New Crab Owner - Tank Smells

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OliviaHC
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New Crab Owner - Tank Smells

Post by OliviaHC » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:41 pm

Hi All!

I'm a new crab owner and I've set my 10 gallon tank up as recommended with 6 inches of substrate (5:1 play sand to eco earth mixed with instant ocean - salt water). temperature is between 75-80 and humidity is 80-90. I have a very sensitive nose and i was wondering what a crabitat normally smells like. My crabitat was odorless prior to being inhabited and now that I've had my crabs for about a week - it has a smell to it. It kind of smells like the "bad parts of a beach" if that makes sense... I get a huge whiff of it every time i open the lid. I've spot picked up parts of sand and it has smelled like nothing.. There is no flooding in my sand and I don't see black growth on my sand (just spots of eco earth that i didn't mix very well!)

I also am not sure what crab poop looks like in my tank, it's so hard to separate from the eco earth and was wondering if that could be contributing to this odd smell. My decor consists of all natural things like cork round, sea urchins, barnacles, cholla wood. I've got some coral lying around as well. Without the use of isopods, what do your tanks normally smell like? Should I switch out these natural decor for things that don't mold?

Thank you.

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Re: New Crab Owner - Tank Smells

Post by FJrocks003 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:03 am

Mold is not harmful (to the crabs at least) and doesn't usually smell, so that's not your problem. Smell can be caused by rotting food if it is not replaced often enough, dead crabs (unlikely but check just to be sure), flooding/bateria (dig all the way to the bottom just in case [unless you have a molting crab]), or the water going bad. Check the food and water bowls for rotting stuff. How often do you change your water? How many gallons are your bowls? Could you describe the smell a bit more?
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Re: New Crab Owner - Tank Smells

Post by wodesorel » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:47 am

Crab tanks do have their own special bouquet! New tanks especially go through a break-in period where bacteria and mould have to sort themselves out. Allowing for some air flow really helps.

Organic material like the cholla and cork can be boiled in heavily salted water, which will inhibit mould growth. (I do a pound of kosher salt per gallon of water.)

Straight calcium like the coral, barnacles and urchins shouldn't smell if they were cleaned properly before purchase. Once stripped, there isn't anything to mould or rot.

Eco earth has its own set of smells, but should be more like potted plants and greenhouse than anything nasty.

Crab poop has it's own odour - to me, it's a mix of beach and overripe fruit. I smell this the most! They tend to make piles in odd spots and empty shells.
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OliviaHC
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Re: New Crab Owner - Tank Smells

Post by OliviaHC » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:51 pm

FJrocks003 wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:03 am
Mold is not harmful (to the crabs at least) and doesn't usually smell, so that's not your problem. Smell can be caused by rotting food if it is not replaced often enough, dead crabs (unlikely but check just to be sure), flooding/bateria (dig all the way to the bottom just in case [unless you have a molting crab]), or the water going bad. Check the food and water bowls for rotting stuff. How often do you change your water? How many gallons are your bowls? Could you describe the smell a bit more?
If I had to best describe it, it smells very musty like a damp basement. I replace the food every morning (I also only put dry food in there). I have two water dishes roughly 1 inch deep (my crabs are small). I actually turned half the sand in the tank yesterday underneath the water dish and it smelled like nothing. I was going to turn the other side, but saw that my crabs burrowed in 1 inch deep almost right next to each other.. (would they molt if they’re only 1 inch deep and I’m nervous since they’re right next to each other).

Sorry, so many questions! I’m just a little worried


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OliviaHC
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Re: New Crab Owner - Tank Smells

Post by OliviaHC » Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:55 pm

wodesorel wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:47 am
Crab tanks do have their own special bouquet! New tanks especially go through a break-in period where bacteria and mould have to sort themselves out. Allowing for some air flow really helps.

Organic material like the cholla and cork can be boiled in heavily salted water, which will inhibit mould growth. (I do a pound of kosher salt per gallon of water.)

Straight calcium like the coral, barnacles and urchins shouldn't smell if they were cleaned properly before purchase. Once stripped, there isn't anything to mould or rot.

Eco earth has its own set of smells, but should be more like potted plants and greenhouse than anything nasty.

Crab poop has it's own odour - to me, it's a mix of beach and overripe fruit. I smell this the most! They tend to make piles in odd spots and empty shells.
Thank you so much for the info!! My barnacle definitely smells a little. I have some shells that also have a small smell. I’ve boiled both these not in salt water though (for 10 minutes) prior to putting in the tank.

I don’t want to stick my nose in smelling crab poop, but I have a feeling this is mostly it, maybe with some food being buried. Unfortunately, I can’t see the poop.. they kind of look like eco earth. Lucky for me, last night they decided to drag all the food off the dishes and decided to leave me crab poop on the food dish 😂

How do you normally clean poop/buried food?

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Re: New Crab Owner - Tank Smells

Post by GotButterflies » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:06 am

They make little scoops that can scoop out crab poop. Crab poop looks like brown frowns.
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