Borrowing Ideas for a good tank Molt

mrbonzai211

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
537
As an owner of exotic hermit crabs, I have been dealing with a problem that I have been trying to solve for almost a year. My (20g L) tank is limited in its substrate because I use an under ground heater and i also use calcisand substrate. Because of all this i've found that deepest substrate i can handle while providing enough heat for my Perlatus (Strawberries need 80 degree) is roughly a half inch of sand. Obviously this would cause a problem since the crabs need to borrow to molt. I am one of the people who only isolate their crabs if their sick because i think removing them and their scent from a tank breaks up the social network and cause the other crabs to treat the one out of iso as a passing interloper.Needless to say, more poor crabs have been having to go through above ground molts:wall: . Well (even though this may not be as original as i assume, i found a solution to keep my current tank set-up and also allow my crabs to borrow and molt like nature intended. All i did was take an old case of cd's, took the lid and filled it with bed-a-beast, broke off a couple cork bark ramps, and set myself up a little molt station in my crabitat. I can already tell my crabs are incredibly happy because our largest boy Apollo is already burying himself to start his long awaited molt. And i'm happy because Apollo (who is the largest hermit crab i have ever seen in captivity) is going to molt back the claw he lost while living at Petco!..... it's been four months since he started growing a new jelly limb but he's been pushing off his molt until today!{D
 

starmaiden

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
98
Um...you really shouldn't keep anything bigger than smalls in a 20L because if the problem with substrate depth. And a 20L isn't enough room for a C. perlatus anyway because they are a very active species which loves to climb and dig. They should be kept in at least a 40B if not a 75 gallon to get more height for climbing toys with at least 6 to 8 inches of substrate.

And a jumbo in a 20L! A Jumbo needs 10 to 12 inches of substrate in order to molt properly! And to have the straw and Jumbo in the same tank???:eek: How on earth do you manage to put the water dishes large enough for them to submerge, not to mention the extra shells and the extra large hideys big enough for a jumbo to fit??? :? A jumbo should be housed in a 40Bat least if not a 75 gallon like the straws because they love to climb too!

IMO: You need to get a bigger tank ASAP. Try craigslist. People are always getting rid of tanks for cheap on there. A 40B has more floor space than a 55 gallon which actually makes it bigger from a crab's perspective, but you may just want to go with a 75 gallon seeing that you have straws and a jumbo to provide the height for climbing that the 40B lacks. Still if all you have room for is a 40B, that is much better for your crabs than a 20L.

BTW: I know the 'official' crabs per gallon chart says 5 gallons for a jumbo, but just try putting two true jumbos in a 10 gallon tank and see how well it works! :eek:

And a suggestion to solve the heat problem: Try using redglo or moonglo lights in combination with your undertank heater. An undertank heater only heats the substrate directly above it. They really aren't very good for heating the air. You should be providing UV light on a 12 hour cycle for your crabs anyway, especially your straws which love and need to bask. There was the belief not too long ago that lights would somehow sunburn the crabs, but recent research has shown that crabs need UV light too. If you need more tips about setting up lights, wattages, and types, just PM me, I'd be happy to point you to links that could help. :)

If the lights dry out your tank too much, you can add a bubbler pool and/or spagnum moss pits to keep your humidity up.
 

mrbonzai211

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
537
IMO: You need to get a bigger tank ASAP. Try craigslist. People are always getting rid of tanks for cheap on there. A 40B has more floor space than a 55 gallon which actually makes it bigger from a crab's perspective, but you may just want to go with a 75 gallon seeing that you have straws and a jumbo to provide the height for climbing that the 40B lacks. Still if all you have room for is a 40B, that is much better for your crabs than a 20L.
I'm sorry, but this is an issue i think we're going to disagree with each other in. While i do agree that my perlatus could need some more room, i keep him busy by loading my tank with branches, stones, shells, and wood that i rearrange weekly to keep him happy and busy exploring. As far as the borrowing is concerned, I have always went with surface molts which my crabs have adapted very well to. In fact, i've had all but my two newest crabs go through successful molts and i've only lost one micro to a bad first molt and a small on his third molt because i failed to notice him hidden in a corner until that night when it was already too late (i leave them where they are and cover them with a closed off half coconut). I still havent brought myself to even think about replacing him yet and its already been several months and i still feel to guilty about letting him go like that. A long story short, my crabs have been my obsession for the last six months. I spent almost all my free time researching how to care for them on the Crab Street Journal and I've made every effort to make them as happy as possible. It takes a lot of effort to make things work but if you research enough and if you're creative enough you'll find an alternative way to care for your crabs. Seriously, there is no one right way to do things when you're taking care of an animal like this. I agree we do things different and I agree that we both have a tank full of happy and healthy (and i assure you they are all healthy) crab colonies. I have noticed that a lot of hard core collectors get elitist attitudes where they find methods of care that work for them and become convinced that its the only way things can be done and look contemptfully at those who dont follow their ways. Please don't be one of those people because we can all learn a lot more sharing and supporting one anothers ideas.
 

starmaiden

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
98
mrbonzai211 said:
I agree we do things different and I agree that we both have a tank full of happy and healthy (and i assure you they are all healthy) crab colonies. I have noticed that a lot of hard core collectors get elitist attitudes where they find methods of care that work for them and become convinced that its the only way things can be done and look contemptfully at those who dont follow their ways. Please don't be one of those people because we can all learn a lot more sharing and supporting one anothers ideas.
Okay. But you posted that you had been having problems and I offered a solution. Not sure your molting station is going to work. A jumbo takes 3 to 4 months to molt and needs to make a molt nest about 6 inches X 6 inches. What are your other crabs going to do meantime? :?
 

mrbonzai211

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
537
mrbonzai211 said:

Okay. But you posted that you had been having problems and I offered a solution. Not sure your molting station is going to work. A jumbo takes 3 to 4 months to molt and needs to make a molt nest about 6 inches X 6 inches. What are your other crabs going to do meantime? :?
My problem was only with my jumbo who has been refusing to molt, the solution i came up with and posted about was about how i solved that problem. As for the other crabs, the closest to his next molt is still at least a couple months away (their molt cycle is literally one right after another with only a break of about a week or so in between). As far as the 6x6 measurements, im going to have to disagree on this one. While that may be a natural behavior to borrow that far, it is not a necessity. A crab will happily molt under many conditions, and as i've already said, almost all of my crabs have done surface molts successfully and without incident. I'm not trying to start an argument, we just do things differently.... that's all. When i started my colony, i had to decide which molting technique i wanted to use and i sided with the surface molters because i feel like i have more control over the situation. It has worked very well, its just that i have one crabs who won't adapt so i am bending to his needs and not to my own. I just checked on him and he's already begun his pre-molt behavior. Anyways, I'll keep everyone posted on the subject and i'll provide some new pics of Apollo with his new claw grown in!
 

starmaiden

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
98
Surface molting is not considered a 'technique'. It's considered an emergency when it happens because its very unnatural, exposes the crab to risk of attack by tank mates, is very stressful for a crab, and many crabs don't survive multiple back-to-back surface molts. Crabs naturally need to burrow and dig anyway whether they are molting or not and you are taking away their ability to do that.

I went to CSJ and saw that you have not posted this topic on there. If you wish to share this with other crabbers, why have you chosen to post it on a board that is about Tarantulas, Scorpions, and other insects? Why not post about it on all the hermit crab forums out there? Here's two more to which I belong to get you started: Hermitcrabassociation.com, hermitcrabaddiction.net. There's also landhermitcrab.com and lots of Yahoo groups about hermit crabs. Why post about them in a forum where most people aren't interested?
 

Heather

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Messages
179
My problem was only with my jumbo who has been refusing to molt, the solution i came up with and posted about was about how i solved that problem.
It has worked very well, its just that i have one crabs who won't adapt so i am bending to his needs and not to my own. QUOTE]

Shouldn't you be 'bending' to his (and all of your other crabs) needs anyway?!?!?
:? :confused:

... if a crab can choose how and where it can molt, I am certain that it wouldn't be on the surface. In the wild they have the option to burrow and protect themselves from the various predators (including other hermit crabs.) If a crab in the wild were to molt on the surface, chances are it would never survive, it is their natural instinct to burrow. Visit any respectible Hermit Crab site and no one would ever agree with your 'technique.'

I too agree that the 20L seems far from an appropriate size for the crabs that you have described. A taller tank would certainly help you 'solve' the molting problem by allowing you to fill it with the appropriate amount of substrate... which should be at least twice as deep at the largest crab. This is a widely accepted fact among the responsible hermit crabbers (and I am not saying that you are not a responsible owner...)

Offering either EE or playsand or both is a personal choice that you can make, but forcing a surface molt is cruel, stressful and sad.

There are other heating options, the UTH isn't the only one, lights are a great choice and can be regulated to similate the natural warming and cooling patterns found in nature... the UTH is nice to give them a warm place to molt or hang out, but it in no way offers the proper heating on it's own. Now if your home is set to have higher temps, it would work nicely, even if you added another 10 inches of substrate... the crab could dig down and find the comfy temp range it wants to be in and successfully molt.

Neither Star nor I are 'elitists', but we do agree that one should give their babies (no matter what kind the are) the best home possible... those poor crabbies didn't asked to be plucked off the beach, thrown in some pet store, purchased and then be forced to live a life that suits the 'owner' and not that which is best for the crab :(

I am certain most here would agree that you should do what's best for the critter... use this as an example: You have T that requires warm temps and higher humidity to live a happy healthy life in captivity and then you make it's environment dry and cold because it's too much work to maintain the temps and humidity... What kind of life are you providing for your critter?

Just my thoughts....

Heather
 

mrbonzai211

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
537
I thought it through today and i agree with all of you. I thought i was doing alright with my crabs and it hurts to think that i'm making their lives harder then it has to be. So..... my tank now has 6-7 inches of substrate for borrowing. To keep some calcium in the tank i added a fourth bowl with calcisand for them to go along with the freshwater bowl, the oversized salt water bowl, and the food bowl. I apologize if i was rude to anyone, i've reformed my ways, and i hope i can have all of your forgiveness (and my crab's too, lol).
 
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