How to Keep Hermit Crabs as Pets
Hermit crabs are relatively low maintenance pets that might make good companions for people living in small spaces. The steps below will teach you how to keep hermit crabs as pets.
Step 1: Visit a pet store and purchase the materials you will need to keep your hermit crab(s) comfortable. Purchase a 10 gallon tank, sand or another fine material for substrate, undertank heater, and shallow dishes. You also need a thermometer, humidity gauge, and decorations for the tank.
Step 2: Arrange the substrate along the bottom of the aquarium. Some hermit crabs like to burrow themselves into the substrate so make it a few inches deep.
Step 3: Fill the two shallow dishes with water. One dish should have dechlorinated water (you can purchase this at the pet store or simply leave tap water out for 24 hours), while the other dish should have a saltwater mixture appropriate for marine aquariums. Hermit crabs can drown in water that is too deep, so be sure to fill the water only an inch or two. You will need to clean out both water dishes daily, especially because some hermit crabs relieve themselves in their water.
Step 4: Arrange the decorations in the aquarium. You should include climbing equipment such as driftwood, coral, or plastic reptile ladders and decorations such as silk plants and shells. You can also purchase man made huts or logs for hiding.
Step 5: Apply the thermometer to the aquarium and adjust the under tank heater so that the temperature in the aquarium remains at least 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the humidity gauge to keep the humidity at or above 70. A few damp sponges placed throughout the aquarium will help to maintain the humidity.
Step 6: Hermit crabs will move into new shells as needed. If you’re keeping hermit crabs as pets, you need to provide a variety of shells in different shapes and sizes so that the hermit crab can choose his next “apartment.”
Step 7: Hermit crabs are omnivores. Plan to feed your crab meat, fish, fruits and veggies. You can provide treats such as escargot, seaweed, or fish food flakes.
Step 8: Clean the tank often. Aside from cleaning the water dishes daily, clean the food dishes daily and the substrate about once a week. It might be nice for your hermit crab if you rearrange the decorations in his aquarium at the same time you clean it.