Good Crab Cage?

This topic contains 183 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  FastBeat85 7 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #74109

    Rattiez21
    Participant

    How does this look for a hermit crab cage? I posted in the wrong forum before. But anyway here is a photo of a new cage I got!

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    It only has 2 air slots on each side at the top plus 6 drill holes. Or 8 if i remove the log. I read Hermits dont need a lot of circulation because they need to keep humidity. Should I try and drill more holes at the top or leave it be?

    How often do you need to change the sand? Do you just scoop out the crab poop? It is kind of a difficult cage to clean, so I dont want anything I have to change often.

    Or have any other pet suggestions that would be suitable for this type of cage? Maybe a lizard friendly as a bearded dragon but smaller? I could keep some amount of water in the cage, but shallow since some of the drill holes are only half an inch above the floor. Id rather keep water in dishes or ponds.

    #665094

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    I honestly have never seen anything like that used as a hermit crab terrarium, my advice would be to go out and ge a ten-gal fish tank to start and then work your way up from there.
    The tank by itself usualy runs about thirtteen dollars at Wal-mart.
    I am using a thirty gallon long style and it is eighty percent covered with press and seal by glad to maintain humidty at seventy percent and a temp of seventy five to eighty degrees.
    How many crabs are you planing to get?
    You will need to spot clean once a day that is to say getting all the visible feces and change the fresh foods after twenty four hours of being given to the crabs.
    There will also need to be two bowls one for fresh and the other for salt water so the cage or what have you that you are shownig in the pic probably wont be big enough for all that plus wood to climb on and a hidey to rest in.
    The regular unclolored play sand works well and will only need to be replaced once every six months or so and it’s what I use..
    You will need to maintain a certain amount of fresh air circulation in the tank because high humidty levels and stagnant air will speed up the growth of mold in the tank and on the hermits gills.
    I have to caution you to never use a sponge in the water because it starts growing a lethal type of bacteria in twentyfour to fourtyeight hours of becoming wet and the bacteria will kill your crabs..

    #664987

    Rattiez21
    Participant

    The cage is a lot bigger than the picture shows. It is certainly bigger than a 10 gallon tank!! It is at least the equivalent of a 25-30 gallon tank. I dont see any problems with it. Actually I think it would be good crab cage because there is no possible escape route for them to get injured. But I need to know if it needs more air holes. I am guessing yes. Would it best if I put them at the top or on the sides of the cage? If it really is a bad cage to use, I already have a 10 gallon tank I could use. But Id prefer bigger. From the info I have read I will probably get 3-5 crabs. They are pack animals. What is the most you think I should put in it? I dont want to overcrowd it. Okay I got that I need to spot clean, but how often should I clean the entire cage? I read somewhere once a year is fine. But maybe more often since the cage is not well circulated? I am reading a lot about hermit crabs and finding out a lot of good info. So I got the basics down. Plus a lot of other great info. I will not be adopting anytime soon so I have plenty of time to do more research and get things ready. Thank you for all of your advice!

    #665095

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    I would definatley put the extra air holes on the top becasue you are going to need a substrate depth at least three times higher than your biggest crab so that it can safely burrow to destress.
    The door on the tank looks like it may be to low for that if thats the position in the pic that the tank is going to sit in.
    One quick question is it a plastic frame or metal?
    If it’s metal I wouldn’t use it becaue hermit crabs are seriously sensitve to metal and prolonged contact with it will kill them.

    #664914

    Rattiez21
    Participant

    Thank you for your help. It is entirely made of Plexiglas. No metal. There are screws in it to hold the log attached to the cage, but I am planning to remove the screws and just place the log separate somewhere else. Yes I agree the door is too low. It will only allow 2 inches of substrate. My plans were to use the coconut substrate, fine for the small guys. And for any possible big guys, I will build like a sand pit which will be contained so it does not fall out when I open the door. Have it at least 6 inches deep so they can burrow in that. I will have to make it so they can climb up to it, but Im sure that wont be hard to. Does that sound like it will work out? I will have my dad drill out some more holes at the top. He has a machine that should work on Plexiglas without cracking it, I hope. The two gaps on the sides are a centimeter wide & 10 inches long. To give you an idea. There are at least two holes on the side that are up high enough that wont be covered by substrate and possible two I can avoid covering all the way. The other four would be covered. I am assuming more air holes would be better right?

    #664989

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    I know I sound like a broken record but what is the wood is it from a conifer (a cone bearing tree; such as pine, cedar or spruce.) Although I’m assuming it isn’t, if it turns out it is you wont be able to use it because wood from conifers contain resins and phenols that will kill the crab.
    The air holes seem adequate for good fresh air exchange, you might also want to think about a DIY humidifier like a blubber pool or bubble vase.
    I use a bubble vase I made for my thirty gal and it works really well, it keeps my humidity at seventy percent at all times unless I turn off the heat lamp then it will jump to a little over ninety percent.
    All you need is a wide mouth bulb vase, a pressure valve, air tubing, an air pump and an air stone from the fish tank section of Wal-mart or any major pet store.
    The vase can be found in the floral department of most major retail stores like Wal-mart.
    Misting the tank to often to keep the humidity level high can be very stressful for the crab and the stress can kill the crab.
    The way to set up the bubble vase is you cut the tubing half way and insert the valve to control air out put through the stone (check to make sure the valve is facing the right direction or the air wont flow through it to the stone), then put the air stone on one end of the tubing and the other end will be connected to the air pump.
    The end with the stone will go in the vase which will be almost completely filled with water and you will have to use some sort of mesh to cover the top of the vase to keep the crabs out, the mesh will be secured via a rubber band around the upper part of the vase.
    The mesh can be the type used to hold onions or apples and it works really well.
    The sand pit idea is a good one you can use an old tupperware container for that and the coconut bedding is a good choice but you will have to watch it for foreign objects a couple people I know have found sharp metal pins and pieces of plastic in their newly purchased EE bricks and had to comb the whole tank looking to see if there was any more.(they had fifty gallons and larger.)
    You will want both types of substrate to be sand castle consistency at all times.
    Never too wet and never too dry because dried out sub makes it harder to maintain proper humidity levels and also prevents the crab from being able to tunnel or burrow to molt and if it’s to wet you run the risk of tunnels collapsing on molters and causing water to pool at the bottom of the sub which leads to all sorts of serous problems with molters like bacteria overgrowth excessive mold and drowning.
    You must get a humidity gauge Walmart sells the digital combo temp and humidity gauge for just over eight dollars.
    The gauge will help you maintain a proper humidity level between seventy and eighty percent. You don’t want the humidity to be in the nineties for to long because that will lead to serious health problems in the crabs like excessive mold and bacteria growth on their gills which will ultimately lead to death.
    You are most certainly welcome, I am allways glad to help.

    #664915

    Rattiez21
    Participant

    This is all great info! I have no clue what kind of wood that log is so I will just leave it out. That must be the same reason not to use pine & cedar bedding for small animals. I was thinking about using some sort of bubble pool. Thank you for sharing how to make one. I think I have the air pump and tubing already from having a fish tank years ago. Im not sure what a bulb vase is. But I will go check it out at Wal-mart. Will maybe a wide mouth canning jar work?

    I didnt realize the coconut bedding had such bad stuff in it. Metal is bad for them. Is there a better brand or a safer substrate that I could use that wont poor out of the air holes like sand might? If not I will skim through it to make sure it doesnt have garbage in it.

    I also need some advice on heating. I am kinda lost with this. It does get cold here in the winter so I will need some sort of heater. But have no clue what to get. Are reptile heating pads okay for plexiglas? Are bulbs better? Night bulbs right? What wattage do I need? Do I need an additional light source in the cage?

    #664990

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    UTH pads generate a surface contact temp upwards of a hundred degrees on the glass surface however you can buy special UTH pads that are specifically meant for acrylic tanks that wont melt the plexiglass.
    How thick is the plexi the thicker the glass the better it will hold up to high temps. IE thinner plexiglass has a lower heat tolerance so the point of melting is at a lower degree temp.
    I have seen a few people who used three inch thick plexiglass sheets custom made for use as a lid for their tank.
    One I know of actually placed a heat lamp directly on the plexi and it never warped or melted because the thickness allowed for a higher heat tolerance.
    I would side mount at least one UTH pad either on the side pane or back with the bottom third just under the substrate level and one heat lamp with at least a fifty watt bulb on the same side as the UTH to make a hot corner and also provide a cooler area for the crab to move to if it needs to cool off.
    The bulb wattage depends entirely on the ambient temperature of your house.
    If your house is maintained at seventy degrees or cooler I would go for a sixty watt day bulb and a sixty-five watt night heat bulb.
    My house tends to be in the sixties alot so I had to go with seventy-five watt bilbs for day and night heat along with my UTH.
    Incandescent light bulbs will be sufficient for their lighting needs however they will need to have a twelve hour day/night cycle to maintain their health so a light timer would be a very good idea if you plan on using two separate fixtures for day/night heat.
    I would definitely get rid of the wood just to be safe and the canning jar would be perfect.
    A bulb vase is just a wide mouthed flower vase I lucked out on it because my mom already had one in the garage.
    I think Bed a Beast is better brand than EE so you might want to try that it dose tend to be a little more expensive but I haven’t heard any bad reports on it yet.
    The holes that are going to be covered up with substrate can be sealed safely with aquarium sealant sold in the fish tank section of most pet stores or retail stores like Wal-mart.
    You can make up for the lost holes by putting them on the top of the tank where they will be of use.

    #664991

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    Sorry for the miss spell I put sevent-five watt bibbs instead of bulbs

    #664916

    Rattiez21
    Participant

    Okay I want to repeat it just so I know I understand….I need a reptile heating pad, one made for acrylic, attached to the side but 1/3 of bent to the bottom. On the same side have a heat lamp. Probably 60 watt. PLUS has a night lamp with probably a 65 watt bulb. Right? Now do I only turn the night on night time and the regular UTH one in the day? And does the night one go on the same side as the other two? Maybe I can switch out the bulbs.

    By the way my house temp varies. It can be in the high 80s in the summer due to no air. So maybe I wont need to use it in on the hot days. In winter I only run a ceramic heater in the room. But is turned off while no one is home so It can get pretty cold. Low 60s I am guessing. But it is warmed back up when I am home. So I just got to learn to control the temp depending on the time of year & room temp.

    So is it okay to place the heat lamps inside the crabitat or shall I place it on top of the cage? The plexiglas is only 1/4 inch thick. Maybe I should find a thicker piece to place under the lamp?

    Again! Thanks for the info! I may even have a good vase to use too!

    #664992

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    You don’t want to bend the Pad because it will damage the heating wire and cause the pad to malfunction or just quite working.
    Now that I know the thickness of the plexi I would suggest you forgo the UTH because even the ones manufactured for acrylic fish tanks may overheat the plexi too much.
    I use one heat lamp and I trade the bulbs out according to what time it is night/day etc..
    If you could find a goose neck lamp rated for at a seventy watt bulb I would use that instead of the standard clamp lamp.
    Place the goose neck on a table next to the tank and aim it at the side of the tank and try to keep the lamp at least three inches from the plexi so as to avoid melting it.
    Experiment with the distance and watch the temp inside the tank and try to get it to stay at least at seventy five degrees anything lower than that the crabs will start to go into hyper sleep and eventually die from not feeding or drinking because they are to lethargic to move.
    You may have to add a few more air holes on the top to vent the heat properly so just watch the temp for a few days and go from there.
    With a good thermometer on the heated side and one on the cool side you will get a good idea of the temperature gradient which should be at least five degrees from the heated side to the cool side.
    IE, if the heated side is at eighty then the cool side should be a seventy but seventy five is good.
    Get two of the dual temp/ humidity digital gauges so you can keep track of the temp humidity on both sides.
    Never place the food and water dishes on the heated side because the crabs prefer to stay on the cool side while they feed.
    If you know the temperature outside is going to be in the upper seventies or higher then don’t use the lamp and then at night when it’s cooling off put the night heat bulb in and turn it on.
    If you plan to turn the lamp off turn off the humidifier because it will flood the substrate without the heat to turn the water into water vapor.
    If you want you can also use a phosphorescent light like the type used on fish tanks to provide a more naturall simulated day light along with the heat lamp.
    The phosphorescent light dosen’t generate much heat so it shouldn’t melt the plexiglas. I think they go up to twenty watts and that is nothing really.
    Just put it on the top and turn it on during the day and watch those little crabbies go wild.
    For some reason they like the uva/uvb rays from the phosphorescent light it tends to make them more active.
    If you think about using a black light bulb for night heat don’t because the bulb is coated with a special paint the blocks out every type of light except Uv or UltraViolet which is the same thing the sun puts out and it confuses them because they see in the Uv specturm and they will think it’s day time when it’s not.
    Hermit crabs are nocturnal so it really messes them up.

    #664993

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    You never want the heat to get over eighty five for very long at the time because it will make it harder for the crab to maintain it’s own humidity by regulating the water in it’s shell.
    IE, higher temps cause more water to evaporate from the shell at a higher rate thereby increasing the chances of dehydration and death.

    #664994

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    The water in the bubble vase will need to be changed about once every three days because it will start to get grimey and the inside if the vase will start to show a slimy residue that’s a good clue as to when it needs to be emptied and the glass wiped down with dry paper towel.
    It’s a certain type of bacteria that grows in the water and the bubbles disperse it into the tank and it’s not good for the crabs to come in contact with.
    For their drinking water I only recommend the use of natural spring water because the purified drinking water sold by Aquafina, Nestle Pure Life and any other brand that says the water is from public sources and is purified by Reverse Osmosis will actually kill the crab by leaching the minerals that were removed during the purification process out of the crabs body as it drinks.
    The same thing happens to us but not on such a grand scale because we are huge compared to a little crabby.
    The effects are not that noticeable in us but since they are so small it has a greater damage factor in them.
    You can use tap water that has been treated with a water conditioner to remove chlorine chloramines and other toxic heavy metals.
    Just make sure the conditioner doesn’t say it contains aloe or that is provides an natural slime coat because that stuff isn’t good for them to drink either.

    #664917

    Rattiez21
    Participant

    Great! This is all stuff I would of never learned by articles online. The kind of info I really need to know. I was a little confused at first but not so much anymore. Although I really do not know the differences in bulbs…

    I think I will use the lamp instead of heating pad. Reptile bulbs will fit in a regular lamp right? Or do I get a special heat lamp made for reptiles? Someone suggested using a red glow bulb in the day. Is that fine to use? The night bulbs for reptiles are different from black lights right? That is pretty cool they can see in UV, so can rats!! hehe! But I wont buy them any blacklights!

    I didnt know about the phosphorescent light. If it makes them more active it must be good for them. So I will look for that too! : )

    Alright I will get two dual gauges. I knew I had to keep track of the temp on both sides, but didnt realize I had to do the same for humidity. Thanks! Good to know they prefer eating on the cool side!

    Wow I didnt realize bottled water was so bad! I actually have well water. So it does not have any chlorine in it at all. It does have rust and sulfur in it. But we do have a water softener and a water filter. So do I still need to treat it?

    #664995

    FastBeat85
    Participant

    Yes sadly that is a question many people with well water don’t ask, the water still contains heavy metals that will kill the crab.
    It will need to be treated to remove the heavy metals with the water conditioner I mentioned before.
    The bulb can be the red glo bulb used for reptiles in fact that bulb wont effect the Phos’s light output as would a standard incandescent.
    The Goose neck lamp will need to be rated for the red glo bulb I think the red glo’s go up to eighty watts so you’ll have to watch the wattage labeled on the bulbs box.
    All a red glo bulb is is an incandescent bulb that has been dipped in a red paint at the factory both on the inside and out.
    I just use a night heat bulb made by Critter Culture.tm it puts off a nice soft pinkish glow and the crabs absolutely love it.
    I found it at my local Wal-Mart in the pets department it cost about six dollars but it’s well worth it it has an extra thick filament that last up to a thousand hours longer than the red glo bulb.
    Only problem is it only comes in one wattage 75 and that maybe too high for a goose neck lamp.
    Yes the night bulbs are different and it took me by surprise that black lights were so bad but hey you learn something new every day.
    The black light gives a funny glow to every thing it hits and gets supper hot where as the red glo bulb dose get hot is doesn’t give off that funny glow.
    I was using a black light in my clamp lamp when I read about how bad they were and I immediately found a different night heat bulb.
    The reptile lamp is what I am using and it has a clamp on it so you can affix to the tank but you have a solid top and the plexi isn’t thick enough to hold up under the amount of heat the lamp would give off which is why I recommended the goose neck as an alternative.
    You can get an aquarium full hood for like a ten gall to set on the top of your tank that uses a long florescent bulb for about twenty four dollars at Walmart and you’ll have to buy the bulb separately so it’s probably a good idea to get the bulb now and then the hood later or however you want to do it. The florescent is the same as phosphorescent.
    If you want to you can put a space between the plexi and the florescent by setting the hood up on the lids of milk bottles or water bottles that should give you a clearance of about an inch.
    It wont look to pretty but it’ll work…
    The reason for the humidity gauge on both sides is the heat lamp will burn off some of the humidity so it’s a good idea to watch that side as well as the cool side just to make sure not to much humidity is being burnt off.
    I have been raising hermit crabs since I was seven so I have had a lot of time to learn all these neat facts and it also helps to have people around who have also had them a long time to share their knowledge and experiences with their own hermits.

    I am allways glad to help….


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