New to Crabs, aren't moving!

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Topic author
teachincrabbie
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:46 pm

New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by teachincrabbie » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:02 pm

I'm a teacher, who just got hermit crabs for my classroom (8th grade). They aren't moving very much. They were moving last night. If I pick them up they move but they haven't moved all day. It gets cold in my classroom overnight (temperature overnight was 60 degrees). So last night, they were cold so I'm worried I messed up big time! During the day it is usually around 75 and humidity is pretty stable at around 80.

I bought a 2nd UTH to use overnight and it's on its way. I also order a partial glass lid.

Did I mess up? Will they die? I also don't think they ate overnight (they had spinach and hermit crab pellets)

INFO!
1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
Coconut fiber substrate mixed with sand (Vita-sand). It is about 5 inches deep.

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?
We have both. Temperature during day is around 75 and humidity around 80. Overnight it dipped to 60, when I walked in humidity was just below 80.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
UTH on upper left side of the back of the tank. Getting a second one to put on side.

4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)?
Fresh (with conditioner) and salt water (salt hydration bottle from petco)

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
They had spinach and hermit crab pellets. Daily.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
1 day.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
I don't know.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
10 gallon tank with a screen lid for now. Partial glass one is on the way (will cover 80% of the top)

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
2, one big guy and another middle one

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
4 but I know we need more.

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
No

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
Just got it and set it up yesterday.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Everything

15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?
Since they are in the classroom, I want to say that none of the kids have played or touched down. They are teenagers but I'm still a bit nervous. They only crowded the tank when the crabs got here at first and know not to crowd the tank.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
See above!

Thanks for any help with this situation or any advice.

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RiNiKy506
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Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:08 pm

New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by RiNiKy506 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:13 pm

Hello, you are an awesome teacher to get your students a cool pet! They may not be too active during the day, it all depends on the individual crab but most are active at night. They should be ok with the temperature dropping for a few nights until your other UTH comes but they will slow down because they do prefer higher temps. They will probably dig down to destress and possibly molt because they haven’t been able to do so in awhile being shipped to distributors and pet stores. It can take a few months for them to molt so don’t be worried and never dig up a buried crab(unless a bacterial bloom, flood, or something life threatening to your crabs). You seem like you did some research before getting them, your already off to a better start than some, I got my crabbies on vacation and had to change everything for mine. There are a lot of very nice people here that will be able to give you some great advice. Welcome to the HCA.

Edit to add: a glass lid covering the whole tank is preferred to keep in humidity, they will get enough air exchange from feeding and water changes.

Rod♡Salty♡Bob♡Squirt♡Crabina♡Who
»-♡-> Our Purple Pinchers <-♡-«


Topic author
teachincrabbie
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:46 pm

Re: New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by teachincrabbie » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:55 pm

RiNiKy506 wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:13 pm
Hello, you are an awesome teacher to get your students a cool pet! They may not be too active during the day, it all depends on the individual crab but most are active at night. They should be ok with the temperature dropping for a few nights until your other UTH comes but they will slow down because they do prefer higher temps. They will probably dig down to destress and possibly molt because they haven’t been able to do so in awhile being shipped to distributors and pet stores. It can take a few months for them to molt so don’t be worried and never dig up a buried crab(unless a bacterial bloom, flood, or something life threatening to your crabs). You seem like you did some research before getting them, your already off to a better start than some, I got my crabbies on vacation and had to change everything for mine. There are a lot of very nice people here that will be able to give you some great advice. Welcome to the HCA. Image

Edit to add: a glass lid covering the whole tank is preferred to keep in humidity, they will get enough air exchange from feeding and water changes.

Rod♡Salty♡Bob♡Squirt♡Crabina♡Who
»-♡-> Our Purple Pinchers <-♡-«
Thank you for your advice and support! I’m glad I didn’t totally screw up. I definitely think my little one is molting. He is in a little hiding spot and his shell is half buried. I will definitely cover the whole tank. I can’t wait for my heater. Thanks again!

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Hermiesguardian
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Re: New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by Hermiesguardian » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:41 pm

Hi! As RINIKY506 said you're off to a great start. In the meantime, while you wait for the glass lid, cover the mesh lid with saran wrap and tape it down. That will hold in the humidity. You can put a blanket over the tank at night to help keep it warm. Just don't let it cover the heater. Please check out the food pyramid and safe/unsafe food list. They need calcium and protein daily. In addition to everything else. Most things marketed for crabs isn't safe for them. Such as the pellets. Is your substrate sandcastle consistancy? How deep is the substrate? As for not eating, they eat such small amounts you may not notice. But they do like variety. Don't feed them the same thing for more than 2 days in a row if you can.
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


Topic author
teachincrabbie
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:46 pm

Re: New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by teachincrabbie » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:18 am

Hermiesguardian wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:41 pm
Hi! As RINIKY506 said you're off to a great start. In the meantime, while you wait for the glass lid, cover the mesh lid with saran wrap and tape it down. That will hold in the humidity. You can put a blanket over the tank at night to help keep it warm. Just don't let it cover the heater. Please check out the food pyramid and safe/unsafe food list. They need calcium and protein daily. In addition to everything else. Most things marketed for crabs isn't safe for them. Such as the pellets. Is your substrate sandcastle consistancy? How deep is the substrate? As for not eating, they eat such small amounts you may not notice. But they do like variety. Don't feed them the same thing for more than 2 days in a row if you can.
Thank you! I have Saran Wrap on it. But I’ll put the glass lid on tomorrow. 2nd UTH comes tomorrow. The blanket is a good idea too. I’ll also stay away from the pellets (they came with the kit). So far I’ve only done pellets with other foods too so I’ll stick it natural food. So far I have done spinach and apples tonight. I’ll get some dry shrimp, krill, etc.

I tried to really make sure the substrate was sandcastle consistency. I’m pretty confident I achieved that. It held its shape and was damp-ish but wasn’t dripping. At its lowest point the substrate is 4 inches and the highest part is 6 inches. My biggest crab (which looks huge to me lol) is probably 1.5 inches.

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curlysister
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Re: New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by curlysister » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:30 am

I think that the advice above may have missed that you are using Vita-Sand. That is a calcium sand and is NOT safe for hermit crabs. I believe that you are going to need to remove all your substrate and replace it with playsand mixed with eco earth; most of us use a 5 to 1 ratio.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." -Will Rogers


Topic author
teachincrabbie
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:46 pm

Re: New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by teachincrabbie » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:17 pm

curlysister wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:30 am
I think that the advice above may have missed that you are using Vita-Sand. That is a calcium sand and is NOT safe for hermit crabs. I believe that you are going to need to remove all your substrate and replace it with playsand mixed with eco earth; most of us use a 5 to 1 ratio.
Thanks! I'll change it out but I'm pretty sure my little guy is molting so I'll have to wait.


Topic author
teachincrabbie
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:46 pm

Re: New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by teachincrabbie » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:17 pm

Sorry for the double post. But second heater worked! My little guy (who actually isn't motling like I thought) has become so much more active. The minute my tank stabilized at 80 degrees, he came out and started to explore. He is now trying to find a new hiding spot. Of course he is going the hardest way possible. I set up a good hiding spot when I put everything together with a clear climbing area and he is ignoring the climbing spot and going the hardest way possible. Big hasn't moved. He set himself in a humid hiding spot and hasn't moved so I'm hoping it is just because it is daytime.

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GotButterflies
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Re: New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by GotButterflies » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:27 pm

Hello! I know you have received some advice, but lots was missed, so I want to touch on it by replying. I'll respond with a GB for GotButterflies :)
teachincrabbie wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:02 pm
I'm a teacher, who just got hermit crabs for my classroom (8th grade). They aren't moving very much. They were moving last night. If I pick them up they move but they haven't moved all day. It gets cold in my classroom overnight (temperature overnight was 60 degrees). So last night, they were cold so I'm worried I messed up big time! During the day it is usually around 75 and humidity is pretty stable at around 80.

I bought a 2nd UTH to use overnight and it's on its way. I also order a partial glass lid.

Did I mess up? Will they die? I also don't think they ate overnight (they had spinach and hermit crab pellets)

INFO!
1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
Coconut fiber substrate mixed with sand (Vita-sand). It is about 5 inches deep.

GB: Calcium sand is not good. It can harden when wet. Substrate should be Playsand and Eco earth (coconut fiber) mixed to a 5: 1 ratio. Substrate should be 6 inches or 3 times the height of your largest crab (whichever is deeper). It should also be mixed with dechlorinated marine saltwater or dechlorinated freshwater to make the substrate sandcastle consistency.

2. Do you have gauges in the tank to measure temperature and humidity? If so, where are they located and what temperature and humidity do they usually read?
We have both. Temperature during day is around 75 and humidity around 80. Overnight it dipped to 60, when I walked in humidity was just below 80.

GB: What kind of gauge do you have? You can buy an Acurite digital gauge from Walmart or Amazon if you are interested ;) They are $8, digital, run on batteries, and tell you temp and humidity currently as well as low and high for last 24 hours. You can find them in the home improvement section by the air filters. :) IMO, Minimum heat and humidity should be 80/80. Hermit crabs have modified gills and need the humidity to breathe. If you raise your heat to 80 you will see them move more.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
UTH on upper left side of the back of the tank. Getting a second one to put on side.

GB: Move your UTH to the lower back of the tank by the substrate. heat rises. put the new uth on the back also.
You can also try insulating your tank. What UTH do you have? UTH's from reptile basics and bean farm can be insulated over the top - but zoomed ones and ones similar to those cannot be insulated over the top of them. They need to be insulated around them because they are heat mats and already come insulated. To insulate, do the following:
Option a: Costs more, less work: Reflectix insulation (looks like a car shade) sold at Walmart/Lowe's/Home Depot - $14 roll: Cut to size - hang with packaging tape/duct tape/reflectix tape.
Option b: Cheaper, more work: Aluminum foil (shiny side facing inside the crabitat), then cardboard or styrofoam. may repeat layer of aluminum foil and cardboard or styrofoam if needed.


4. What types of water are available (fresh or salt) and how is the water treated (what brands of dechlorinator or salt mix and what ratio is used to mix it)?
Fresh (with conditioner) and salt water (salt hydration bottle from petco)

GB: Unfortunately most products marketed for hermit crabs are not safe. The saltwater bottle you are using is crap. As far as salt, you need marine salt, to mimic the ocean. 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 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. 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.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
They had spinach and hermit crab pellets. Daily.

GB: Make sure you cover all aspects of food pyramid :) Foods should be organic when possible. Hermit crabs are sensitive to pesticides and fertilizers.
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
Provide calcium too - cuttlebone, eggshells, coral, oyster shell, exoskeleton


6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
1 day.

7. Has your crab molted, and how long ago did it happen?
I don't know.

8. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
10 gallon tank with a screen lid for now. Partial glass one is on the way (will cover 80% of the top)

GB: Cover the entire lid with press n seal or saran wrap.

9. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
2, one big guy and another middle one

10. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
4 but I know we need more.

GB: 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

11. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
No

12. How often do you clean the tank and how?
Just got it and set it up yesterday.

13. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
No

14. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
Everything

15. Is there any other information you would like to share that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?
Since they are in the classroom, I want to say that none of the kids have played or touched down. They are teenagers but I'm still a bit nervous. They only crowded the tank when the crabs got here at first and know not to crowd the tank.

16. Please describe the emergency situation in detail.
See above!

Thanks for any help with this situation or any advice.
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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GotButterflies
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Re: New to Crabs, aren't moving!

Post by GotButterflies » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:33 pm

Just saw your new post :) It will take some time for your crabs to get used to their new set up. Try not to handle them during this time to help keep things as stress free as possible. Check the safe food list, and unsafe food list to find things in your area that you can use for them that will be cost effective for you being a teacher :) Crabbies are also known as tree crabs - they love to climb - find some trees in your area that are free from pesticides, fertilizers and that your city/county doesn't spray for mosquitoes in your area. :) Give them a branch and leaf litter from those trees. Definitely give your crabbies hides. (You can use plastic plants for this). The safer your crabs feel, the more you are likely to see them.

Crabs are typically nocturnal creatures - so don't be surprised if they aren't active during the day. Perhaps you can set up a Wyze cam and tape their action to show the kids :)
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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