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Hello and questions

Discussion in 'The Welcome Rock' started by jillypooh480, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. jillypooh480

    jillypooh480 Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Hi, my name is Jill.  I know very little about hermit crabs, I bought one while on a trip to Petsmart for my other animals.  My daughters begged me for one, so I went ahead with it.

    The lady I bought the crab from knew very little, although she encouraged me to buy the largest habitat.  She advised me to use sand and told me to mist the tank once per day for humidity.

    So, I did some research online and found that I got bad information.  I discovered humidity requirements, diet requirements, etc.  I went to another petsmart location and mentioned my concerns to them.  They told me to use reptile soil to keep up the humidity in the tank.  So, I bought soil, oh, and I bought a second crab. I put three larger shells in the tank as well (I already had one, but it was probably too large). Here is what I really need to know, please help!!

    1) Is it safe to use soil? If I use sand, then how do I keep up the humidity in the tank?
    2) Do I really need a light?  The crabs sit in a well-lit room (natural light), is this enough, or should I get a light?
    3) They told me at Petsmart that a salt water dish was not necessary, although I've read it is.
    4) Most important:  The new crab is smaller.  I just found him missing the top portion of his claw.  I found it in the tank.  What the heck is going on??? Is he going to be okay?

    Thanks in advance!!
     
  2. dotsnspots25

    dotsnspots25 "First Molt In Progress"

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    Hello Jill! We've all been victims of bad information at one time or another but I think you'll find lots of helpful info here =) I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

    1. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "soil". I believe a lot of us use a combination of EcoEarth (which is soil-ish) and sand and have been quite successful with it. I personally have used 100% sand and had normal molts with it. Whatever you choose you need to (at least initially) mix water in with it to create a "sand castle-like" consistancy. The purpose of this is to allow the crabbies to be able to tunnel and help maintain appropriate humidty for them. What's important here is to have a reliable hygrometer to help monitor the humidity of the tank (too low humidity, they can suffocate; too high humidity, they can drown).

    2. I haven't gone too in depth with lighting. I know they need day and night cycles so I have my tank in a room by the window (but not in direct sunlight). For the most part, its lights off in here past midnight or so, so they feel free to run around and create havoc. However, I think this question is also related to temperature of the tank. The ideal range is 70-80 degrees. If you can't keep this temperature naturally and consistantly in your tank, you will need to provide a heat source. In this case, you can use either under the tank heaters (UTH's  -  I have mine on the sides of the tank for a more natural affect) or lights. With lights, I believe you may need a day light and a night one to maintain heat without blasting them with light 24/7. I'm not 100% on this though because I don't use them.

    3. It is very important to make both fresh water and salt water dishes available to your crabs. Fresh water should NOT be tap water and must be dechlorinated. Many people purchase water from a store for their crabs. Salt water CANNOT be made from regular old table salt (it will kill them). Check around the site for some names of salts other crabbers use. These dishes should be deep enough to almost cover your largest crab, but you may want to throw some glass beads into the bottom of your dishes to help smaller crabs get in and out.

    4. Loss of limbs generally indicates stress for the crab. However, when they lose limbs, I believe they tend to lose the entire limb; not just part of one. He may be a victim of crabby attack. In either case, it doesnt sound like you isolated your crabs after you first brought them home. Separation of the crabs will help them to calm down and adjust to better surroundings than that of a petstore. Right now, you may want to separate your crabbies and watch them closely. If your little guy continues to go downhill, then most likely he is suffering from what is known as post-purchase syndrome (PPS). When both crabs are in stable conditions and are thriving solo, you can begin to reintroduce them and eventually have them live together.

    I know it can be overwhelming. It took me months to gather all the pertinent information and put it into practice! I hope I was helpful. Good luck getting all set up and let us know if you have more questions. Oh and if you're ever in search of something crabby, Vicki's Addiction Store has wonderful items you'll just love =)
     

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