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New Hermie owner..doing it right?

Discussion in 'General questions about care.' started by Poppacrab, Mar 11, 2012.

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  1. Poppacrab

    Poppacrab Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Hi all..Ever since my 6yo grand daughter came home with crabs(love saying that) I have been a Hermit crab fanatic.The 2 crabs she brought home were in a small plastic cage with a bottlecap of water and a sprinkle of aquarium gravel. I realized they would be deceased crabs quite soon in this set-up and began my quest to care for them. A $150 later,I have a 20 gallon set-up per instructions from this site and others. My first question is this..The first weeks I had this tank up they we're mildly active(I hear PP's are pretty calm) and eating good,enjoying a variety of foods. The past 2 weeks they have no interest in any kind of food and there activity level seems to have dropped. I do see them in the fresh and salt water dishes..If I take them out and hold them they will respond and move around on my hand quite eagerly..anything I should worry about,them not eating? I learn more and more everyday,and lately I dream of Hermit crabs,so I have the fever,lol..Thanks much! :twirl:
    [​IMG]
    My Tank Information..

    1. Tank size.. 20 G Glass


    2. Type of lid or cover? Plexiglass


    3. Type of substrate used and depth? Calci-sand and Coconut fiber mix..2 1/2 inches deep.


    4. Temperature of the ‘tat? 77


    5. Temperature of the substrate? 75-78


    6. Humidity in the ‘tat? 75-85 %


    7. Type and location of gauges? Fluker,digital,center of tank at substrate level.


    8. Source of heat (heating pad/lamp) and/or humidity (tropic-air/misting)? UTH,Lights,home made humidifier/fogger


    9. Types of food fed (commercial or homemade)? No commercial,only fresh fruits/veggies/meats


    10. How often do you switch out food? Daily


    11. Types of water available (fresh and/or salt)? If salt water is used, what brand and how
    much salt to water do you mix it with? ...

    Fresh water,Salt water (glub)soon to be mixed myself


    12. Decholorinator used? If so, does it have stress coat in it? Dechlorinated,bottled water,same as used in my aquariums. I have not yet purchased Stress coat.


    13. How deep are the water dishes? 1 inch


    14. Do you use sponges in the water? If so, how often are they exchanged and sterilized? No sponges.


    15. How many crabs are in the tank? Four.


    16. How long have you had them? 1-2 months


    17. Do you know what species they are? Purple pinchers


    18. Have you had a successful molt with them? No


    19. If you take them out of the tank for a length of time, do you mist their gills first? No,should I?


    20. Do you bathe them, if so, in what kind of water and how frequently? Once a week,dip in good water,dry.


    21. Are there any unusual odors in the tank? If so, what are they like, like a gym sock smell,
    fishy smell, etc? No odors.


    22. Has there been anything new added to the tank recently? No.


    23. Are your hands clean before handling the crabs or anything in the tank? Yes,always washed,I smoke, outdoors only.


    24. Has there been any smoking, candles, perfumes, hair sprays, air fresheners, or paint near the ‘tat? No.


    25. Do you use anything to clean the tank (inside or out) such as glass cleaner, bleach, etc?
    if so, is it with the crabs in or out, and if out, how soon are they returned to the 'tat? No,just good water wipe inside and out.
     
  2. Mckenny

    Mckenny "PM Jason For Custom Title"

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    Hello there---Welcome aboard! :straw:

    It's amazing how addicting the little buggers can be isn't it?! Things sound good and you certainly are on the right track with your setup. I would like to suggest a few tweaks though.
    I say suggest because you are going to read and hear all kinds of info from all sorts of place's good and some Not so good, but in the end the decision is yours to make.

    When I first started crabbing some four years or so ago, I did a lot of research and checking out sites, and some others were nice, but I always kept coming back to this one. The info is great, the members are wonderful and very helpful, and if the Administrator's don't know the answer to a question, we'll do research to find an accurate one.
    My crabs love it here, I love it here, and we hope you will too.

    1) First of all, get rid of the Calci Sand...it cakes together and hardens when wet. It can cause death to a crab when the sand gets in the shell or covers the opening of the shell, literally cementing them in. The Calci Sand can be used in a dish as a dry calcium source, but not as a source of substrate. There have been some that mix a small amount in the substrate for the crabs to munch on, but for me personally it's not worth the risk.

    2) Unless you have tiny crabs, a good depth of substrate would be 3 to 6 inches deep. Crabs love to bury and explore and tunnel in the substrate, and the depth is especially important when they molt.

    3) It isn't too important to measure the substrate temp as it is to measure the overall tank temp and have the tank consistant (or as consistant as possible)
    The crabs like to be able to choose area's of the tank to suit their desires at that time. Some will seek out a slightly cooler part of the tank and others will choose brighter and warmer.

    4) A good range of humidity is 75-80%. Some species require a higher degree of humidity, but most do well in this range. I keep mine at 78% and the temp around 78*
    If the humidity range is too low, a crab will experience distress to it's gills and they can dry up causing the crab to die.
    If the humidity is too wet, a crab can literally drown because the gills are way too wet.

    5) Marine grade salt like is used in Salt Water tanks is what is needed for the crabs salt water mixture. A half of cup of salt to a gallon of water is good. I use the API Tap Water Conditioner (2 drops per gallon) found in WalMart and elsewhere. I have well water but I still use it. Start Rite or Stress Coat is not recommended for the crabs normally. It can coat the gills causing distress. The only exception that I know of is when the crab has a terrible case of mites, then it can be added to the bath water to help kill them. But caution has to be taken.

    6) Another thing crabs need are deep enough water dishes. One inch isn't really deep enough because they like to bathe and clean out their shell. Mine are 21/2 inches deep and are sufficient for mine. I've only had one crab that would totally submerge himself in the water. The rest are content to sit and "soak".
    When they are getting ready to molt, they will fill their shell with as much water as possible, especially with salt water. The salt helps with the molting process, and when you see a crab visiting the water dishes more than usual, that's usually a good sign that he is preparing for a molt. This is true for eating too.
    They can molt anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months, give or take, depending on the crab size. I had one down for almost three month's, worried sick he was dead, but I restrained myself from digging him up and then one day VOILA---there he was!

    7) Another thing that isn't necessary is weekly bathing. They will bathe in the water dishes if they feel the need to do so. They are Land Hermit Crabs and unlike their Marine cousins, they aren't that fond of water. The bathing can sometimes stress them out, so unless there is a problem, I wouldn't bathe them once they are in the tank.

    Well, I know this is lenghtly but I hope I've helped answer some of your questions.
    Feel free to ask, to participate, to post pictures, etc.
    Read through some of the Topics located on the front page when you get a chance. Some GREAT info in there. :flower:
     
  3. Poppacrab

    Poppacrab Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Hi Jellybean..Thanks for the swift reply and the suggestions. I will take them to heart and get the little one's set soon. I'd like to go all Eco-earth as substrate,mine is a mix of a little of the no-no calci-sand and mostly Eco-earth. As soon as possible I will go to pure EE. My main concern is them not taking food. Little to no interest in food. I feed well and healthy,and still no takers..Maybe just destressing? I'm going to keep food and waters fresh and just let them chill for awhile. Getting them set-up and constant "Interior Decorating"..They have to be tired of me,lol..Thanks again..Jon
     
  4. Frostfire

    Frostfire "Never Molted"

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    I would definitely get rid of the calci sand, before I knew what I was doing as a crabber I had a set up much like your grand daughter had but with calci sand. My poor Misty died of drowning because she dug down and it hardened like cement, filling her tunnel with water while she molted and she couldn't get back up:(

    And no, you definitely shouldn't ever mist their gills directly, as this would be extremely unnatural and stressful.

    Congrats on your crabs!
     
  5. timebandit

    timebandit (Large Crab)

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    Dont worry about them not eating. I have 2 that havent molted yet have been eating very little . This is a yearly thing that they have done. I think it is to shrink a little before they molt so they can shed their exo easier.After that they will pig out. Salt water is very important for molting so if they are spending time in the water that is a good siqn. Dont bath.Deeper substrate.
     
  6. Mckenny

    Mckenny "PM Jason For Custom Title"

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    I forgot to mention that they may be getting ready to molt very soon and if that's the case they may not be as concerned with the food as they are with the waters. Make sure they have fresh waters and just keep an eye on them. Also if it were me I wouldn't handle them at this time so as not to distress them in case they are getting ready to molt.
     
  7. Poppacrab

    Poppacrab Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Thank you all for the help,much appreciated! :thanks:
     
  8. scoobdoo

    scoobdoo "PM Jason For Custom Title"

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    also sometimes crabs get tired of the same foods over and over to.. you can try organic baby foods from walmart, take the rest pour in a baggie and freeze then when you want some break it off. I look for ones that just have what is labeled on the front as the ingredients on the back.. I give them a little cheese for a treat now and then, whole grain cereals, walnuts, organic peanut butter, there is nothing wrong with giving them the dry hermit commercial food that you buy from the hermit crab patch or ones that you get at the pet store you just have to watch what is in them. you can also buy bird stuff for them to like I found a all natural fruit treat mix my crabs love! no additives or preservatives in it and also health nut bars that are organic humans eat to they love! don't for get cuttle bone in the bird section, it's good for them!!! Like I said a good place to go to is here to shop for foods!!! But they can eat lots of things to.
     
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