The Ultimate Hermit Crab Care Guide for Curious Crustaceans

The Ultimate Hermit Crab Care Guide for Curious Crustaceans

Hermit crabs are a home aquarium favorite. They're easy to care for, resilient, and tons of fun to watch go about their day. Young pet owners and beginner fish tank enthusiasts will especially enjoy adding a few of these little guys to their aquatic household. Learn more about hermit crab care essentials, what you'll need for a great tank setup, and how to make sure life is always better under the sea.

Hermit Crab Habitat

Build the perfect home for your new friend by getting to know a hermit crab's natural habitat. These little guys don't need much, but they do require a few tank basics to stay happy and healthy. A 10-gallon with a sturdy lid to prevent escape artists is sufficient for a colony of 1-10 hermit crabs. The temporary travel tanks you might bring your little friend home in are not suitable for long term habitats, but they do make great isolation tanks in case of trouble in hermit crab paradise.

When assessing tank materials, opt for insulating glass to trap the humidity.

Substrate is the most important part of a hermit crab's habitat. These little guys love to burrow! Be sure to provide them with plenty of sand, readily available at beaches, playground, and home improvement stores. Not only is this an inexpensive way to build and maintain your tank, but the rich calcium based deposits will help keep crabs healthy and thriving. Other options include coconut fiber based bedding common for many reptiles and crushed coral for a pop of brilliant color.

Steer clear of gravel and wood shavings for hermit crabs as these do not provide optimal enrichment and can even harm your colony.

Lighting and Temperature

The best temperature for hermit crabs falls between 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 27 degrees Celsius). Low temperatures can cause stress and illness, so it's best to invest in a reliable tank heater along with a low wattage night light for your sensitive nocturnal critters.  Undertank heaters work especially well when it comes to balancing and maintaining regularity throughout.

One unique hermit crab fact is that crabs "breathe" through gills, just like fish. This means that they rely on the humidity and moisture in the air around them. Ensure that tank humidity is always around 70 to 80 percent so your colony can breathe easy. 

If you notice one of your hermit crabs is attempting to change shells, providing extra humidity in the form of a lukewarm mist from a spray bottle is a helpful way to keep crabs appropriately hydrated during their big move.

Food and Fun

When it comes to providing the best menu for your hermit crabs, stick with high quality, nutritionally balanced pellets. Offer pellets and fresh water in a small, shallow, sturdy dish. You'll notice your hermit crab visiting their "buffet bar" a few times a day. You'll also want to provide hermit crabs with a separate salt water dish for their regular "spa baths." This will ensure your crabs are absorbing plenty of moisture and saline.

Hermit crabs love to climb! Provide your little friends with enrichment in the form of logs, driftwood, choya wood, ladders, rocks, and slopes. This will mimic their natural habitat and encourage exploration. Their antics are fun to watch for display aquariums! Sea sponges and moss are also great toys to offer crabs. These cool decor items absorb humidity from the air around them and add an extra boost of hydration as well as providing some environmental stimulation.

Still a bit crabby over prepping your aquarium? Don't stress! Ask our experts for all your tank setup needs!

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