How To Care For A Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs are a type of crustacean that live in shells. There are actually more than a thousand different species of hermit crabs and, when properly cared for, they can grow up to 6 inches in length and can live for 10 years or more. These creatures make good low-maintenance pets and they can be handled, though you should be mindful of the fact that they have claws that can pinch if they feel threatened. Another interesting fact is that hermit crabs will change shells as they grow.

Though hermit crabs can be very interesting and entertaining pets, they are sometimes challenging to keep unless you have a good understanding of their needs. This is very important because if you don’t provide for your hermit crab’s needs, he isn’t going to thrive. He needs a certain type of habitat as well as a specific diet in order to be healthy. That is where this tutorial comes in. In this tutorial, you will receive detailed instructions for creating the ideal hermit crab environment and for taking care of your new pet. Keep reading to learn how to get started!

What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial

Before you decide whether a hermit crab might be the right pet for you, you need to make sure you have a thorough understanding of what a hermit crab needs. Hermit crabs require a tank or cage that is designed to certain specifications and maintained in a certain way – you’ll also have to provide a diet that meets your crab’s nutritional needs. Here is a detailed list of everything you are going to need in order to set up and maintain your hermit crab cage:

  • Glass or plastic aquarium.
  • Aquarium gravel.
  • Tank decorations.
  • Hiding places.
  • Empty shells.
  • Shallow dish.
  • Sea sponge.
  • Under-tank heater.
  • LED light fixture.
  • Hermit crab food.

Step By Step Instructions

Now that you know what you need to keep your hermit crab, you’re ready to learn how to set up and maintain his cage. Once you do the work to set up your hermit crab’s environment, maintaining it is generally pretty easy. Here is a step-by-step plan to guide you through the process:

Choosing Your Hermit Crab Tank

Hermit crabs are fairly small so you won’t need a giant aquarium. You do, however, need to make sure that they have adequate space to move around – especially if you plan to keep more than one hermit crab. Ideally, you should provide at least 5 gallons of space per hermit crab, though 10 gallons is the minimum you should consider in general. You can purchase an inexpensive glass aquarium or find a large plastic terrarium to use for your hermit crab.

Picking Decorations And Equipment

Once you’ve selected your hermit crab tank, the next step is to decorate it and to add the necessary equipment.

a, For tank decoration.

  • Choose to line the bottom of your tank with aquarium gravel or you can use the kind of bark bedding pet stores sell for reptiles. Reptile bark will help to retain some of the humidity in your tank better than gravel, but it will be more expensive.
  • Add some novelty decorations as well as hiding places for your hermit crabs – make sure the hiding places are actually big enough for your crab to fit into with his shell.
  • Add some empty shells to the tank. Your hermit crab will need to move to a larger shell as he grows, so make sure to provide a variety of different sizes. Never force your hermit crab to leave his shell and don’t touch him if you see him outside the shell – hermit crabs are delicate and they use the shell for protection.
  • Add a shallow dish to the tank and fill it with dechlorinated water for your crab to soak in. If you are worried that your crab might not be able to climb out of the dish, add a sea sponge to give him something to climb on.

b, For tank equipment, you really only need something to keep the tank warm and something to keep it lit.

  • An under-tank heater is usually the simplest option for a hermit crab tank, though you do need to make sure you cover it with at least an inch of bedding so it doesn’t get too hot for your hermit crabs. You can monitor the temperature in your tank with a thermometer and you might want to get a hygrometer to keep an eye on the humidity.
  • For lighting, a simple LED fixture will be adequate.

Maintaining Your Hermit Crab Tank

Once you’ve set up your hermit crab tank and added your hermit crab, all you have to do is maintain the right conditions. Keep an eye on the temperature in your tank and try to keep it between 70°F and 75°F because hermit crabs are tropical creatures. You’ll also want to mist the tank with dechlorinated water once a day or so to keep the humidity level between 50% and 80%. If you are using a light fixture in your tank, keep the lights on for 8 to 12 hours a day then turn them off at night.

To clean your tank, replace the water in the water dish once a day and remove waste and debris as needed. You should also change the substrate once a month or clean it, depending on the type you’re using. At the same time, clean all the decorations in your hermit crab tank as well.

Feeding Your Hermit Crab

The final step in caring for your hermit crab is feeding him. Hermit crabs are scavengers in the wild so they will eat a large variety of different foods. Your pet hermit crab will eat a variety of foods as well, but there are certain things you should make sure to offer him. Most important, offer your hermit crab some high-quality hermit crab pellets to make sure he gets the nutrients he needs. You can also offer him some chopped veggies or fruits as a snack. Your hermit crab will even eat pieces of meat if you offer it, just don’t let it sit in the tank too long.


How did you like this tutorial for caring for a hermit crab? After reading this tutorial you should have a better idea what it takes to keep a hermit crab as a pet and you may be ready to decide whether this is the perfect pet for you. If so, take what you’ve learned here and get to work setting up the perfect habitat for your new hermit crab. We encourage you to like and share this article with your friends and leave us some comments about your experience with hermit crabs. Good luck and thanks for reading!

Blake - May, 2018

I love your information because I get a hermit crab also I love the ocean and animals I will own quite a few animals when I’m older but I’m still 9

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