The Benefits of Hermit Crabs in Your Aquarium - PetGuide

Left Handed Zebra Hermit Crabs - Aquarium Depot
Photo provided by Flickr
The very first thing your new pets will need is a 'crabitat.' Acrabitatis where your hermit crabs will spend most of their time, so choose ahomethat is clean and roomy. A 10-gallon glass aquarium can be purchased ata reasonable price and makes an ideal 'starter home' for your crabs. Ifyou are unable to purchase an aquarium, there are other optionsavailable, such as plastic critter carriers. Keep in mind how manycrabs you ultimately plan on housing and how you would like their hometo look. It will help you make up your mind when the time comes todecide on the size of your crabitat. Make sure the cage will hold yourpets, their food and water dishes, extra shells and climbing toys. Youwant a cage large enough to hold all these things and still have spacefor the crabs to roam if they wish. This means that the smallplastic box that you got from a mall kiosk or boardwalk store is not anadequate shelter for any hermit crab. One way to give the crabsroom to wander is to leave an area at the back or front of the crabitatthat is completely clear of obstructions. This way the crab has an"express lane" to run down if s/he needs to get some energy out anddoesn't want to climb. While a plastic critter carrier makes a passabletemporary home or'hospital cage,' it is not recommended as a permanent home.
Saltwater Brown Legged Hermit Crabs (Clibanarius sp) keep your saltwater aquarium clean
Photo provided by Flickr
Hermit crabs have been popular in the aquarium trade for many years. When I set up my first aquarium back in the early 1970s, larger hermit crab species (most in the genus Dardanus) were readily available and recommended as scavengers for the marine aquarium. I only found out about the downside of paguroid ownership when I found my medium-sized hermit with a struggling false percula clownfish trapped in its chelae. At that point, I swore off hermit crabs for more than a decade. It wasn’t until the smaller algae-eating varieties started showing up in the aquarium trade that they made their way back into some of my aquariums. As pets, several marine species of hermit crabs are common in the marine aquarium trade
Photo provided by FlickrMy 40 Gal Breeder Aquarium Hermit Crabs - YouTube
Photo provided by FlickrHermit Crabs | My Aquarium Club
Photo provided by Flickr
One should understand that hermit crabs and snails, etc are only part of the solution to a bigger problem. This problem is usually hair algae, or excess algae in general. That once sparling tank of yours is now green and brown, and you need to clean it up fast! Be assured, with the right water conditions, the introduction of hermit crabs and snails into an aquarium can be a miracle solution to a huge problem. But it can also make your situation worse. Hermit crabs are generally not sensitive to temperature and light, but in a marine aquarium especially, there are other factors as well that will determine weather or not your crabs and snails will live. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of variables in an aquarium that can affect the appearance and occurrence of nuisance algae. 2 out of 3 aquariums will run fine with little or no maintenance at all. But what about the troubled tanks? This section may shed some light on the fact that hermit crabs and snails may not be doing the job for you that you thought they would.Likewise, as much as I hate to use words like "usually", "typically", "may", etc., the fact of the matter is that the behavior of various crabs can often vary greatly from individual to individual, as well. There are many crabs that are safe with various other invertebrates and okay to keep in reef aquariums that can turn into a problem, yet some of those that are considered to be off limits may never bother anything at all as long as they're provided with plenty of food. My point is, even if a crab is supposed to be reef-safe, you should still keep a watchful eye on it and see what it does for a while just to be sure.here are quite a few types of crabs offered to hobbyists, and there are occasional hitchhiking crabs that make their way into our tanks without our approval, too. Some of these are suitable for reef aquariums and aren't likely to bother other tank inhabitants, but many of them are not, and some are rather iffy. So, it's important to know what crabs are okay and which aren't. Unfortunately, while there are a few good ones, most of them are definitely off limits for reef aquarists, so I'll give you some basic information about crabs in general and cover the more common types you'll likely come across. Hopefully it will help you decide what to buy or not buy, or what to leave in or get out.Sally Lightfoots, which are also called spray crabs, are also regularly available. They're also primarily algae eaters in aquariums, and have been used by hobbyists for years to help keep things cleaned up. But, again, they'll eat meat if the opportunity/need arises. They may go for other small invertebrates, and big ones may even try for small fishes, too. Years ago I heard of one that would perch on top of a tall rock and leap out at small fishes that swam close by! This is not a common behavior, though. Regardless, they'll be fine in fish-only aquariums if the fishes are big enough to take care of themselves, but you'd be taking a chance putting one in an aquarium with other small invertebrates.