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FAQs on Terrestrial/Freshwater Hermit Crabs Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Terrestrial Hermit Crabs, Freshwater CrustaceansInvertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks,

Related FAQs:  Terrestrial Hermit Crabs 1, Terrestrial Hermit Crabs 2, & FAQs on Terrestrial Hermits: Terr. Hermit ID, Terr. Hermit Behavior, Terr. Hermit Compatibility, Terr. Hermit Selection, Terr. Hermit Systems, Terr. Hermit Disease, Terr. Hermit Reproduction. & FAQs on Marine/SW: SW Hermit ID, SW Hermit Behavior, SW Hermit Compatibility, SW Hermit Selection, SW Hermit Systems, SW Hermit Feeding, SW Hermit Disease/HealthSW Hermit Reproduction, & FW Crustaceans 1FW Crustaceans 2

All the information you would need on hermits diet can be found at www.epicureanhermit.com.

Help. Terr. Hermit crab beh., rel. matters    7/9/10
we have had hermit crabs for over three years, we have seen them naked but this time one went naked and climbed into the water dish, and what we started to think he was molting. He hasn't moved or done anything for 5 days. He was moving just a couple of days ago. But nothing, we had to remove the water dish because the other one was trying to get at it. I don't smell anything. Would this be consider molting? If so, how long?
He is very small. He has molted before but never on top of the surface.
thank you
<Greetings. It isn't normal for Hermit Crabs to moult outside of their shells or at least outside some sort of burrow, so if you see your Hermit Crab moulting on top of the sand or coir, something is probably amiss.
Start by checking diet, particularly the availability of iodine, as iodine deficiency seems to be a very common reason for improper moulting. Note that Hermit Crabs can be cannibalistic, and it is crucial that recently-moulted Hermits get themselves into shells as fast as possible. If that isn't happening here, you need to separate them. The fact your Hermit hasn't moved is very worrying, and I'd be isolating him regardless. Make sure the vivarium is suitably warm -- unless you're in the tropics room temperature won't do -- and sufficiently humid. Like a lot of cold-blooded animals "dying" can take months, even years, so just because you've been successful thus far doesn't mean you've actually been keeping them properly. Sometimes it takes a long time for the problem to become fatal.
So sit back, review living conditions, and make sure you're providing everything you should. Most of the people selling Hermit Crabs in malls and whatnot haven't the foggiest idea what they need, and those little plastic habitats they sell are pure garbage. At minimum, you need a 10 gallon aquarium with a couple of inches depth of damp sand or coir, plus a shallow basin of either dechlorinated freshwater (for Purple Pincer Crabs, Coenobita clypeatus) or brackish water (for Ecuadorian Crabs, Coenobita compressus) depending on the species you're keeping. This is VERY important, and if you provide the wrong type of water you will create problems in the long term. Unfortunately both species are equally available, and the retailers, particularly those in malls, have not a clue which one they're selling. Place a heating pad under the tank to maintain a steady 25 C/77 F. You need a hood to keep humidity in the tank, but sufficient ventilation to prevent fungal infections. You need to clean the sand or coir regularly, ideally every couple of weeks. The diet should be varied but calcium-rich, so lots of things like whole lancefish and unshelled shrimps rather than just prawn meat or fish fillet. Some vegetable matter, such as banana, is also important. An iodine supplement is almost always required, though some Hermit Crab foods may include iodine -- check the labeling. I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

What's wrong with them? Hermits, terr.... sys., fdg., beh....    8/5/09
Hello, my name is Ben.
Sorry to bother you, but there is something that's really bothering me and I'm worried about my Hermit Crabs.
<Interesting pets, and not difficult to keep, but often trickier than the sales clerks suggest. Suggest you visit one particular site that's all hermits, all the time:
It's a good site, and very frank about what's needed to keep them healthy.>
My brothers and I bought 3 hermit crabs (sorry, not so sure about the species) at Petsmart two days ago, we also bought frog moss, sponges, 3 shells of the appropriate size and some decorations. I had everything else ready at my house, hideys, chlorine remover, dishes, and bag of play sand.
I didn't buy any salt, though.
<Ah, this does matter. There are at least two species equally commonly traded in the US: Coenobita clypeatus, which needs a freshwater bathing pool, and Coenobita compressus, which needs brackish water or seawater in its bathing pool. Now, the critical thing to remember is that both species are widely sold, and sales clerks will say that both species need freshwater. That helps them make their sales quota! So do not, repeat DO NOT, take on trust any statement that the Hermit you have is a freshwater species. Review the link below, and confirm for yourself.
Use marine salt mix to make up the brackish water should you need it. At the amounts you're using the cost will be trivial, but you'll regret using cooking salt, aquarium tonic salt, or anything else that wouldn't be used
in a marine aquarium. You're after brands such as Reef Crystals, Instant Ocean, or whatever the cheaper generic marine aquarium salt is at your pet store.>
The lady who helped us mentioned something about them having only freshwater hermit crabs in store and that salt water was not necessary. I also didn't buy any commercial food, they didn't have any in store and I
heard they can a lot of other things instead.
<Certainly, these crabs are entirely omnivorous. An ideal diet would include soft fruit, freeze-dried or wet-frozen krill, squashed cooked peas, and chunks of lancefish, which you can buy frozen at pet stores. Lancefish are small fish, a bit like whitebait, and because they contain bones, they're a good source of calcium.>
I've fed them daily, watered the moss, misted the tank, gave them water.
(I've made sure to always use the water I setup with drops of chlorine remover every time I use any water)
<Very good.>
Well, here's my problem, I don't think they've eaten since I got them 2 days ago. I've fed them apple, melon, carrot, with small dabs of peanut butter or honey. I haven't really seen any change in the food from when I put it there. So I'm worried whether they're eating or not? Why not? How long could they go on like this?
<It is actually very common for Hermits to "go quiet" when first introduced to their new habitat. They're also somewhat nocturnal in the wild, and become more day-active once they settle down. So, between these two factors, you might well not see very much for the first couple days, even a week or so. Provided your Hermit is still alive, I wouldn't worry unduly about a quiet specimen for at least a week or so after purchase. Remove uneaten food to prevent fruit flies, fungus, etc. A small piece of lancefish would, I bet, be the thing to get them eating, so try that one night. Dead fish are a real treat in the wild, and land crabs get very
excited when they smell one!>
I also haven't seen a lot of action from them. Of course I'm not aware of what goes on after I fall asleep, but when I'm awake, they mostly hide all day. At night we take them out to play and exercise them a bit since
they're nocturnal but they don't seem to trust us much.
<They won't. It takes weeks before they become "trusting".>
It takes long for them to come out and when they do they try to scurry in the opposite direction, we always try to be as gentle as we can. Please, could you give us some tips that could help us earn there trust?
Please, I'm afraid they'll die, I've had hermit crabs before, but I wasn't well informed or prepared the first time. This time I did research on everything before getting them and I was prepared, but I don't understand
why they aren't eating. Thanks for taking time to read this, and I'm sorry to have bothered you.
Thank you,
<Do read the site mentioned, identify the species you have, adjust the salinity of the bathing pool if required, and give your Hermits time to settle down. Remember they need warmth, and if your habitat is too cold
(air temperature less than 22 C/72 F) they're not going to be active at all, and will probably die quite quickly. These animals live in the Caribbean area, so if you don't live somewhere with a similar tropical
climate, you WILL need a heater. An undertank heating mat is ideal, and doesn't cost much. Alternatively, some type of heating lamp could be used; not a regular lamp, a proper heating lamp mind you! Visit a reptile pet store and review the options for heating lizards, snakes and other warmth-loving animals. All of these tropical pets need heat, and it's a shame sales clerks often suggest they can be kept at room temperature in
the US and Europe; they very largely can't. If you happen to live somewhere warm like Florida where the air temperature would be adequate, don't forget that air conditioning will cool the air in your home, and that will also cool the air in your Hermit habitat. So do think very carefully about heating: it's probably the single most common reason why tropical "critters" of all kinds die in captivity. Cheers, Neale.>

Terrestrial Hermit Crabs Hi, I am having trouble finding Herman Haven Food products> The store that used to sell it closed and my hermits won't eat anything else I've tried. I tried to slowly introduce these products into there diet but they won't eat anything else. <Try contacting them directly: http://shop.store.yahoo.com/insectlore/hershavlivhe.html > Also, they haven't grown since I got them last summer, 2004. There are three of them and non of them has molted yet. <... odd...> I have extra shells too. They move around the tank, I keep the temp. as the books and written info say too and keep the humidity about 40%. I tried to increase the humidity but for some reason it stays up a few days then go to 40% again. <Uhh, evaporation? Try keeping a moist sponge in their enclosure> They are in a 5 gallon glass tank. Please let me know if you have any idea where I can get this food. I live in N.J. Thanks <Write on my young friend. Bob Fenner>

I'm needing help with feeding. Terr. Hermits... reading I have 2 hermit crabs, they both are doing fine .Well I think they are. They sleep almost all day long, and then seem to want to "play" at night. I have hermit food for them, but they don't seem very interested in eating it. So I have tried fresh food for them. I just started giving them tropical fruits which they seem to love to eat. And then they are very active after that. But how good is it for them to eat pineapple and papaya all the time???? thanks Tammy from Ozark , mo <Mmm, no... likely need a source of minerals as well. Supplemented or included in the food, or the substrate. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/hermitcrabfaqs.htm and the linked files in the top right tray. Bob Fenner>

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