23 May 2012 More details have been added to the Species section.
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Why are there pests in my tank?
Pests will invade even the cleanest of tanks, so there is no single reason why your tank was invaded. You may want to read 'Guide to bugs you might find in your crabitat' to learn about the different types of pests you may find in your tank. According to the article, only phorid flies and certain species of mites are harmful to hermit crabs. No matter what type of pest you encounter, do not use insect spray as it may kill your hermit crabs too. You can only use insect spray to kill the pests' nest if it is very far away from the hermit crab tank.
How do I get rid of phorid flies?
Purchase a UV-emitting insect trap and place it a foot or two away from the tank. Open the tank lids to let the phorid flies out. They will be attracted to the UV light from the trap and get eletrocuted. The trap should also attract other flying pests. Dig up any buried hermit crabs and give them a lukewarm salt water bath (the water should feel neither hot or cold when you touch it with your wrist). Make sure you flush out their shell water. You might want to bathe each hermit crab a second time too in a new batch of lukewarm salt water in case any eggs or larvae are still attached to the hermit crabs. Throw out the old bedding or bake it and scrub the tank clean.
How do I get rid of mites?
Purchase some Hypoaspis miles predatory mites and release them into the tank. They will not harm the hermit crabs. Instead, they will prey on the other unwanted mites in the tank. Once the tank is free of pests and the predatory mites run out of food, they will eventually die and your hermit crabs will eat them. Alternatively, you can throw out the old bedding, clean the tank and start again. Be sure to give your hermit crabs two lukewarm salt water baths and flush out their shell water. Try to find where the mites' nest is and get rid of it to help prevent future attacks.
Should I dig up hermit crabs and give them a bath if the pests are not harmful?
No. If the pests are not harmful, then just release the predatory mites mentioned in the previous paragraph to eradicate them.