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FAQs about Hermit Crabs 3

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

Related FAQs: Hermit Crabs 1, Hermit Crabs 2, Hermit ID, Hermit Behavior, Hermit Compatibility, Hermit Selection, Hermit Systems, Hermit Feeding, Hermit Reproduction, Hermit Disease/Health,
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 and other Giant Hermit Crabs), & Anemone Hermits, Sponge/Staghorn/Coral house Hermits, Unknown/Wild-collected,
Land Hermit Crabs, Squat Lobsters, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp, Marine Scavengers, Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction

Disappearing hermits       12/8/15
Hi guys, how's things?
<Fine Nic; thanks>
I have a quickish question for you today, something that has been baffling me for some time.
I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank. Over the past year or so most of my hermit crabs have completely disappeared...shell and all.
<Quite common... most species folks employ aren't entirely aquatic and they overcrowd.... and many fishes, invertebrates eat them; esp. when they leave their shells to molt
At one point I had 3 significant sized Halloween hermits, many blue legs including one really large one, 2 zebra hermits, two unknown purple hermits, two unknown red hermits and a ton of the little black ones. All I have left now are the two red ones and a handful of small blue legs. I even recently bought two pale tan coloured ones which also disappeared within about 2 days.
I understand that hermits will fight if there aren't enough shells, but since I have plenty of shells in various shapes and sizes, and since I've never found an empty shell (I knew exactly what the big Halloween hermits were wearing) or body parts I can't see this being the case. They have literally disappeared into thin air.
So my question is, have you ever heard of someone else experiencing this?
<Oh yes>
Is there possibly some type of carnivorous crustacean that could be hiding in my tank that would only target hermits, dragging the shells under the rock?
<Yes; and worms>
As far as I know there is only one single place in the tank (under a large rock) that I can't see from one side of the tank or another.
The only fish I have are a female maroon clown
<Mmm; might be the perp.>
and 3 azure damsels (who lay eggs daily by the way!).
Hopefully you can provide me some clue as to where they are going! I would love to get some more but I need to know why they are disappearing first!
Thanks so much in advance!
<I'd review what's posted on WWM re undesirable hitchhikers, and try baiting, trapping the culprit... using various baits, including hermits.
Bob Fenner>

Clibanarius vittatus hermit crabs... More picked up anomurans       4/15/14
So I picked up two little guys one day when I was at the beach collecting shells. I took them home along with a couple bottles of the seawater there.
The next day I picked up a starter kit for hermit crabs. I have had some experience with land hermit crabs when I was younger but didn't completely know what to do with the salt water crabs. Right now I have them in the small tank with some shells, the gravel the kit came with, and enough water for them to sit in on one side. I also have a food bowl with hermit crab
pellet food and a sponge. But after reading on your website for about an hour now, I feel that I need to have them in a complete fish tank that is completely filled with water and with a filer of course. Would you recommend that I do that? At first they seemed to have liked what they are in now; moved around a lot, changed shells, moved the sponge all around the
tank. But now they have slowed down and I wonder if it is because what they are in now isn't right for them.
Please give me all the information I need to keep the little guys happy and alive. Thank you!
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/U1HermitsF.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

What kind is he and how should I care for him ASAP???  Hermit ID...      9/28/13
My fiancé and I were walking the beach in Orange Beach, Alabama. There are huge rocks that sort of block the way for the boats to travel out. These rocks are HUGE and we were brave enough to walk to the other side of them.
There were tiny barnacles everywhere along with about 10-15 beautiful shells. My fiancé grabbed one up and realized it was a hermit crab.
Thinking it was a normal hermit,
<Which are fully aquatic.>
I kept him and was so happy to have been able to find our own. The only thing I am concerned about is the fact that he was UNDER the water when we found him along with all the others.
<Indeed. Relatively few are amphibious, and only a handful terrestrial.
That said, because you collected this specimen in the surf zone, where water is a few inches deep much of the time, you could have either an aquatic one or an amphibious one.>
Completely submerged. It's been 2 days and he's still alive and starting to not be as shy. I have him in a 10 gallon tank but I don't know if that's what I should be doing considering the fact that he was underwater. He doesn't have the big fat pinchers like the ones I've had before either.
They are smaller and more narrow and red around the outside black on the inside.
<Sounds like a Clibanarius species; relatively common along the subtropical Atlantic coastline of the US. Look for Clibanarius vittatus online to get an idea of what one common species in the genus looks like. Clibanarius tricolor is another common species, though more associated with the Caribbean.
Both are fully aquatic and much kept in aquaria.>
Any information as soon as possible would be so very appreciated. I do love my animals and if this habitat is not proper I would really love to know.
Thank you much, Victoria
<A local marine biologist will probably be better at identifying the precise species you have. If in doubt, lower the waterline a bit, pile some rocks up, and see if the Hermit crawls out at all. If it does, then there's your answer! Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
More re wild hermit collection      9/29/13

Thank you so very much. You were right on the kind of hermit he is. The pictures look exactly like him. The link you sent to me says they can live out of water for several DAYS!?!?!
<"Live" may be too strong a word; when high-and-dry these hermits can "close up shop", switching into a sort of resting mode that saves on energy and oxygen consumption. In the wild they may need to do this if they get left in a rock pool that dries up for a day or two. But they can't feed outside of water, and can't really breathe properly either (they have gills, not lungs) so will eventually die.>
It's already been 3 days and he is still doing fine.
I currently do not have water in his tank.
Sponges yes but no place where he can go completely underwater.
<He does need to be able to submerge himself in seawater.>
The only water I have is tap. Wouldn't he need Saltwater? I need to know how to prepare the water.
<Ah then, you will be setting up a marine aquarium soon.>
Thanks Tori
<Perhaps some reading would help:
Some pet stores will sell marine aquarium water ready made by the gallon, and this can be an easy, if pricey, approach. Such retailers may also be able to sell you some live rock too, which will massively simplify the cycling process. But do be aware that marine aquarium keeping isn't "easy" in the same way as keeping a pot plant, and you may well decide returning this crab to the wild will be the better course of action. Cheers, Neale.>

Pls help; wild-collected hermits      4/6/13
Hi there, I'm from Singapore and i have a couple of questions in my mind! I went to the beach yesterday and i saw a lot of small hermit crabs, all of them are smaller than the size of the thumbnail. And yes, i admit my sudden urge make me bring about 10 of the small little cuties home.
 I do regret now cause i understand that i might not be able to bring them the best living condition. I have some sea water and sand back, and i set up a small aquarium for them. I suppose they are marine hermits but I'm still pretty worried that they might be land hermit.
<They're marine... amphibious>
 So i set up the sand as a design of a slope, extreme left is complete damped sand and followed by a slope to the extreme right where they are submerged totally in water.
<Likely will benefit/need to get out of the water as well>
 i wanted to test whether they prefer to submerged into water or live on the land, i guess this might be a better way than guessing. To my surprise, all of them crawled out of the water to the land, but some returned to the water after sometimes.
<Ah yes>
 I'm really really confused now, could you help me to determine?
 i try to get a picture of the hermits when i get home! THANKS YEA!
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Many people, too many, do as you have done here... Bob Fenner>

Red Hairy Legged Hermit Crab     11/25/12
I have recently acquired a red hairy legged hermit crab from my father-in-law. He had him in a 66 gallon tank with numerous fish, snails, crabs, shrimp, and starfish. The crab was very aggressive and had killed several snails, an arrow crab and had attacked a starfish.
 He took the crab out and gave him to myself and is now in a 10 gallon tank by himself with some live rock. I have tried doing some research but have found very little information about the red hairy legged hermit, except for others saying he has attacked stuff in their tanks as well. Is there any species I can add to my tank that he may not attack?
<... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitcompfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
Or maybe even add a second one of these crabs?
<No... Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,

Can you offer advice on this issue with hermit crab; no data of use, rdg.       7/24/12
<... eight megs of pix, why?>
Image #7074 ( probably 1st image attached) is the crab when first got him from ocean near Key West.  late May.
sent you this picture at that time when we were attempting to ID him.
The next 4 images (9311, 9313, 9315,9316) are how his legs look today. 
July 23.  Am hoping this might help you determine what you think has happened and how I can help him recover.  Legs have pale areas as you can see.
He isn't as energetic as before this began to happen.....alive, but more lethargic. No predators of any kind in tank only 1 damsel and live rock.  eating Mysis shrimp and flakes
Pls. advise best plan to prevent losing him if you can.  thanks,  Chris
<... data? On water quality mostly, foods/feeding... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
The 'whitishness' has now spread up his legs and is more than just one spot as was the case in my first inquiry to you July 9.  He is still alive and moving about but certainly not with the spunk he first had....

Help With A Hermit Crab -- 10/03/11
Ok. I triple checked the sea shells before I let my son bring them home from the beach.
<<Always a good idea>>
The shells sat on my dash all afternoon and never moved. We got home and I submerged the shells in a pan of water to boil them, I do that to sanitize them for the kids.
When the water started to heat up BOTH shells came alive.
I have brought home many shells from the coast, this is the first time we have ever had crabs in them.
<<Really? Does happen a lot>>
Ok so the first question is, now that I submerged them in a pan of sink water are they going to die?
<<A strong possibility'¦likely more from the rapid change in Salinity than anything else (depending on how 'hot' they got before you removed them>>
If they don't die my second question is how do I care for them?
<<Please read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm) and the linked files above.
I have determined they are "thin striped crabs" by Googling them.
Also how long can they possibly live without the proper elements because it is 9pm on a Sunday and the pet store doesn't open till 10am tomorrow morning.
<<Mmm, can survive a good long time out of water under the right conditions of heat and humidity 'but I'm skeptical they would/will have survived the night re>>
I would take them back to their home but it is a 2 hour drive and I don't have the time to make that drive.
Any information would be helpful. Thank you.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Hermit Crab in the sandbar 8/6/11
Hey guys,
<& dolls>
My father found a hermit crab in the ocean about 10 feet deep near a sand bar in the Gulf of Mexico of the shores of Florida. He thought it was a snail but when he brought it back, I discovered it was a hermit crab. My friend owns three fresh water ones herself but this is obviously a salt water one. I really want to keep it and help it survive since my father has already removed it from its habitat. I have just a few questions for you.
1) Do I keep it in a tank solely of water or do I put some land in there as well?
<... see below>
2) What's size tank, type of water, and decorations should I put in it?
3) How big should it get and how long will it live?
<Not long>
4) Any other info will be great! (Just browsing through your site I've gotten lost with how much info there is!)
Thank you so much,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm
The linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Surprise/ SW Hermit Crabs/Feeding 4/12/2011
<Hello Vanessa>
My daughter found a pretty shell in St. Andrews Bay, FL on Thursday. Ah, you guessed it...there was a crab deep within which we only discovered today when I washed the shell and it began to crawl across the kitchen counter. We feel terrible about taking it from it's habitat and we are in no way capable of providing the proper environment. I have contacted the science teacher at my children's elementary school who has generously agreed to take the crab and research it's care etc. I will definitely be forwarding her this website. My question is this: what can I do now to help this little guy survive until he gets the proper care?
<Easy to care for but recommend you browse through articles/FAQs found here.
Thanks so much!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Do these crabs look happy? Am I on the path to redemption? 3/23/11
<Hi Tiffany, Misty here>
Yes, I'm another victim of impulse <er, seems like the crabs might be the actual victims of impulse here>, one of the ignorant mass it seems after reading this site for a few hours. I've attached pictures of crabs I brought home from Florida, just west of Panama City. I admit I just wanted the shells they were in and didn't think they would live for more than a few minutes out of the water. But here they are and I've grown surprisingly attached to them, and have assigned names to two <how long have you had them?>.
At least one has switched shells and all of them seem to be crawling around quite a bit. They were in knee-deep water when I found them on 3/19/2011.
They survived the trip home without water (about 3.5 hours.) I live in a very rural area, so I tried to find an aquarium for them at Wal-Mart but they only sell kits with colored gravel & fish food <hard to tell what kind of container you have them in, but a large Rubbermaid-type of tub could do the trick until you can find them an appropriate home or provide one for them...from what I can tell, their current containment system looks a little small>. I know they need more room and am working on finding something bigger, or a second home to split them into 2 groups. I have the air pump blowing bubbles, and put dechlorinator and sea salt <YIKES! what kind of sea salt? Like the kind you cook with?> in the water they are in <if you used cooking sea salt, they're probably better off not being in the water!>. They seem to spend about 60% of their time out of the water, and sometimes they sit submerged <again, if you didn't use the proper salt or mix it properly, they're likely trying to escape from it!>. Other times they sit so their "face" is about even with the water level & some part of their "face" vibrates the water really fast, like hummingbird wings. I don't know if this is a breathing or an eating action. I've put spinach leaves, an apple slice, a shrimp, a nature valley granola bar, shrimp pellets, and a wheat cracker with peanut butter but it doesn't seem like any of this is being eaten <remove all of this...it will only cause a build-up of toxic ammonia in the water, which could be bad water anyway. They're better not eating for a couple of days than dying in toxic stew>.
The only time it looked like one was eating was when one of the smaller ones was picking through the "green hair" on the really big one's shell <likely that their natural food is algae, with the green hair being a type of algae>. (The really big one is in a snail shell that is about 3" in diameter, and he has numerous dead barnacles on him and his shell.
I have read and read until my eyes are crossed and can't determine whether I should house these as land crabs or marine crabs <could be a combo, but if you found them in knee deep water, then they can likely survive completely submerged in the correct kind of seawater>. And it seems very important to know if they need sand in which to bury themselves <not likely>. If you would be able to help me determine at least that much, I will educate myself on their proper care and try to redeem myself from this blunder <if you can't find a proper tank close to your house, it is unlikely that you will be able to find a proper salt water mix. I would urge you to return them to their habitat if possible ASAP. If you can't, please look for a proper saltwater mix. Try a pet store with fish if you have one within an hour and buy PRE-MADE saltwater for them, as mixing your own requires having some equipment to measure to make sure it's the correct salinity, etc. But I would really urge you to return them to the ocean, and put them on the beach so they can crawl into the water on their own so as not to shock their system. You could look on some of the larger saltwater hobbyist forums such as saltwaterfish.com or Google something like "reef club" and the city nearest you, which may lead you to help closer to home that could provide a better home for them. But without the proper saltwater and set-up, I can't give you a big vote of confidence for their survival.
Sorry I don't have better news, but marine creatures are pretty sensitive and have particular needs>.
The are black with greenish-yellow stripes and some little hairs on their legs. Most of the claws are orange at the tips, with yellow spots closer to the body, and another stripe closest to the body. The eyes are on translucent orangish stalks, are their round, and very dark gray.
Thanks & have a great day!
<Good luck to you and to the crabs...I trust that after this adventure you'll probably leave them in the ocean next time.>
Tiffany <Regards, Misty>

Hermit Crab Help 08/06/2010
I found two baby hermit crabs (about the size of a small pea shell in all).
I found them in the Gulf of Mexico, Sanibel Island to be specific, and don't know what type of hermits they are. One is a white/clearish with black eyes and the other is more of a beige color. I also would like to know how to care for them. It seems like they need the salt water to breathe, so I currently have them in a large mask (it's the only thing that I have because I'm on vacation) with ocean water, sand and a few different shells. I have spent hours goggling marine hermit crabs and what type they could even be! I would like any information that you have about what type of hermit crabs they could be and how it is possible to even care for them.
I would love to keep them, but if I can't figure out how to care for them then I'll return them to the ocean.
<Well, not that I recommend this, but if they're aquatic (i.e. not terrestrial) you'd care for them more or less the same way you'd care for any aquatic marine invertebrate. The problem is that such an aquarium takes at least a month to set up and cycle. If you live close to the ocean, you could keep them in a bucket during this time (changing the water daily from the ocean). If not, I'm not sure what to tell you. If I were you, I'd put them back, go home, learn about marine aquariums and start thinking about setting one up. Once you have a successful marine aquarium established, you could easily obtain any variety of marine hermit crabs to keep in your aquarium. As for these guys you have in your mask, I'd recommend just letting them go. :-)
Thanks For Your Help,
Sara M/L>

Marine Hermit Crabs Part 1 -- 09/08/09
I have been reading your website and it is very informative. I wanted to ask you guys directly as I would like to keep these guys alive.
We brought home 7 hermit crabs (pretty small) from the Gulf of Mexico (Freeport, TX). They range in size from 1/4" to about an 1" in size.
Unfortunately, 2 of them died on the way home.
We brought them in water bottles (20 oz) and I brought some of the sand as well. Attached are links to 2 videos. One will show the crabs active as we placed then in a small container at the beach.
We gave half of them to my friend's kid and the other half we brought home for my daughter. I wanted to place them back, but I knew my daughter would be really upset if we did not take them home.
<Will/won't she be more upset if/when they die in your care? I don't agree with the expressed "value" here. I would not allow a child to make life/death choices.>
The other video shows their current situation. There appear to be 5 of them alive and buried in the sand.
So therefore, I am appealing to you guys for assistance.
We have a small 3 gallon aquarium that we used at one point in time. I would like to keep them there. I know there is not nearly enough sand so I have several questions:
Do they need a certain type of sand, or can I use sand I bought at Home Depot for a backyard project?
<Can likely be employed>
The sand I have is called Play Sand and it is by a company called Pavestone for your reference.
I left the 2 dead "buddies" in there as I read they eat almost anything.
<... remove the carcasses. Their decomposition is poisoning the remaining live ones>
Should I remove them immediately from the container?
I know they need salt water and I can get that at Petco. What is the ratio of salt to water in order to recreate more salt water? I read 35 grams of salt to a liter of water somewhere.
My tank has a pump for oxygen production. Would you recommend that?
<Please just skip to the end>
Or will the bubbles created be more stressful than beneficial?
Do these guys need land? Or can they survive in the aquarium?
I read I can feed them fish, sushi, etc. Any other food you can suggest?
Any other suggestions?
I would really like to give these guys a fighting chance, as it is not a habit to kill a living being, even if it is not intentional.
Here are the links:
Thanks for your help.
Andres Quijano
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hermitsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Fuzzy Hermit Help... What is it in creation myths seems to be a common preeminent activity? 8/26/2009
Hello, and thank you for providing such a great resource!
<Howdy and welcome>
I have one of those hermits that you warn everybody about (pictured at http://i965.photobucket.com/albums/ae139/Kidj57/Representin.jpg ): it's large (grown since photograph), fuzzy, and has large pincher for crushing.
<Ah yes>
While I have found a lot of warnings about what they will eat/destroy, I have yet to find any suggestions of what I can keep in the tank with them.
<Mmm, see WWM re... Basses, Lionfishes et al. smart/aware animals that won't eat, be eaten...>
Currently, I have a yellow tang, true percula clown, blue-headed wrasse, and blue demon damsel and the hermit has not attacked any of them nor did he attack my sea hare before it died.
My questions: (1) Any ideas what species of crab this is?
<Sure; read here:
a clue... the name starts with a "D". See how much fun this is?>
When I purchased from my local fish store, it was labeled as a "Fuzzy Legged Hermit", but nothing with that name comes up anywhere on the internet. (2) What is the typical habitat of a hermit of this type; obviously, there must be some balance between its eating of "everything" and the rest of its co-inhabitants' survival, no?
<Oh... now that you know the "real" (scientific) name, you can look all this up>
(3) I am considering placing him in a predatory tank consisting of a coral cat shark, a zebra eel, and various sea urchin; would this be a good plan?
Are there other creatures that could be safely added to this type of environment?
<Read on!>
My apologies if this question is far too broad or common, but I was hoping for some species specific questions where as I have been reading a lot of "General Hermit Crab Behavior" articles.
Thank you for your time, patience, and assistance.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

... Dardanus... megistos likely

Marine Hermit Crabs... Decisions to make 7/7/2009
<Hi Concerned Mom, Mich with you here in Key Largo in the wee hours of the morning.>
My 4 year old son went to the beach (Gulf Of Mexico) with his Grandpa this week.
<Good for both of them!>
I live in West Virginia, and Grandpa lives in Mississippi. I was unpacking my son's suitcase and these beautiful shells were in a zip-lock bag with sea water in it. I had no clue there were hermit crabs in them, neither did Grandpa.
There is a rather large one, two little ones, and a few extra shells.
Grandpa has already left and all I have for them is a bag of sea water.
<Well, they will need more than this, as I presume you anticipate.>
I don't want them to die.
<Neither do I!>
I need to know what I can do to keep them alive.
<Well first you have to decide if you want to do. You can:
1. Ship them over night back to grandpa, so they can be returned to where they came from.
2. Find a suitable home for them. You can do this by contacting your local fish store (LFS) and seeing if the store or one of their customers would be willing to assume care for the hermit crabs. You could also try to find an individual in your area. You can look online to find a local club/member in your area, try here:
3. Assume care yourself. They will require some work. This would include setting up a small fish tank, buying either pre-made salt water which you can pick up at some of the larger pet supply centers or if you're lucky, sometimes a mom and pop local fish store (LFS) will sell premade salt.
There is a product called "Real Ocean Water" which runs between $10-$15 per 5 gallons. You will likely want to start with a 10 gallon tank. I would also suggest you get a piece a "live rock" to put in the tank. You will also need a heater, and a submersible pump to keep the water circulating.
Hermit crabs aren't particularly picky with food. So I would just buy a can of fish food. You will have to be careful not to overfeed in such a small system. This in not impossible to do, but it does require some work and maintenance. You will also need to replace the water that evaporates from the system with fresh water, i.e. NOT salt water (because only the water has evaporated, the salt is left behind.) for this I would recommend getting "Deionized" or "DI" or "Reverse Osmosis" or "RO" water. Usually this can be found in your local supermarket. If you would like to learn more, I can give you many links to info on the site here. If you would like these please write back. I don't want to overwhelm you at this point.>
I have a 10 gallon tank, 3 hermit crabs, and a bag of salt water. They are striped looking, dark brown and tan.
<A photo would make identification much easier.>
I gave them a cracker, and they seemed to like it.
<They aren't too picky when it comes to food.>
They are moving around good in the dish I have them in. <A good sign.>
What do I need to keep them living?
<Please see above.>
Help! Time is running out!!
<Breathe! It will be OK. You just need to think about what you want to do and act soon.>
Mom with a concern.
<Thank you for taking time to care for these creatures. You are teaching your son excellent values.

Hermit crab, care 6/20/09
<Hi there>
Today a friend of mine gave me to look for two months after her hermit crab.
I never did this before and definitely need to do the right way. I read a lot in the net about hermit crabs and already understand that she did not provide him any proper environment. So please help me to understand first what kind of crab is this on
<Is an amphibious species... terrestrial to shallow marine...>
e and what are first steps I must make to provide him proper environment.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/terrhermitcrabs.htm
the linked files above>
I attach some pictures and can tell you only that she got him from the beach of Ras Al Khaimah in United Arab Emirates.
I don't know must I keep him completely in the water or it will be good for crab to have in the tank place with sand and coral to climb?
<The latter... needs both environments>
What must be the size of the tank?
<Mmm, likely five-ten gallons>
Does he need friend with him?
<No friends... are not social species... will fight, consume one another if shells, food become rate limiting>
Now he is in small tank with sand and little water from the sea and I gave him to eat shrimp pellets.
Thank you.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hermit crab, gen. care 6/21/09
Hi Bob,
Thank you very, very much for reply. It made me feel more convenient with what I already did. I got a good tank, kept send and water from the sea in it and made from the sand like a small beach for the crab :). I kept few shells and corals and a small rock also from the sea, so he is happy to climb it all the time. He moves freely now but only what still concerns me is the food. He is not eating much.
<Mmm, these animals don't actually eat "that" much... especially when moved, in new environs... A good idea to keep a moist sponge on the "land area", place food in a plastic dish nearby... Perhaps a bit of fruit or vegetable (uncooked) there when you or others are doing food prep.>
Yesterday he eat only 2 shrimp pellets and today I gave him a very small pieces of fish {sardine} but he is not eating yet. Any suggestion?
<Time going by mainly>
<Welcome Desi, BobF>

Hermit crab... reading 3/25/2009
I need to send you an e-mail since I will not be at my own desk for a few days and would like a reply by e-mail.
<Mmm, okay>
My daughter went on a mission trip to Mississippi and on the last day went to the beach for a short time to relax. She is a college student studding Natural Resources/ environmental. She tried very hard to take shells without Hermit crabs in them. Unfortunately she only choose 3 shells and all had hermit crabs in them. We love exotic animals and have iguanas, peacocks, anoles, as well as the average farm beast and critter. We have even raised sea horses so tanks, air, salt water, hydrometer etc are nothing new to us. We love to learn and take care, just never had a hermit crab!
She found them on the beach, not in the water. This was the gulf of Mexico. She came back on Friday and they came out Saturday and Sunday with no water. She had to wait until the science department returned from spring break until the lab was opened up. They set up a separate home for them in salt water and sand until we can come and pick them up next week. Our question - They are now submerged totally in a salt water home. As this is what they do with their hermit crabs. How can we tell if this is the best for them.
<Mmm, likely best to first ascertain the species you're dealing with/have... then use the Net to discern their habitat... Some species are mostly aquatic, others terrestrial... some amphibious>
When they do come home with us we have a tank that will accommodate water and land. Should they be submerged for a week or better after being on the beach and in a pale for 4 or 5 days? Can we tell if they are land or aquatic, small gill or not?
<Not as far as I'm aware>
the college feeds cooked hamburger.
<Mmm, I would not do this>
We have access to hermit crab food as well as the good old fashioned farm products.
Your reply will be appreciated.
Anna and her daughter Heather
<... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hermitsysfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Hermit Crab Care 1/8/09 Hi. <Hi Misty> I found your webpage after making my best attempt to identify the crab I have as well as learn the best way to care for it. My husband and I recently spent some time in Panama City, FL, where we were collecting shells and whatnot. Yes, I have come to realize, you read hundreds of emails just like this! We discovered this little guy in the bay. I am still unsure what kind of hermit crab he is but I am thinking C. vittatus. Could you please correct me if I am wrong. <Try to.> I know basically nothing about caring for marine animals. But, alas have decided to give it a go. I have found your website extremely helpful. After spending a week in a plastic Tupperware dish, in some sea water scooped from the bay, today he went into a tank. We went to our local salt water aquarium store and purchased a 10 gallon tank, some Instant Ocean, a filter, a hydrometer, 2 lbs of live rock, de-chlorinator, and "live" sand. After all the preparation steps of getting the water ready and settled, in he went, along with many of the shells found from his very beach. I did boil the shells before placing them in the water. I also purchased frozen baby brine shrimp which has to be dissolved in water for him to eat. <Baby brine is a little small for a food source, I'd go with small pieces of fish.> So, in the hour or so that he has been in this new environment he has explored and thoroughly examined each and every shell I put in there. And, changed shells now 3 times! I am under the assumption he is happy because he scoping everything out and seems to be doing quite well. I discovered tonight while watching him closely as he was shell hopping that he is missing a whole leg and one of his claws, both of which are on the same side of his body. This leaves him with only one usable leg on that side. Really what I am concerned about is if he will continue to thrive being "disabled" as he is. I have no idea if this leg loss has occurred since we brought him home or if he was this way when we kidnapped him. <Not unusual to see this. When the crab molts, he should have a new claw and legs. As crabs grow, they will molt on a regular basis. So, as long as you keep the little guy fed, I see no problems.> My last concern is the salinity and temperature in which he should be kept, being that he came from the gulf. Any information you can provide to me will be greatly appreciated. <Hermit crabs are very hardy creatures and are very tolerant of water conditions. A salinity of 1.020-1.023 will be fine. For temperature, set about 75.> Thank you so much for your time. <You're welcome, and get that guy some fish and learn more about your find here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm James (Salty Dog)> Misty Rettagliata ps: I am including 2 photos of him, in hopes that you can help me identify him. Hopefully they come thru! <I don't see them.> <<... Is Clibanarius vittatus... and care information can be found linked at the top of James' citation on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm BobF>>

Re: Hermit Crab Care 1/9/09 James, Thanks for your response. <You're welcome.> I am slightly frustrated the pictures didn't come thru. I am going to attempt to send them as attachments this time. Today has gone well. The little bugger has been shell hopping like crazy. Its almost like a game between the same 3 shells.....back and forth and over again! You had very little to remark about everything I said (except probably the absolute essentials) so am I to assume that thus far I am proceeding correctly? <Yes, but I've also posted a link leading you to much more info than I have the time to provide here.> I went back to the fish store today and talked the guy's ear off trying to get as much information as I could. When I asked for some fish to feed crabby he basically put me off saying that it would be better to not put something like that into the tank and instead gave me shrimp pellets. <That will work. Hermit Crabs are scavengers by nature and will eat most anything.> I didn't want to argue because I know everyone does things differently. I figure I can pick up some fish at the grocery store! <The fish was meant as an example of foods they will eat. As long as you have already bought the shrimp pellets, you might as well use them.> While I was there I also bought a heater and thermometer, because I was worried the water temp was too chilly based on what you recommended. I was correct. The water temp was around 66 degrees F. As of now it's a comfy 74. <Is fine.> I am going cuckoo, however, after reading things about the nitrates, iodine, ammonia, and a million other things it seems as if I should be monitoring, yet not knowing how! <As I mentioned before, hermit crabs are very tolerant of water conditions and as for water testing, I wouldn't worry too much here as long as the crab will be the only animal in the tank. Watch your feeding habits, a small portion a day is all that is necessary and a monthly one gallon water change will be beneficial.> Is there anything you can suggest I do differently from what I told you previously? <Not for keeping a hermit crab, you have the basic equipment, but I do suggest you clean/change the filter media at least twice monthly.> And, I am interested in adding a 2, maybe 3 damsels and perhaps one more small hermit. Is this something you think would be wise? <It can work but two small damsels would be the limit for a 10 gallon tank. Do not consider those cute little black ones with the three white spots (Three Spot Damsel) as they will soon overgrow your ten gallon tank. The Yellowtail Damselfish is small, colorful and an easy to keep fish. Further reading on damselfish can be found here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/damsels.htm> Is there much more that would need to be done before taking those steps? <Yes, now we are on a different page, we are going to need some type of biological filtration as a first step. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's, this will give you a good overview of the basics. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm I've also provided an index to additional information available. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm> Again, I appreciate all the knowledge you guys are able to share. And I am enjoying this website greatly. I have been reading tons. <Reading will be your best teacher, enjoy.> Thanks so much! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Hermit Crab ID 1/10/09 Misty, I am going to answer the hermit crab ID separate from hermit crab care for ease of filing in our system. Your suggestion of C. vittatus is actually a scorpion, not a hermit crab. I'm thinking your crab is a Clibanarius. James (Salty Dog)> <<What, scorpion? RMF>>

Re: Hermit Crab ID 01/09/09 Bob, Probably my fault on the ID as I didn't think two creatures would be identified as vittatus. Should have investigated the "C." further. Look here. http://www.ub.ntnu.no/scorpion-files/c_vittatus.php James <Mmm, perhaps a note here... the second part of scientific names can/do get used over and over... Genera (plural for genus, the first part of a species name) are supposed to be unique. BobF>

Re: Hermit Crab ID 1/10/09 I am sorry for the confusion. I guess that shows how little I know and how much I need to study because I was meaning Clibanarius vittatus, simply shortened it to C. Vittatus not knowing that it too was already a creature (scorpion)! That being said, then I was correct in my home id of him. <Actually I erred thinking the "C" was Clibanarius. Your crab is a Clibanarius vittatus.> I can't say it enough, thank you thank you thank you and everyone else for your time and help in these situations. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Misty

Holding Thin Striped Hermit Crabs 10/22/08 Hello, <Hi there> We have three thin striped hermit crabs we brought back from Destin Florida (much like a story we read on your site). They are doing very well in a 10 gallon tank in salt water. They have molted 4 different times and seem to have adapted well. My son who has been taking care of them wants to know if he can hold them in his hand. <Mmm, yes... stressful, but not terminal if the animals are in good health> If so how long can they be out of the water? <Depending on temperature and humidity, hours> Do you have any hint on how to do this without getting pinched? <Gloves? Don't pinch much, that hard... Bob Fenner> Thanks much, Scott in Ohio

Hermit crabs 09/04/2008 We live in FL. My daughter went to the beach with a friend of mine and brought home what I believe to be marine hermit crabs. I know very little about the creatures. They are in shells about the size of a marble, they are all white, one pincher is slightly larger than the other, and are living under seawater in the bucket she had. <<The shell is all white? or the crab is all white?>> If you can please help me identify what type of hermit crabs these are, what they eat, and what type of habitat I should provide. Please get back to me ASAP so they do not die. Thank you, Dawn <<Dawn, unfortunately, hermits, by nature, steal any shell they can to make their home bigger / appropriate. Due to this nature, a hermit SP. cannot be identified by a shell description. More detailed info is surely needed to aid us in providing an ID. To hazard a guess, please do Google image search on Calcinus minutus or Calcinus vachoni. Hope this helps. Regards, A Nixon>>

Hermits From The Gulf - 06/07/2008 Hi, <Hi, Nick. Sabrina with you today.> I have been reading your site now for an hour or so but still have a few questions about my specific situation. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Okidoki.> I caught 5 quarter-sized hermit crabs off the gulf coast of FL on vacation 4 days ago; they were collected in knee-deep ocean water. Here is a very similar picture: http://njscuba.net/zzz_uw/srb_hermit_crab_1.jpg . <Similar is often not the same, so I would be wary of trying to make an ID off of a photo of a similar animal.> I have been keeping them in a plastic container with lava rocks and a few extra shells, but now need to set up something more permanent (no chance of returning, we're now in TN). <Just a quick note here to others that may read and benefit from this.... I do strongly recommend against collecting critters unless/until you already have a system set up to keep the animals thriving.> I changed their water daily while we were there (used nearby brackish water)- whenever I did this they went crazy moving around and filtering, <"And filtering" you say - what do you mean by this? Do these animals have filter feeding appendages? I'm not sure I follow....> and got along great. However, fresh brackish water <Were these buggers in brackish water or salt/ocean water?> is not quite in abundance in TN. <Heh! No, I'd guess not!> Here are my questions: <Okay!> 1) I have tried to feed them very small pieces of turkey, <Skip the turkey, oh please.> fish flakes, and small pieces of fruit, but they don't seem to go for any of it. What common food would be a greater success, <Human consumption fish, shrimp, crab, shellfish.... Freeze first or buy frozen, to prevent introduction of pathogens. Seaweeds - sushi Nori from an Asian market would be great. Any of these foods, if eaten, will be fine. I am concerned, though, about your comment of "filtering". If these animals are filter feeders, you are up for real troubles.> or is it mandatory to buy commercial food? <Nah. Unless these are really filter feeding animals. If so, you might consider DT's Phytoplankton, or some of the products from Reef Nutrition.> 2) I have a 10 gal. tank, instant ocean, chlorine remover, thermometer, and a filtering system. I realize I will need a hydrometer. <Yes, and urgently. Or a refractometer.> Is there anything else I *absolutely* have to have? (trying to keep cost a minimum here) <A manner of providing calcium, iodine....> 3) How deep should I fill a ten gallon tank with water for the 5 crabs? <If they don't appear to spend much time out of the water, then "completely" is your answer. The more water the better. A ten gallon tank is extremely difficult to keep stable.> 4) What filler should be used (sand, gravel, etc.) and how much? <Calcium carbonate substrate of some sort.... Aragonite sand would be my choice, but crushed coral would do if the former cannot be found.> Should any land be provided? (Crabs have been submersed nearly entire time I've had them) <If they don't appear to spend time out of the water, then a land area is probably unnecessary.> 5) Best way to introduce crabs to new water?, <Slowly, with a drip acclimation perhaps, over a few hours at least.> and 6) Anything essential I'm leaving out here? <Just more research.... This is an entirely "doable" project, but do please keep reading, researching.... I expect you'll even really find this enjoyable! My best regards to your crabby pals, -Sabrina C. Fullhart>

Hermits From The Gulf - II - 06/07/2008 6/9/08 Thank you very much for your help! It's great to have a post where questions are actually answered and answered well at that. <Thank you very much for your kind words.> As for your questions, I collected the crabs in the ocean and refilled the water from a small mudflat nearby connected to the ocean (evidently they're not too choosy about brackish/seawater). <Did you find any of the same crabs living in the water at the mudflat? Happen to know the salinity of it? Many invertebrates actually *are* quite fussy about salinity and other factors of the water; do please be cautious here.> Whenever I introduced new water, the crabs would immediately start roving all over the place, <Keep in mind that increased activity level can indicate very different things - it could be that they are loving the new, clean water with nice little bits of stuff in it, but it could also be that they're really stressing from the sudden change in water parameters.... trying to find a way out, basically.> moving extremely small pincer-like appendages to their mouths back and forth repeatedly. It seemed to me like they were "filtering" little particles out of the water, but I may be wrong. <Maybe.... tough to say.> I have now tried feeding them small shrimp pellets but haven't seen them make a move on those either (unless they're just sneakily eating little pieces while I'm not watching,) They have in fact been unusually inactive these last couple days without water change. <Not a good sign. If they're in a small space with no new water, they could be on their way to being doomed - please get some new water mixed up and ready as soon as possible.> They most resemble the Clibanarius vittatus on your site, but my crabs are completely white and are smooth-shelled. <Maybe the same, similar, or completely different species, then. Any chance at a photo of them?> Upon closer inspection I noticed two small "things" within the mouth on either side are continuously moving up and down rapidly even when the crabs are out of water (not the small pincer-like appendages I referred to earlier). <These sound like the antennules (err, at least, I think that's what they're called.... I fear I'm a touch rusty on crabby anatomy) that they use to smell and taste.> Hope my new essay provides some insight :) <Mostly, your key task is going to be to provide them as close to an accurate environment as possible. If you can get an image of them, or if you do seriously feel that they are filter feeders, you might try taking frozen foods like Ocean Nutrition's "Formula One" and "Formula Two" foods and squish them up in the water as best as possible to see if maybe that will help them to eat. I'm most concerned about their water quality and the fact that they've been inactive - please do get them into as suitable a space as you can. Please keep reading - a beginning saltwater book such as "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael Paletta might be a worthwhile read for you. There's *tons* of information on this site, as well, and you might also take a peek at our forums - http://bb.wetwebmedia.com . There are many helpful folks there who can help steer you right as well. Keep at it - your crabs will thank you for your research, and I do seriously think you'll get a great deal of fun out of this! Best of luck, -Sabrina C. Fullhart>

Hermit Crab Shells 03/06/2008 Hi! Brian here with another question! I picked up a few large hermit crabs from the LFS about a month ago. They seem to be happy munching away at the algae and scraping the gravel. They are pretty fun to watch (I know? usually crabs are the boring ones, right? Hehe). I was absolutely surprised at how quick they moved and how well they climb some vertical rocks that I have! Here's my question, I hope you can help. I'm looking for shells for these guys. They are quite big, I would say at least 3 inches long in shell. I can't find any for them to grow into! The fish store I bought them from told me they put the word out to look for some, and they did manage to get me 2, but I've got 4 crabs. All the one's I've seen locally are for the smaller hermits and I'm wary of just buying shells online because I don't know if they are lacquered and all that. Know any place I might be able to get some? <<Ebay.com and the shop is called " The Hermit Crab Shack "..They sell a wide selection of shells that are suitable for use in the aquarium.. http://stores.ebay.com/The-Hermit-Crab-Shack >> Did I say one question? Sorry, here's another one. <<He he he he....there's always just one more...>> I also just recently purchased a yellow tang. He's been picking at my live rocks, but is there anything else I can supplement his food with? Is it even necessary? The LFS said they fed him Emerald Entrée? and Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Select, but their holding tanks don't have live rocks. Should I grab some and offer them or is he going to be happy just picking at the rocks? <<For sure. Offer a variety of algae based foods such as the above and Nori sheets>> I've got a 125gal FOWLR with about 150lbs of live rock. There is algae growing on them, green, green hair, some type of reddish looking algae. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate are 0. In there with him are 1 4stripe damsel, 1 coral Hawkfish, 1 red barred goatfish, 1 Sargassum trigger. <<Feeding as above, and I am sure it will get its correct diet and fill each day>> Thanks a lot for the website and amazing book (Conscientious Marine Aquarist)! <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Help with crabs... helping oneself 12/3/07 Hello I need help I was on the inlet and was picking up shells on the shore and in the shallow water well when I got home to my surprise I had about 10 hermits I don't know what to do with them. <... return them> I live many miles from where I picked they up I would like to take care of them until I can return them to their home Please tell me how to care for them and how to tell land hermits from water hermits I did mist them and gave them some fresh water to drink how do I keep them alive? <.... Remember how you found the address to write us? There are notes re searching the site before writing: Start reading: http://wetwebmedia.com/hermitsysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dardanus megistos question... Do NOT release tropicals to the wild! 11/21/07 Hi Crew! First off, your website has provided me with TONS of helpful information! Thank you! Now, on to my question. My husband (who doesn't know too much about saltwater endeavors) thought it would be nice to get me a crab for my 65 gal reef tank. Nice thought... however he ended up getting me a Dardanus megistos! Not reef safe... <Yikes, no> The store he got the little guy from won't take him back, and I'm kind of stuck with him for now. My question is this: We are going to be visiting the California coast and I thought maybe we could 'free' the crab while were there. <Please... Do NOT do this. Take it to a LFS and give it to them to place in a tropical setting> Will this crab survive in the chilly waters of the Pacific? <No... and it may well harbor some microscopic "issue"... that you do NOT want to be party to having released/distributed> I know it comes from warmer waters, but is this a far stretch? Thanks for any advice! -Chris <Again, my standard input here re such introductions of non-indigenous species: Do NOT release any non-native organism to a habitat where it can get loose, bring or cause trouble. PLEASE! Bob Fenner>

New Crab Mom has questions -hermit repro 07/08/07 Hi, I just inherited an aquarium with about 4 or 5 hermit crabs. I am curious what to look for if they reproduce. <Well, first please see if this helps: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitreprofaqs.htm> Thanks in advance, Michelle Simmons Texas <De nada, Sara M. Ohio>

Marine hermit crabs? ID, care - 08/27/07 This past weekend I was in Cape Cod, MA. Some friends and I were in the ocean (just ankle deep), and we saw a bunch of tiny hermit crabs in the water. They are only the size of my thumb nail, maybe slightly larger. Well of course we made the dumb decision to bring some home, and now I have 4 of them in a water bottle with salt water and sand and rocks in it. So far they are fine. I went to a pet store today and bought a bunch of stuff for them. But once I got home and did more research I am realizing to my horror that I don't think these are land hermit crabs like I was thinking. Can I keep them in captivity or will they die?? I bought a little plastic container and sand and a sponge for them, but I think they need to be fully submersed in salt water don't they?? Should I get a whole salt water aquarium system for them?? I'm not finding much info on how to care for Marine hermit crabs, and I'm afraid these cute little guys will be dead any day now!!!!!! Please help!!! Thanks. Natasha (If you need a picture of them to identify I can send one later.) <Hello Natasha. Identifying a hermit crab to species level is very difficult without a photo. But in the cooler parts of the North Atlantic then species of the genus Pagurus are most common, both along the North American and European coasts. So I'm assuming you have one of those. They are indeed fully aquatic hermit crabs, though they are well able to tolerate exposure to air for some time, and will scuttle about in very shallow water even with half their bodies exposed. But for long term care you will need to set them up a "coldwater marine" aquarium. This is not difficult. Firstly, you'll need a tank around the 10 gallon mark. Then you'll need a filter. I'd recommend a simple air-powered box filter filled with ceramic media and a bit of filter wool. There's no need for carbon or anything else. The aquarium needs to be filled with artificial seawater -- that is, water with about 35 grammes of *marine aquarium salt mix* added per litre of water. Using a hydrometer you need to aim for a specific gravity of about 1.027 at 18 degrees C, the maximum safe temperature for these crabs. Try and keep them cooler if you can. I have a little program called 'Brack Calc' on my web page ( http://homepage.mac.com/nmonks/  ) that lets you relate the required salinity (35 g/l) with whatever temperature you have and the specific gravity you can directly measure. Beyond this, keeping hermit crabs is easy as they are quite hardy and adaptable. They are omnivores, mostly feeding on algae, organic detritus, and carrion. In the aquarium almost anything will be accepted, from algae pellets to raw seafood. Don't overfeed them though. Apart from the fact these animals don't need extra light and don't like warmth, in terms of basic care they are otherwise similar to tropical marine hermit crabs. Hope this helps, Neale>

Question about red legged hermit crab activity. Little data - 06/27/07 I've been trying to find a FAQ page with my situation, but I can't seem to do it. I have a 30g, I recently added 6 red legged hermits. Is it normal behavior for them to sit around for about 12 hours, and eat for the rest of the day? How far can their inactivity go without it being considered that they are not doing well? <Mmm, what species?> Some eat more then that, some eat less. The only water parameter that is slightly out of whack is Nitrates, and they are at 10 ppm. Thank you once again! <Could be water quality... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Oops - let me add ... Hermit crab losses 5/15/07 (If you can add this to the previous mail) The one problem I see is that I periodically find empty hermit crab shells. I don't know if they outgrow them and die (or get eaten by the 6 line wrasse <Maybe> or yellow tang?) <Doubtful> and I wonder about that. Is this a problem I should try to solve or is this part of the process? <Perhaps lack of available shells, inter/intra anomuran aggression... could be a lack of useful chemistry. You have read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>

Hermit Crab Questions 5/7/07 Hi Bob, <Lecette> I have several Hermit Crab questions I hope you can help me with. Our family went to Galveston, TX last weekend (April 27) and came home with 7 hermit crabs that we found in the surf. They range in size from 1/4"-3" long shells. <Mmm, three inch long? These larger species, specimens may well consume the smaller> We have in the past week converted our 75gal fresh water tank to a saltwater tank. I added the 10lb of sand we brought home from Galveston as well as 40lb live reef sand and 30 lb ocean sand. I am getting a variety of shells for growth. I need to know what kind and how much to feed, any lighting requirements, what temperature to maintain. <Posted: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above> Also, is it OK that the kids hold them in the tank? <Not really... too much likelihood of introducing pollution... stress... and a possibility (though small) of your children contracting disease...> I am using the power head and bio-wheel filter we used for the fresh water tank and have purchased a protein skimmer. Haven't added it yet. After about 30 days, I hope to add additional saltwater livestock. Any suggestions for compatibility? <Other Gulf coast life would be, is my choice... a chance for a biotope, education...> Any recommended salinity? It is currently about 1.024. Thanks for your help! <Welcome, this is fine. Bob Fenner>

I need your advice...wild hermit crabs......please help 3/16/07 Hey Bob, <Jessica> My name is Jessica Ysidron. I just returned to the San Joaquin Valley (Sacramento) today after spending a beautiful day and night in Monterey Bay. Sadly, I've discovered that my four year old son accidentally (or purposely,) brought home a small hermit crab from the tide pools. I didn't notice him mixed in with our collection of rocks and sea shells until we got home 3 hours later. I was searching online to find out how to take care of it, and found your recommendation to return it to its natural habitat. Unfortunately, I can't do that. I'd rather not have it die, although it's just a crab. Can you give me a few pointers to take care of this thing the best I can? Thank You, Jessica Ysidron <Mmm... can... though, the "cost" to the environment... as in the larger issue of whether we ourselves should reproduce... Is greater than allowing this animals demise. Such would involve providing a filtered, chilled (yes, cooled) environment... This animal is not that akin to the "terrestrial" hermits largely mis-sold as pets. Perhaps contacting an agency near the shore (the Monterey Bay Aquarium itself?) and mailing this small animal to them (with a bit of sponge soaked in water)... Bob Fenner> Phimochirus holthuisi...Care and Feeding - 08/28/06 Please, I need your help! <<I'll do what I can>> I have a red striped hermit crab. I have been trying to find information on its feeding and habitat needs but can't find any info on that species in particular. <<Habitat and feeding will be similar to other marine hermits (blue-leg, red-leg, etc.)>> So, I guess my questions are: is it a full-marine animal, <<Yes>> or does it need both water and dry land? <<No>> If it needs some land, does it also need some fresh water? <<No>> And what does it eat? <<Anything that crosses its path (an opportunistic omnivore). If it is in a system with fish/live rock it will get by on the excess fish food/emergent life on the rock. If it is in a system on its own, a couple "shrimp pellets" or a small pinch of marine fish flakes each day will likely suffice>> I've been giving him hermit crab food from the pet store, but it doesn't look like he's eating any of it. <<Please do some research re keeping marine hermit crabs. Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm >> If you could help, that would be greatly appreciated!!! Jon <<Regards, EricR>>

Saltwater hermit crabs my daughter brought home from the beach 8/18/06 Hi! I took a quick look on your website but I think I need a more straightforward answer. I took the kids to the beach today and my 7 year old wanted to take home a few very small hermit crabs. We scooped them in a bucket and now that we have them home I have no idea what to do with them! (I'm feeling very guilty now for doing this!) I'd like to give them the best chance for survival! What is my next step? <... to read, re marine Hermit Crab Systems, Feeding... > I've read so much about "land" hermits, but I have no idea about saltwater! Thanks for your help! I know my daughter would love to give these guys a good little home! Tracy <Please start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hermitsysfaqs.htm and the linked files above. BobF>

Hermit crab question... Marine/Amphibious? Floridian... 7/31/06 I have been surfing your site trying to find the answer to my question but there is SO MUCH INFORMATION my head is swimming. <Mmm... not on just Marine or "Land" Hermits...> Please help. My family recently brought back 6 marine hermit crabs from Destin Florida. There are two large ones, and 4 much smaller ones. They are all brown with striped legs. We decided that we would set up a small salt water aquarium for them. <Hope it works> I am having troubling finding out exactly what I need to do this. What are their living requirements? <A cycled marine aquarium of adequate size... if they're truly all-aquatic species. Can't discern from your brief description> Right now they are in a Tupperware container with some sand and sea water from Destin and we have been feeding them krill. Any info you can give me would be great. Thanks for you patience. Callie <Mmm, well... First need to find out if these are amphibious or full-time aquatic species... as their environment will be necessarily very different. Such identification may be able to be done on the Net... searching under the terms: "Hermit Crab Identification Florida"... perhaps looking at the "Google Images" from this search. Do you see this species? Once you know their habitat (from reading on the Net), you can proceed for terrestrial: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm or aquatic: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above either one... Bob Fenner>
Re: hermit crab question 8/1/06
Thanks for your patience. I believe that they are red striped hermit crabs. <Clibanarius vittatus?> The smaller ones have been riding on the backs of the larger ones and basically staying out of the water. Does that mean they need some dry land in their aquarium? <Yes> If their tank has both areas in it, does it still need a pump of some kind? <Yes... and a filter> What about a heater or will a light be enough? <Might be> What kind of testing supplies am I going to need? What should the ratio of live rock to sand be? Thanks for your help. I have tried stores in my area but not found much help so far. Thanks again Callie <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Hermits gen. 7/17/06 Hey, I have a 5 gallon tank and I wanted to put in some blue-legged hermit crabs but I don't know how many I can have in it. And if they are compatible with red-legged hermit crabs that I also want to put in. I don't have any fish in the tank and just wanted some crabs to look after and if that's ok or if they need fish in there for some reason or another. Do they eat the same thing? If so what? Also, how can you tell if a hermit crab is a female or male? Thanks Chelsea <<Chelsea: I don't know if you can tell males from females without them being out of the shell. I once watched a blue leg trying out shells in front of me. When it came out of the shell, it had black eggs all over its back. Even though the crab had eggs, no babies ever survived. You can mix red and blue legs together. Some people have a rule of thumb of no more than 1 hermit per gallon. You could have less if you like. For example, I have 3 hermits in a 180 gallon tank. Without fish, you'll enjoy watching the hermits. Best of luck, Roy>>

I now have (Hermit) crabs!! Happens... 6/13/06 Hello WWM, I live in South Florida and my son went to Jensen Beach, Fl this weekend with my sister and they found a lot of crabs. So, she decided to let all the kids take two home without knowing what kind they are and how to care for them. I am pretty sure they are Clibanarius vittatus, but I can't find much on care. What do they eat, do they need salt water, do they live on land also? <Not entirely... though this is a tough species that does spend a good deal of time emersed> I know nothing!! Please help. I would much rather take them back to the beach where they belong but it is about 2 and 1/2 hrs. away. I live in a very small town in the middle of nowhere with a pet store that is very limited on information. I have been on the computer for 3 hrs. now and most of what I find is about these crabs in the wild not how to care for them at home. I don't want them to die but I don't know what to do. Can you help me? Thank you, Nancy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above. Perhaps as an object lesson you'll want to have them returned to the shore. Bob Fenner>

Hermit Crab observations - 06/07/06 Hi Crew, <Johnny... sunny? London> I have a 240litre SW tank with 70lb of live rock and 60lb of live sand. It has been set up for about 5 months now. The only inhabitants are 6 Red Legged Hermit Crabs that we introduced at the weekend (Plus the 100 & 1 critters that zoom and crawl about). My girlfriend reckons that all the Hermits are left handed (clawed?) !!! <Happens...> I think she might be right!! anyone else notice this? Johnny ... Sunny London. <Some species are a mix of "handedness", others only one-sided. Bob Fenner>

Gulf Coast <Anomuran> crab? - 05/29/06 Hello! <Hi there> We have recently come home from the beach, in the Gulf Coast, with a couple of "hermit-looking crabs". We are not sure if these are the type that you would buy at the pet store, hermit "land" crabs, or do they need deep water? <Could be either...> We caught them in a net in the tide waters... Is the care the same as a hermit land crab? <Not likely, no> We have been searching all over the Web and have had no luck in identification, or care of these cute little creatures. <See the works of Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach... Amazon.com...> It just seems odd that they were caught in deep water and now we are going to take that away from them..?? help! Please? Thank you for your time.. The Jones' family <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Hermit Crabs ... gen. info. 1/21/06 Hi there. <Hello Mark> Well for some time now I've been keeping hermits in my reef tank, I used to have one, and a couple of weeks ago I expanded the hermit crew into 5 additional, same species. They are all very peaceful grazing in the sand and on algae, as well as climbing on my snails picking loose junk from their shells. I've managed to identify the hermits as "Striped Hermits" while they are quite peaceful I really know nothing about them. I was hoping perhaps you might be able to fill me in about them, complete feeding habits, moods, general behavior, maximum size, etc etc. <This info is easily found on the WetWeb. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm Do search before sending queries and in future queries, please cap all "I's" and the beginning of sentences. It really saves us time in editing queries before posting. James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Mark

Marine Hermit Crab Die Off and Stocking Density (Give, Your Crabs a Shell) 11/28/05 Hello Crew, <Hello Tom.> I really appreciate all the help you've given me over the last couple years...thanks! <Glad you have found us useful!> Today I'm hoping to get an informed opinion about what might be happening to my hermit crabs. <Okay.> My tank is a 30 gallon with a two-inch Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius), a Yellow Clown Goby, and a Firefish. It also has a small crab (size of a dime) and probably a very small brittle star (all I ever see is his arms sticking out of a hole in the rock a quarter inch or so). These latter two hitchhiked in on the live rock. <Good stocking choice so far, but watch out for the hitchhiker crab or at least try to i.d. it, could turn out to be something large/predatory in the future.> The tank has a larger grouping of rock on the left, and a smaller grouping on the right, with a few inches separation in the middle. The Fire Shrimp lives in the left rock grouping, basically all alone. Everything else lives in or on the right rock grouping. I only mention this because it seems so odd that it might be a clue. About two months ago, I ordered a dozen Dwarf Red Tip (Clibanarius sp.) and a dozen Zebra (Calcinus laevimanus) hermit crabs to control algae. I received generous counts, and actually started with about 30 hermits. As of today, I can count only 11 hermits. There may be a few I can't see, but 19? <Honestly Tom I think the reason for this hermit die off is the original stocking density. These animals simply aren't built to live a crowded arrangement like this but they are plagued by retailers recommendations of 1 per gallon, which is quite irresponsible (not you them). Anyway there are probably a few contributing factors including fighting over shells and insufficient food. Unless you were target feeding the hermits its unlikely they were able to survive simply as detritivores or scavengers. A more appropriate stocking level is 10 or less.> I also believe a hitchhiker snail has disappeared. <Possibly killed for its shell.> So, what do you think is happening to the hermit crabs? <See above.> Tom <Adam J.>

Mystery Hermit Crab Help - 10/20/2005 Hello. Your website has the most in-depth info anywhere on the web! <Hefty accusation there, Mary! I'm glad you find the site useful. Sabrina with you today.> You are all to be congratulated on your time, effort and expertise! <Thank you very, very much for these kind words....> I'll try to watch my language. <Ahh, good.> That said.... I, like others, ended up bringing home a couple of hermit crabs by mistake from Dauphin Island. <Uhh, yikes. Please, please folks - if you pick up trinkets at the beach, make sure the animals that used them are done with them!> They had survived more than 2 weeks in a tied plastic bag with other empty shells; traveling from southern Alabama up to and through the Smoky Mountains (all of those elevation and temperature changes, whew!) and finally to northern Kentucky. So I figured the very least that I owed them was my very best efforts to help them live. I knew absolutely nothing about them and had trouble at first figuring out that they are NOT the hermit crabs that you can readily find info for on the web and that so many kids keep as pets. I haven't been able to exactly identify them, but here is a link to a picture of them: http://www.touchthesea.org/hermitcrablv2.jpg <This is an aquatic or semi-aquatic animal, to be sure. Not just a land hermit, as you correctly guessed.> I set up a mini (10 gal) salt water aquarium with: Aragonite Reef Sand, other shells that I brought home (some of which may be suitable future homes for them), salt water made with dechlorinated tap water and Instant Ocean Sea Salt, mixed appropriately, and a thermometer. <Heater? Filtration? Testing supplies? Food?> Yesterday, I thought they were goners. After setting this 'system' up and putting them in, I gave them some food choices that I had tried previously like commercial pellets, leaf lettuce, "Sea Weed Salad, Green Marine Algae" and covered the whole sha-bang with a towel and left them undisturbed overnight. <I would try offering small bits of thawed frozen raw human-consumption shrimp.... and remove in a few tens of minutes if left untouched.> (In Kentucky, I think 'sha-bang' is a noun, LOL) <Can double as a verb in Kansas, spelled 'shebang'.> And, alas, they seem to be very happy crabs this morning !! SO, I will go ahead and install a water pump and filtering system, the information for which I can get from your FAQs. <Great.> But, FINALLY, here is my question.... I have yet to see them attempt to eat anything that I have offered and I am stumped. <These opportunistic dudes prefer meatier fare.... Try shrimp, krill, even bits of human-consumption fish.> Today, they seem to be filtering the water through their mouths and maybe eating the algae that came in the sand??. <They'll pick through it some, sure.> But that won't last very long, will it? <No.> What else can I offer them to eat? <As above.> Do they maybe just need more time to acclimate to their surrounding? <Perhaps.> Minerals? <Regular water changes with saltwater of the correct salinity using a quality salt mix will help with this. You may wish to start testing, maintaining calcium and alkalinity.> If this is successful, I think I just might invest in a new hobby. I currently am husband to a 40 gal FW aquarium that has been very successful over the years. <Must've been tough to get THAT marriage license!> A Marine tank would be too cool ! I had always been intimidated by the science of one, but no longer, thanks to all of the efforts y'all put into this web site. <Glad we could be of service.> ('y'all' is definitely a noun in KY !) <That's one I could never get the hang of.> I look forward to some suggestions on food, minerals, etc. Keep up the great work, so many of us appreciate it. <And again, thank you very much for these kind words. It means a great deal to see comments like these.> Mary Robben <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Hermit Crabs 10/2/05 Hi, <Hi, Rich.> I have a couple of Dardanus megistos in my fish only system. This morning I noticed that one of them must have had a confrontation last night and had lost it's large claw (not to be confused with the normal shedding of it's shell). Will it grow back? <Yes it will grow back; crustaceans have amazing regenerative abilities. It will take a few consecutive and successful molts but I would not expect any long-term harm from this.> Thanks, Rich <No problem, Adam J.>

Hermit Crabs In A Reef...Are Any Of Them Safe? - 05/22/05 Hello, <Hey!> I have recently begun reading your site, and was somewhat shocked to read that you do not recommend keeping ANY crabs in a reef system, since almost every dealer or website or individual reef keeper I know of states that they are reef safe and are the best option for cleanup crews. <This is not everyone's view here, but yes, a few of us (myself included) choose not to recommend/include hermit crabs in our systems.> Some places recommend somewhere in the vicinity of 1 per gallon. <Yeah...places that SELL them.> I have used them in the past (my reef tank is down at the moment) with a few corals and not noticed any problems, but then I wasn't looking for them. Do you truly recommend forgoing crabs completely as cleaners, or are there a few limited species that work well? <It's a matter of preference. I choose not to employ hermit crabs for the reason they are voracious opportunistic omnivores that have a tendency to "snack" on other desirable organisms.> What instead should be utilized for cleanup in the complete absence of crabs? (The system I am preparing to set up is 135 gal BTW) <Proper setup/maintenance practices, an effective skimmer, frequent partial water changes, judicious feeding practices, etc.> Specifically, I have a great deal of affection for the Staghorn hermits. Are these any better/worse than your average dwarf hermit in a reef? <Probably no better or worse, though they are reported to be more secretive and delicate (more sensitive to water conditions).> Thanks, Frank
<Regards, Eric R.>

Mother of a new (Hermit) crab lover My son and I were perusing your web site and found the following picture:

<Ah, yes> He came home today with from his Scout campout on Galveston Island with a crab that looks just like him and is the size of a medium chicken egg. We're wondering what kind of crab it is. <Is posted on WWM if it's the same> Last weekend we went to the pet store to set up a small marine aquarium for a button-size blue legged crab, that he brought home from the same general area, and he's been doing very well. But this new crab is huge by comparison and I'm afraid to have them together in the same tank. <Maybe take a look though Humann and DeLoach's works on marine life ID in the area...> We live an hour and a half from the Gulf so it's not possible to take him back for at least another week. We've read about the aggressiveness of blue legged, the possibility of larger crabs eating smaller ones, the vulnerability of molting, etc. <Yes> I'd just gotten past the point of worrying that the first one wouldn't survive beyond a day or so and kind of like having him and I'd even gotten used to the idea that I would survive if he did die since it didn't seem that we imposed an immediate death sentence by taking him out of his habitat. But now the picture has just gotten much more complicated and I'm looking for the safest way to incorporate this big fellow, even if it is just for a week until we can return him to the Gulf. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks, Mother of a New Crab Lover <Suggestions? To keep reading... if you're going to return the animal, just keep it in near seawater conditions, w/o feeding for the week. Otherwise, much written on their care, keeping on our site (WWM) and elsewhere. Bob Fenner>

Hiding Hermits - Hello Again Devin Hello everyone, I have a question regarding hermit crabs today. I purchased 4 red leg hermit crabs 4 days ago, and they have been having quite a feast with my algae on my LR. Today, however, I noticed only 2, and after looking around I found the missing ones. They were tucked under a large piece of rock right next to each other, not moving. They have been in the same position for almost a day now and I am wondering if they are okay. could it be that they are mating? If you have any advice or info, it would be most appreciated. Thank you. Devin O'Dea PS. (my tank is 29 gal) <Devin, please read over our materials archived on Hermits, here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm. Scroll down to... Hermits... Your animals may be hiding, may have molted, may be dead... from? Incompatible water quality, a hidden predator... Bob Fenner>

Scarlet Hermit Crabs Hi CREW, <Hello Debi> I understand Scarlet Hermits need to go looking for a new shell as they grow. <Correct> So how many empty shells should I provide and where is it best to place them to assure happy hunting? Is it ok to get shells from a shell shop as long as I boil the empties before putting them in the tank? <Four or five empty shells should be enough. Choose various sizes that are slightly larger than the home he is in. I believe shells from a shell shop would be OK. You want to pick shells that are similar in shape to the one he is in now. I would not use any if they were sprayed with a clear coat or anything like that. James (Salty Dog)>

Jumping' In With All Ten Feet: From Land Hermits To Marine - 01/17/2005 Howdy! <Ahoy, thar!> I've just spent two hours reading your site and can't find an answer to my question, so I guess I'm an oddball (well, I know I'm an oddball, apparently I'm a unique oddball!) <Ahh, we're ALL unique oddballs. No worries.> I keep quite a few land hermit crabs as pets-last count was 43 in five species- <Err, and I thought *I* had a few too many, with 14 of 4 species.... <grin> > and I spotted some tiny blue legs yesterday. I'd love to get a couple, but I can't seem to find much in the way of info on keeping just crabs. <Lots of folks do so, in "Nano" reef aquaria that are simply too small to comfortably house fish. Mostly, though, the knowledge required is the same as for any marine system. I know I've tried to post some info on a couple of hermit forums, but it has been largely disregarded.... Sigh.> Are they only kept as cleaners, or are they ever kept by themselves? <Either way. To be honest, blue legs aren't the friendliest cleaner. Lots of folks like them. I prefer the scarlet reef hermits - much less vicious, IMO/IME.> If I can keep them alone, how much tank space would I need for two blue legs, say, 1/8" (yes, I'm fully aware that they will grow and I will need to upgrade later) <Oi. I wouldn't dare do just two, or you'll end up eventually with just one. With your experience in land hermits, I'm sure you're familiar with "shell fights" - blue legs take these to the next level.... Gladiators fighting to the death were never so aggressive as these critters can be. Again, just my experience, but they tend to tear each other apart if they don't have MORE than enough shells and lots of distractions.> I'm trying to get an idea of what would be required before I take any home! Thank you SO much for your time and your willingness to help raw newbies! <Ahh, some very basics.... To be honest, I would strongly urge you to aim for a tank of 20 gallons or more. A smaller tank will be MUCH harder to keep stable.... really, I can't tell you how much easier a 20 is than a 10. Please, please, take that into consideration. Now, if all you want are hermits, this is going to be pretty easy. I would urge you to use "live rock" in the tank - most often, we recommend 1-2 pounds of rock per gallon, but you can skimp on this and add a few pounds at a time (just make sure it is "cured" before adding, read through the articles and FAQs on live rock for more info). You'll need a quality marine salt. "Doc Wellfish" or other salts marketed for freshwater aquaria simply won't cut it. A hygrometer is of great importance - keep the water at a specific gravity at 1.024-ish. I would like to recommend that you invest in a decent skimmer, but with the cost of such an item, I just don't think it would be worth it for your applications. For substrate, you would probably do best to have less than one inch of sand, preferably aragonite. Crushed coral will do, but sand, IMO, is a much better substrate. Also, the blue legs will not dig into the substrate to molt like the land hermits do. Nor will other small, semi-peaceful hermits.... or any marine hermits that I know of. There is really a LOT of information to soak up before you take on this endeavor - but you are most definitely capable - I would urge you to read the following article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nemoproart.htm - this article is geared to would-be "Nemo" keepers, but nearly all of it applies to your project, as well. I especially like the list of equipment needed, but would like to stress NOT to use an incandescent light fixture, which can overheat such a small tank. Also, I would urge you to visit our forum at http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk and ask questions and gather information there, as well. You will find me there as "vintage_fish".> Also, just a couple comments about your land crab pages: You have almost everything down pat, especially with sending people on to hermit-crabs. COM or landhermitcrabs.com. However, land crabs tend to do best in groups, and they need their water dechlorinated; also, they are very sensitive to metals and need high humidity, so wire cages don't work very well. <Agreed wholeheartedly on all of the above. Please understand that much of that area of our site is rather outdated. Perhaps someone will get around to placing an up-to-date article there, some time soon....> Again, thank you so much for your time and attention! <And thank you for your interest in what is most certainly a very extensive and exciting hobby! Please do read that article, to kind of get a feel for what you need to know and do, and make use of our forums - and if you have any further questions, PLEASE feel free to write in again! We're here for this very reason. Sarah <Wishing you and your future blue legs well, -Sabrina>

Hermits fading Dear WWM Crew, Thank you for the great site! I have browsed through your website but did not find the answer to my problem. I have 10 blue legged and 2 scarlet hermit crabs in 55 gallon tank. I have recently noticed that my scarlet became more of an orange color and at least one blue legged has faded in color too. Can you suggest any reasons for that so that I could address it before they get worse. Thank you! Artem <Likely nutritional, though water chemistry/quality can definitely play a/the role here. Color change per se is not an indication of good or ill-health though... You might check your water, augment, actually directly feed your Hermits some vitamin/supplement (e.g. Zoe, Selcon) soaked foods. Bob Fenner>

Turbo Snail Shells I had a turbo snail die today and I want to keep the shell in my tank. The reason for this is two-fold. One is for tank decoration, I think their shells look really cool. Second, for the hermit crabs to move into when they grow. How do get the snail shell ready to add back into my tank?...wash the dead organism out of the shell and place the shell back into the aquarium...IanB>

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>>

Taking hermits from the ocean - 8/23/04 I brought home a few wild hermit crabs from Monterey Bay, Ca
<I work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium>
of the tide pool variety.
<Know these well>
Only after some research did I find out that they are different from land types and require far more special care.
<Oh yeah!!! I would suggest always doing your research before taking on any animal (even those purchased from a store)>
PLEASE help, I'm desperate to keep them alive.
<Not likely possible in the long term. They require a cooler temperature. They require lots of varied foods. Typically, being that they are found in tide pools, they can handle extreme variations throughout the day. But let me add that they also become stabilized with the changing tide. So they do not typically spend the entire lifespan in the tide pool. They can venture back into shallow areas or different tide pools to find better suitable foods and habitat. Your environment just won't be conducive to their ability to move to a different environment when they want. So it is highly recommended that you release back to a tide pool near if you can. Sorry for the bad news, but I just can't think of anyway to keep these alive in a home aquarium without ambient bay temps (56-68 degrees) proper Monterey Bay alga to start> We are willing to furnish them with aquarium and whatever else is needed. How about a 200 dollar to a 10000 dollar chiller just to start?> Shells are at most 3/4 inch wide, and they have very dark blue or very dark brown appendages with red antennae. We'd like help dealing with specifically this type of hermit crab, as in how many crab tank volume. As for right now, what should I do immediately? Water is low, so how should I prepare more (salinity, chemical, temperature, aeration etc.)?
<Start with our website under the Marine Aquarium heading. There are lots that applies here. Honestly Oliver, I would let these guys go, then start a tank with your newfound knowledge from this site and the many other sites and books out there, then, either try again, or maybe try some tropical hermit crabs that are kept at warmer temperature. (much easier and cheaper in my opinion, and in some cases even more interesting and colorful) On the short term, how can I keep them alive?
<Just too big of a topic to cover. You can read through our site on setting up a salt water aquarium. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm choose all the topics that apply to you. They look fine and healthy for now, but I doubt they'd stay that way for long.
<Agreed. I feel the best way to handle this situation is to leave the marine life in the tide pools for others to see. Buy only corals and fish responsibly caught, and better yet, farmed varieties. Sorry not be of more help but this is a big topic to cover. Thanks for the question. ~Paul> Thanks, Oliver

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>

Hermits & Parasites (1/9/2004) Hello everyone: <Steve Allen here> I did check your articles and the internet and could not find an answer to this question. Do saltwater hermit crabs carry parasites on their shells <perhaps> and should they be fresh water dipped before being put in a new tank?
<No. Instant death to the hermits. Better to quarantine before putting them in your tank, though the risk of parasites is small.> Also I am cycling <how long> a new tank(20 Gal.) with a blue velvet damsel.
<I recommend against cycling with fish. Needless suffering for them. Fish are not needed for cycling. Search WWM for info on how.>
The Sg is 1.026, Ph 8.2, Temp 79, Ammonia .25 and nitrites are 2.0. I do at least a 25% water change every other day to bring the nitrites down. I have noticed that the damsel is scratching frequently and have read elsewhere that this could be irritation from the nitrites. <yes> I gave the fish a freshwater dip before introduction into the new tank. The fish has a voracious appetite <good sign> even now with the nitrites as high as they are. I have not seen any obvious parasites or white spots on the fish. He does come up to the surface(2" below) frequently in the corner where he is fed so I am assuming he is checking for food. Can the nitrites cause the damsel to scratch or does the fish have parasites? <If you do not see spots on the fish, it is more likely the toxic effect. Get these numbers down, but don't change too much water or you'll never get it cycled.> Thank you guys for your help and great articles. <Glad to be of service.>

How Many Hermits? (1/8/2004) Howdy guys :) I was wondering what you felt was the correct stocking density for hermit crabs, as I am reading all sorts of different opinions everywhere. <A strong indicator that there is no "correct" stocking density. The more different opinions there are on a subject, the more likely that any given opinion is incorrect.> I have seen ratios from 1 per gallon to 1 per 10 gallons, and I'm wondering what you guys feel is a good general rule for stocking these critters. <Personally, I use a ratio of zero per gallon. I'm not really into them--sometimes they eat things you don't want them to. I use other things (Nassarius, Turbo, Nerites, & Cerith snails and brittle stars.) As for hermit "ratios," I find it interesting that the highest recommended numbers come from those who are selling them. Bear in mind that none of these "clean-up crews" are a substitute for proper tank management. Go with what seems to make sense to you. I'd keep it on the lower end of the range if I were you.> Thank you kindly. <You're welcome. Steve Allen>

Saddam, Evil Saddam! Sad Saddam.. >Hi, Marina. I hope all's well at your end. >>Yes indeed, just had a short vacation, and taking another short one in the next few days. I hope all's well for you as well, Barb. >I'll assume that Saddam alone wasn't able to keep the biological system in the QT balanced, because the water grew increasingly green (water changes didn't help enough). >>This is free-floating algae, may or may not be indicative of maintaining nitrifying bacteria. But, no worries. >I was advised by a LFS to put him in the sump of my main tank, which I had no other choice but to do. My question is how do I keep him nourished without polluting the sump (he's in the section that holds the protein skimmer and it's pump)? >>You can add just a bit of food every couple of days or so. Even a chunk of raw shrimp should satisfy him for a while (nothing too large that would then decompose). If he appears to be growing, or stops eating, he may be in need of a new shell. >Behaviorally-speaking, will he ever be able to be brought back to the main tank without risking the lives of the other hermit crabs of the same species? >>Very unlikely. >I guess I'm hoping that he'd feel like the new kid on the block after being out of the main tank for 6 weeks, and wouldn't be so aggressive to the crabs that are now established residents. >>I really don't think crabs think that far ahead or into the past. Think something more instinctive. >What has been your experience with this kind of situation (or exposure to other aquarists' experiences)? Regards, Barb >>I don't know anyone who's actually wanted to put a "known offender" back into their system. However, I can tell you that when placed into a new system/similar situation, it tends to be hit or miss. For the most part, it's been my experience that they'll do what came naturally to them in the first place. Sorry I don't have better news for you, but it's better to be safe I think, yes? Marina

More of Saddam in the News! >Thanks...again. >>My pleasure, Barb. >The shrimp was a big hit. I put some into the main tank, too. I've never seen my clownfish go after anything with such assertion! >>Works almost every time. Shrimp are good. >I've got a pygmy angel (cute little blue guy that looks like he's wearing yellow goggles) that actually took a morsel away from two little hermits that were arguing over it. That'll teach them to waste precious time! >>Indeed! I'm glad you're enjoying your little C. argi. >FYI, the QT wasn't just slightly green when I took Saddam out, it was opaque green. Major bloom. >>Sounds as though you could have thrown a ham hock in there and had pea soup, eh? >I'll heed your warning and keep Saddam in the sump away from the others. Enjoy your second vacation! Barb >>Thank you, it's not starting till Monday now, but it's starting nonetheless. Marina

More Hermit Stocking Questions.. II >Just so you know, I was able to pry the murderous crab (we've named him Saddam) >>Oh my God!! Thank you for the laugh!! >..off of the two smaller crabs before limbs were torn, so they're still alive and cruisin' the tank. Every crab in the main tank appears to want to live in harmony. >>Thank goodness, good riddance, and thank goodness! Lesson learned. Addition number one to the "derelict tank", eh? >I've heard of cannibalistic turbo snails. I've added two more large ones to our tank (we had one in there already) and one hung out with ours for a day in the corner of the tank. When the new one moved away from the existing one, I noticed that the new one had blown white stuff onto the existing one's shell and the live rock next to him. Looked like something a pigeon would drop on a sidewalk, if you know what I mean. Excrement or eggs? >>Hhmm.. sounds like milt to me (fish sperm/semen), but I certainly could be wrong. I doubt it's excrement.. but again, I could be wrong. Let's hope it means that they "really like each other". >Shall I assume that since the existing snail is still intact that the new ones (or at least the one that hung out with him) have no plans to hurt him? Barb >>I'd watch and see what transpires. You'll know soon enough if there's a problem. However, again, if you're really worried about it, toss him in with Saddam. If he is a problem, maybe we can call him "Uday". Marina

More Hermit Stocking Questions.. The Prey of Saddam! >Haaa! Thank YOU for the laugh. >>Hi Barb, you're welcome. I always say, if you can be NOTHING else in life, be an entertainment value. >All three of the snails are doing fine, though there's more of that white talc-like stuff on the rocks. >>Good.. I think. Hhmm.. snail milt? No.. I hope if someone's hip to what this is they chime in. >They don't mess with each other at all. Just passing each other from rock to rock, wall to wall. >>They just keep on truckin'. >Found an empty crab shell (not one of the extras I had added) right after I wrote you about no casualties. Apparently, I wrote too soon. >>An empty shell could be a molt. >Glad Saddam's in solitary. >>So are WE! >Happy New Year, by the way. I hope 2004 is good to you and those close to you. Barb >>Thank you, Barb. Likewise, and let's hope things continue going (relatively) smoothly with your tank. Marina

More Hermit Stocking Questions.. The Prey of Saddam! II >Thanks, Marina. >>Much welcome, Barb. >Regarding the possibility of the empty crab shell being a molt, wouldn't I see a new occupant of one of the spare shells (that are deliberately different looking than the ones they came in)? Barb >>Not at all. Just because the crab molted doesn't mean it didn't like its current digs, it just needed to shed. Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether or not there's actually a body in there, I've found giving it a squeeze usually settles the question (though, after a few days it's going to be same same). Marina

Empty Shell Syndrome? >Well, that shell looks pretty empty and it hasn't budged from its current position since we ousted Saddam over a week ago. No sign of an empty (or full) exoskeleton, either. :( Barb >>We should let Saddam's people try him and decide what should be done. }:-> Marina

Saltwater Hermit Crab Shells Dear Crew, Thank you so much for the great site and for answering my questions in the past! <We're just glad we can be of service> Can non-painted shells of ocean origin be used for saltwater hermit crabs, even if they were meant for land hermit crabs? <As long as they weren't cleaned with any harsh chemicals then a shell from the ocean is exactly what your hermits would be using.> What about non-painted shells of land origin that are meant for land hermit crabs? <They are just as safe to use, not sure what shell from the land a hermit would use. Most non salt shells that are sold for land hermits are Freshwater Apple snails. And again, provided that they are clean and not be exposed to bad chemicals then it should be okay.> If shells for land hermits are not okay or are not as good as shells for saltwater hermits, is there anywhere where you can buy large shells for saltwater hermit crabs? Is there any particular sort of shell that you would recommend for a large hermit crab? <Hermit crabs will make a house out of just about everything. when diving I've seen them take just about anything from large cans to large pieces of junk. I would ask you LFS if they have a large shell for you, typically they have one just laying around someplace. If not then I'm sure they will know where to get one rather than ordering it yourself. -Magnus> Thank you,

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