Care: Commercial (Store Bought) Foods

For any and all questions about feeding, diet and different foods. Questions and posts about purchasing from stores should be made in the Shopping section.
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Care: Commercial (Store Bought) Foods

Post by HCADirectors » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:11 pm

Questions about anything on this page - or questions about any food item - should be directed to the [Food & Water] section as a new topic. Updates to this page can be made by contacting any Administrator or Moderator.

What do I feed my crabs?

You will read a lot of messages on this forum about the dangers of commercial foods. Most commercial foods contain preservatives and other ingredients that may be harmful to hermit crabs. Some of the ingredients that you may read about are:
  • EQ or Ethoxyquin an antioxidant
  • Copper Sulfate
  • BHT, also known as butylhydroxytoluene
Many of the members of the HCA have decided to feed their crabs all natural foods, and have eliminated commercial foods from their hermit crabs' diets. We have decided to do this because we are unsure of consequences of the preservatives contained in commercial foods.

If you would like to learn more about feeding your hermit crabs a natural diet, we recommend that you read our Safe Food List and our Unsafe and Unpopular Food Lists, or join in a discussion in our Food and Water forum.

Are There Safe Commercial Foods?

If you do not have the means to feed your hermit crabs an all natural diet, you may want to consider using the following commercial foods. Please note that while some of these may be called 'treats', all are safe to use as part of a regular diet.
Not everyone can afford or has the time to prepare fresh foods for their crabs every day. If you are going to give your crabs commercial foods, we would recommend that you supplement the commercial food with fresh vegetable, fruits, and proteins several times per week.

What Commercial Foods Contain EQ and Other Preservatives?
  • Florida Marine Research's FMR Hermit Crab Food (ingredients: corn meal, soybean meal, alfalfa meal, animal and plant protein products, soybean oil, coconut oil, magnesium oxide, Copper Sulphate, calcium iodate, cobalt, calcium carbonate, niacin and riboflavin supplement, vitamins A, E & B12.)
  • Crab Island Fruit and Flower (Ingredients: Corn, Wheat, Oat Groats, Corn Gluten Meal, Potato Protein, Soya Oil, Coconut Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, Natural and Artificial Flavors, DL Methionine, Isoleucine, L- Threonine, L-Tryptophan, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Ferrous Sulfate, D-Biotin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Niacinamide, Magnesium Oxide, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Mixed Tocopherols, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Citric Acid, Calcium Selenite, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hyrdochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfate (source of Vitamin K3), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Sulfate, Rosemary Extract.)
  • TetraFauna Hermit Crab Meal (Ingredients:Fish meal, meat and bone meal, apple granules, wheat germ meal, torula dried yeast, dehulled soybean meal, feather meal, corn flour, artificial color, and calcium propionate and ethoxyquin as preservatives.)
  • Tetrafauna Hermit Crab Cakes (Ingredients: Cracklings, Fish Meal, Fish Oil, Crab Meal, Wheat Germ Meal, Dried Whey, Starch, Feather Meal, Lignin Sulfonate. Calcium propionate and ethoxyquin as preservatives)
  • Zoo Med Hermit Crab Food (Ingredients: Fish Meal, Wheat Flour, Soybean Meal, Fish Oil, Distillers Dried Grains, Shrimp Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Soy Lecithin, Lignin Sulfonate, L-Ascorbic Acid Phosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodate, Propionic Acid (Preservative), Ethoxyquin (Preservative).)
  • Jurassipet Hermit Crab Food (Ingredients:Krill meal, fish meal, alfalfa, blood meal, fish oil, beta carotene, spirulina, xanthophyll, vitamin A acetate, d-activated animal sterol (D3), vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine, biotin, dl-alphatocopherol (E), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (C), choline chloride, cobalt sulfate, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide. Added mineral matter not more than 2.5%. Contains no soy, which can interfere with calcium adsorption.
*There are many commercial foods that contain EQ and other preservatives. If you are concerned about what is in your crab's food, read the labels.*

Additional Resources

Many excellent food discussions have occurred on the HCA forum. We ask that you use the search engine linked at the top of any forum page to search the forum for some of these discussions. Here are some terms that you can search for:
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Copper Sulfate
  • BHT
Thank you to Julia Crab and Epicurean-Hermit for their research.

Please visit our Shopping Resources for links to stores that sell safe, all natural hermit crab foods.

Updated July 2020