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very worried

Discussion in 'Emergency Care - 911.' started by ace, Jan 11, 2008.

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  1. ace

    ace Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Bought 5 hermit crabs for my 12 year old son about 7 days ago. We prepared for 2 weeks, reading and preparing a habitat for them. Yesterday, we found that one of the smaller ones was listless and not moving much, he had been very active in the days before, eating and drinking both fresh and salt water. When we picked him up his large pincher claw stayed behind. He was not buried down or pinned under anything. We removed the claw and placed him back in the same area. The next morning we found him turned over on his back still inside his shell dead. He smelled very bad and when we flipped him over he fell right out of his shell. Very worried about the other 4. Any ideas? The pet store will offer a replacement but I want to wait to see if anything is going to happen to the others.

    How long have you had the crab(s) in question?
    7 days

    Do you know what species they are? no

    Did you/Do you isolate new crabs? All are new

    Tank Size: 14 gallon

    Lid Type: plastic

    Placement of tank in your home: finished attic bedroom

    Substrate Used (moist or dry & depth): 3 inches mixture of calci- sand and brown substrate that was reconstituted with water

    Type of Gauges: Strip/Analog/Digital : Analog

    Did you test your humidity gauge for accuracy? no

    Placement of Gauges: Upper corner opposite side of heater

    Temperature and Humidity levels in your tank: Degrees % 75%F and 85-90% humidity

    Heating Source (if UTH how much of the tank does it cover and how much substrate is over it): 2-3 inches of substrate over 4 watt heater placed on underside of tank

    Lighting Source (type bulbs & wattage): Florescent, but rarely on.

    Do you have at least one area for each crab to hide? yes

    Is there any metal in your tank? no

    What types of climbing things/toys do you have in your tank? Plastic ½ log and cocohut

    What type of water do you use (dechlorinated tap/spring water)? Decholorinated tap

    If you use dechlorinating drops-which kind? unsure

    Do your provide fresh and salt water? If yes, what type of salt mix do you use? Provide both salt and fresh but unsure of what kind of salt mix

    Do you provide dishes for water or just sponges? Water and sponges +

    How many extra shells do you have for each crab? Only 2 extra shells

    Did you boil the shells prior to putting them in the tank? No

    Do you bathe your crabs? If yes, how often and what do you use to bathe them in? no

    Do you only handle your crabs with clean hands? yes

    How often do you handle them? Once daily

    Have they been exposed to toxins such as chemical/cleaning fumes, perfume, spray deodorant, etc? not since we have had them

    Do you allow your crabs to exercise outside the tank? no

    What types of foods do you feed? Pellets and hermit crab meal from pet store, along with apples and oranges and fish food flakes per pet store reccomendations

    What do you use as a calcium supplement? Calci sand
     
  2. HERMEZ

    HERMEZ Moderator

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    Im very sorry for your loss- as hard as it is - its a part of keeping crabs- your lil crab experienced PPS that is too many changes in his enviroments in a short period of time- that is 99% most likely not because of anything that you have done. They really go thru alot- PPS "lookout" is generally during the first month. Make sure you dont wait too long if you are able to get a refund- most places only give a week or 2.

    You really have lots more reading to do from your sheet above but its a good start. I will see if I can find the links you need there is too much to type. :)
     
  3. crazy4crabs

    crazy4crabs "Second Molt In Progress"

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    well after reading your tank description, i noticed a couple things that could be changed in your tank. if you would take a quick look at my website, Hermie Haven | you might find that you could make some improvement in your tank. like for instance the calci-sand mixture substrate. not a good idea since the substrate has to be wet and th calci-sand must stay dry or it gets moldy and gross.
     
  4. krackersmom2

    krackersmom2 (Large Crab)

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    I agree with the substrate response, but I doubt that killed the crab. Most likely PPS got him. I had it happen to one little guy a few days after I got him. I would recommend play sand that you can buy at your local hardware store as substrate. Make sure to moisten it with water, so that if you pack it into a measuring cup and dump it over, it holds it's shape (sand castle consistency). It makes for easy digging and will hold the shape for a molt cave. It also doesn't clump like the calci sand. You may also choose to use Eco Earth. Some other members like that as well, but it's a little costly. Also make sure to offer them fresh fruits and veggies...I don't remember if you stated that in your post...sorry.
     
  5. vckums

    vckums Moderator

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    I agree with everyone saying it's PPS. That's sometimes out of our control no matter how hard we try.

    Ditch the calcisand, go for playsand that specifically says safe for children. It comes in 50lb bags and is like $3-4. It will last a long time. You can use it seperately or mix it with the coco fiber stuff you have.

    Check out other peoples tanks in the pictures section, you can get ideas for your tank and what you need. You will need more shells, 4-5 per crab. There can never be enough shells LOL

    ENjoy the site and don't hesitate to ask any questions!
     
  6. ace

    ace Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Thank you everyone for your help. So far I have not lost any more crabs. I appreciate all the input. I am thinking I should have taken more time to learn about taking proper care of them. I relied on Petco and have found that I have gotten conflicting information depending on who I spoke with. I took the little guy back and received an in store credit the salesperson told me that they have "at least" one die every day. So I have to resist the temptation to go and "save" the ones that are still there. I'll be replacing the substrate today and putting in place the other suggestions I received. . Thanks again for your help.
     
  7. msdiamonddawg

    msdiamonddawg "Third Molt In Progress"

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    Hi Ace, and welcome! I just wanted to add my 2 cents also ... I know how hard it is when you first get started.

    A couple of things that stand out:

    Ditch the commercial foods ... all of them, especially pellets. Here is a link to aaaalllll the foods you can feed your crabs ... basically anything you eat for dinner works, minus any spices, etc .... epicureanhermit.com - Food List. If you search that site you will also find an inedible list. Print it out. Very useful!

    You will need a ton more shells for 5 crabs. They should have at bare minimum 2 each. What I did was just buy a ton at different sizes, shapes, types and put them in one corner. They go in and out as needed!

    The "once daily" touching should be a no-no for new crabs. We suggest a good one month hands-off approach. This really helps with stress levels, if you just leave them be and let them acclimatize to their new environment.

    Also, don't listen to the pet stores! lol ... :)
     
  8. ace

    ace Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Hi there
    Just a quick update, really in need of some reassurance if possible.
    We lost our 2nd hermit crab, so we are down to 3 out of the original 5. This last one died 13 days after purchase. He had always been the lethargic and slow one, never did see him eating or drinking like the others. My 12 year old son took it very hard, even with all the "preparing for the worst, hoping for the best" lectures.

    As for the remaining 3: We switched the substrate to about 4-4.5 inch deep sandbox sand, moistened it to "sand castle" texture. Humidity is staying at about 80%, temp is consistently at 76 degrees F. Put 8 extra shells in a basket and the remiaing three have switched shells immediately, one seems to have switched shells at least 2 or maybe three times in the past 3 days, is this normal?

    They seem to love the salt water. I have taken them off the commercial pellets and meal food and have switched to healthier, fresh alternatives. So far all they seem to really eat are the oranges? Should I be worried? They are not really interested in the shrimp or crawfish.

    I think we will just stay with the three for now to make sure we are doing it right. Then I was wondering if anyone could reccomend a place to get hermit crabs mail order?

    Bye the way these are my sons hermit crabs, and he goes by the name Ace, my name is Kim

    Can't thank everyone enough that this site exists, truly a blessing
     
  9. Yadokari

    Yadokari (Small Crab)

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    It's fine if they don't eat the meats you provide them. Hermit crabs know what they want/need and will pick at the food whenever they feel that they should. Just keep providing it and they'll eventually pick at it when the time is right. Mail order crabs are rather hard to find, I'm trying to find some myself and I'm out of luck because of the winter seasons. Is something wrong with your local pet shops? Mail order crabs are extremely expensive and can sometimes be more likely to die due to stress than ones bought in stores.
    Next...
    When you bought your crabs, were they shy upon picking them up? If you don't know, you can probably check with the 3 crabs you have left. Pick them up with one hand and have their shell hover over your other hand. If they come out within a few seconds, then they're not shy. If they stay in their shell for more than 20 seconds, then they're probably shy or stressed out. Either way, hermit crabs that tend to stay in their shell upon being picked up get stressed a lot more when handled. Therefore, stress might be the problem. On the other hand, active and bold crabs that pop out of their shell after a few seconds upon being picked up have a tendency of being able to withstand the stress of being handled. Even so, by no means am I trying to say that you should handle your crabs for extremely long periods of time. Have them crawl on your hand for a few minutes, put them back and get another or just call it a day.
    I'm just speaking from experience with my crabs. Other people may have a different solution.
     
  10. crabbycrazy2

    crabbycrazy2 "Second Molt, A Success"

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    I've just noticed a few other things that you mentioned in your first post. You mentioned a log and a hut. I have found better success w/ plastic plants and ivy vine in my tank. It gives them other places to hide when their above the sand. You can also look in the reptile sections of your local petstores for plastic plants and hideys/caves. Also, my crabs did alot better when I raised the temp. in my tank. It was around 76 degrees when I first started out. Now that I use a tank hood that holds incandescent light fixtures, the temps. stays at no lower than 80 and no higher than 85. I found that my crabs are a lot more active too. Plus, a more enjoyable experience w/ your new friends, when you can see them climbing on all the new plants. Also, if you look in your local Walmart/Target in the bathroom section you can find shower caddies w/ suction cups to hold moss in, the crabs love it! Moisten it w/ your salt water. You have to make sure the moss is the real deal, not pre-dyed green. You can also find this in the reptile section of your pet store. I found it to be alot cheaper getting it from Vicki's Store: NEW ITEMS - JANUARY - Hiawatha Moss Large Hope this helps, and sorry for the loss of your crab.
     
  11. crabbycrazy2

    crabbycrazy2 "Second Molt, A Success"

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    I've just noticed a few other things that you mentioned in your first post. You mentioned a log and a hut. I have found better success w/ plastic plants and ivy vine in my tank. It gives them other places to hide when their above the sand. You can also look in the reptile sections of your local petstores for plastic plants and hideys/caves. Also, my crabs did alot better when I raised the temp. in my tank. It was around 76 degrees when I first started out. Now that I use a tank hood that holds incandescent light fixtures, the temps. stays at no lower than 80 and no higher than 85. I found that my crabs are a lot more active too. Plus, a more enjoyable experience w/ your new friends, when you can see them climbing on all the new plants. Also, if you look in your local Walmart/Target in the bathroom section you can find shower caddies w/ suction cups to hold moss in, the crabs love it! Moisten it w/ your salt water. You have to make sure the moss is the real deal, not pre-dyed green. You can also find this in the reptile section of your pet store. I found it to be alot cheaper getting it from Vicki's Store: NEW ITEMS - JANUARY - Hiawatha Moss Large Hope this helps, and sorry for the loss of your crab.
     
  12. hammy1

    hammy1 Hi, I'm New Here!

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    it mite of been stress or mites so at night turn off the lights in the house take a flash light and hold far from one of the hermit crabs and look behinde the claw and if u see tiny bugs on 1 of them than it was mites that killed the other one
     
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