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Hermit Crabs


Tara
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Hi

Was wondering if anybody could tell me if a hermit crab molts as well as changes it's shell size, the reason I ask is that when I was changing the sand in the tank we thought we found a dead crab without its shell but when we counted the crabs there was still six all moving around.

Also is it normal for a hermit crab to take off its shell then climb back into it. One of the crabs did it the other day and my children are calling out Mum quick the crab is naked. :) I'm wondering if we had of just watched on from a distance it might of chosen another shell.

Thanks

Charlie

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Are these aquatics or land crabs?

The aquatics definitely do moult, and will change shells in between moults quite often. Depending on size, species and tank conditions you could be looking at a moult every 2-12 months, faster for small specimens and slower for the large (some species are probably outside that range, but they are less common in aquaria)

It is common for them to trial new shells and then switch back to their own, but not so common for them to get around naked. From a survival perspective it just makes them too much of an easy lunch. Do they have a nice range of shells in different sizes to trial?

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I'm pretty sure they are land Crabs, I'm got them from a local pet store and they were just called Hermit crabs. There is 6 shells ranging in size from medium to large should I have more? After I gave the tank a clean today and set it back up another crab was naked took a little stroll then got back into the same shell. The sand they were in before was very damp could that have something to do with the behaviour.?

The tank set up is a 2ft tank with sand twice the depth of the biggest Hermit Crab, I have some drift wood, a tunnel some shell grit and wood shavings in different section as well as three container's 1 for salt bath, 1 for fresh water and 1 for food. I also have two plastic plants and a light that I had in the lid of the tank for the fish that use to be in it. Please let me know if there is something in the tank that shouldnt be in it or anything else I should add this is the first time we have had Hermit Crabs and I would like to try and get it right the first time the kids really get a kick out of these little creature's.

Thanks

Charlie

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Hi, They are aussie land hermit crabs.

The wood shaving need to go. So does the shellgrit. The wood shavings will attract mites and the shell grit and the wood shavings can end up inside the hermies shell and pierce their tail. Their tails is very soft just like a marshmallow and once damaged they will die.

Plastic plants are ok just keep an eye on them so they aren't eating them.

The hermit crab dumping it shell is a sign of stress either due to the humidity in the tank being too high, temp being too high something in their shell of someone else has bullied them out. Really you should have about 6 different shells per hermie size. Saying that the sand was very wet probably means the humidity was too high. The sand needs to be mostly kept dry but the cold part of the tank can be damp no more than it would take to keep sand castle together. They HATE wet sand.

With the water are you using just tap water or do you add a conditioner to it to remove the chlorine and chloramides?

Do they have a heatmat?

Hermies are a tropical critter that need to be kept at temps between 23-27 degrees. Keeping them without a heater will cause them to become inactive and they will just die. It will take a couple of months but they will definatly die just like keeping tropical fish in cold water. I would really suggest that you get on crab street journal and have a read of the care sheets on there. There is as much to looking after hermies as there is fish and I would be typing for days to explain it all. If there is anything else in particular you need to know just ask away.

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I have printed info from the Crab Street Journal. I dont have a heater as I live in Cairns and even in winter its not very often the temp is below 25C

I have a thermometer in the tank and the temp hasnt gotten below 25C the reason. I added the wood shaving was a suggestion from the pet shop to gave them an extra warm section in the tank if they did get too cold and they also suggested shell grit. Since I added the dry sand they are a lot more active and we see them more often. What plants would you suggest for the tank, I really dont like the plastic but they do enjoy climbing all over them. Come to think of it though after one of them walked through the shellgrit it then left its shell only to return to it a few minutes later.

I think you suggested silk plants before? Where can you get them from I havent seen them in any of the pet shops I have visited. I use a water conditioner, my water is from the tap but sit's in a 60L plastic container until Im ready to use it. The conditoner I'm using is the same one I use for my fighting fish. Thanks for the feedback

Cheer's

Charlie

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The water conditioner does it contain stress coat? If it does then you need to get one that doesn't. Yeah no heater needed. A humidity gauge could be useful though. Humitidy needs to sit aroud 70-75.If it gets too high it becomes too hard for the hermies to breathe and can damage their gills. They are available in the reptile section in the pet store, so are the silk plants. The plastic ones are fine. If you kep the substrate not too wet humidity should sit right. Ahhhhhh pet stores. When do they get it right? A wholesale company that sells the crabs to the pet stores also sells bagged wood shavings as substrate to them. He knows dam well that they are bad bad bad but hey he is making money out of it so he doesn't care. The wood shavings get all wet and soggy and certainally are not warm in that state and even if they are kept dry they actually draw the moisture out of the hermies shell. If you would like to use a different substrate along side the sand you can add natural uncoloured aquarium gravel Just a hint if you would like to see your hermies change shells. Boil the spare shells in dechlorinated water and once they are cooled put them opening side up. If you do this at around dusk you should see some action.

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Thanks for all the info, have you ever thought of writing up your own care sheet for Hermit Crabs. :lol: The conditioner dosent contain stress coat.

Since I changed the sand we have only had one crab go naked and since then they have stayed in their shells and are all very active.

Thanks again

Charlie

Edited by charlie
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