In this issue - The Crabstreet Journal
The first magazine for land hermit crab enthusiasts!
November 2006 Volume I Issue 5
Cover photo by Snwbordrgrl
In this issue:
Meet The Hermit Crab Addiction
Turning up the heat in your crabitat
Crabbers see the light
Crabs aren’t for Christmas
October contest winners
October 2006 Winner:
October 2006 Winner:
This photo was submitted by JoeyO
“My Fall loving Wood! His shell even
"sports" the Fall colors!”
Dimensions of Crabitat: Not certain, 20L
JoeyO will receive a free copy of the annual
calendar featuring all of our winners. PLUS
200 CSJ dollars to spend on prizes!
Description of Substrate: Playsand, little cocofiber
Volume of Crabitat: 20 Gallons Long
Description of Tank Items PVC pipe, 2 plants,
2 cholla woods, cocohut, 2 water dishes, 1
food dish, shells, 2nd level w/netting, clay pot
taintedDogma0 will receive 200 CSJ dollars to
spend on prizes!
Enter our contests at www.crabstreetjournal.com
Meet The Hermit Crab Addiction
By Vicki O’Donnell
My name is Vicki O'Donnell and I live in Fremont California USA. I currently am a stay at home Mom, with 3
boys. I came into crabbing when my oldest had to have a hermit crab. We went to PetSmart where he had seen
them and got a plastic cage that came with gravel and 1 hermit crab. After watching him for a few days it was
obvious that we needed to do
some research on hermit crabs. We
then went and purchased a 10 gallon tank, play sand, dechlorinator,
salt water, and a UTH. After a
few weeks my son seemed to be less
into hermit crabs then I was so I
took them over gladly! That's when
my addiction started.
I started The Addiction store because many members were having a
hard time finding certain products
where they lived. Organic foods, turtle docks and reptile moss were
not widely available. I was able to
buy organic flowers, powders and
herbs in bulk and make them into
smaller packages. I could then
offer them to fellow crabbers that
didn't cost a bundle. When I offered my first variety pack I sold out
in 8 hours! That inspired me to get a bit more creative and offer a wider variety of organic items.
My top ten selling items in The Addiction store are:
1. Organic Variety Pack
2. Spirulina Powder
3. Choya Wood
4. Organic Flowers
5. Epicurean Hermit Crab Cuisine
6. Epicurean Mangrove Meal
7. Crushed Coral
8. Medicinal Baths
9. Sand Dollars
10. Turtle Docks
Where you can shop online:
I recently had a Mothers Day sale, and that had a great turn out. I will be offering a Fathers Day sale in June,
so keep an eye out for that. Currently in the works are organic flavored cuttle bone powders and bulk sizes of
When I ship out your order, inside the packages are some small surprises. I try to get more products known out
there. If someone orders the organic powders I will make sure to put some samples of organic flowers in there
so they can try them out. I also offered free samples of the popular Epicurean Hermit Crab Cuisine and Mangrove Meal on hermit crab forums. That was a big hit! I received envelopes asking for the samples and orders
for the items came in fast!
The Addiction also does specialized orders. If a customer can't find an item, we will locate it for them. Most
recently was a plant purchase and bulk size reptile moss. The Addiction has a feedback score of 100% and we
are extremely proud of that fact. We do ship outside the US. To this date we have shipped packages to Canada,
Mexico and Australia. Most countries have strict laws, so contact customs and see what is permissible to enter
the country prior to ordering.
Heating the Crabitat
by Jenny Swartzbaugh (jsrtist)
Land hermit crabs are tropical animals who need to be kept in a
constant, stable temperature. Ideally, ambient air temperature of
the tank should stay between 75-80ºF. A stable temperature is just
as important as a warm one because in the tropics, animals do not
experience much temperature fluctuation on a day to day or even
In the wintertime, it is especially critical to make sure our tanks
stay stable and warm for our pets. Crabs are cold blooded creatures, which means they are only as warm as their surrounding
temperatures. Being kept in too cool of a temperature for an extended period of time interferes with bodily functions including
respiration and digestion, and extremely cold temperatures can
cause irreparable organ failure.
Meet the author:
I am an artist and am currently returning to school to
study wildlife biology. My art allows me to combine
my passion for animals, science and sculpture.
I have been keeping land hermit crabs since I was a
kid in the mid 80s, but have been a serious crab
keeper since early 2004. I currently have 5 species in a 60 gallon tank and
consider myself an amateur scientist, dedicated to better understanding these
mysterious creatures. One of my greatest accomplishments came this summer
when my female rugosus not only bred in captivity, but laid eggs which
hatched. The larvae lived for about six days and I
was thrilled to record data during that time. In
addition to hermit crabs, I also have goldfish and a
couple reef aquariums, as well as a rescued cat and
Some examples of my hermie art!
The general rule I go by in keeping my hermit crabs is to give
them a large aquarium with plenty of surface area and
areas of varying temperature so they can choose where
they will be most comfortable. After all, they are wild
animals and know how to take care of themselves. As
their keepers, our job is to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible.
My crabitat is 48" long by 15" wide and 17" tall
(standard 60 gallon). At one end I have a 75 watt reptile heat lamp sitting on a metal screen over the tank.
(Never set a heat lamp on a glass lid as it can crack). At
this end of the tank, I also have a rheostat which sticks
to the side and measures ambient air temperature. The
rheostat is basically a thermostat–I keep it set to about
80ºF and it automatically shuts off or clicks on depending on how warm or cool the tank is. (Place the rheostat
in a safe place away from curious family members or children who may try to readjust it!)
Although I find heat lamps to be very effective for medium to large tanks (30 gallons or more), there are certain precautions to take
when using them. I'd recommend against using them in small tanks simply because there is not enough room in the tank to move
away from the heat. I mentioned before that my tank is four feet long, so the crabs have plenty of area to get out of the heat if necessary. In a taller tank, you also want to increase the wattage of the lamp so your substrate and air temperature stay warm enough.
Make sure to only use a heat lamp along with a rheostat to avoid accidental overheating of the tank.
Undertank heaters, another heating source, are inexpensive, readily available and effective. They can be dangerous, however, if a
crab were to come in contact with the hot glass they attach to. To prevent this, I place a layer of coarse pebbles directly over the
heater so no crab ever comes in direct contact with it. Undertank heaters also work well in tanks with deep substrate (6" or more).
The surface sand may be cool to the touch but the crabs can burrow to get closer to the heater as needed. In my tank, crabs frequently
dig down or molt near the heater.
In addition to the undertank heater at the bottom of my tank, I also
have one attached to the side. I have a large flat rock against the
glass so no crab will come in contact with the heater. I usually find
crabs digging or burrowing near the rock and it also helps heat the
I recommend using multiple small undertank heaters rather than one
large because of the importance of keeping a range of temperatures
in the tank. You should always provide areas where the crabs can
get away from the heat source if they need to. With too large of an
undertank heater, you run the risk of overheating. I have my undertank heaters regulated by the rheostat to prevent this.
In addition to heaters, I also use an aquarium light over the tank. I
have my light on a timer to stay on for about 12 hours daily. It raises
the temperature of the tank slightly during the day, mimicking the
natural heat/cool cycle of a tropical day. In the summer, I cut back
the hours of lighting so the tank won't overheat.
Keeping salt and freshwater pools warm is important, too. My pools
are both at the end of the tank near the heat lamp, and both stay close
to 80ºF as well. I have experimented with moving them around the
tank but knowing that tropical oceans stay in that range, I prefer to
keep mine close to that.
In addition to heating, placement of thermometers and hygrometers in
the tank is critical. In medium to larger tanks (above 20 gallons), it is
important to have more than one set and to have some at each end of
the tank. I use both digital and dial-type gauges, and I have them at
different levels in the tank. Knowing surface temperature is as important as air temperature, as this is where your crabs spend most of their
time. Keeping an eye on your gauges is especially necessary when
first setting up your heaters to prevent accidental overheating.
I'd also like to mention the importance of using more than one heating method so
you will always have a backup. Keep spare heat bulbs on hand at all times. Having one burn out or break in the middle of the night could mean disaster for your
tank. Earlier this year, during a cold snap, our power went out and I had to wrap
my crabitat with blankets to keep it warm in my drafty old house. Have a good
supply of hand/feet warmers (the kind you use for camping) on hand in case of an
emergency. These last for many hours and can get your crabs through a long, cold
I hope this information has been helpful. These are methods I have used and
adapted through the years to work for me. I wish you and your crabs a comfortable, tropical winter!
Most of these items can be purchased in the reptile section of any pet store.
Lighting the crabitat...Crabbers see the light!
By Laura C. Perenic
Have you reached a point where a desk lamp isn’t meeting your crabs’ needs or yours? A good light source to
provide a consistent light and dark cycle will not only make for happier pets but the additional light source will
improve your ability to enjoy and photograph your crabs.
Full spectrum light has two parts: one visible one invisible. The visible spectrum consists of all the colors of
natural sunlight. Imagine a rainbow or light broken up by a prism. Ultraviolet light is present all the time outdoors during the day, even on cloudy days. You may have heard that ultraviolet light is bad but that is only
partly correct. Ultraviolet (UV) light is commonly divided into three sections depending on its wavelength:
near-UV (UV-A), mid UV (UV-B), and far UV (UV-C). UV-A tans us. UV-B stimulates the production of Vitamin D3 in our skin and is essential for the absorption of calcium into bones. (Benefits of Ultraviolet Light By
Linaya Hahn http://www.sunalux.com/articles/ultraviolet.cfm) Sunlight provides small amounts of the ultraviolet light that is essential to properly assimilate food, as well as for curing sundry minor
scratches. It is important to not only provide sunlight but also provide full spectrum lamps,
which emit small amounts of beneficial ultraviolet light.
As with many aspects of keeping crabs there is some overlap in information regarding lighting
and heating. If your heat source is a UTH then your heat source will be separate from your light
source. Conversely if you use a tri-light for heating, this will already provide enough light
15 watt Nightfor your tank. To simulate normal tropical conditions most people use timers with their
lights to ensure a 12-hour night and day light cycle. Depending on your heating needs you light Incandescent Bulb
will know if you require a nightglow bulb at night which will provide some heat; Nightglow bulbs though it has the added bonus of making it easier to watch your crabs at night.
There are Nightglow bulbs that emit a high amount of light and some that emit very little light. If you need the
Nightglow bulb for heating, using the variety that emits very little light, as your crabs do need a period of
darkness. If you are unable to find the low light bulb, alternate your Dayglow/Nightglow in 8 hour cycles and
allow an 8 hour cycle of darkness. If you find your tank temperature drops too low, begin increasing the
length of time the Nightglow bulb is on.
A nightglow or moon glow bulb is an incandescent bulb coated with rare earth black phosphors that simulate
the glow of the moon. Perfect for softly illuminating your crabitat. Based on experience it is best to use bulbs
no higher than 40 watt, with 25W for a small crabitat. Others have chosen higher wattages to warm their larger
(100 and 120 Gallon tanks. It is important to take the size of your crabitat, substrate type and other factors before deciding upon your lighting needs. (Safe Lighting for Land Hermit Crabs Can I Use A Light To Keep
Them Warm? by Vanessa http://www.crabstreetjournal.com/caresheets/cs_lighting.html)
The easiest way to add lighting is to use a reptile heating/lighting hood over the tank. Hoods can be found with
two ceramic receptacles for incandescent bulbs sometimes called bi-lights by ESU; a day glow bulb can be put
in one side, and a night glow bulb in the other. It is best to start with 15-watt bulbs, and go to higher wattages
only if necessary, especially with a 10-gallon tank. To prevent overheating, wood slats can be used to raise the
hood a bit above the glass. Some hoods have a third receptacle for a fluorescent bulb. Full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs simulate natural sunlight and produces optimal amounts of UVB (3%) and UVA (15%). Energy efficient 20-watt lamp is equivalent to 75 watts of incandescent lighting. Reptile heat hoods are best used on
glass top tanks (or screen, but screen tops make humidity regulation difficult) as the lights will be quite warm
and could melt plastic. (Hermit Crab Housing by Mcleod, Lianne http://
For added brightness a tri-light or combo light that uses 2 incandescent
bulbs and 1 fluorescent bulb can be used. It is important to consider that
with hoods each light is on a separate cord, which means you will need access to multiple outlets or an outlet with a surge protector. Each plug will
also require additional timers or one larger timer to help you provide a 12hour cycle.
Heavy Duty Grounded Appliance Timer
24” Reptile Bi-Light 2
(6"L X 25"W X 4"H)
Power Center 8 outlets w/ timer
Reptile hoods, while being a nice option can be expensive and may not be available in size for your tank
should you are using something less common or quite large. Your options can be to use a several strip lights
laid end to end or to use several clamp lamps or dome lamps to meet your lighting needs. Strip lights use UV
Daylight Fluorescent Lamp in a full-spectrum daylight lamp that produces beneficial ultraviolet rays, 3%+
UVB and 7%+ UVA, which help process calcium for bone growth. Its color-enhancing, natural daylight
simulation is also excellent for plant growth in natural vivariums. Strip lights offer high-quality fluorescent
lighting in compact, lightweight, convenient and ready-to-use units. They feature a slim profile making them
suitable for applications where space is limited. Dome lights provide more direct lighting than a hood or light
strip and they tend to be cheaper. A dome lamp is clamp lamp is essentially a dome light that includes a
squeeze clamp that screws tightly to the top of the ceramic socket near the plug and allows you to position
your light at an angel to your tank. As with any lighting device it is important to think about safety.
10” Black Heat & Light Reflector Dome with Ceramic Socket
Slimline Reptile Fixture With 18” UV Lamp
All lighting fixtures have specifications regarding the maximum wattage bulb they can
handle. The 10” Heat and light reflector can handle up to 250 watts of power meaning it
can be used with a regular incandescent, night glow incandescent or halogen bulb up to
250 watts of power. The two great disadvantages to incandescent lights are their inefficiency - you don't get a lot of light compared with how much energy you apply. One
saving grace is that the efficiency increases proportionally to the wattage, for example a
single 100-watt bulb is much brighter than two 50-watt bulbs. The energy that does not
get converted to light is wasted by being given off as heat. All but the smallest wattage
bulbs can generate an awful lot of heat; because the heat is so great, a splash of water
on a hot bulb can shatter it. Halogen bulbs are more efficient than "regular" incandescent bulbs by virtue of remaining brighter, longer; they still give off 95% of their
Repti Halogen Bulbs - 150 watt
initial light output at the end of their lives, which are about twice as long as regular incandescent bulbs. They are also more expensive. The great advantage of
non-halogen bulbs is their extreme low cost for initial purchase, and their great availability. Halogen bulbs are
on the average 5 to 10 times as expensive as their non-halogen counterparts.
(Artificial Lighting: A Summary of Artificial Illumination as it Pertains to the Culture of Various Plants and
Animals Commonly Kept in Indoor Aquaria by Richard J. Sexton [email protected]
As if all those choices were not enough another important consideration is your substrate. If you use a material
that holds heat and your light source provides a lot of heat you must be careful to monitor the temperature of
your substrate. In the past when people used corncob or wood chips as bedding with a desk lamp for light; the
humidity level could become dangerously low. This low humidity combined with a constant source of light
and heat can make for a flammable situation. Because all lighting provides a small amount of heat it is important to compensate for this loss of moisture from the air with substrates like coconut fiber and sand, which are
more apt to hold water.
Choosing the proper lighting for your hermit crab tank is predicated by many things including the size of your
tank, how you heat it, your funds, and the substrate you use. As with decisions
that involve the life of a pet and your hard
Meet the author:
earned dollars it is best to invest slowly and
wisely in your lighting as you will surely have Howdy, my name is Laura. I live in
your crabs for years to come and you will want Ohio and I've had hermit crabs two
your investment to last as long as your interest years in January. I have seven crabs;
in crabs. Be sure to think of lighting your tank 4 PPs and 3 little Es. I cannot find
Ruggies or Straws in the area at all
by day and night and how this will work with
your current or future heating plans. If you can so I use my money over decorating
devise a suitable plan for heating and lighting at my 20H tank.
the same time you can hopefully avoid making
needless purchases. Undoubtedly you will end
up with an array of light bulbs no matter what
you try but if you start out with an idea this
should keep you on target and out of the poor
Hermit Crabs for Christmas
By Stacy Griffith
Hermit crabs are the ultimate impulse purchase pet and Christmas time is no exception. Hermit crabs are not
the 'easy, carefree' pets they are promoted to be by pet stores. Its not as simple as buying a plastic box and
putting the crab it in. In fact, hermit crabs require just as much, if not more, care than your average small pet.
Before you pick up a hermit crabs for Christmas morning please consider the following:
Land hermit crabs can live a minimum of 30 years in captivity. This is the age of the oldest pair in captivity
that I know of, and they are still going strong. Hermit crabs can live up to 70 years in the wild, and are only
limited to that age by the shell resources available to them. Are you prepared to own and care for this 'throw
away pet' for that length of time? Will your child be willing to care for this pet into adulthood? Land hermit
crabs can grow to the size of a cantaloupe, can you provide adequate housing for a pet that large? Hermit
crabs require a consistent temperature ranges between 72-84F and a relative humidity in the range of 7482%. If either of these two needs are not met, the crab will die, slowly and painfully. They require adequate
room to move and climb around inside their tank. They require plenty of empty shells as they grow larger or
simply bored with their current shell. Hermit crabs grow larger with each molt cycle. Molting? Oh you don't
know that hermit crabs molt? They shed their outer exoskeleton and eat it. While their body is soft they grow
and then the new exoskeleton hardens. This is a very physically stressful, and critical time for a hermit crab.
Small hermit crabs can molt as often as every two months or less. Hermit crabs require dechlorinated water
for drinking and bathing in as well as ocean water for drinking, bathing and osmotic regulation. There is
more than one species of hermit crab? You didn't know that either did you? That's because the pet store that
sold you the hermit crab doesn't know the difference. Hermit crabs are not hermits at all. In the wild, they
live in colonies of hundreds, if not thousands, of crabs. Your one
little crab will be very unhappy living alone.
Do you still think hermit crabs are easy, carefree, throw away pets?
Probably not. That's really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes
to providing proper care.
This Christmas, how many of the toys your child receives will be
forgotten within a week? How many of them will they grow bored
with and forget about? Will their new pet hermit crab be one of
those? Are you, as a parent, willingly to assume care of the hermit
crab? If not, please don't give a pet hermit crab as a Christmas gift. Pets aren't for Christmas, they are forever.
Please make sure your child really is prepared to properly care for a new pet before bringing it home.
Meet Epicurean Hermit
Vector graphics by Amie Shuler
19 N Washington
Trenton IL 62293