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FAQs about Hermit Crabs: Anemone Hermits

Related Articles: Hermit Crabs, Crabs, Marine Scavengers Fresh to Brackish Crabs

Related FAQs: Hermits 1, Hermit Crabs 2Hermit Crabs 3, & Hermit ID, Hermit Behavior, Hermit Compatibility, Hermit Selection, Hermit Systems, Hermit Feeding, Hermit Reproduction, Hermit Disease/Health, Land Hermit Crabs, Squat LobstersMicro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpMarine ScavengersCrustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,  
FAQs: By species: Calcinus laevimanus (Zebra, Left-handed Hermit), Clibanarius tricolor (Blue-Legs), Clibanarius vittatus (a common Gulf of Mexico hermit crab), Dardanus megistos (Shell-Breaking Reef, White-spot, Fuzzy Leg Hermit Crab)Paguristes cadenati (Scarlet, Red-Legged), Petrochirus diogenes (a Giant Hermit Crab), & Sponge/Staghorn/Coral house Hermits, Unknown/Wild-collected,

Unknown Anemone 5/19/10
Hi! This is my first time to ask a question here (I've pored over your site, though), so apologies if I mess up on protocol. You guys have a great site.
<Thank you Daniel>
First off, I live on a tiny little island on the equator in the middle of the Pacific; hopefully that helps for the ID. Recently, I got a Pagurus sp. (pollicaris or some visually similar species). Hitchhiking on its shell were a group of three anemones (I think they're anemones).
<Polyp/oid animals of some sort...>
I've attached a pic, I hope it's clear enough and small enough. These anemones are on the underside of the shell, so does that mean they don't need much light?
<Likely so>
Could you help ID this for me?
<Mmm... perhaps a Calliactis species... maybe C. armatus>
Not sure how well you can see it in the pic, but they have distinct feet and pretty wide bases. Also, could you give me a brief description of their care needs, like if they can take small chunks of food, how much light, etc.?
<Are very likely opportunistic feeders on whatever the hermit is tearing, consuming itself... Not much reliant on photosynthesis as you speculate>
I've kind of grown attached to them, so even if they are Aiptasia (my best guess) or some nuisance anemone, I'd keep them in their own tank. They currently are in a quarantine tank, just in case.
The end destination for this group is a tank lit for fish/crabs, not coral, unless the anemones need bright light, in which case I'll get a new tank and upgrade to the necessary lighting. However, if these anemones can survive in fish lighting, they'll be sharing the tank with a red hermit crab. This guy is the other attached picture. The colors are not exactly true; the crab is lighter and reddish. Is this crab compatible with the anemones, or will the crab snack on them?
<Might consume them if very hungry... But likely to actually move them to new shells with growth, time... they provide protection against predation>
Thanks much for your lifesaving help,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Anemone Hitchhiker I just bought a hermit crab and noticed that he has a small anemone on his shell. Is there any special care like feeding or lighting I need to worry about for his little hitchhiker?  Also is there any special feeding instructions for the crab?  The tank is pretty healthy, and he's the only crab in my 75 gal but I still worry that he wont get enough food. Should I feed him? If so what, and how often?
<First of all it would be a good idea to id this guy and then you should be able to find lots of info from there.  Start out with our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm. Cody>

Hermit crab with anemones Hi Folks - fantastic site,  <cheers and thank you!> I've been loitering around here for a couple of months digesting all the info I can - now I have a couple of questions I hope you can help me with.... I have a huge hermit crab (around 2'" long) with two anemones on his shell. I have two questions.... what type of anemones are these likely to be?  <an excerpt: Dardanus sp., a Coral Hermit Crab. This fascinating species is renown for adorning its shell with living anemones (some with Calliactis species). The anemones serve an apparently clever purpose of defense with their stinging tentacles for the traveling hermit. Said anemones are carefully transferred when the hermit changes shells. The many perils in the confines of an aquarium (unnaturally repetitive and close brushes with other cnidarians, filter intakes, etcetera) make the anemones on the shell of this hermit crab inappropriate for all but a species tank. Not recommended for the casual marine aquarist.> They seem extremely hardy - getting buried in sand, squashed between the shell and the aquarium glass, and scraped along the rock whenever the crab crawls into one of the caves.  <to some extent yes... but in the 6-12 month picture at best... not the long run or natural lifespan of this relationship> I've had this combo for 3 months now, and the anemones are looking very healthy and growing at a pretty fast rate. <please to consider moving the crab and guest to a dedicated and more open/spacious tank like a refugium> Second question - my crab has changed shells 3 or 4 times since I've had him, and he always takes the anemones with him, I've never seen this happen but I'd love to know how this occurs. Does the crab move them over to the new shell, or does he just sit there and wait for them to move themselves? <it moves them> Any answers or more information on this curious combination would be greatly appreciated. <best regards, Anthony>

Scarlet reef hermit w/ anemone (?) hi bob, I got this scarlet reef hermit crab; it appears that on the shell there is a tiny anemone (I think). I'm sending you a picture I snapped. what do you make of it? <A Paguristes Hermit and Calliactis Anemone from the looks of it> although the alleged anemone appeared to have its tentacles closed in the picture, it opens pretty widely and happily most of the times. when it's open, there's a clear center without any tentacles which led me to believe that it is an anemone. also when the crab roams around the tank and bumps its shell into rocks and other things, the tentacles retract. anyway, it's pretty cool and it seems to have grown larger as days go by. my question is, shall I attempt to remove it from its mobile home and give it a permanent home on a rock, or just leave it be on the crab's shell?  <Leave it on the shell... not surprisingly, when the Hermit "switches homes" (moves up to a larger shell), it will likely move the Anemone as well> and what would be the best way to detach it from the shell if you think that's a good thing to do? thanks for your help! -Alex << scarlet.jpg >> You can see more on Hermits, my opinions on the www.WetWebMedia.com site. Bob Fenner>

Rock hermits Hi Bob, I have kept a Dardanus deformis rock hermit (complete with his anemones) for several months now. I love this guy, of course he is in a FOWLR system. He has shed twice, and both he and his anemones have grown substantially. He is currently in about a 2" shell. I have seen him sit his anemones down on food pellets ( coincidence or what ??).  <Not coincidence... purposeful feeding of mutualistic symbionts> He is so much fun, but I can't find anyone else who has or has had one. Here's a pic, but he's bigger now. http://www.members.home.net/d.hadford/rockcrab.html Deb Hadford <Very nice... do see this species in the trade occasionally... easily collected at night. Bob Fenner>

Anemone hermits I think I have a pair of anemone hermits in my tank. They came in with the blue legs at my LFS, and I thought they were cool so I bought them. They are black and white and larger then my blue legs, the largest being the dominant and the small just pushes everybody around, or runs over them without a care. I have a book on hermits, though it's a bit dated, and it mentions the black and white legs as being indicative of an anemone hermit. I love my little hermits, they are fun to watch, but these two seem to have a problem, they came without anemones. I have watched the largest rub up against my "flower anemone" (no idea what it really is) several times and poke it to close so he could attach it. Well the anemone is about 4 or 5 inches in diameter and the hermit shell and all is only about 1/2 an inch. I think that the loss of my smallest Condylactis anemone was due to the same treatment, he'd already been abused by the biggest anemone earlier. So I guess my question is do I really have anemone hermits, what kind of anemone do they need, and how do I acquire the proper species of anemone.  <Hmm, can't tell the species of Hermit from the description. Please take a look at the few species shown on our scant coverage: http://wetwebmedia.com/hermitcrabs.htm And maybe search the internet through your search engines under the names by genera of hermits... And ask your livestock suppliers to look for live rock, other hard based organisms from the region of origin of your Hermits to see if they can find "recruits" (contaminant) anemones on these> How long before they get to big for a 60 gal FOWLR (with a few inverts on the side) tank.  <Maybe weeks, months... perhaps never> I have some dragonets and I have heard that hermits have a taste for these cute little fish (my friend lost her mandarin to a large hermit) <They have more cosmopolitan tastes... eating most anything they can grab> like I said earlier, they are pretty small, but since I got them a couple of months ago they have shed once and changed shells numerous times (there are a lot of shells in there and apparently they have to try them all!!) Thank you for all your help once again. Kim <Enjoy these animals... keep them well fed... and keep an eye on them! Bob Fenner>

Hermit crab anemones Hello, how is everyone tonight, well I hope. <thank you, with the same wishes in kind to you. Anthony Calfo in your service> I will be doing so so so much better if you can help me with some info.  <I'll tell you what I know and make up the rest to sound very convincing <smile>> I have a fairly large hermit crab in my 30gal. long aquarium with an anemone on it's shell. From Dr's Foster and Smith's website, I figured out that it's a Calliactis polypus.  <Ughhh... fascinating but tenuous life for the anemone in captivity. I rather wish these animals were not made available for random impulse purchases. This is definitely one for the "I should have looked before I leaped" file. Please do research all animals, especially the unfamiliar before you acquire them, my friend>> But that's all the info I can find on it anywhere on the web. I was wondering if you could tell me what it's lighting requirements are.  <actually a heavily feeding dependant Cnidarian (organismal as absorption)> It seems to be doing well so far, I've had it a few weeks, and it's still fully extended all the time.  <which means little or nothing to tell the truth. Most all anemones can hang in there for several months starving to death while they execute normal polyp/tentacle cycles> When I feed it, twice a week, it grabs the piece of food out of my fingers and immediately curls around it to swallow it.  <very good to hear it! Please do continue to deed a wide variety of meaty foods (4 or more of marine origin) with the hope of keeping this animal for more than a year... hopefully years!> It also picks up little bits of "stuff" off the substrate as the crab moves around the tank,  <indeed... lighting is secondary to their feeding strategy for deriving sustenance> and every time the crab changes shells, it takes the anemone along. MY biggest worry though, is that it's not getting enough light because usually during the day, the crab goes under a ledge and digs into the substrate leaving only the anemone on top of his shell exposed.  <natural again for this heavily food dependant. Still, quality full spectrum reef lighting is attractive if not necessary for other live rock and invertebrates you might have. Bulbs favoring the 6500 to 10,000 K rating would be ideal. Several bulbs are most likely necessary> As I said, I can't find any info anywhere on this little guy. Any information you could give me would be sooo greatly appreciated!!!!  <explore the links to FAQ's from this site... perhaps info inside. Photos of a couple of hermits with their guests on this page too...http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm> Thank you, Kristen:) <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Hermit Crab Anemone
Hello again, <Hello! Steven pro with the follow-up.> I wrote before about the hermit crab anemone. I do take full responsibility for not finding out about it's care before I bought it, but as I said, I could find no info on it anywhere on the web other than what it was. <If no info was available, it would have been better to not purchase.> This little guy seems to fall under the same category as the mandarin fish and the sea horse, the pet stores are more concerned with selling them than keeping them alive. <Yes, unfortunately true. Mostly profit/market driven. If no one purchased them, no store would stock them. A vicious circle.> I wish I could have found some info on this thing, I figured it's like a curlicue-- low light and lots of feeding. I don't want to return it to the petstore and have someone else buy it and starve it to death. I'll just try to keep it alive as long as I can. <Agreed. Try your best and document your attempts and hopeful success.> Should I be feeding it more than twice a week? <Maybe every other day.> What I feed is : thawed of course, <An important note, please defrost with tank water, not hot tapwater.> Ocean Nutrition Very High Protein Formula, Sally's marine cuisine, tetra freeze dried shrimp, and very small crumbs of frozen krill and little bits of silversides. <All sounds good.> I also have about fifteen pounds of live rock and the glass, gravel, and rocks are crawling with those little Copepod things. How am I doing? <Sounds pretty good.> What else if anything should I be feeding? Thanks, again, Kristen:) <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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