I'm new, so my appologies if this topic has been discussed before (couldn't find one in the search) -- I am trying to learn as much as I can about hermies, as 3 small guys will be my daughter's 1st pets. Will be getting them before Christmas, but getting the tank set up now. Am setting up a 10g tank, using 1/2 eco-earth and 1/2 playground sand from Home Depot (separated by a short divider in the tank). Petsmart brand reptile moss in a bag will be spread around. Also have a coral piece, a few small cholla wood pieces, walmart brand edible turtle hut, climbing background and 2 shell halves split from a new coconut. Will have 2 water dishes & sponges for fresh dechlorinated and salt dechlorinated water. I have read much on these forums on sterilizing your substrates & hermie gear. I'll try to be specific in my questions. How long should I boil new shells/coral/wood? Should I boil in dechlorinated water, or just rinse the pieces with it? Should I boil the hut and coconut shells? How long time-wise do I microwave a dry sea sponge to sterilize it? Is it ok to microwave a wet sea sponge? Can/Should I microwave the eco-earth substrate & moss? How long/What temperature should I bake the playground sand and/or the eco-earth in the oven? In what kind of container? Pie pan? Should I soak or mist everything in dechlorinated water or saltwater before or after boiling/microwaving? What should I use to scrub/clean out the glass tank? What can I spray/spritz that will prevent mold from growing? Salt water? My immediate concerns are of frying/burning the substrates (and possibly my kitchen), and of contaminating the little guys. I am trying to prepare everything properly, as my daughter would be crushed if/when any of her 1st pets were to die. Also (and please yell at me if I should start a new forum), but I am also wondering where/how exactly we should go about adopting our hermies. There are PetSmart/PetCo/Walmarts/Malls/Speciality pet stores in abundance in our area, but at all places we have noticed that the crabs are in poor condition, missing legs & claws, gravel substrate, lack of water, hundreds of people picking them up, ect. These forums are fantastic, but the more I read, the more it has me paronoid of mite infestations from prior infected crabs from unclean store conditions (my daughter has a chronic respiratory disease, and I keep the house immaculate). I would very much like to know how you all recommend adopting "clean" and healthy hermies? I have considered seeking out a direct Crab vendor and asking when their last holiday delivery is to the local malls, for the healthiest crabs. I know I am horrible; I would love to give the sick and injuried crabs a good home, but I am also trying to be a good mommie and not bring home anything that might die within a couple of days. What should I look for as far as adopting? What do you recommend? Specific Sizes? Coloration? Condition? The ones that are walking around? I plan on bringing the hermit crabs home and immediatley giving them all a bath with room temperature dechlorinated water with stress coat. I have read much about different kinds of bath techniques. But am still confused: Do I just place the hermit crab, shell down/crab side up in a bowl of water and wait for him to come out and flip himself over, then remove him from the water bowl? Just to make sure, he'll be ok for a few seconds submurged underneath the water? He won't drown or anything, right? (yes, go ahead and laugh at my ignorance ) Should I use dechlorinated salt-water for the initial bath? I realize I have a lot of questions, but any you could possibly answer (or direct me to) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much for this site and for all your help in advance!! Our house is very excited about our future new additions!!