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cjyhc4 01-21-2013 04:17 AM

Hermit Crab Terrarium
Planted aquariums weren't my thing. I had some fun a few years ago, but I never had the patience to wait for the results I was really seeking. However, I am fantastic with my houseplants :)

I am currently working on designing, planting and growing a 10g planted terrarium for my hermit crabs. I have searched the web and found very few inspirational photos to assist with this process. I know I don't have food or water dishes in the tank yet, they are still in use in the current (artificial) setup.

The round planter "The Garden" is filled with coconut fiber and peat. I have spread a mixture of fescue and ryegrass seeds, to create a "lawn" of sorts. With the plastic tray design, I will be able to easily remove The Garden for trimmings, replantings, etc. It will also be possible for me to have multiple trays to swap out as plants are eaten/destroyed by the hermies. My plan is for all plantings to be in removable containers, a miniature container garden of sorts :icon_cool

The 2" clay pot is filled with Jiffy Organic Seed Starter mix and has two clippings of common indoor ivy.

I have thought about removing or rearranging the cave to allow for more plantings. I have both asparagus fern and pothos growing like crazy around the house that could be planted in clay pots or other containers.

I would like to stick to low/mid light plants to avoid purchasing grow lights.

I'm open to suggestions or discussion on design. I would love to work with a larger tank for this project, but there just isn't enough space in my house right now :icon_cry:

Acro 01-21-2013 05:08 AM

You can look up poison frog terrarium and get tons of ideas. Their life style is close, just not as humid as poison frogs, but still rather moist.

Also I would suggest adding a dish of salt water, in nature hermit crabs take a dip in salt water now and then. Be sure to have fresh water available at all times. The salt water can be offered a few time a week, but not in place, of the fresh water. Just in a shallow dish next to it.

Next, flip that tank on it's side to give lots of vertical climbing space. Hermit crabs are "tree crabs" and love to climb up. You can add lots of branches and airplants or orchids attached to the branches. Also try adding some sort of textured background to the tank for the crabs to climb.

Last, search "Hermit Crab Forum" as there are many great forums made just for hermit crabs. They have galleries where members post beautiful pictures of their planted hermit crab terrariums!

Good Luck and keep us updated!

Acro 01-21-2013 10:04 AM

Something like this would be cool:

Also check out Black Jungle for plants, wood and supplies!

cjyhc4 01-21-2013 08:00 PM

Big Changes
This morning I woke up full of ideas and energy. I was walking in the door at Lowe's at 7:15am!

I made some massive changes to the planted crabitat today. This morning, bright and early at 7:15am, I wandered into Lowe's and found three new plants for only $0.25 each and a deep 4" plant drip tray. Since it was only 17 deg F outside when I left Lowe's I brought the plants right home. Then I hopped right back in the Jeep and made my way to Walmart, where I purchased the soap dish with suction cups, suction hooks and a few groceries. My last stop for the morning shopping spree was the local aquarium and pet shop where I picked up a few new sponges for the water bowls.

One of the plants I picked up today was a new ivy variation, it had 6 healthy stems in the original pot. The second is the dark leaved plant in the back, and the third does not yet have a home in the terrarium.

Each plant was carefully removed from the original pots, the dirt was cleaned off and the roots and leaves were rinsed thoroughly. The plants were then planted in the new pots with expanded peat pellets (outer mesh removed).

After settling these two into their new home, I have one stem of ivy leftover and some dead space in the back to fill. I found a tiny clay pot for the single ivy stem and placed it in the front corner of the terrarium. Then I chose one of my healthy asparagus ferns from the living room and removed and rinsed a small portion of the plant. The asparagus fern has a larger root system then the other plants and therefore requires more space than the small 2" clay pots would provide. I was out of terracotta pots anyway, but had a clean jar leftover from sweet and sour sauce. It has cool Asian markings molded in the glass.

There is little to report about "The Garden". There is more germination and growth, but so far there are still no full fledged seedlings. While at Lowe's I also picked up a 6" tray should I ever choose to downsize The Garden or replant it outside of the terrarium.

I'm getting more and more excited about how this is going to turn out!!

Shell shop! The suction cup soap dish will be filled with shells for the hermies to select from. I have quite a few ordered from eBay.

Then I discovered that the hermies will need a way to get into the shell shop, so I crocheted a custom ladder for them to climb and secured it with the suction cup hooks I purchased this morning.

Hiding underneath the shell shop is a deep 4" tray filled with peat and coconut fiber for the purpose of burying and molting. It's out of the way and large/deep enough for two hermies.

There are two glass water dishes, one for salt water, the other for freshwater. The sponges are new, picked them up this morning at the pet shop. Last but not least, the handmade shell food dish. I made this a few days ago using shells and sea glass :-)

I welcome thoughts, opinions and ideas!!

Acro 01-22-2013 05:05 AM

Love how you steped it up for those crabs! They are going to be very happy!
You can start the little seed garden out of the tank under lights. That way you can move the crabs in now, they will love it!

sarahspins 02-11-2013 01:21 AM

Crabs don't really need the sponges in their bowls... at most all they do is help with humidity (by providing more surface area for water to evaporate from - you can also help increase humidity by covering up some of your mesh top), but they block access to the water.. crabs drink by dipping their claws in the water and drinking water off their claws. They also need to store some water inside their shells and being able to get in the water is the only way they can do that, so it needs to be deep enough and big enough for them to partially submerge. You don't have to go all out, but adding a simple airstone to a water bowl can accomplish what the sponges do but without restricting access to the water (I have a waterfall set up for mine, but that's not practical in a 10g tank). They also need access to a bowl of salt water (instant ocean works fine for that, and you can mix it a gallon at a time).

Your substrate also needs to be much deeper - crabs bury themselves to molt (and most petstore crabs are , and they won't molt if they don't feel safe, you'd need at least 6 inches for small crabs, and as they grow you may need subtrate deeper than your current tank is tall.

Everything I read indicates that crabs would dig up and destroy live plants and it may not be worth the hassle of having them. I do have some moss growing in my crab vivarium (on the waterfall), but that's it, the rest is fake and honestly it's more for my appeal than anything - I know the crabs honestly don't care.

You might want to read this:

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