Is Sam molting or sick?

Where to post and/or get advice about your molting hermit crab(s). Includes pre-molting, molting, and post-molting issues.

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Is Sam molting or sick?

Post by Geranium » Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:11 pm

Thank you for filling out the form, it helps to assess what is going on. From what you have said here, I would venture to say that Sam is very stressed. It is vital that hermit crabs have proper heat and humidity in order to survive. Without 75-85% humidity they cannot breathe and their modified gills scar. While you might be warm enough, you just cant be sure without a gauge. The heat in my house has little relevance to the heat in my tanks. I would get a gauge immediately. I would also recommend that you cover the screen lid with Glad Press & Seal or Saran Wrap or similar to keep the humidity in. You will want to cover it almost completely. Also it is not advisable to have your hermit crab outside of the enclosure for any significant amount of time unless you are in a VERY humid location. Is doubt any part of AZ qualifies.The substrate needs to be deeper, minimum of 6 inches is recommended and sand castle consisitency is important for tunneling and molt pocket formation.Next the water needs to be declorinated, chlorine and heavy metals are really detrimental. Declorinator is not expensive. They also need aquarium grade salt water.I would also go hands off for at least a month. They get very stressed by handling especially when they are new.There is more but that is probably enough to start with. Welcome to the group, tons of good information available here, check the pinned topics especially on the zoea section.

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Is Sam molting or sick?

Post by Crabber85 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:01 am

I agree with everything Geranium has had to say she pretty much covered everything.I would like to go in depth on couple of things though, its a national statistic that around 80% of the homes in the US have an inside humidity level of a meager 50% and thats because most of us run an air conditioning unit to either keep our homes cool in the summer or warm in the winter and one of the main jobs of an HVAC unit is to strip moisture from the air as its being circulated around your house this is to reduce mold and fungus growth in the duct work, dry walls and furniture.Having said all that hermitcrabs come from climates where the humidity stays pretty constant due to evaporation from the nearby ocean, rain storms and general habitat location so the humidity never really gets lower than 75% even in the winter which means that they have grown less and less tolerant of lower humidity levels since they first came into being several thousand years ago.Its well known that keeping a hermitcrab out of ideal conditions for more than a few minutes starts to do significant damage to the soft lining of their modified gills and when they are exposed to less than ideal humidity levels on a regular basis the damage becomes more and more significant because they just are not built to handle regular exposure to what we can consider dry air.Hermitcrabs who are suffering from dried out cracked or scarred gills will be a lot less active they will constantly sit in one place because they are struggling to breath and when they can no longer tolerate the pain they will go to sitting in their salt water dish as the salt water is said to have a soothing effect on their injuries so they use it to help heal themselves unfortunately it won't do much more than ease the pain of scarred gills and within a couple of weeks of seeing this bathing behavior start most people will notice the crab blowing brown bubbles from its gills this is bile that it has forced back up and through the gills in an attempt to coat them and stop the pain this is typically the last stage the crab will blow bubbles and then pass within twenty four hours of doing so.We have done extensive research to see if there was a way to stop a crab from passing who has blown bubbles but sadly there has been nothing found that even remotely works.We initially though that using a dechlorinator with Aloe in it to make a medicinal bath would work but no, in every instance it merely prolonged the inevitable.Hermitcrabs will become highly active when they are stressed so its no surprise that the crab would move around as much as he does when he's being placed in his play area, he's not running around playing happily he's actually experiencing and serious amount of stress, a calm hermitcrab who is being kept comfortable will be active for the first few days after we bring them home then they will suddenly seem to stop this is actually what you want to see, during the day time the crab should be tucked away somewhere in his enclosure asleep as they are nocturnal not diurnal they need to sleep during the day and then they will be up during the night foraging and grabbing water.In the wild the night time is the coolest part of the 24hr cycle which makes moving around easier and its also safer for the crabs because the predators that like to eat them are up during the day and sleep at night.The white or ashy look to the exo can be caused by two things improper diet ie the food the crabs been getting doesn't contain enough pigment boosters like beta carotene and after a period of time the crabs color will become washed out and he will go ghost white, the other reason for an ashy color is an impending molt though that is not likely because the crab is unfortunately in an enclosure that is much to small" ten gallons is the absolute smallest size aquarium as anything smaller just doesn't offer the necessary space a hermitcrab needs to thrive and has not been receiving the proper care this no fault of your own as you likely got some really bad information from the staff at the location where you purchased this crab and this is a very common trend because the stores that sell these critters depend on a high mortality rate to keep you the customer coming back for replacements at an additional cost of course so they will lie and give you all the misinformation that they can in an effort to get you to kill the poor crabs as quickly as possible so you have to keep coming back this a bad business model which they see as good for business unfortunately so I don't think it will change any time soon.Bathing a hermitcrab is actually one of the worst things you can do to it because your choosing the kind of water the crab needs to fill his shell with which destroys the delicate isotopic balance that he has worked so very hard to achieve by flushing just the right amount of salt in to the shell water to bring it to just the right balance for his self which adds a lot of necessary stress to the crab because we are forcing him to have to go back through the tedious process of balancing his shell water again and again, and force bathing a crab strips him of the natural body oils that he works so very hard to create, these natural body oils help to keep him hydrated so when we strip them from his body were actually doing nothing more than drying him out which can quickly kill the poor crab because were forcing him to have to quickly replenish these oils so bathing him everyday much less at all is only serving to hurt him instead of help him.Unfortunately the lifespan of this particular crab has likely been reduced to six months to a year from what could have been 20+ yrs in captivity.Most crabs who have gill damage will try to molt to repair the issue though molting does serve to regenerate lost limbs it wont do anything for damaged eyes and gills so 9 times out of 10 the crab will burrow down and begin the molt process and pass as result of the gill damage.
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