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FAQs on Freshwater (and Terrestrial) Crustaceans Behavior

Related Articles: Freshwater CrustaceansInvertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Forget Crawfish Pie, Let's Make a Crawfish Tank! By Gage Harford

Related FAQs:  FW Crustaceans 1FW Crustaceans 2, FW Crustaceans 3, FW Crustaceans 4, & & FAQs on: FW Crustacean Identification, FW Crustacean Compatibility, FW Crustacean Selection, FW Crustacean Systems, FW Crustacean Feeding, FW Crustacean Disease, FW Crustacean Reproduction & Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction, Freshwater Shrimp, FW Crabs, Terrestrial Hermit Crabs, & Marine Hermit ID, Hermit Behavior, Hermit Compatibility, Hermit Selection, Hermit Systems, Hermit Feeding, Hermit Reproduction, Hermit Disease/Health, & Crayfish FAQs, Crayfish 2, Crayfish ID, Crayfish Behavior, Crayfish Compatibility, Crayfish Selection, Crayfish Systems, Crayfish Feeding, Crayfish Disease, Crayfish Reproduction,


Atyopsis moluccensis; Molting, Behaviour - 06/14/2004 Hello Bob, <Hi, Michelle, Sabrina (the freshwater shrimp-obsessed) with you, today!> Recently we bought 2 bamboo shrimp for our tank a couple days ago. We thought that one of them died because he was laying there. But when we looked at it we found both shrimps and what we saw was a shell.  My question is if they shed or lose their shells, or why are they doing that? Thanks, Michelle <This is totally normal, Michelle.  All shrimp - and even crabs, lobsters, and crayfish - shed their exoskeletons (their shells) as they grow larger.  They form a new shell beneath their old one, and when they've grown too large, the old one splits and is shed off.  The new shell is soft when this happens, and then hardens after the old shell is off.  This process of shedding shells is called 'molting', very much like lizards or snakes shedding their skin.  If you feed them well, your shrimp should molt regularly.  Wishing you and your shrimp well,  -Sabrina>

Cherax sp. with a Doritos Diet? Hello there! <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today.> I'm Tracy, nice to meet you!  *waves* <Ah, nice to meet you as well> We just got a pet crayfish recently cause the people at my mom's office got tired of taking care of it.. =( <Too common, sad>  But we're doing our best to take care of her now. <A fishkeeper is born>. I learnt much about how to do that from your site, so many thanks!  And I identified her gender, which no one bothered to do in the 1 year they had her!!  *rolls eyes* <Nice work!> Anyway, she was very active for a few days and climbed all over the tank exploring.. or whatever it is crayfish do.. but we're quite concerned now cause for the past few days she's been hiding in her hole most of the time and staying very still for long periods of time.  Even at night, she only gets out to climb around for a bit, then she's back to hiding.  At first we thought she might be molting, but nothing has happened for 5 days.  Does preparing for molting take that long? <It can, and after the animal molts it will remain hidden as the shell is not hard yet.>  Or is there another reason for her behaviour?  We try to keep the tank clean.. uneaten food is taken out after a few hours.  About 20% water change every week.  We feed her sinking fish food and bits of peeled tomato.  There's limestone in her tank.  I am not sure where I can find iodine in my area, does feeding her fish/prawns occasionally work as well?  <Water changes alone should be plenty of trace elements.> Shy says hi!  I'm not sure what species she is.. she's blue all over though! <Cherax sp.> The brown markings are actually algae cause her previous owners fed her potato chips and didn't clean her tank enough. *grumble* <I'm not surprised that your pet is "adjusting" to her new environment!> She's about one year old and is 5 inches long. <That's about as large as she'll get.  Feed sinking algae pellets, and supplement with some small, meaty items for best coloration.> And very adorable! Thank you for bearing with me, I can get really long-winded at times.. =) <No worries!  You ought to hear how long those "reef" guys get.. sheesh!  ;)  Ciao Tracy!> *hugz* Tracy

Please help !!!! hey, I have a tropical aquarium with a small blue Marron <This is a Crayfish for browsers: Cherax tenuimanus> about 3 inches long and went I went to check my tank this morning I found the blue marrons shell without him in and than I looked under a rock and he is there and he isn't moving is hibernating or some thing and growing back a new shell or is he dead please write back as soon as possible thank you for your help. <In all likelihood your Marron is indeed hiding while its new exoskeleton is hardening. Do leave the old one in the tank (sometimes they are eaten to help build the new one) and the crustaceans hiding space intact... It should come out in a week or so. Bob Fenner> From Ian

Hermit Crab Reproduction? Nope - Just Molting - 8/21/03 We apparently had a male ("Jupiter")  and a female ("Crustaceous") hermit crab.  They were reasonably active (when it was safe I let them out to walk around an open space on the floor).  They enjoyed their food and drank from their sponge.   They always slept cuddled closely together. <Hmmm... no mention of daily spraying of them/the tank for humidity... helps them to breath easier - literally. Too many hobbyists are not informed of this and the crabs suffer slowly over time (evidenced by inactivity, incomplete molts, etc)> Then Crustaceous seemed to be getting antisocial and was off to herself most of the time.  I realized she was in the same spot through the day and then also through the night.  When I picked her up, she just about fell out of her shell - and of course she was dead.  But her body looked really weird - as if there was almost nothing inside the skin.   <this was simply the molt my friend> I planned to bury her with the rest of our long last hermit crabs, <yikes... how many bodies? I'm wondering if they just haven't been petering out slowly from lack of spraying/humidity?> but I thought I would clean the shell and keep it. I was shocked when I looked into the shell and saw what looked like a very tiny fully formed hermit crab claw.  It was orange/red in color.  I determined there was no life in whatever it was and tried to pry it gently from the shell.  It was a tiny  formed crab. The legs broke off as it just fell out once it was loosened.  That also seemed as if there was not much (if anything) inside the shell. There was an odor so my husband quickly wrapped it up and disposed of it.  I am sorry to say we didn't just bury the whole thing in the yard.  But, I was afraid of disease and the whole thing was so weird I wasn't sure it really happened.  Jupiter is not looking too well right now either.  I totally scrubbed their home, changed everything and am trying to keep him safe if there were any germs.  But, I am afraid we are going to lose him. I have been obsessed with that baby crab - because that's what I'm sure it was - and regret I hadn't seen your web site before I disposed of it.  I would appreciate your comments.  Ann <please do buy a handbook online or at your local pet store on keeping hermit crabs properly... much data online too. That was no baby as you might guess by now, but the shrunk molted living crab. It sounds like you need a spray bottle in use by the tank ;) Best of luck. Anthony>

Hermit Crab Reproduction? Molting - 8/24/03 Thank you so much for your prompt response.  I feel terrible to know I caused its death.   <no worries, mate... their natural lifespan is not so long... and the crabs we collect are generally adults of an unknown age> I do spray the crabs (obviously not enough) and make sure they always have plenty of clean water in their dish and sponge.   <excellent to hear... and do check out the following links mentioned to us by a daily reader after seeing yours and other recent posts: http://www.landhermitcrabs.com http://www.hermit-crabs.com > I have kept them successfully for years at a time.  And I have read up some - again obviously not enough.  I only learned from your site about their need for salt, though I should certainly have figured that out considering they come from the shore.  I never, never heard anything about the crab molting - not from any of my friends who have many more hermit crabs than I have. <my goodness... tis a common, albeit secretive occurrence. The molts are generally eaten> And believe it or not, I did even buy a hermit crab book at the pet store when my granddaughter brought the first hermit crab here.   <excellent... you really are quite on par my friend. Keeping them for a couple of years is quite good too> But she took the book, and I had the crab.  Not a very good combination. Please be sure no other hermit crab will suffer in my hands.   Thank you again. <always welcome... best of luck! Anthony>

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