Crab Shopping! Before we get started you must know hermits are highly sensitive during the transition of being purchased. They will need plenty of space to unwind and get use to their new krabitat. After welcomed to their new home try not to handle your crab for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Some hermits can suffer from Post-Purchase Stress (PPS) from poor environments and rough shipping conditions. They can lose limbs, become lethargic and even die! It is vital they have plenty of space and that they be left alone. If you MUST handle them, be very gentle.
It is ideal upon arrival to have the krabitat ready with the proper humidity, temperature and environment. Most crabs like to have a snack ready before they molt or burrow down to de-stress. Never dig up your crab. Some are down from weeks to months. They need this time to recover lost limbs, heal and grow their exoskeleton without being disturbed. You can learn more about molting here. Resist the urge to dig up your crab. Your hermit will thank you.
- Hermit Enclosure
- Substrate or Sand
- Natural Sea Shells
- Food Dish
- Fresh Water and Saltwater Pools
- Heat Source
- Digital Gauge
- Hermit Friends
A glass tank aquarium. Opt for aquariums and not terrarium tanks. Water tanks are more supportive of holding the weight of the sand. If you are not in the position to acquire a tank at the moment for whatever reason (simply unprepared), you can arrange a plastic tote. The enclosure should be sealed to contain moisture for your hermits to breathe through their modified hardened gills. They need humidity to breathe, otherwise they will slowly suffocate. It’s important to not have them out of their tank for very long or often.
Regarding size, the bigger the tank the better! For comfortable space 7-10 gallons per crab. Consider adding a few extra gallons. Your crab will be growing and you can hold on upgrading to a bigger tank for a little longer. 30 gallons is the proposed minimum, 40 gallons if you own large or jumbos.Crabs need plenty of room provided to molt, climb, exercise, and tunnel. They need pools to bathe and hiding spots for when they want some time alone.
It’s a good idea to have a spare 10 gallon tanks. Sick crabs do best recovering in isolation (ISO) without being disturbed.
Substrate or Sand
Play sand or clean all-purpose sand, the sand must be course and not fine. You can find this at any hardware store for less than $5. Eco Earth (coco fiber). Both must be mixed, not separated. 5:1 is (50 lbs of sand, 3/4 brick or bag). Your sub will need to be half the height of the tank.
More on substrate click here!
Natural Sea Shells
In the wild shell shopping is a hot real estate market. Hermits will gather to steal a shell from a current owner if there is a short supply of options . This act is called shell envy. The shell shop should at least have 5 appropriate shells for each hermit. Eventually you will need 10 shells per crab.
If you have purple pinchers they prefer shells with a round opening like turbos. If you own Ecuadorians, that have a flatter thorax, they prefer shells with a D opening like snail shells or whales eye. Having the proper opening will be comfortable for your crab. Having both options and several sizes is encouraged. It is important to upgrade shells as they grow.
For more on shells and sizes click here!
Easiest purchase. I like ceramic dishes for fresh foods because they are easier to clean. You can improvise with wide plastic lids to serve a variety of foods.
Fresh and Saltwater Pools
Your pool should be deep enough for your largest crab to submerge in. It is very important to have a ramp so your little ones can crawl out without a problem. Although they can spend a long time underwater they are LAND hermit crabs.
It’s less stressful when your crabs bathe themselves. They will do so often, before or after a molt to refresh their shell water. Active crabs like Ecuadorians or Strawberries are likely to go for a swim and enjoy playing with bubblers.
Fresh Water Conditioner
The chlorine in tap water is harmful and can irritate your crab. Highly recommended safe brands are Tetra Marine, Redsea Saltwater, Instant Ocean (salt water) and Kordon Amquel Plus, Seachem Prime, Aqua Safe water conditioner (fresh water). Do not use aquarium salt for fish water tanks or table salt.
Quantities of Instant Ocean and Dechlorinated Water
- 16 cups (1 gal) water – 1/2 cup IO
- 8 cups water – 1/4 cups IO
- 4 cups water – 2 tbs (1/8 cup) IO
- 2 cups water – 1 tbs IO Breakdown for mixing up small amounts of Instant Ocean:16 cups (1 gal) water – 1/2 cup IO8 cups water – 1/4 cups IO4 cups water – 2 tbs (1/8 cup) IO2 cups water – 1 tbs IO
Pellets lack nutrients and can make your crab prone to cannibalism and contains ethoxyquin, which is a molt inhibitor. To prevent that from happening, they will need a proper diet. Hermits can eat almost anything. Your hermits’ diet should consist of fruit, vegetables, grains, protein calcium and vegetation. Adding honey and natural oils can also promote a healthy molt. You will find more information on their Diet on Safe List and Unsafe List.
In the wild hermits are scavengers. They will feast on whatever they can find, including carrion. It’s ok if you let the food go bad for a couple of days. Some prefer it!
Heating pads and heating tape. The pads are placed on the side of the tank above of the substrate, not on the bottom or beneath the tank. The Temperature required is 78° – 87°F.
It is important to monitor your krabitat’s temperature and humidity. If the temperature or humidity drops for long periods of time that will cause crabs to become extremely lethargic, increase the likelihood of molting issues, and even death. High temperatures for prolonged periods of time can also be uncomfortable conditions for your hermit. Digital gauges like AcuRite are most accurate and can be found at Walmart, hardware stores or online. to measure both temperature (thermometer) and humidity (hygrometer). Suitable temperatures 78° – 87°F. Humidity should be higher than the temperature at a happy RH 80%+.
Busting the myth behind hermits crabs being solitary in nature is *drum roll*… FALSE!
Hermits are very social and thrive living in colonies. In the wild they are known for creating teams to search for food and forming gangs to steal shells from other crabs. Just to give you an idea how much they rely living in numbers.
Although these socialites enjoy company too many crabs can be overcrowding
- Micro to Small – 5-6 gallons
- Medium to Large – 7-9 gallons
- Jumbos: 10 gallons
Hermits can live with different species. They feel more comfortable with another crab of their kind. Smaller crabs can live with bigger hermits. It’s advised to supervise the tank introducing new hermits. Some crabs won’t get along at the get go. Its good to keep an eye on how they react to their new guest. It is normal to have a territorial response. Do not be alarmed if they have antenna wars or leg sparring. Hermit colonies are social and their hostile behavior is brief.
If you suspect to have a case of hermit bullying click here!
For further information visit Hermit Crab Owners/Care_Guide