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Can Hermit Crabs Live in Freshwater?

Can Hermit Crabs Live in Freshwater?

The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.

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Hermit crabs are very interesting creatures that many people like keeping as pets. Not everyone agrees that hermit crabs should be kept as pets, but that doesn’t stop many people from caring for these creatures.

Taking care of a hermit crab can be a big commitment, though. In fact, a lot of people don’t really understand what is necessary to care for a hermit crab at all.

You might not even be sure whether hermit crabs can live in freshwater or not. Do hermit crabs require saltwater to be able to thrive or is having them live in freshwater acceptable?

Keep reading to learn more about hermit crabs and what you need to do to take care of them. This will give you all of the information that you need to have a good time caring for a hermit crab.

Hermit Crabs Require Both Saltwater and Freshwater to Thrive

You’re not going to be able to keep a hermit crab in just freshwater. The hermit crab needs access to both saltwater and freshwater so that it can thrive.

Place water dishes in the hermit crab’s habitat that contain both freshwater and saltwater. Of course, you’re going to have to go a bit out of your way to create the saltwater that the hermit crab needs.

To make saltwater for your hermit crab, it’s going to be necessary to get sea salt that is made to be used for marine fish. You can then create a saltwater mixture that can be placed in a water dish for the hermit crab.

If you choose to try to make saltwater using standard table salt, you won’t get good results. This could be bad for the hermit crab and it’s something that you’re going to want to avoid doing.

Standard table salt contains iodine and this is actually very bad for hermit crabs. It’s good to know this ahead of time so that you don’t accidentally try to make saltwater with table salt and harm the hermit crab.

Since you’re going to be caring for a hermit crab, it’ll be best to buy plenty of sea salt that is meant for marine fish. You’ll want to keep it on hand since you’ll be making saltwater for the hermit crab on a regular basis.

Don’t Use Tap Water for the Freshwater

Using tap water for the freshwater in your hermit crab’s water dish won’t be a good idea. You see, tap water often contains various chemicals and these aren’t going to be good for the crab.

Instead, you should go out and buy spring water from the store. This is significantly safer for the hermit crab and you won’t have to worry about it getting exposed to chemicals.

It’s said that using tap water will slowly harm the hermit crab over the course of many years. You don’t want to do this to the hermit crab, and it’s a good reason for you to just remember to buy some spring water.

Some people allow tap water to sit out for a day before changing the water dish. This can help the chemicals in the water to evaporate so that the tap water will be safe to use.

This is a method that many people use so that they can water their plants using tap water. The idea is very similar, but it might be easier to simply buy the spring water.

You see, you’re going to need to change the water dish and keep it full of freshwater for the hermit crab quite often. This means that having to let the tap water sit out to get rid of the chemicals won’t always be practical.

Plus, you’re able to get spring water at a very low cost. It isn’t expensive and it’s going to make things easier for you.

There’s another way to make tap water safe for the hermit crab to consider. You could use dechlorinator drops that are specifically made to remove chlorine from water.

Many people find it more convenient to simply buy bottled spring water, but you do have options. Choose whichever method makes the most sense to you.

Water Dish Advice

You want to ensure that the hermit crab is able to submerge itself into the water dish. If it isn’t able to do this, then it won’t be able to utilize the water properly.

Using a dish that is too deep could wind up posing a problem for the hermit crab, though. Hermit crabs can’t survive indefinitely when they’re submerged.

If a hermit crab has problems climbing back out of the water dish, then it could wind up drowning. This is why you need to be very careful when choosing which water dish to use in the hermit crab’s habitat.

Picking something that has the right depth and size is crucial. Some hermit crab owners will come up with unique solutions to help the hermit crabs out, too.

For example, many hermit crab owners have chosen to add natural sea sponges to the water dishes. Hermit crabs are able to utilize the sea sponges to get their footing and they can then climb out of the water dish.

It shouldn’t be necessary to do this if you pick a good water dish size, though. Simply knowing that you need to consider the size of the water dish and the depth should be enough for you to get things right.

Hermit Crab Housing Tips

Of course, hermit crabs need more than just water to be able to do well as pets. You’re also going to need to give the hermit crab adequate housing.

You’ll want to buy your hermit crab some type of aquarium or marine enclosure. This is because you need to be able to place wet sand to create a nice humid environment for the crab.

Wet sand is an important thing that you absolutely shouldn’t forget if you’re planning on keeping a hermit crab around for the long haul. Hermit crabs need to be able to burrow into the sand to do many things.

Ideally, you should have a wet sand layer that is around six inches deep. You could probably get away with only three inches of sand depth if you don’t have enough sand.

You need to pay attention to the type of sand that you’re using for the hermit crab as well. Buying sand that contains calcium will do the best job of keeping your pet hermit crab healthy.

The habitat needs some type of cover that will allow ventilation as well. If the crab has inadequate housing, then it might wind up having its gills dry out.

It should take months for a hermit crab to have its gills dry out, but you want to try to get things right from the start. Doing so will give the hermit crab the best chance of surviving for a long time and living a good life.

The Hermit Crab Will Likely Need a Heater

It’s very likely that your hermit crab is going to need a heater during certain parts of the year. These creatures prefer to keep things between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

To get the best results when using a heater, it’s advised to place it under one end of your tank. Heaters are better for hermit crabs than heat lamps because the lamps can take away the humidity that the hermit crabs need.

Try to avoid letting the hermit crab’s environment get too cold. You should be able to get a heater at a low price and it won’t be hard to keep caring for the crab. If a heater isn’t an option for you, see our other recommendations for heating a hermit crab habitat.

Hermit Crabs Are Happier with Friends

Did you know that your hermit crab will be happier if you choose to give it a friend? When hermit crabs are in the wild, they’re going to be living among dozens of other hermit crabs.

This means that being in captivity will get quite lonely for a hermit crab. You can alleviate this loneliness by having another hermit crab in the habitat.

Many people simply choose to buy two hermit crabs together instead of only getting one. The hermit crab will be a lot happier if it’s being cared for alongside a friend.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned a lot about hermit crabs and what they need to survive. Giving a hermit crab only freshwater isn’t going to be enough to keep it alive.

Hermit crabs require both freshwater and saltwater to live. You’ll need to have two separate dishes for saltwater and freshwater in the hermit crab’s habitat.

It’s necessary for the hermit crab to be able to submerge itself into the dishes, too. You can put natural sea sponges in the dishes to keep the hermit crab from drowning.

You’ll be able to get used to making your own saltwater for the hermit crab and caring for it eventually. These creatures can be very fun pets to own and you’ll likely get a lot of enjoyment from watching the hermit crab over the years.

Don’t get a pet hermit crab if you aren’t prepared to care for it properly. Hermit crabs do need a lot of attention, and it’d be better to avoid getting one if you feel like all of this is too much of a hassle.