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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I took my two crabs out to run around and play with them on Sunday. When I put them back in, one almost immediately came out of his shell and into one of his favorite hiding places. The other, shyer one just sat in the spot I left him in. I thought nothing of it, since this is his normal behavior. He was still there the next day. When I came back from class, I realized he had molted right on the surface where he was when I left. Unfortunately I do not have a second container for the other crab at this time (I am working on it, just as a college student transportation can be difficult), so the molter has a cup around him with the bottom cut off and the top all the way to the bottom of the crabitat to isolate him with his exoskeleton. I've never had a surface molter before, can someone help me with how to take care of him? I did accidentally pick him up and notice his soft pink "skin" before I noticed the exoskeleton and I haven't touched him since, so I know he is alive.Also, the more active crab has buried himself and has not eaten since Monday, even with his favorite foods in there. Could he be molting too? How should I handle two molters in the same crabitat? AHH!
Cutting the bottom off a 2lt bottle works well also. It sounds like you did right. The main thing is to keep them both separate so the other doesn't try to eat the molter. It is quite possible your other has went down to molt, but there is no way to know for sure. You could smooth the surface and see if anything disturbs it overnight cuz sometimes they just come up at night.As far as taking care of the molter give it time to harden. Then makes sure it can get to fresh and salt water. Feed organic peanut butter, honey, calcium. There is all kinds of good things you can offer on our safe foods list located at the top of the Zoea forum or in the Library forum under Archived food and water. If you would answer the questions in the link I provided that would help us determine if anything else needs to be addressed in your tank and maybe why it surface molted.Please answer these questions.
1) I have had these two crabs since December. They both like to spend a lot of time buried, so after a couple of weeks I started digging them up every few days to make sure they were okay and letting them run around and climb on bigger climbing toys. I don't know how long he could have been preparing to molt, he wouldn't let me look for fat deposits and he wasn't missing any limbs.2) I have a plastic slitted lid on a small pet carrier. I know this is too small, it's only temporary, I'm moving them into their 10g ASAP.3) My room temp stays at high 70s to 80. I also have a small heat lamp that is 75 watts to use as a back up. 4) They are in all sand. When I would take them out, about once a week, I would pour a water bottle in to soak it to keep it moist enough.5) I just use bottled Poland Springs water. It worked with my crabs in the past. I try to offer Petco's brand of Saltwater Glub for Hermit Crabs, but they usually avoid it at all costs or dump it over.6) I give them a base of the hermit crab pellets in case they don't like what I am otherwise feeding them. I give them carrots which they like, pineapple, celery, broccoli (which they think is gross), corn, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, I think that's it. 7) I mist the crabitat once or twice a day and I try to handle them a little. Sprinkles, my larger one, comes right out of his shell and doesn't mind. Fudge, the surface molter, hides for about 30-40 minutes after I handle him. I don't have exact readings for temp and humidity. My room stays at a pretty constant temp and I mist the crabitat frequently to maintain humidity.Also, they did not eat much last week. More than they have this week, which is not at all, but very little, and I haven't heard them scratch around at night like I had in the past in a couple of weeks.
Please read as much info as you can here. It seems that your setup is really not quite adequate though better than some. If you just have 2 crabs than the 10g will be ok if you plan on more you should get a bigger tank though. When crabs dig down under they do it for several different reasons. For fun, top side is not as suitable as bottom, they are trying to de-stress, finding the perfect spot to molt, or molting. It is not advisable to unbury a crab cuz you put it thru more stress and if it is molting you could harm it. It is best to leave them alone for a month after you get them so they can de-stress and molt. Try to use saran/plastic wrap to cover most of the air openings in your carrier so it will hold more humidity. I have found even though my room stays warm the tank is usually several degree cooler so you need some heat. You want the sand moist but not soggy (sandcastle consistency).Most commercial foods have bad preservatives please check yours, crabber85 lists them in the following post that I linked. Here is a link to an explanation from crabber one of the administrators giving more advice.advice to new crabbersHope this helps. Check the Library portion of the forum and you'll find lots of good ideas and very important info.
Thank you for all your help jenok. I know the conditions are not ideal, and I am trying to make them better. Both are smalls and possibly the one the just molted is a small small, and I know they are going to grow but I'm hoping the 10g will last for a little while. Also planning on using the setup they're in now as ISO only.
A plan is always good. You can keep 3 smalls in a 10g fairly easy but they will outgrow it. A lot of people start with a small tank and want to add more so they quickly have the need for a larger tank thats why i made the suggestion.