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Should I bathe my crab?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by vckums, Jan 29, 2006.

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  1. vckums

    vckums Moderator

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    Should I bathe my crab, and how often should I do it?

    Bathing practices are under review. There are currently two methods of bathing employed, and there are several reasons why you may, or may not want to consider giving your crabs a bath. In most of these circumstances, the water you use to bathe your crabs must be at least fresh water treated with a DECHLORINATOR. Chlorine in tap, well or some bottled water can seriously harm your crab. It “burns” their sensitive gills, causing them to suffocate. Other additives such as Ocean Salt Water mix and “Stress Coat” are also commonly used. Ocean Salt Water can be used for bathing a crab that has had a recent injury, to prevent infection. If the crab suffers from an infection, see Treating Ailments FAQ. “Stress Coat” is used to provide a slime covering, preventing serious dehydration through the exoskeleton. It has been thought of as a way to restore essential oils. It has since been determined that oils are better replenished in the long-term, by providing the required Omega fats in their diet. Visit http://www.epicureanhermit.com for more details on a proper diet.

    *- Caution: The use of “Stress Coat” has come under scrutiny recently. It is made from Aloe extracts, which contains a potassium blocker when ingested. It has not been verified if it can be harmful to bathe your crabs in.

    *- Caution: Never use table salt for bathing, drinking water or added to food. Anti-caking agents contained in table salt are harmful to your crabs.

    Methods:

    1) Bathing your crab manually:

    - At regulated intervals you bathe the crab. Intervals commonly accepted are weekly, bi-weekly and monthly. Most owners adhere to the bi-weekly or monthly regiment.

    - Crabs are placed/submerged in the water. Usually they will emerge from their shell and walk around in the water. If they do not, do not let them stay submerged for more than 3 minutes! While some species may be able to sustain longer submersion, it is better to err on the side of caution. These are Land Hermit Crabs, and their gills are modified to breathe air, not water!

    2) Providing “Pools” for your crab to bathe themselves.

    - Recently, a movement to providing a more “natural” bathing process began. This practice requires you to have a tank large enough to accommodate substantially sized pools. (Either fresh dechlorinated and ocean salt water, or one of them) It is recommended if you have limited room for 2 pools, but can accommodate one, that you use ocean salt water for the larger pool. This is because crabs use this type of water for regulating their temperature. Please note you should provide easy access in and out of pools with the use of shells, glass beads, plastic plant materials or netting hanging within easy reach of your smallest crab.

    Reasons for Bathing Crabs:
    Outside of generally practiced methods, there may come a time when you have to employ a bathing technique. Understanding the reasons why you may have to bathe them will help in their overall care. The methods above show the two most common handling practices. They rely for the most part on the owner’s preference to crab handling. It is also good to have more than one method based on how you, the owner can supply and accommodate these methods. (Supplies, size of tank, etc.) It also allows for the different levels of ownership. (From hobbyist, to serious advocate) Here are the most common applications for bathing:

    New Crabs/ Introduction of new crabs into the main population.

    - Your new crab may have suffered seriously deficient conditions on his journey to you. Pests such as mites, in rare cases parasitic fly larvae, and dehydration are potential problems. Bathing your crab in dechlorinated water with Stress Coat can be beneficial to see your crab off to a good start. If he has mites, you may be able to see them in the water, or on the crab immediately after you remove them from the water. Stress Coat may “seal” your crab’s exoskeleton from further dehydration. (A temporary fix, which you will improve with an adequate diet)

    - Introducing a new crab to an existing population of crabs is similar to new crab bathing. In this case though, you bathe some of your existing crabs first, and then use the same water to bathe the new crab in. This will help the new crab “smell” like the existing group, and can reduce any potential territorial disputes initiated by your existing crabs. This author hopes that you have considered prior to this introduction, the benefits of isolating new crabs! (see Should I ISO my crabs? FAQ) Another deviation to this process involves the more natural approach. People providing pools for their crabs within the tank, dip the new crab in the pool prior to releasing it in the tank. This serves the same purpose as the former reason.

    Treatments:

    - Your crabs from time to time may need to have injuries treated, or a mite infestation treatment. Bathing in special herb baths can assist to alleviate infections, injuries and with inconsistent results, mites. For mite treatment see Dealing With Mites FAQ.
    For injuries and infections see Treating Ailments FAQ.

    Socializing:

    Some people have come to enjoy bathing their crabs routinely. This provides them the opportunity to observe individual crab’s behavior, and can become a “bonding” experience. This is dependent on your general belief system in handling, and to a degree, on the response of your crabs. Some like to be bathed, some don’t.


    Information provided by:
    Coenobita Research
    http://www.coenobita.org/index.php
     
  2. Crabby1

    Crabby1 "Third Molt, A Success"

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    I don't bathe my crabs, only when I first bring them home from the store to check for mites. :icon_smile: I have large enough water dishes so they can do it themselves if they want to.
     
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