Low activity, low food intake; don't appear to be molt prep

Questions about very inactive hermit crabs on the surface.
Post Reply
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:40 pm
Gender: Female
Hermit crabs: 2
Total gallons: 50
Total tanks: 2

Low activity, low food intake; don't appear to be molt prep

Post by sammsw »

Hi y'all.

I'm new to crabbing and have had 2 PPs for about a month and a half. I had done a lot of research prior but have had to make many adjustments as we've gone along. While I know their habitat continually grows better suited for them (and definitely is miles above the pet store I rescued them from), I worry constantly that I'm not doing them justice. At this point doing research on my own is difficult because of the sheer amount of fine tuning that could be done to make them happier and healthier, so I've decided to join the forum to hopefully find some help for my lil Scooter and Scuttlebutt.

My main tank is 20 gallons and I do have an isolation tank, but it's only half prepared. I haven't had to use it yet. As stated before, I have two PP's and they are in shells with diameters of about 3/4" and 1"? I don't know exactly how to size them. They've been in my care for approximately seven weeks and they are given a variety of foods: pieces of grape, pineapple, apples, mango, honey, crushed almonds, sanddollars, cuttle bone; cork wood, organic baby food with no preservatives, green beans, raisins, red shrimp, dark green lettuces, etc, and a few goldfish flakes every few weeks as a treat. But to be honest they only seem to have taken the tiniest nibbles of apples, pineapples, and mango, and really only seem to be eating the commercial food that the store was giving them, which I bought in concern about how little they seemed to be eating (it's Gardner's Hermit Crab Food). I've been trying to wean them off of it but they seem to be doing very little movement throughout the day and night, and worry that part of it is due to their lack of eating (or what I perceive to be their lack of eating).

I use tap water with a water conditioner from Tetra called AquaSafe. It doesn't claim to remove all heavy metals. Damn. I also took the salt out of the box and placed it in bags but believe it was Instant Ocean (my receipt says IO, so I feel like that's right?). The crabs have large water containers for both salt and fresh with plenty of rocks and shells at the bottom to allow them to easily climb in and out, as well as air stones to help keep the water fresh, but I very rarely see them over there. At first they had shallower containers more central in their tank and when I handled them there was always shell water coming out. Now there rarely is. When I'm finished handling them I usually put them near the water/in the water container on the rocks, but they head straight back to their hidey holes.

On one side of the tank is and UTH and it is positioned about an inch above the substrate, which varies in depth from 4" to 6" (there is a decline to the water dishes). I've used a small amount of Reptilite Natural Calcium Substrate mixed with an amount of play sand from Home Depot. It's probably about a 1:5 ratio.

I did calibrate the hygrometer and found it was reading ten under. The tank varies between 75% and 90% humidity but usually stays hovering around 80%, but I have to mist 1 to 2 times a day, even with a glass top and air stones. I looked for a better/more accurate hygrometer at a pet store and they all seemed to be rather junky. The hygrometer is on the opposite end of the water dishes and is about and inch from the top of the 6" portion of the substrate (which is the end the crabs are always on). I haven't seen how to calibrate the thermometer? And I have wondered if my crabs are cold due to their behavior and that they stay on the side of the tank with the heater (which is also the side that the thermometer is on). It has been always between 78 and 80 degrees, but recently with some cooling in temperatures is falling between 76 and 78. I have attached a insulting poster board to the end of my tank without the heat and around the back half.

I currently only have the one temperature and hygrometer. I have bought 4 at this point and two got ruined when cleaning the tank (my bad) and one just plain sucks.

Basically my concern is the lack of movement and the lack of eating that I see. I do find them from time to time in the upper level of the tank and food and water do appear to be consumed (and poop produced, although that has slowed and then picked up again recently). So I would appreciate all your expert tips and advice on the best products to use to ensure the safety of my bbs! I'd like them to live nice long lives. =]

Thanks in advance!

(I have pictures but am currently also needing help with how to upload them.)
User avatar
Zoea III
Zoea III
Posts: 292
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:01 pm
Gender: Female
Hermit crabs: 6
Total gallons: 57
Total tanks: 1
Location: NSW

Re: Low activity, low food intake; don't appear to be molt p

Post by appps »

I have different crabs so can't offer too much advice on your particular ones but your setup sounds like you have all the basics covered.

They will hide a fair bit for the first few months till they get used to people walking past not being a danger. Are they in a busy area?

Mine also like a bit of cockatiel bird seed.
Carer of 5 Australian Land Hermit Crabs
Fili & Voldemort since 12/07/2011
Turbo since 29/09/2011
Frederickson & Kai 12/02/2012
and our new addition Stripey Ninja 25/10/2014

Our Crab tank setup & Journal -http://crabbycreatures.wordpress.com
Zoea II
Zoea II
Posts: 212
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:19 pm
Gender: Female
Hermit crabs: 11
Total gallons: 60
Total tanks: 3

Re: Low activity, low food intake; don't appear to be molt p

Post by Ginger »

For sizing, if you type "hermit crab sizing chart" into google images or into the web, it will come up predominantly with a target-like chart. This is the most common way of people for sizing their crabs (printing is best). I am agreeing with appps in that crabs are generally shy, I know quite a few people that were very surprised and also worried about this, but I consider it normal.
Post Reply