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I just got new crabs now what do I d0?

Discussion in 'The Welcome Rock' started by HERMEZ, Aug 30, 2008.

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    HERMEZ Moderator

    Dec 22, 2005
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    --Get the biggest tank that space allows - this is a serious addiction - then get a glass lid to fit it
    --food dish (I collect these, a mini addiction within the addiction)
    --2 water dishes big enough for your biggest hermie to submerge in (one for dechlor salt and one for dechlor fresh)
    --sand or compressed coconut bedding (do NOT use Bed-a-Beast) hermie needs enough sand to be 2x his height (I like to go even higher) and it should be moist to build a cave (but leave that to them)
    --hermies love to climb so get some fishing net , ladders and choya logs or whatever you can imagine. Keep metal and painted items out of your tank as its not good for hermie.
    --Hermies love to hide and they will want to hide for awhile when you first get them so they need huts or logs (no pine) to scurry under. You are a big scary predator until they get to know you.
    --Gauges you need a temp and humidity gauge about 2in above your sand level
    --extra shells that "fit" hermie so you will need to measure their BP (big pincher) to get an idea of size- generally have 3 per crab but when you have 50+ that gets crazy (oops not that many right away LOL)
    Extras that hermies like and you can add anytime are nets/hammocks-coral-air bubbler--trays-turtle docks--vines etc

    Lighting is essential crabs need day/night cycles 12/12- reptile hoods that carry uvb/uva rays are very helpful. Flukers hood is my very favorite but there are many more types out there. Clamp ons can work but to me have to be monitored more and can slip off sometimes but are great in a pinch (pun not intended--but works!) Lights should be a 5.0 (long bulbs) and up for best results - the night bulbs are called moon glos or something similar they do not disturb the nocturnal process of the crab....and provide warmth. Day glo etc is the name for day ones in smaller hoods. Lights are expensive BUT you can get them much cheaper at places like petguys.com// petdiscounters etc so shop around!

    Foods: AH let your mind go wild but NOT in the commercial food section of the pet store!! They carry preservatives that are not good for hermie so you can do your own thing by buying organic and or watching labels.
    Vicki (vckums) there are other hermie kitchens that sell their products too so look around and ask! But they need proteins (hard boiled eggs-shrimps-meat with no salt/seasonings-crickets-mealworms etc)
    Fruit they love a rotted/stinky piece of fruit but so do bugs so feed and remove next day right away- join this site Welcome To Epicurean Hermit! - Index and you have access to the safe food list which took years and trials to complie and is a wonderful place to share receipes!
    Fiber well its good for you and its good for them--all kinds of flowers/barks/woods hermie likes to eat...the list goes on
    You should always have on hand 2x salt water---when you get a new crab you should rinse the crab off with dechlor water to get the sand/ee off. Then you submerge the crab fully upside down in the 2x salt water.........they will either freeze up and hardly move or they will flip over and scramble to get out- you want to make sure the water gets way back in their shell and that they stay covered. When they are in the upside down position and they come out the water rushes to the back of the shell.........sometimes I will keep flipping them over as one time does not always work. Now some crabs may never come out- this can be a problem. You need to maybe do multiple baths or try the next day.
    I cant stress enough how important it is to check for mites. They will be so very very sneaky - I have had a crab bathed several times and still have mites - the more you listen to this advice the better off you and crabby will be.

    When the crab is now done the 5 minutes submerge you take him and put in him some fresh dechlor water- on the inital rinse bath I will sometimes add stress coat I usually wait to rinse the crab until I see what I find in the salty bath-

    Very carefully watch the water (try to look at the top where you can see it like a mirror). Make the water get very still........get a flashlight if you can. The mites will either be swimming around or may even be dead. If alive carefully stick a toothpick in the water near them-they will hop on trying to save themselves. Hold up to a light and study what they look like then smash the heck out of the varmit . Mites come in all colors- white-grey-red-black-brown etc. They will have 8 legs- now my eyes are bad being an old person here but even the best eyes can sometimes have trouble seeing them. When in doubt you can do another bath, The salt "generally" makes them release from the crab- you can get a stubborn mite- I now will give repeated salt baths if I find mites in the first bath- so I will start fresh all over again until I see no more- THEN you take some fresh dechlor water and if you saw mites add some stress coat. The stress coat will smother any mites that may be left on and or the eggs. This is the only time you can use stress coat.

    Now you have to wait 3-5 days and ISO the new crab. Then repeat the process, mite eggs take that long to hatch. If you feel good about the baths at this point you can offer clean substrate (if mites were found I only offer an inch of sand as it will need to be discarded) with a fresh clean tank and offer good foods etc for a week or two before adding to your main tank. I even give another bath at this point to be sure or if crab is not acting right I have been surprised at this stage ALSO!!!

    If the 2nd batch (3-5 days later) of baths show mites you have to repeat everything again.

    By doing this even though its a pain you will definately achieve a mite free crab and not harm your established colony. Some crabs may be so hurt by the mites they may not make it.

    The baths can be stressful but a mite infested crab will become very sick and cranky.

    People that just add new crabs after a quick dip in water are setting themselves up for a real headache someday. Nobody can ever be lucky enough to not meet up with a mite or two in crab keeping.

    ISO gives the crab a chance to de-stress - gain strength and will give YOU a chance to see if the crab has bugs/viruses and observe their behaviour- make sure they are in a quiet place with proper day-night cycles.

    As a matter of personal choice some people believe to gradually increase temps/humidity- I only do that with very bad cases.....I really dont have too many issues.
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