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Featured New setup – second dead hermit crab in three days

Discussion in 'Help and Advice' started by robg, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. robg

    robg Registered

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    I recently set up a Kent Bio Reef 94L tank. Last weekend I put four scarlet-legged hermits in, along with some snails and a cleaner shrimp. I posted two days ago to say that one of the crabs had died. Water tests revealed zero ammonia or nitrites in the water, so I put it down to "one of those things".

    Now I've just found another dead crab. I'll test the water again, but I'm assuming everything's going to be clear, as last time. So I'm wondering what's causing the problem? I apologise in advance if this is a daft question, but it could it be that there's not enough for the crabs to eat? The guy at the LFS, who is generally very knowledgeable and helpful, assured me that I didn't need to worry about putting any food in for them – he said they'd find things to eat on the live rock. But I'm scratching my head as to what else could have killed two of them off in such a short time?

    Does one feed hermit crabs? If so, what with?

    Thanks in advance for any help

    Rob
     
  2. robg

    robg Registered

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    Panic over… and I feel really silly.

    The hermit is not dead. I looked in and saw the shell with a mass of dead legs next to it. I reached in with a ruler and turned it over, and saw what appeared to be an empty shell, thus assuming it was dead and the legs belonged to the ex-hermit.

    Just looked again and saw legs moving in the empty shell. I have now turned it over and it's walking around again. The disembodied legs I saw before are leftovers from the other hermit that died two days ago. I think this other hermit had been snacking on it!

    Think I'll just go and sit quietly in a corner now.
     
  3. city1111

    city1111 Registered

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    You sure its not just a moult mate ?
     
  4. robg

    robg Registered

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    No, it's definitely the remains of the crab that passed on two days ago, God rest his soul.
     
  5. Bluez_01

    Bluez_01 Registered

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    I would be a little concerned at the present time for the amount of food you have in your tank for that amount of CUC to be fair, it would be worth while for now at least to feed your CUC with some meaty food of some kind, prawn/shrimp etc... this can be frozen and cut down in to small bits to put in the tank at night when the lights go off, 1 bit or 2 bits at the most every other day would probably be fine, if any is left the next day on the bottom, remove it and cut the next feed down by half the amount of the previous you put in.

    I am struggling to see how live rock can feed crabs to be fair, unless it has algae all over it, as they will only manage to pick off any food left over from feeding the fish, and if you have a good water movement over and around the rocks then there will be very little if any food left over for them, as the tank matures over time, then they will have more pickings to choose from, but with a new tank start up, this will be extremely limited for now.

    your snails and shrimp will be fine as they will find food reasonably easy, but the crabs I would have concerns over at the present time, due to food being limited, so I would advise to feed them for now every other day to prevent them trying to source food from unwanted sources.
     
  6. robg

    robg Registered

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    Thanks for the input. I'm going up to the LFS tomorrow so will seek more advice from there too.
     
  7. hillie

    hillie Registered

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    Just a thought..........did you acclimatise them slowly before putting them in your tank?
     
  8. robg

    robg Registered

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    Sure did. They seemed quite happy for five days, before one of them died. Hopefully it was just a freak occurrence.
     
  9. hillie

    hillie Registered

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    another thought.........was the crab (that died) ready to move into a bigger shell but there wasn't a bigger shell available for him........ just a freak thought really as I am no expert on crabs.....just wondered what they do if they grow too big for the shell they are in and can't find a bigger home.......do they have to leave their shell because they've got too big for it and then, well, die coz they haven't got a home big enough?

    eek.......someone who knows..... please explain!!!
     
  10. Reefitup

    Reefitup Registered

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    They won't die per se but will hide and won't scavenge for food because they don't have any protection from predators
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  11. robg

    robg Registered

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    Whether he died for lack of a bigger shell I really don't know. I've put a couple of bigger shells in there now. The other three seem happy for the time being.
     
  12. Marc1

    Marc1 Registered

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    I had a similar problem with my Blue Eyed Hermit crab after my initial cycle of my 22L nano.
    I got CUC consisting of The Hermit, 4 Money Cowries and 4 Nerite snails. As soon as acclimated they all went to work, however my crab started acting up and sitting still for hours, even to the point of wanting to prod it!
    Long story short, i was told by lfs that i wont need to feed him as he'll 'live on your algae...
    i dropped a tiny morsel of shrimp in just to check, and i've never seen a crab move so fast to get it! Poor guy was starving, it spent the next 4 hours with this shrimp clamped underneath itself. When i checked the next day, it was all over the tank again looking healthy
     
  13. robg

    robg Registered

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    Thanks for the story, Marc. I went to the LFS again on Saturday and spoke to the chap who runs it, who is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. He said he sees no need to feed hermit crabs, as long as there is at least some food being put into the tank and at least some algal growth, however sparse.

    I'm slightly concerned about the biggest of my three hermits, as he hasn't moved much in the last day or two. Today I ended up moving him just to see if he was still active; within three or four hours he had climbed back to near his original position and gone to sleep again. Wondering if maybe he's getting ready to moult.
     
  14. Marc1

    Marc1 Registered

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    Could well be pal, if he is, apparently it is best with lights low/off for him to do this, also after a moult he may still be not moving, this is due to the new body acclimating. he may also look for a smaller shell as it has just moulted
     
  15. robg

    robg Registered

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    Interesting, thank you. I will be keeping a close eye on him over the next few days. If he needs another shell, there are both larger and smaller empty ones available in the tank for him to choose.
     
  16. Enzogobby

    Enzogobby Registered

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    Never seen a hermit re-home into a smaller shell once they like the one they're in, which they'll decide within hours of moving...
     
  17. Marc1

    Marc1 Registered

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    Whilst they are ready to moult, it's not uncommon for them to find a larger shell first, moult and then climb back into the smaller one
     
  18. Enzogobby

    Enzogobby Registered

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    BTW, after s moult they stay away for 1 to 3 days, depending on size of crab as their new "skin" needs to harden up...so they hide during this vulnerable stage.
     
  19. Enzogobby

    Enzogobby Registered

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    What I've seen a couple of times was a crab get over-ambition with upgrade; realise it was a F-up after a few hours of dragging the thing around and just going back to previous shell...never seen an actual / intended downgrade so far.....I think we're saying the same thing, minus the moult variable.
     
  20. robg

    robg Registered

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    I've yet to see a hermit rehome. Looking forward to it :)
     
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