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FAQs about Hermit Crabs: Sponge, Staghorn or Coral House Hermits

Related Articles: Hermit Crabs, Crabs, Marine ScavengersFresh to Brackish Crabs

Related FAQs: Hermits 1, Hermit Crabs 2Hermit Crabs 3Hermit 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), & Anemone Hermits, Unknown/Wild-collected,


Staghorn Hermit Crabs 3/19/10
<Hi Joe>
Do Staghorn hermits outgrow their shells, or do their shells grow with them?
<The Staghorn Hermit Crab lives in a branching shell that does not grow with them and is covered with hydroids and bryozoans. The crab itself is hardy, but the shell that it resides in requires specialized care due to the life
forms present on it. The problem with keeping this crab is that the shell can easily be overturned by other animals that may be present in the aquarium. Once this happens, the crab cannot right itself due to the shape of the shell. Staghorn hermits are best kept in a system with other filter feeding invertebrates, or in a refugium where the hydroids and bryozoans on its shell can be fed properly with types of live or prepared plankton foods.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

- Staghorn Hermit Crab - Hi, We've had a Staghorn hermit crab for some time now and have noticed that over time his shell has gotten dark and shriveled-like.  I'm assuming that it is dead or dying. <I think you are correct.> Tonight, we have noticed that the crab has abandoned his shell and has moved into one of our spare regular hermit crab shells.  But has not managed to flip the shell upright yet (too big perhaps?) <Perhaps give him some help.> Will he live in a regular shell? <I would like to hope so... as neat as Staghorn hermits are, they rarely get to live for long in captivity because their shelter just doesn't make the transition. Perhaps this one will have a better chance because it's moved on.> My husband has put a few smaller shells around him. Is there anything else we can do for him? <Flip him right side up.> Other info about tank: 55 gallon tank 260 watt light tank mates: coral beauty angel bicolor angel clownfish several damsels snails cleaner shrimp 2 electric blue leg hermits 1 red hermit Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks! Kimberly <Keep an eye on him, and make sure he gets upright. Cheers, J -- >
- Staghorn Hermit Crab, Follow-up - 30 Jun 2005
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and for providing me with all your input. <My pleasure.> By the next morning, he was upright and doing his thing (sifting sand) as always, just like he did when he was in his original shell.  Now, several days later, he seems to be doing fine. <Excellent - glad to hear.> Thanks again! Kimberly
<Cheers, J -- >

Hermit crab hitchhikers: Hydroids - 7/14/03 What's this growing on the hermit crab's shell? Please don't tell me it's Aiptasia. <no worries.. or at least, they are not Aiptasia. They are hydroids... and quite a handsome colony at that. Yet - they can be fiercely stinging and no less formidable to other invertebrates as Aiptasia> I do have 3 Aiptasia in a new tank that I have just begun to stock, but they don't look like this. <no worries about your glass anemones either... they only flourish in tanks with nutrient control problems (poor skimming, poor water flow, overfeeding, etc)> The ones I know that are Aiptasia are0.25-0.5cm across, brown and look just like the pictures on your site. The ones in the attached photo are much smaller, clear and growing like shaggy hair on their transport. Thanks. <do enjoy them in the meantime... a fascinating creature and one that will behave if you maintain proper water quality. Anthony>

Staghorn hermit crab shell Hello, My Staghorn hermit crab just keeled over after having it for several months. (I'm pretty sure it was because I stirred up the sand, releasing trapped ammonia). While I am sad and upset at it's death, I was wondering if I could keep its shell. Would it continue to grow? Will it attach itself to whatever rock I place it on? Will it need anything special that the crab was providing for it? Thanks! >>The coral should do just fine. Put it in a place where it gets good circulation. There are reports of them doing fine after the crabs death or the crab moves out, but there are also reports of them not doing well. Let us know what happens>> Rebecca >>Rich>>

Coral hermit I just bought a Staghorn hermit crab... not sure just what to call him. <<How about Manucomplanus varians - is a guess really, but is the name of one of the decorator hermits.>> He mostly just sits about the tank watching the world go by. I would like to know if I am supposed to provide future homes for him... is he nocturnal? <<hmmm... well, you do now also need to provide good conditions for the coral he's living in.>> (He sits in the cave that belongs to the shrimp... it takes up about 1/4 of my 60 gal.) I have great water quality, and nothing that would bother him as all other hermits are smaller, and the fish are "peaceful" and small. Any other info on care and behavior would be great, as I noticed this crab is missing in your articles. <<They are fairly uncommon... but I do believe relatively easy to care for like other hermit crabs. You might want to consider removing other crabs for as a batch, they are mostly not trustworthy... wouldn't want one to toss your hermit from its Staghorn.>> thanks a lot <<Cheers, J -- >>

Staghorn Hermit Crab & Florescent Starfish Hi, <<Hi - JasonC here at your service...>> I am new to Marine Aquarium Keeping. I have a 55 gallon reef tank that in a little over a month old, I set it up using the GARF Bullet Proof Tank Method. It has 2 40watt Blue Moon and 2 40watt Triton florescent bulbs. Anyway, I ordered some starfish on the net and had lots of problems with getting them. So as a bonus to make me happy they are sending me a Florescent Starfish and a Staghorn Hermit Crab. <<Well... I couldn't find any information about a Fluorescent Starfish... you might want to peruse this page and see if you find it under a different name: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm >> I know nothing about the care of these two animals and can find little about them on the net. Could you tell me anything about there care (IE: lighting, food, current, supplements, compatibility etc.). I'm especially worried about trying to keep the Staghorn Coral (that the crab lives in alive) will the lighting on my tank be enough to keep the coral alive? <<In the long haul, I don't think so.>> I have a large Goniopora, and 15 assorted soft coral fragments (from GARF) that are all doing quite well. <<That Goniopora probably won't last long under this lighting for very long - success with this particular coral eludes even the experts and seems to do well only in lagoon/green water type systems. The others will likely be fine.>> But I have read that stony corals need more light and an older more mature reef tank to survive. <<That is absolutely the case.>> Any help with the care of the above mentioned animals would be much appreciated. (By the way I can't spell worth diddly) <<Neither can I - I use spelling checkers like they were tissue paper. But back to your Staghorn hermit - these are "supposed" to be something between a detritivore and a herbivore. Personally, I don't really trust crabs of any type, but these seem to be pretty reef friendly. Your largest concern would be keeping the coral hat healthy, and coincidentally it isn't actually an Acroporid Staghorn, but more Hydrozoan or Bryozoan in nature - much less demanding of intense lighting. I would just continue your normal feeding regimen and all will likely be fine.>> I also have a question about a hitchhiker that is in my tank. It looks like a tiny crawfish about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, it is a light grayish color with long whiskers and claws about the same size as my Mexican red leg hermits, they are the same color as the body with yellow on the tips of the claws. <<Sounds more like a baby lobster of some variety.>> It has made tunnels all under my live rock with little opening here and there that he covers with little piles of gravel, he has different exits opened on different days and I have only seen him venture out of his caves once, and then he only came out the length of his body and only for a second. He is interesting to watch when I can figure out which hole he is by, he is constantly rebuilding the hills in front of his exits, usually all you see is an occasional claw or whisker and lots of little pieces of gravel being piled up in front of the holes he's made. Any idea what this curious little creature is, or what It's care needs and reef compatibility might be? <<Again, just stick with the normal plan, no extra care necessary - if this is a lobster, it will fend for itself.>> I don't think he's any threat right now since he's so small (other than maybe toppling my liverock with all of his tunnels), but when he gets bigger I'm worried he may want to eat some of my reef inhabitants that I don't wish to have used as food. <<I was going to say that, but you may well have to catch and get rid of this fella at some point in the near future. Sounds like no worries for now.>> Thanks in advance for your help Terri <<Cheers, J -- >>

Staghorn Hermits Hi Bob, First off GREAT BOOK! The Conscientious Marine Aquarist) Its one of the best ones I have read. I have loaned it to all my fish loving friends. Now for my question, I saw that FFExpress is selling Staghorn Hermits, I was just wondering a few things about these wonderful looking crabs, I can not find ant info on them. Are they reef safe? What do they eat? Does the Staghorn grow with them? Does the actual Staghorn have any special requirements? Where do the come from? Please Help! Thank you. >> Hmm, I'm down to my last/only copy of CMA as well... The Hermit you mention is probably a member of the genus Manucomplanus... also called the Coral house Hermits... they're relatively reef safe, getting along with the vast majority of invertebrates... As hermits go they're more secretive, don't care for bright lighting... and require higher water quality than the bulk of the hermits. Most come out of the Pacific, but there are similar looking species elsewhere. Bob Fenner

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