23 May 2012 More details have been added to the Species section.
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What is shell rot?
Shell rot appears as black or dark green patches that have eaten away parts of a hermit crab's exoskeleton. It most often occurs on the legs, but may also affect claws and the body. It is unknown whether shell rot can affect humans, but it may spread between hermit crabs. There has not been a lot research conducted on shell rot, but it may affect other crustaceans such as lobsters. Hermit crabs can free themselves from shell rot by moulting.
Where did the shell rot come from?
Hermit crabs can catch shell rot from eating contaminated seafood such as oyster shells. Make sure you boil oyster shells in hot salt water before giving them to your hermit crabs. Hermit crabs can also catch shell rot or other diseases from a dirty tank, so you should consider cleaning out the tank at least once a year by washing and baking the substrate and rinsing the shells and climbing ornaments. Do not use detergent.
Should I let my moulter eat infected parts of their shed exoskeleton?
If the moulter is buried, then do not disturb them. The moulter may even avoid eating infected parts of its shed exoskeleton, so you should not need to worry too much. If the hermit crab moulted above the surface, remove the bits of infected exoskeleton and throw them out.