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Old 11-28-2012, 12:49 AM   #1 
fgradowski
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Hermit Crabs?

Does anyone have a hermit crab? I'm just curious about maybe getting one. I've been looking up info all night. I'm wondering the cost of initial start-up for the tank and everything needed. Also, the cost of maintenance. It's my understanding that you have to throw the substrate out when you clean? Does this get expensive? I'm really just interested in the costs right now.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:15 AM   #2 
guardianfyre
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I don't currently have one, but I did have one as a teenager. Herman the Hermit. lol

List of necessary supplies:
10 gallon tank w/ screen lid. Don't go for the hermit crab starter kits. Those things are way too small for even a little hermit crab. Kinda like betta bowls for bettas. Cost for new: $14 for the tank, $11 for the screen.

Under tank heater. This is a must, though most people will tell you it's optional. Hermit crabs come from Florida, Louisiana, and the Carribean. They're tropical. Tropical animals need heat. Don't stick it under the tank though. The crabs burrow and can burn themselves on hot glass. Stick it to the back of the tank to raise the ambient temperature. Cost: $20-$25

Substrate. You'll see some people recommend gravel and sand as substrates. Don't do it. They need humidity and you'll never get that with them. Try a wood bark or cypress mulch bedding. Your crab(s) will thank you. Yes, you'll need to throw it out when you clean the tank, but you'll only need to do that once a month (unless you overcrowd the tank). They're not very dirty animals. You will want to stir the bedding once a week to keep it from getting compacted. Cost: $5-$15 depending on what substrate you choose.

Water dish with natural sponge. This is for fresh dechlorinated water. They can't drink water directly. Instead they get it from eating things with high water content. In the wild, that's mostly seaweed, raw fish, etc. In captivity, they tear pieces of the sponge off and eat that. Cost: $1-$10 for the dish, $3-$5 for the sponge

Food dish and food. Don't leave a lot of food in the dish. The humidity in the tank will make it go bad quickly. 4-5 pellets at a time is all that needs to be in there. Cost: $1-$10 for the dish, $3-$10 for the food

Water declorinator. You probably already have this for your betta(s). You can use the same stuff, or get the reptile water conditioner that has electrolytes added into it. Cost: varies wildly

Salt. This is something that often gets overlooked. Hermit crabs need salt water baths. It helps to kill bacteria, parasites, and any other creepy crawlies that would hurt your crab. I'd recommend once weekly and outside the tank, but some people just leave a second water dish with salt water in it in the cage. In my mind, that's not safe because the crab crawling through the saltwater could contaminate its fresh water. Cost: $3 if I remember correctly...

Someplace to hide. It can be fancy or plain jane utilitarian. The crab won't care either way as long as he can hide inside it. Cost: varies wildly

Something to climb. We may not see them doing it since they're nocturnal, but hermit crabs are extremely active when they're awake. They need to be able to move around, and one of the ways they like to move is vertically. Again, it doesn't need to be anything fancy, and, if you do it right, you can combine the "someplace to hide" and "something to climb". Just make sure the cave or whatever has a rough enough surface, ands voila, two for the price of one. Cost: varies wildly

Extra shells. Get at least two. Crabs can be picky about the type of shell they'll live in, so provide them with choices. It's not the size of the shell that's important; it's the size of the opening. You won't want to get the extra shells until you get the crab. Look at the size of the opening in the crab's current shell and find extras that are between 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch larger. Cost: $3-$5 a shell if bought individually. I'd recommend getting the bulk bags, though. PetSmart has these in with their fish decorations or you can find them at craft stores. Usually costs $6 and you'll have a bunch of shells in varying sizes.


That's all I can think of that you have to have. There are plenty of extras that you can get, but that's all they are. Extras.

BTW, crabs love fresh veggies/fruits. We used to give the ones at the store shredded sweet potato, shredded carrots, strawberries, and lettuce.

Last edited by guardianfyre; 11-28-2012 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:57 AM   #3 
fgradowski
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Thanks! That was very helpful. Every place I looked said to place the heater under the tank, but on the side does make a whole lot more sense! Do you have to shred the veggies for them or can I just give them a baby carrot and have them munch on that? I had estimated it would be around $100...probably more because I spoil my pets.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:23 PM   #4 
finnfinnfriend
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It is good to keep hermit crabs in groups, or at least a pair. They are very social :)
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:09 PM   #5 
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Hard vegetables, like carrot, will need to be shredded. Softer veggies, like leafy greens, can be left whole or torn.
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