Some Hermit Crab Questions...

Aqua 59

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Hello everybody, all of my crabs have been doing well, and I just had some questions:

  1. My crabs are housed in a tank with gravel for substrate, as an experienced hermit crab keeper told me that sand gets in their shells and for me to use gravel instead. Is this a good substrate or should I switch to sand?
  2. Are plastic aquarium decorations safe for crabitat use?
  3. I have seen glass hermit crab shells, allowing you to view their anatomy which seems really cool! I am willing to mail-order but I couldn't find any on eBay. Where can I purchase some?
  4. Can I keep strawberry hermit crabs with purple pincher hermit crabs?
  5. What size range of crabs can be housed together? The little ones will be eaten by the bigger ones, I know that, but what's the limit of size differentiation allowed by larger crabs?
  6. What kinds of hermit crabs are easiest to breed/raise?
  7. Where can I get teeny tiny hermit crab shells?
  8. Can they be housed in large colonies, of say over twenty if the tank is big enough? And if housed in such large numbers will they breed more often?

Thank you!
 

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Aqua 59 said:
Hello everybody, all of my crabs have been doing well, and I just had some questions:

  1. My crabs are housed in a tank with gravel for substrate, as an experienced hermit crab keeper told me that sand gets in their shells and for me to use gravel instead. Is this a good substrate or should I switch to sand?
  2. Are plastic aquarium decorations safe for crabitat use?
  3. I have seen glass hermit crab shells, allowing you to view their anatomy which seems really cool! I am willing to mail-order but I couldn't find any on eBay. Where can I purchase some?
  4. Can I keep strawberry hermit crabs with purple pincher hermit crabs?
  5. What size range of crabs can be housed together? The little ones will be eaten by the bigger ones, I know that, but what's the limit of size differentiation allowed by larger crabs?
  6. What kinds of hermit crabs are easiest to breed/raise?
  7. Where can I get teeny tiny hermit crab shells?
  8. Can they be housed in large colonies, of say over twenty if the tank is big enough? And if housed in such large numbers will they breed more often?

Thank you!
1) Who exactly told you that?
That's not even close to being correct, they thrive on dirt or sand, not course rock.
I am ashamed that somebody told you that, it's not your fault.

2) Yes, most plastic, felt, or rock decorations are safe to use.

3) I don't like the idea of glass shells, just because it's cruel.
There's nothing wrong with them as long as they are the right shape.
I haven't seen them myself, but I heard a while back about someone who sold them, I'll try and find them for you.

4) Yes, strawberry crabs are less common, and harder to take care of.
I am not even physically ready to care for them myself.

5) Well, mostly all sizes big and small.
If you don't have any aggression, you won't have problems with large and tiny crabs.
When you offer a good protein filled diet, they most likely will not harm each other.

6) I would have to say Coenobita Clypeatus, the Purple Pincher.
Although breeding is not easy no matter the species, it's not a common thing for a crab to breed quickly.
You can breed, it just takes time, knowledge, and patience.

7) Try checking on websites for shells, like Deltona Seashells, or Naples Seashells.
Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, and Michael's have bags of shells that may have a few usable shells in them.

8) Yes, most certainly.
I knew someone who has well over eighty crabs but has lost contact with me.
If conditions are correct, breeding will take its course. I don't believe there is a way to manually breed crabs.

I hope this answered your questions
 
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Aqua 59

Aqua 59

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Fanatic said:
1) Who exactly told you that?
That's not even close to being correct, they thrive on dirt or sand, not course rock.
I am ashamed that somebody told you that, it's not your fault.

2) Yes, most plastic, felt, or rock decorations are safe to use.

3) I don't like the idea of glass shells, just because it's cruel.
There's nothing wrong with them as long as they are the right shape.
I haven't seen them myself, but I heard a while back about someone who sold them, I'll try and find them for you.

4) Yes, strawberry crabs are less common, and harder to take care of.
I am not even physically ready to care for them myself.

5) Well, mostly all sizes big and small.
If you don't have any aggression, you won't have problems with large and tiny crabs.
When you offer a good protein filled diet, they most likely will not harm each other.

6) I would have to say Coenobita Clypeatus, the Purple Pincher.
Although breeding is not easy no matter the species, it's not a common thing for a crab to breed quickly.
You can breed, it just takes time, knowledge, and patience.

7) Try checking on websites for shells, like Deltona Seashells, or Naples Seashells.
Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, and Michael's have bags of shells that may have a few usable shells in them.

8) Yes, most certainly.
I knew someone who has well over eighty crabs but has lost contact with me.
If conditions are correct, breeding will take its course. I don't believe there is a way to manually breed crabs.

I hope this answered your questions
Okay, thank you! I had no idea that this was not ideal substrate for the crabs. Will coconut hull bedding work?
 

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Aqua 59 said:
Okay, thank you! I had no idea that this was not ideal substrate for the crabs. Will coconut hull bedding work?
Yes, EcoEarth, or PlaySand are popular choices.
 
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Aqua 59

Aqua 59

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By the way, it's been a while since I got my new crabs and they are going to have to molt soon. How much bedding should I get? I really don't want them to eat each other, they all have names and are very special. I am getting an under-tank heater soon, for the crabs, it's summer so they don't really need it, but I am going to get one anyway to raise the humidity. I was told they could be housed at room temperature and don't need a heater. But I know they need some more humidity so I am going to get them one.
 

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Aqua 59 said:
By the way, it's been a while since I got my new crabs and they are going to have to molt soon. How much bedding should I get? I really don't want them to eat each other, they all have names and are very special. I am getting an under-tank heater soon, for the crabs, it's summer so they don't really need it, but I am going to get one anyway to raise the humidity. I was told they could be housed at room temperature and don't need a heater. But I know they need some more humidity so I am going to get them one.
You need at least six inches or three times as deep as your largest crab is big. It needs to mixed with dechlorinated fw, or msw to sand castle consistency.
 
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Aqua 59

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Your opinion, please- is mondo grass safe for hermit crabs to have in their terrarium?
 

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Aqua 59 said:
Your opinion, please- is mondo grass safe for hermit crabs to have in their terrarium?
I haven't tried it, my research says that it may be okay.
 

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Many have tried glass shells over the years, crabs will not seek them out since they are heavy - and probably a little difficult to hold on to. Crabs that wear these shells often don't do it by choice - like crabs in painted shells - and will quickly switch out... but it does make a nice side table decoration!

Btw, if we're looking at statistical data, the easiest species to breed and raise would be the c. violascens, since this species numerically has had the most successful attempts IMO.
If we're talking about caring and raising the young, then I would suggest c. Variabilis (not sourced in the US currently) and I also believe c. compressus; since off memory both have an abbreviated life cycle.


Edit: substrate can also be mixed with saltwater, which some people like to do as it helps inhibit mould growth.
 

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Glass shells are cruel purely because hermit crabs use their shells to hide in, a clear shell offers them no comfort and stresses them out even further. And with the addition of a heat lamp or heat mat the glass gets hot and can actually burn and kill the crab.

Gravel is a no no but I do understand why someone told you not to use sand. There’s been a few keepers that have had issues with wet sand drying and hardening in the crab’s shell, trapping them inside to die. That’s why most of us use either eco earth on its own, or eco earth mixed with play sand.

Even if you find crabs that are relatively the same size, fighting may still happen. My smallest crab killed my largest crab just because the larger one wouldn’t let him change in to a new shell. He would scuttle his way over and take the shell away from the smaller crab. There were more than enough shells offered to them, but larger crab wasn’t having any of it. Smaller crab must of just snapped one day :dead:
 

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BReefer97, the only time sand hardens in shells and causes issues is if its 'hermit crab sand' or 'calcisand' (and any deviations from them). Playsand will not lead to those issues mentioned, and never heard anyone have problems with straight playsand besides it being supersaturated even though the top couple of inches are dry(ish).
 

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aussieJJDude said:
BReefer97, the only time sand hardens in shells and causes issues is if its 'hermit crab sand' or 'calcisand' (and any deviations from them). Playsand will not lead to those issues mentioned, and never heard anyone have problems with straight playsand besides it being supersaturated even though the top couple of inches are dry(ish).
Calcium sand should be illegal lol I see it recommended for so many things, especially bearded dragons, and apparently it’s not good for anything! I would still personally use a mix of sand and eco earth because sand harbors bacteria much easier than coconut husk, and sand would require you to clean it monthly. My crabs are in a bioactive enclosure with a clean up crew of springtails on just eco earth - I don’t think you could use a clean up crew if you were just to use sand. But that’s a completely different story
 

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BReefer97 said:
Calcium sand should be illegal lol I see it recommended for so many things, especially bearded dragons, and apparently it’s not good for anything! I would still personally use a mix of sand and eco earth because sand harbors bacteria much easier than coconut husk, and sand would require you to clean it monthly. My crabs are in a bioactive enclosure with a clean up crew of springtails on just eco earth - I don’t think you could use a clean up crew if you were just to use sand. But that’s a completely different story
A CUC can work on sand, I've done it in the past and the springtails and isopods have had no issues doing their thing.

All substrates will harbour bacteria, any surface has bacteria- including your skin! There will probably be very little difference between using sand vs EE bacterial wise.

And cleaning sand monthy.... was something I never did. Things would break down fine in there.

My only issue with sand is that its terrible at water distribution, since I have found that while to top may be dry, as you get further down, it gets wet... and also doesn't give a humid boost like EE, but on the flipside straight sand does retain tunnels a lot better than straight EE (and EE does dull/stain things overtime).

But in saying all that, I would still suggest either and both! You can't really go wrong with either IMO.
 

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