, and doing the same treatment with the expandable foam.

I also want some help from fish keepers. I want add some deep cycled pools, both fresh and salt. I've been doing some reading and boy is that a lot of information to process. My days are pretty busy so would you recommend I do it, or keep the pools I have now and stick with daily water changes?

Thank you all for being here throughout this whole process! :-D
Last edited by kip.rogers357 on Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by ErikRasmussen » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:40 pm

I think that substrate idea is a great one! Architecturally I dont know how it would work because i am not great with that kind of stuff but i assume it could happen and it would just add surface area wouldnt it? More room to climb on? Sounds like a brilliant idea!

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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by aussieJJDude » Sat Oct 11, 2014 7:25 pm

For the substrate idea you're looking into some serious weight, this means a lot of supports! :) It could work like you suggested, but adding some columns every 4 - 6 inches could do it - maybe made out of PVC?

For the pools, one thing I gotta ask is: Have you ever kept fish before, especially a SW nano/pico tank? Have you also had experience in FW pico tanks? If the answer is no, then I suggest holding off the fishes & most invertebrates for a while. To keep even a SW/FW pico tank stable you need to be familiar with fish, in the crabitat it will be no difference.
For now, I would just add filters to the pools. Personally, I think the air driven filters aren't worth it; you better off with a bit more flow from a power filter. (That way, if it gets a bit messy in there, most of the debris will be caught up in the filter = less chances of the pool crashing). You may also want to add some aquatic plants or live rock to add to the pools with filters; which would be a good idea so it can help the initial cycle process.
Once you feel comfortable with that, then I would move onto some hardy invertebrates for both pools - like snails - and see how that goes. After that, it may be work adding fish depending on the size, personally anything under 5 - 7g will not support most fish.

It may also be worth checking out Musecrazy setup where I do explain in a bit more detail & give a few handy tips: Click here

I hoped I helped a bit, aussie. :)
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by kip.rogers357 » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:25 pm

ErikRasmussen wrote:I think that substrate idea is a great one! Architecturally I dont know how it would work because i am not great with that kind of stuff but i assume it could happen and it would just add surface area wouldnt it? More room to climb on? Sounds like a brilliant idea!
Yes, more surface area, more digging/molting room (though everyone wants to molt in the moss pits), and more room to climb.
Thank you! I was afraid y'all would think it was a dumb idea!

aussieJJDude wrote:For the substrate idea you're looking into some serious weight, this means a lot of supports! :) It could work like you suggested, but adding some columns every 4 - 6 inches could do it - maybe made out of PVC?


Yes, the weight is what I was afraid of. I thought about doing just PVC pipe supports but then I remembered that I can screw it straight into the frame of the tat, so then it may only need the PVC pipes for "added support" and it'll double as access to the actual ledge.
I just hope it's going to work the way I picture it. I tend to overthink things and fail miserably :?
aussieJJDude wrote:For the pools, one thing I gotta ask is: Have you ever kept fish before, especially a SW nano/pico tank? Have you also had experience in FW pico tanks? If the answer is no, then I suggest holding off the fishes & most invertebrates for a while. To keep even a SW/FW pico tank stable you need to be familiar with fish, in the crabitat it will be no difference.
For now, I would just add filters to the pools. Personally, I think the air driven filters aren't worth it; you better off with a bit more flow from a power filter. (That way, if it gets a bit messy in there, most of the debris will be caught up in the filter = less chances of the pool crashing). You may also want to add some aquatic plants or live rock to add to the pools with filters; which would be a good idea so it can help the initial cycle process.
Once you feel comfortable with that, then I would move onto some hardy invertebrates for both pools - like snails - and see how that goes. After that, it may be work adding fish depending on the size, personally anything under 5 - 7g will not support most fish.

It may also be worth checking out Musecrazy setup where I do explain in a bit more detail & give a few handy tips: Click here

I hoped I helped a bit, aussie. :)
Maybe I should've been more specific. I don't actually want fish or any other animal in the pools, I just wanted information on the cycling and all of that. Because from my understanding, a 10gl pool with no filter will still require daily full water changes, but a 10gl with a filter and some plants and/or live sand/rock won't need full changes but rather a partial change since it'll be cycled...right? Or am I once again putting too much thought into this?
What I really want to know is if it'll be easier, better, beneficial to go for filtered cycled pools or just plain pools with airstones like I have. I don't have any issues with my current pools, just looking for options. I love seeing all of these huge pools and crabs swimming! My crabs do swim but they have limited space in their "big" pools. For the giant size of the crabitat, the pools are rather small.
I'll be sure to check out that thread, thanks aussie! :D
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by wodesorel » Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:51 pm

kip.rogers357 wrote: Because from my understanding, a 10gl pool with no filter will still require daily full water changes, but a 10gl with a filter and some plants and/or live sand/rock won't need full changes but rather a partial change since it'll be cycled...right? Or am I once again putting too much thought into this?
What I really want to know is if it'll be easier, better, beneficial to go for filtered cycled pools or just plain pools with airstones like I have. I don't have any issues with my current pools, just looking for options. I love seeing all of these huge pools and crabs swimming! My crabs do swim but they have limited space in their "big" pools. For the giant size of the crabitat, the pools are rather small.
I'll be sure to check out that thread, thanks aussie! :D
Correct! Don't overthink the cycling thing. If you stick filters on the pools and keep up with say 75%-90% daily water changes for about the first month or two you'll end up with a cycled tank without having to worry about water quality or testing. You can take a water sample into a Petsmart/Petco at any time and they can tell you if the tank is cycled yet.

Cycling just means that enough good bacteria has built up on the filter media to break down the waste in the water as it occurs. There are two waves of bacterial colonies that form, one after the other, and they do different things. The first is a bacteria that eats ammonia (pee, rotting poop, rotting organic matter), but that bacteria poops out nitrites which are still harmful to living animals. The good news is that another species of bacteria colonises the filter after the ammonia eating bacteria get up and running, and that species eats the nitrite and poops out nitrate which is by comparison harmless in small amounts and is also what plants use. It takes several weeks for all the bacteria to divide enough to be able to eat all the toxins that are present quickly enough so that the animals being kept in the water aren't affected. During that time the animals keep creating waste though, and that waste is extremely toxic for them to remain in. That's why daily water changes are needed - to keep the amount of waste and toxins low enough that the animals aren't harmed, but still keep enough in the tank so that there's enough food to cause massive population explosions in the bacteria. You can micromanage the process by testing the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate at least daily and change out water as needed, or you can sort of cross your fingers and do extremely large water changes daily so there's no risk and no need to think about it. I prefer a hybrid when starting a new tank from scratch - plan on daily changes and test every few days to make sure I'm taking enough.

Once the tank is cycled you only need to manage the nitrate levels. Invertebrates are often really sensitive to nitrates, so you may not be able to go quite as far between water changes as someone with a fish-only tank. Plants can remove a lot of the nitrates, but they often aren't enough to get them all. Having a testing kit for that would be a good idea, so you can check it anytime you want. Once or twice a week changes between 10% and 25% should do it. There are going to be other kinds of minerals building up in the pools over time as things are dragged into the pools, so removing water regularly and replacing it with fresh clean water helps keeps those things under control.

Live rock is another bag of crabbies. If you can buy aged live rock it'll come with the good bacteria and really jump start the process. Aging involves blasting the rock to remove as much organic material as possible and then they let it cycle for several weeks to months so anything that is going to die off does away from your tank. Because of the energy and time, most places sell the rock they get in as-is. It's wild collected, and it's full of microorganisms that don't make the transition into captivity and they die off. In droves. So, if you get the fresh stuff you have a rotting piece of rock in your new tank making everything worse instead!

Once a tank is filtered, the water will be clean for them on a constant basis. Unfiltered pools will build up ammonia and other toxins over time, and the longer the time between changes the more toxins will be present. It is healthier if you can swing a filtered pool, and it will also allow you to do less maintenance, and if you miss a day or two (or a week) there's no reason to panic. :)
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by gc78 » Sun Oct 12, 2014 3:24 pm

I apologize if this was asked, I looked through all the posts but didn't see it. But what did you put over the great stuff foam? I'm in the process of making a background so I have grout covering mine and it's cracking like crazy. I've already added 3 coats.


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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by mom23 » Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:38 pm

Follow Wode's advice for the pools. She helped me when I had built ins. I followed her advice and after about a month they cycled to where I could do partial water exchanges once a week. :)
It's a full house now! 8 straws, 7 pp, 5 indos, 5 ruggies, 3 violas, 4 fish, 1 dog, 3 kids, 1 husband and me!

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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by kip.rogers357 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:22 pm

wodesorel wrote: Correct! Don't overthink the cycling thing. If you stick filters on the pools and keep up with say 75%-90% daily water changes for about the first month or two you'll end up with a cycled tank without having to worry about water quality or testing. You can take a water sample into a Petsmart/Petco at any time and they can tell you if the tank is cycled yet.

Cycling just means that enough good bacteria has built up on the filter media to break down the waste in the water as it occurs. There are two waves of bacterial colonies that form, one after the other, and they do different things. The first is a bacteria that eats ammonia (pee, rotting poop, rotting organic matter), but that bacteria poops out nitrites which are still harmful to living animals. The good news is that another species of bacteria colonises the filter after the ammonia eating bacteria get up and running, and that species eats the nitrite and poops out nitrate which is by comparison harmless in small amounts and is also what plants use. It takes several weeks for all the bacteria to divide enough to be able to eat all the toxins that are present quickly enough so that the animals being kept in the water aren't affected. During that time the animals keep creating waste though, and that waste is extremely toxic for them to remain in. That's why daily water changes are needed - to keep the amount of waste and toxins low enough that the animals aren't harmed, but still keep enough in the tank so that there's enough food to cause massive population explosions in the bacteria. You can micromanage the process by testing the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate at least daily and change out water as needed, or you can sort of cross your fingers and do extremely large water changes daily so there's no risk and no need to think about it. I prefer a hybrid when starting a new tank from scratch - plan on daily changes and test every few days to make sure I'm taking enough.

Once the tank is cycled you only need to manage the nitrate levels. Invertebrates are often really sensitive to nitrates, so you may not be able to go quite as far between water changes as someone with a fish-only tank. Plants can remove a lot of the nitrates, but they often aren't enough to get them all. Having a testing kit for that would be a good idea, so you can check it anytime you want. Once or twice a week changes between 10% and 25% should do it. There are going to be other kinds of minerals building up in the pools over time as things are dragged into the pools, so removing water regularly and replacing it with fresh clean water helps keeps those things under control.

Live rock is another bag of crabbies. If you can buy aged live rock it'll come with the good bacteria and really jump start the process. Aging involves blasting the rock to remove as much organic material as possible and then they let it cycle for several weeks to months so anything that is going to die off does away from your tank. Because of the energy and time, most places sell the rock they get in as-is. It's wild collected, and it's full of microorganisms that don't make the transition into captivity and they die off. In droves. So, if you get the fresh stuff you have a rotting piece of rock in your new tank making everything worse instead!

Once a tank is filtered, the water will be clean for them on a constant basis. Unfiltered pools will build up ammonia and other toxins over time, and the longer the time between changes the more toxins will be present. It is healthier if you can swing a filtered pool, and it will also allow you to do less maintenance, and if you miss a day or two (or a week) there's no reason to panic. :)
Thank you so so so very much wode! :D Great information! I'll be sure to follow your advice!

gc78 wrote:I apologize if this was asked, I looked through all the posts but didn't see it. But what did you put over the great stuff foam? I'm in the process of making a background so I have grout covering mine and it's cracking like crazy. I've already added 3 coats.
I painted the foam using acrylic paint and then sealed it with silicone. I tried using cement to cover my foam background in the 217gl but it just wasn't working out.

mom23 wrote:Follow Wode's advice for the pools. She helped me when I had built ins. I followed her advice and after about a month they cycled to where I could do partial water exchanges once a week. :)
Great, thanks i'll be sure to follow her advice!


So after speaking with my uncle, who's going to be helping with the move to the new permanent place, and we decided that we'd have to add structural support to the floor underneath the mobile home. Due to there being over 1,000lbs of sand in the ginormous crabitat, i'd hate to have it fall through the floor. Then we figured out that we won't be able to get the substrate basin into the room because of the narrow hallway, and putting it in through the window is not an option. So we put on our thinking caps and decided we'd go with a "G" storage shed like this one! that my dad currently has and isn't using, but he still owes $1,50o on it, so we figured we'd instead spend $800 and build a storage shed type of building to keep the crab tank in. The crab shed would be in the backyard just feet from the back door.
But then it got me thinking, if i'm going to spend the money building a separate room for their tank to fit, then why not build them just a crab room? Like a plain room with sand on the floors and them being loose in the room...? I think I may have officially lost my mind. Sure we've all thought about it and joked about it, but I'm totally serious.
My uncle actually just finished adding a giant extension to his mobile home, a living & dinning room, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a laundry room. He did a great job on it an managed to talk me into letting him build the crab room, which will be an extension from one of the bedrooms.
So, here's the plan!
We were originally going to build the crab shed at 8'x10'x6 to have room for the ginormous crabitat which measures 7'x3'x6.5', we decided to keep it that size and just move it from the backyard to the side of a bedroom and use the existing opening of a window to put in a doorway from the bedroom to the crab room. Give or take, it'll be about 3,590 gallons, which I think is a perfect sized "island" for my 94 crabs.
Image
The crab room itself will sit on the ground, rather than 24" off the ground like the mobile home. We'll be building the base (or substrate basin) out of cinder block at the height 24", then the walls and ceiling will be wooden 2x4's and drywall. There will be a direct pathway from the entrance (window) of the room all the way across to the opposite wall which will have windows. Then we'll add heat lamps and a misting system.
I'm hoping it'll work out as planned, we're still working out some plans and considering the size, I told him we didn't have to go so big, we could just do 6'x6' or 4'x4' but then he says, it'd be better to go big now than to build small and later decide to upgrade or add on, and I think he's right. What do you guys think? Have I officially lost it? :crazy: :headshake: I'm pretty sure I have... I think I lost my mind whe I built the 1,020gl!
Last edited by kip.rogers357 on Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by fraksocks » Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:33 pm

By putting the crab room in a seperate "building" that sits on the ground and doesn't have its own heating my first concern would be adequate insulation to ensure that the substrate and ambient temps stay in the appropriate ranges.

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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by kip.rogers357 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:41 pm

It will be properly insulated, that's one of the many things we've already looked for to come up with an estimate cost. Since naturally the sand is lower temp than above ground, i'm mainly concerned about getting it insulated and keeping it at an appropriate temperature range. My only concern is a power outage during a snow storm or something, which doesn't happen in this area because it rarely snows, but you can never be too sure.
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by sofiaee » Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:19 pm

I'm so excited to see how it turns out!

My suggestion would be to add pathways around the perimeter as well, that might be handy. Would you be comfortable walking on the sand they might be digging under? I imagine you may need to at some point?
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by kip.rogers357 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:23 pm

I'm thinking about just making some stepping stones and placing them throughout the tat, the only thing is that they'd have to be 24" so that they touch the ground. I'm afraid of stepping on crabs, I mean I know in the wild the dig in beaches and people walk on 'em but I don't want to risk anything.
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by wodesorel » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:31 pm

How will you keep the drywall and wood from molding? It's probably something that no one ever has to worry about out there, but in high humidity most building materials will mold over. It's the paper and glue in drywall that causes the problems and acts as a food source for the mold. With the crabs need 70%+ humidity, you're looking at greenhouse or shower room conditions - much wetter than any household bathroom.
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Re: 1,020gl Crabitat-Help! Pg 8

Post by kip.rogers357 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:40 pm

wodesorel wrote:How will you keep the drywall and wood from molding? It's probably something that no one ever has to worry about out there, but in high humidity most building materials will mold over. It's the paper and glue in drywall that causes the problems and acts as a food source for the mold. With the crabs need 70%+ humidity, you're looking at greenhouse or shower room conditions - much wetter than any household bathroom.
Yeah, that's one thing my uncle mentioned, he said we may be able to do the walls out of tile, as if it were a giant shower stall. Unless we seal everything like with the 217gl or the 1,020gl.
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