Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by Guillermina
Are you interested in knowing what the best substrate for hermit crabs is so you can avoid deadly mistakes? In this article, we will tell you all you need to know about substrate for hermit crabs.
What Are Hermit Crabs?
Hermit crabs are a group of crustaceans that belong to the Paguroidea family. There are more than 800 species of hermit crabs, and they have a characteristic snug fitting shell to protect their abdomen.
These long lived animals are popular to keep as pets and are available at pet stores. If given the best care, hermit crabs can live for as long as 20 years.
We have learned a lot about keeping hermit crabs in captivity over the years. And while we take good care of them, there is still a mistake that a lot of us make. That is choosing the correct substrate.
Hermit Crab Substrate
Having the right substrate is very important for hermit crabs, so much so that even if everything else is right in their environment, if the substrate is wrong they may die before their time.
The right substrate and the correct depth need to be provided and maintained for the successful molting of the hermit crab. They undergo the moltin
g process in order to form a new exoskeleton.
The hermit crab also uses the substrate as a hiding place from any predators or cage mates that may attack it. Now you see why the right substrate I s so important.
There are different substrates that could be used for hermit crabs. But what you want to know is what is the best substrate for hermit crabs.
The Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs
Sand is the best substrate for hermit crabs in a tank. They like this substrate because they can burrow down into it, creating the best hiding place for them.
This is also an advantage for the hermit crab owner for a few reasons. The first reason is that sand is very easy to find and available at most home improvement and pet stores. It is also inexpensive. You can buy as much of it as you need and you can use it to adjust the depth that is required for your hermit crab.
How To Prepare Sand As A Substrate For Hermit Crabs
After you have bought or acquired your sand, you will need to first go through a few preparation steps before putting it in your hermit crab tank.
When you get the sand from somewhere, you don’t know what has been in it or what it has been used for. Therefore it is important to clean it in order to get rid of any substances in there that may be harmful to your hermit crab.
You will need to rinse your sand with clean water, dry it and bake it in an oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This will be enough to sterilize it. You can also give the sand a final rinse after baking just to polish it up. After this, your sand is ready to use as a substrate.
What Is The Ideal Depth Of Substrate For Hermit Crabs?
The depth of the substrate depends on the size of your hermit crabs. Remember the purpose of the substrate is to provide a hiding place for your crab.
Small hermit crabs require a depth of at least 6 inches. As the crab grows, the depth should be adjusted accordingly.
Hermit Crab Coconut Fiber
Coconut fiber is an excellent choice for bedding for reptiles such as hermit crabs. Because it can be prepared in such a way that it is almost like soil, it is preferred by hermit crabs. Substrate made from ground coconut fiber is called forest bedding.
Bedding For Hermit Crabs
Forest bedding can also be a good substrate to use in your crab habitat. It is made up of shaved or shredded coconut fiber. It needs to be ground very fine so that it is almost like soil. This will make it good for burrowing.
Other options for hermit crabs’ bedding include crushed coral. But sand is the best and most preferred by hermit crabs, followed by crushed coconut fiber.
You may want to avoid using gravel and wood shavings as substrates for your pet hermit crab. These substances are hard and may be abrasive (which may damage your hermit crab) and not as easy to burrow down on.
Do Hermit Crabs Like Sand?
Hermit crabs absolutely love sand because it is the closest substrate to their natural environment, in the wild. And with any wild animal that you decide to keep as a pet, the best way to give it good growing conditions and the best chance of survival is to mimic as much as you can, its natural habitat.
Conclusion – The Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs
Hermit crabs are one of the best reptiles you can keep as a pet. As long as you can provide them with the best growing conditions in your tank, you will be able to enjoy them for a very long time. They can be a great pet to grow up with and to teach kids the responsibility of taking care of a pet.
While there is so much that we know about creating the ideal living environment for our hermit crabs, a lot of us still make the mistake of using the wrong substrate in our hermit crab tanks.
We hope that after reading this article, you will no longer make that mistake. Sand is the best substrate to use in your hermit crab tank, and should be adjusted accordingly as your crab grows so that it can still be able to burrow down and have a good hiding place. Ground coconut fiber is a close second.
Remember these points and practice them, and you will get the best out of your hermit crab and get to enjoy it for a very long time.
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An aquaculture specialist and freelance writer. Passionate about anything sustainable living, such as growing your own food, and if you can do it in conjunction with fish farming, even better! I currently work as an aquaculture researcher where I can expand and share my knowledge and skills on aquaculture, crop farming and adding value to wastewater by using it to grow food products. I enjoy reading and learning as much as possible, and writing is another avenue for me to share the knowledge I gain with others. I want my writing to inspire people to try their hand at gardening, whether indoors or outdoors. You can even start by keeping a few houseplants indoors to help you gain a bit of confidence if you need to.