Hermit crabs are such interesting creatures. You might be interested in getting a hermit crab or two for your home.
In recent times, hermit crabs have started to become popular pets. They’re perfect for people who don’t have a lot of space in their homes for large pets.
Of course, you’re going to need to have the right tank setup if you want to keep hermit crabs in your home. If you don’t get things right, it’s going to be detrimental to the crabs.
How should you approach hermit crab tank setup? What do you need to get things done the right way?
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about providing the right environment for your new pet. This will ensure that you can get started with hermit crab ownership safely and that your new pet will be happy with its environment.
What Do Hermit Crabs Need in Their Tanks?
You’re going to need to buy quite a bit of equipment to get things set up for a pet hermit crab. To start, you’re going to need to buy the tank itself.
Most people choose to use standard glass tanks that are used for reptiles or fish. You need to pick a tank size that will suit the number of hermit crabs that you wish to own.
Next, you must buy some type of substrate material for the tank. Typically, people are going to buy commercial sand and place it in the hermit crab’s tank.
You can also use coconut fiber as the substrate material if you want to go that route. Either way, the substrate material is an important part of hermit crab tank setup.
It’s necessary to purchase some equipment for the tank to ensure the conditions remain optimal for hermit crabs. An underside heater is needed to protect the crab from temperatures getting too low.
You’ll also need to buy a humidity gauge and a thermometer. Monitoring the humidity of the tank and the temperature is crucial to keeping hermit crabs healthy.
Hermit crabs like being able to climb, too. This means that you should put some sticks and rocks in the tank that they can use to climb and keep themselves entertained.
Shallow water bowls need to be placed in the habitat, too. You’ll need at least two shallow water bowls.
One of the bowls should contain dechlorinated freshwater and another should contain saltwater. Hermit crabs will utilize both bowls as necessary.
The bowls need to be deep enough for the hermit crabs to be able to submerge in the water. They need to be shallow enough that it’ll be easy for the crabs to get out of the water.
Hermit Crab Tank Size
How big should hermit crab tanks be? Do they need to be rather large or can you get by with a fairly small tank?
It really depends on how many hermit crabs you plan to keep. If you wish to care for many hermit crabs, you might need a slightly larger tank.
Two hermit crabs are going to be perfectly comfortable in a 10-gallon tank. Sometimes it might be better to get a 20-gallon tank if you want to give the crabs more room.
A 20-gallon tank will be ideal for three hermit crabs. Generally, you want at least ten gallons of space for every two hermit crabs you own.
Some enthusiasts suggest giving the hermit crabs slightly more space. This is why 20-gallon tanks are said to be perfect for three crabs.
How Many Hermit Crabs Can Be Kept Together?
Hermit crabs are perfectly capable of thriving in groups. Many say that you should keep at least two hermit crabs together, but they are fine living solo as well.
If you want to keep a large group of hermit crabs in your home, it’s fine to do so. You simply need to provide them with a large enough tank.
Of course, you’ll also need to meet all of the other needs of the crabs. You must ensure that they all get fed properly and that each hermit crab has everything that it needs to thrive.
Sometimes you might encounter issues with fighting when keeping hermit crabs together. Most often, these creatures will fight over shells.
To keep fighting to a minimum, it’s best to have multiple shells of each size in the tank. Hermit crabs will grow periodically and will need to change shells as necessary.
Hermit Crab Substrate
Hermit crab substrate is important. You have to put some type of substrate in the tank for these creatures.
They must be able to burrow into the substrate. They do this when they’re molting and it’s a normal aspect of life for hermit crabs.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll generally use sand as the substrate material. This is the most common substrate material and it’ll work the best for hermit crab tanks.
You can get the sand that you need from the pet store. Fill the tank up to a certain point with sand and your hermit crabs will be able to live happily.
Do Hermit Crabs Like Sand?
Yes, hermit crabs like sand and they need it to live. You can’t place hermit crabs in a tank without some type of sand-like substrate material.
These creatures dig into the sand and it’s important when they’re molting. Hermit crabs are going to molt many times throughout their lives.
Now that you know that you need sand, it’s time to focus on getting the right kind. What types of sand can you use for hermit crabs?
Can You Use Beach Sand for Hermit Crabs?
Is beach sand going to be appropriate for hermit crabs? Can you just pull up to your local beach and fill a few buckets with the sand that you find there?
Generally, beach sand is considered to be okay for hermit crabs. However, using beach sand that is too fine isn’t going to get the best results.
You’d be better off seeking out all-purpose sand. All-purpose sand can easily be purchased at your local hardware store.
Can You Use Play Sand for Hermit Crabs?
Play sand, also known as playground sand, can be used for hermit crab habitats. This is a pretty good choice for your tank since it’s easy to obtain play sand at low prices.
This is an inexpensive type of sand that will get the job done. If you have play sand that you can utilize, you don’t have to hesitate to use it for your hermit crab’s habitat.
What About Aquarium Sand?
Yes, aquarium sand can also get the job done. If you also take care of fish, you might have some leftover aquarium sand that you can use as the substrate material in a hermit crab tank.
Aquarium sand is just as acceptable to use as play sand. This type of sand will work well for hermit crab tanks.
How Deep Should Hermit Crab Sand Be?
Your crab needs to be able to completely bury itself in the sand. Thus, you need to make sure that the sand in the tank is deep enough.
For the most part, it should be fine to go with three or four inches of sand in the tank. You could go with five inches of sand if you’re worried that the hermit crabs need more space.
How deep the sand should be might differ a bit depending on the size of the hermit crab. Larger hermit crabs might require slightly deeper sand than average.
Luckily, it’s easy enough to get the sand that you need. Simply ensure that the crab is able to bury itself in the sand and all will be well.
Hermit Crab Humidity
Hermit crabs have modified gills that they use to breathe air. If the air is too dry, they won’t be able to breathe properly.
As you’d expect, keeping the humidity levels right in the tank will be a huge concern with these creatures. To keep your hermit crabs healthy, they’ll need the humidity level to remain between seventy and eighty percent.
Typically, hermit crab owners will use small humidifiers that help to keep the humidity in the right range. You can check the humidity level in the tank by using a hygrometer.
Hygrometers are sold in pet stores and you’ll usually find them in the reptile section. Always keep an eye on the humidity level of the tank to avoid encountering health issues with your crab.
If you don’t want to use a small humidifier, you can try to raise the humidity level by misting the tank regularly. It’s likely easier to use a humidifier, though.
Hermit Crab Lighting
Lighting the habitat is something that you might need to do as well. You don’t want to use lights that are too powerful since they can be bad for the crabs.
For example, high-output bulbs that emit UVB light will be bad fits for hermit crab habitats. To get the best results, you should use either fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs.
Place bulbs such as this in the terrarium hood. They should be used to light the tank for eight to twelve hours per day.
Note that you don’t necessarily need to light the tank if the hermit crab’s habitat gets enough light via natural means. If the room that the tank is in is well lit, it might not be necessary to buy lights at all.
Even so, many choose to buy the lights. It’s simply not something that is a necessity for hermit crab habitats in most situations.
What Plants Are Good for Hermit Crabs?
Putting live plants in the habitat will be good for the hermit crab. Of course, you want to pick the best plants that will be safe for the crabs.
Fake plants are fine, too, but they won’t have as many benefits. Hermit crabs might enjoy hiding among the plants, though.
Live plants are great because they can help to improve the air quality in the tank. Also, they can be a good food source for the crabs.
The downside is that the plants can get destroyed by the crabs eventually. It’s still worth putting plants in the tank despite that unfortunate fact.
Air plants are great for hermit crab habitats. There are many great options to choose from that will look amazing in the tank.
Bromeliads have long been considered to be excellent hermit crab tank plants. They’re colorful and they can be easily attached to pieces of wood.
Lettuce is easy to grow and will be very nutritious for your crabs. Pothos plants are good because hermit crabs don’t really like to eat them, but they’ll provide good hiding spots.
Spider plants can work nicely and so can sprouts. It won’t be hard to find safe plant options for the hermit crab tank.
Where Do Hermit Crabs Live in the Wild?
It’s most likely that you’ll find hermit crabs living near the shore in the wild. Land hermit crabs like to stay close to the shore so they will have access to both the sand and water.
They’re commonly found on various beaches. Of course, there are many different types of hermit crabs and their natural habitats might differ slightly based on the species that you’re talking about.
Hermit Crab Habitat Ideas
There are all sorts of different ways that people have set up their hermit crab tanks. Making a hermit crab habitat look especially interesting can add to the fun.
Some might choose to decorate the habitat in such a way that it will resemble a shipwreck. You can put pieces of wood in the tank that will resemble the pieces of a ship.
You might prefer to put many plants in the habitat that will make the tank very colorful. Some will use fake plants so that they won’t have to worry about the crabs destroying the plants.
Come up with your own creative ideas for what to do with the habitat. There are all sorts of possibilities when you start looking at decorations and ways you can make the tank stand out.
If you’d like motivation, it’s wise to connect with other hermit crab enthusiasts. You can look into what other people are doing with their hermit crab tanks and that might spark fresh ideas.
Are Hermit Crabs Easy to Care for?
You’ll find that hermit crabs are some of the easiest pets to care for overall. So long as you set the tank up properly, these are going to be pets that don’t require a lot of attention.
You do need to keep the tank clean to avoid having it stink. Also, you’ll need to monitor the humidity levels and temperature of the tank.
Other than that, you won’t have to do a lot to care for hermit crabs. You need to feed them and you simply get to enjoy observing them.
Hermit crabs can be highly entertaining to watch. They have intriguing personalities and many enthusiasts say that watching a pair of crabs can be especially great.
How Long Do Hermit Crabs Live?
If you care for hermit crabs well, they have the potential to live for a long time. Hermit crabs that are kept in their natural habitats can live for as long as thirty years.
They’re known to live for a long time in hermit crab tanks, too. If you care for the crabs and meet all of their needs, they can live ten years or longer in captivity.
It’s even possible that the crab could survive for thirty years in a tank. This would require exceptional care, but you could wind up enjoying your hermit crab for decades.
Failing to meet the care needs of the crab will make it likely that it will die in under a year. Thus, you must ensure that you’re committed and willing to get things right before deciding to purchase a hermit crab.
How Much Do Hermit Crabs Cost?
Hermit crabs don’t cost much money at all. In most cases, you’ll be able to get a hermit crab for less than ten dollars.
Of course, there is some variation in the pricing of these pets. Depending on the species and the size of the crab, you might pay a little more or a little less money.
These are rather inexpensive pets that will be practical for most people. The cost of caring for the crabs won’t be high either.
You’ll spend more money getting the equipment and the tank than you will the crab. Once you have what you need, it won’t cost much to keep caring for the crab since the food will be inexpensive.
You’ve learned everything that you need to know about hermit crab tank setup. It should be easier to get a tank set up in your home now.
Be sure to get all of the necessary pieces of equipment. You need the right stuff to be able to keep the hermit crab healthy.
It’s also important to get a glass tank that is big enough. Depending on how many crabs you want to buy, it might be necessary to get a bigger tank.
Keep all of the advice above in mind. You’ll have an easy time caring for hermit crabs in your home.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.