Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

This forum is where you discuss issues relating to molting hermit crabs, including pre- and post-molting issues. If you are having a molting emergency please post in the Emergency Forum.
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smeegal
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Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by smeegal » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:08 pm

Hi All,

Having a slight issue with one of my crabs. I had one that went into a molt but didn't seem comfortable so I moved him and he has completed a full surface molt in an ISO (he had 3 inches sand but still went for a partial surface molt inside his hut for the molt) - still happy and healthy.

While he was in his ISO, my female crab in the main tank went into a molt too - however I didn't see any signs of her getting ready for a molt. While Morbo (the boy) was going into his molt, he decided to turn over the water quite a bit and as a result the sand had been quite wet (I wasn't aware how wet). Hermiz started to molt in the wet sand which I think in itself is a problem. My issue is that mid molt she has decided to surface for the rest of her molt next to the fresh water bowl and moss (humidity and temperature of the tank is at 80/80.) so I am a bit worried. I also have just discovered some black fluffy stuff in my tank, and a little bug (see links below). I am really worried about her, I am about to hit my one year mark with her and I really don't want her to not make it. :(

Any tips and advice would be very much appreciated.

FYI, tank is 30cm cubed, she is about 1 inch, the sand is about 3 inches deep at the back of the tank, near he hut, and only 1 inch towards the front because of the water spillage issues and because the door is in the front and only once inch from the bottom. fresh water and salt water bath provided, moss to keep humidity which both crabs enjoy eating, usually two huts but took one out for the iso for more and I provide them with a home made diet of seeds, grains and bloodworms/krill depending on the mix I give them.

Please help! Photos below: -

Black fluff:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/ ... ead35897b9

Melting Hermiz:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/ ... f3d93217f2

Weird Bug:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/ ... ca3085ba69

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YYWW
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Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by YYWW » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:16 pm

Hi there! Please paste and answer the Help Request Template so that we may better assist you: viewtopic.php?t=46102


Crabbers unite!!!

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YYWW
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by YYWW » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:26 pm

So it soundsto me like your tank is less than a 12 inch cube? That seems very small. Crowding might be leading your crabs to surface molt, as well as the excess water and possible flood in your tank.
The sand in your fluffy stuff picture looks colored? Is there colored sand in your tank? This might not be healthy for crabs, depending on what it is.
I'm not sure what the bug is, but i am guessing it is food related. We can address this further after we get your template responses.
So right now you have all these crabs beginning to molt. If they have recently dug under, like a day or two, they might only be settling to prepare for molt. The crabs in preparation may be dug up and isolated for their safety from the flood.
Crabs that are molting on the surface can be covered with a hide or plastic soda bottle top in order to quickly finish molting. They should be protected from the flood in the least stressful way possible.
I am looking forward to seeing your template responses so that we can see the bigger picture, and plan a better course of action. Keep your cool, hang in there. We will get thriugh this!


Crabbers unite!!!


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smeegal
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by smeegal » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:23 am

1. What kind of substrate is used in your tank and how deep is it?
Sand, and yes it is coloured. It has been baked, and as per another users advice I have changed to a new brand (which is what was used in the ISO tank). The new sand is play sand for kids which was also baked. But I literally only bought that when I was doing up the ISO tank.

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?
I have a ZooMed Thermometer and Humidity gauge. They are at the top left corner of the tank.

3. Is a heat source used in the tank? If so, what?
There is a heat mat for the tank, however I have not been using it as currently it is warm weather in Australia. However when required, I will have the heat tank at the side of the tank.

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)?
I have salt and fresh water. Dechlorinator brand is Hermit Safe- Jurassic Pet and Salter is HBH. I use both as per the bottle instructions.

5. What kinds of food do you feed and how often is it replaced?
I feed them my own blend of grains and seeds with krill or blood worms. I also have dried fruit added once a week or fortnight.

6. How long have you had the crab and what species is it, if known?
I have had Hermiz since April 2014. And I bought Morbo around December 2014/January 2015.

7. What type of housing are the crabs kept in, what size is it and what kind of lid is on the housing?
The new tank I currently use as my main tank is shown in the provided photo:
https://scontent-sin.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot ... e=55A5603F
Bare in mind this photo is from before I increased the amount of sand in the tank at the back.

8. How many crabs are in the tank and about how large are they?
I currently have two crabs - Hermiz is about 1.5 inches including her shell, Morbo is 2 inches including his shell.

9. How many extra shells are usually kept in the tank, if any?
I usually have two extra shells per crab. At the moment I have 3 extra shells because of the recent molt.

10. Have there been any fumes or chemicals near the crabitat recently?
Crabs are always kept in the lounge room, away from anything crazy. And the cleaning agent I use to clean the tank (apart from hot water) is 'Hermit Clean all natural - Jurassic Pet'.

11. How often do you clean the tank and how?
I clean the tank once a month, rinse with water and wipe down with the Hermit Clean all natural - Jurassic Pet. I also bake the sand before putting it back in.

12. Are sponges used in the water dish? If so, how are they cleaned?
I used to, but was advised by other users to change to Sphagnum Moss and have kept that located about the fresh water dish since January. Crabs love, climb it and eat it.

13. Has anything new been added to your crabitat recently?
No.

14. Is there any other information you would like to care that might be helpful (anything that is regularly part of your crab care, playtime, bathing, etc.)?

I don't like to tantalise them too much so I only take them out when I clean the tank. I don't bathe them because I feel like it's something natural for them and I don't get involved unless I am introducing new crabs - then I bathe all crabs before putting them together. Oh, and if a crab dies, I bathe all live crabs after cleaning the tank.

Also, Hermiz has a habit of killing other crabs - she has killed all three my previous crabs (two bigger, one smaller). The most recent one she killed she kept stealing the shell of and eventually he died because he abandoned his shell and dried out (around the time I joined HCA). After the last one died, I bought the new bigger tank, the old tank is the current ISO.

Morbo was in a painted shell when I bought him, and I have tried to provide him with new shells since - however he doesn't seem to want to change out yet.

Old tank/current ISO as below:
https://scontent-sin.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot ... e=55ADF4C3

Thanks :)

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YYWW
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Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by YYWW » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:58 am

Ok! Thanks for the answers. The pictures are also a great help!
Substrate: baking sub is a good way to sterilize it. It is not necessary to frequently sterilize your sand. Beneficial bacteria lives through your substrate which helps break down waste and organic material, keeping the tank balanced and clean where you can't see. Frequent cleaning may stress the crabs out, so just save the sterilizing for when you really need it, which you *might* this time, depending on the fluffy stuff. I am a bit concerned that the sand is green and causing surface molts, but if you swap it out it will not be an issue.
Gauges are good. Make sure they are accurate, because crabs are sensitive. The good news is that living in Australia you are living in the crabs' natural habitat. But if there is air conditioning in your house then the crabitat will need more regulating.
Heat: meeeeh sounds good to me,
Water: meeeeeh sounds god to me.
Food: yea, ok! Cool!
Krabooz: while i love the look of their stuff i do not believe in their products. At this time i just want to say that the bug probably crawled in from the holes at the top of the tat and wanted to lay eggs. The fluffy stuff could be eggs?
Everything else sounds good. Cleam away the bug and fluffy black stuff as you can. If the fluffy black stuff turns out to be fluffy black colored sand, you might be having a bacterial bloom. Just replace the sub with no green sand, make sure sand is sandcastle consistency, and get all crabs to safety.
Generally your crab philosophy seems in line with out recommendations, so its prob colored sub and bacterial bloom from spilled eater that is causing all these surface-y molts. Switch out the water bowls for something deeper and wider and harder to tilt. Also stop putting moss in your water, as it might be leading water to exit the bowl and go into the sub.


Crabbers unite!!!

ETA: i am getting super tired and my brain is getting slow ao hopefully someone wlse can help. The molters can be left in the dark and quiet, unless one is drowning in runny sub. Save that one, everyone else is fine. I hope i make sense to you. I will check back here in a couple hours!


Topic author
smeegal
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by smeegal » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:21 am

YYWW wrote:Ok! Thanks for the answers. The pictures are also a great help!
Substrate: baking sub is a good way to sterilize it. It is not necessary to frequently sterilize your sand. Beneficial bacteria lives through your substrate which helps break down waste and organic material, keeping the tank balanced and clean where you can't see. Frequent cleaning may stress the crabs out, so just save the sterilizing for when you really need it, which you *might* this time, depending on the fluffy stuff. I am a bit concerned that the sand is green and causing surface molts, but if you swap it out it will not be an issue.
Gauges are good. Make sure they are accurate, because crabs are sensitive. The good news is that living in Australia you are living in the crabs' natural habitat. But if there is air conditioning in your house then the crabitat will need more regulating.
Heat: meeeeh sounds good to me,
Water: meeeeeh sounds god to me.
Food: yea, ok! Cool!
Krabooz: while i love the look of their stuff i do not believe in their products. At this time i just want to say that the bug probably crawled in from the holes at the top of the tat and wanted to lay eggs. The fluffy stuff could be eggs?
Everything else sounds good. Cleam away the bug and fluffy black stuff as you can. If the fluffy black stuff turns out to be fluffy black colored sand, you might be having a bacterial bloom. Just replace the sub with no green sand, make sure sand is sandcastle consistency, and get all crabs to safety.
Generally your crab philosophy seems in line with out recommendations, so its prob colored sub and bacterial bloom from spilled eater that is causing all these surface-y molts. Switch out the water bowls for something deeper and wider and harder to tilt. Also stop putting moss in your water, as it might be leading water to exit the bowl and go into the sub.


Crabbers unite!!!

ETA: i am getting super tired and my brain is getting slow ao hopefully someone wlse can help. The molters can be left in the dark and quiet, unless one is drowning in runny sub. Save that one, everyone else is fine. I hope i make sense to you. I will check back here in a couple hours!
Got rid of the black fluff and the bug right away, have had the tanks covered for both crabs when I noticed they were surface molting. Moss is hanging over the water, not actually in it.

Hermiz was actually molting under the sand. and she started just after Morbo started his. Her being smaller, I thought she would have taken less time to complete her molt. When she came out I thought she had finished her molt. But two days later I noticed one random leg sticking out of the sand next to her.

Green and purple sand is just the color of the sand I had bought from the pet shop. Morbo still did a surface molt despite the fact he is in playsand.

If you think I should move hermiz out, how should I get about it?


hermieluv1
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by hermieluv1 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:41 am

The depth of the sub sounds way too low to me, which may be one reason they surface molted. Sub needs to be at least 6" and of sand castle consistency so that they can tunnel and make molting caves.

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YYWW
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by YYWW » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:50 am

hermieluv1 wrote:The depth of the sub sounds way too low to me, which may be one reason they surface molted. Sub needs to be at least 6" and of sand castle consistency so that they can tunnel and make molting caves.
Agree!


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YYWW
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by YYWW » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:59 am

smeegal wrote: Got rid of the black fluff and the bug right away, have had the tanks covered for both crabs when I noticed they were surface molting. Moss is hanging over the water, not actually in it.

Hermiz was actually molting under the sand. and she started just after Morbo started his. Her being smaller, I thought she would have taken less time to complete her molt. When she came out I thought she had finished her molt. But two days later I noticed one random leg sticking out of the sand next to her.

Green and purple sand is just the color of the sand I had bought from the pet shop. Morbo still did a surface molt despite the fact he is in playsand.

If you think I should move hermiz out, how should I get about it?
Don't go off what i think, because i'm not there. Always trust your own crabbing instincts.
Do you think she is in danger? She needs sandcastle consistency sand, darkness, space, peace. Soggy sand takes some of that away and is considered a dangerous molting ground (think quicksand).
If you decide she needs to be moved out you would need to lift the ground around and under her, and place in a container. The condition she sits in dictates the container.
Pet stores and hermit crab suppliers, unfortunately, really just want your money, and not really the safety of your crabs. There are many hermit crab products that are not safe for crabs. It will be better, and cheaper, to use safe and pure alternatives. It is always best to stay away from colored sand due to the additional use of chemicals to color that sand.


Crabbers unite!!!

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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by wodesorel » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:08 am

Are you on Facebook? We're mostly US and Canadian crabbers here and while basic crab care is the same for all species, for help with the right products and where to get supplies you should check out The Australian Land Hermit Care Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/AussieCrabCare/ (The Krabooz tank is a dead giveaway, and the group has been seeing a LOT of problems like this due to the new incorrect products being sold for hermits and bad advice from the stores.) They have a great care guide there as well written by an expert who has successfully bred that species in captivity.

It is sounding like it was a combination of the wrong kind of sand being too shallow, and not enough space for them to feel secure. Deep moist silica sand is essential for them to be able to bury to molt.
Want to see all my crazy pets? @waywardwaifs on Instagram


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smeegal
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by smeegal » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:49 pm

YYWW wrote: Don't go off what i think, because i'm not there. Always trust your own crabbing instincts.
Do you think she is in danger? She needs sandcastle consistency sand, darkness, space, peace. Soggy sand takes some of that away and is considered a dangerous molting ground (think quicksand).
If you decide she needs to be moved out you would need to lift the ground around and under her, and place in a container. The condition she sits in dictates the container.
Pet stores and hermit crab suppliers, unfortunately, really just want your money, and not really the safety of your crabs. There are many hermit crab products that are not safe for crabs. It will be better, and cheaper, to use safe and pure alternatives. It is always best to stay away from colored sand due to the additional use of chemicals to color that sand.


Crabbers unite!!!
Agreed, the new sand I bought was suggested to me by another crabber who resides in Australia, so I know it's definitely better. And the krabooz tank was a gift from my roommate so I was kinda caught out on that one :( It's a shame, because it is quite big, it just has the door and vents in such silly areas that you can't make the substrate deep enough. And I didn't know where else to buy sand, so I had to keep getting it from the pet stores till recently. However, Hermiz had survived it all for the last year. I just hope she is okay right now :( Our weather is a little weird at the moment too, sometimes it's really cold at night, and sometimes it's quite hot. Not sure if I should keep the heater on for her.

and I want to move her into my make shift ISO with Morbo and just put a bottle around her, but there is not enough sand under her to be able to lift her, which is a pro and con I guess. At least i know the sand is not going to harm her during the molt. But she was exposed to the elementals for a day before I realised she was molting on the surface.

I don't know, I'm going to play it safe and leave her be instead of trying to move her. But I hope she'll be okay.... :)


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smeegal
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by smeegal » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:50 pm

wodesorel wrote:Are you on Facebook? We're mostly US and Canadian crabbers here and while basic crab care is the same for all species, for help with the right products and where to get supplies you should check out The Australian Land Hermit Care Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/AussieCrabCare/ (The Krabooz tank is a dead giveaway, and the group has been seeing a LOT of problems like this due to the new incorrect products being sold for hermits and bad advice from the stores.) They have a great care guide there as well written by an expert who has successfully bred that species in captivity.

It is sounding like it was a combination of the wrong kind of sand being too shallow, and not enough space for them to feel secure. Deep moist silica sand is essential for them to be able to bury to molt.
I've just tried to join the group (by invite only), I hope Hermiz makes it in the mean time anyway! After she is up and running, I will have to figure something out for the two kids.


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smeegal
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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by smeegal » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:53 am

good news all, Hermiz has moved about the tank a couple of times during the last few days. Here's hoping she is okay and will start being her usual self soon :)

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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by Nat_addicted to HC's » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:47 am

Hey there!
Popping in to say Smeegal is getting help in the Aussie group atm
The Aussie group is not invite only, never has been or will be. However everyone is looked at before approval, wow you get some spammers out there!!! Please make sure your security settings are such that we can message you, because if we can't determine you are in Australia or are LHC owners or future owners your request will be ignored.
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it's about how you danced in the rain!

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http://www.ihavecrabs.com.au

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Re: Molt Issues - I need advice fast!

Post by wodesorel » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:43 am

Thanks Nat! I'll make sure to remind people of that when I refer them. :)
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