Hermit Crab Care Guide & Species Profile

Hermit Crabs wonder shellfishes, their weird habits and also various individualities make sure to place a countenance the skin of newbie and also specialist caretakers identical.

They call for a considerable amount of care and also you will definitely require to maintain a near eye on all of them to identify any kind of health condition they might possess.

Throughout this short article, our team will definitely launch you to one of the most well-liked hermit crab species and also offer you a detailed understanding of what it requires to maintain this invertebrate.

We will definitely be actually dealing with every little thing you require to understand coming from basic care and also eating demands to reproducing ideas, in addition to some exciting truths en route.

Hermit Crab Facts & Overview


Care Level:Moderate
Temperament:Generally peaceful, but species dependent
Color:Species dependent
Lifespan:Up to 30 years
Size:0.5-40 inches
Diet:Opportunistic omnivore
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons
Tank Setup:Saltwater reef system or shoreline (species dependent)
Reef Compatibility:Yes, depending on species

Hermit crabs belong to the superfamily Paguroidea which is comprised of well over 800 separate species, possibly even over a thousand.

There are seven different families to which these species belong.

One family is the Coenobitidae which is comprised of land-dwelling Hermit Crabs. The other six families are classified as water-dwelling species.

Unlike many decapod crustaceans, Hermit Crabs have a soft abdominal region. In order to protect themselves, they have adapted to have curved bodies that fit into scavenged mollusk shells.

These fascinating creatures can live for as long as 30 years in the wild. However, their lifespan in aquariums is usually a lot shorter than this. These aquatic or land-based crustaceans make a unique pet and are not that easy to find a local fish stores. There are however lots of places online where they can be bought.

The cost can vary drastically with the individual species ranging from $3 all the way up to $60.

Typical Behavior

Hermit Crabs are generally peaceful and social organisms that live in large groups in the wild.

Larger species will be more aggressive than smaller species and may even attack your fish.

Smaller reef compatible species are mostly peaceful however, you may find that they fight with each other. This is completely normal behavior and it is called rapping (which essentially is a battle to get another crabs shell).

You can avoid this sort of behavior by adding plenty of different-sized and shaped shells throughout the substrate. You will find they tend to occupy the lower regions of the tank. However, they are also good climbers so you may find them on live rocks in between the reef.

They can be quite shy and may choose to hide inside their shell whenever you approach the tank.


  • They are omnivores and need a varied diet of algae and protein. Foods that are high in carotene will give them brighter colors, especially if they are a red or orange color.
  • Marine and land-dwelling species both use their gills to breathe. Marine species exchange carbon dioxide for dissolved oxygen in the water column, whereas land species breathe air and will drown if kept in water.
  • They need larger shells as they grow, so they usually steal them from other crabs.
  • As with all crustaceans, they shed their exoskeleton as they grow. Younger specimens shed their exoskeleton more than adults, as the grow rate slows drastically with age.
  • They have soft asymmetrical abdomens which need to be protected by a shell. Without their shell, they become vulnerable to predation.

Appearance & Types

Strawberry Hermit Crab

This is actually an incredibly appealing species because of its own strawberry-like crimson pigmentation along with little white colored areas. They develop to a dimension of approximately a minimum of 6 ins and also call for a lot of room.

They are actually a land-dwelling Hermit of the family Coenobitidae, who inhabit the coastal shorelines of the Pacific Ocean.

The Ecuadorian Hermit Crab

Ecuadorian Hermit Crab

These crabs are also known as Pacific Crab.

They are native across the Pacific coastline of Central and South America. As previously discussed, they are one of the smallest members of the land-dwelling species and grow to 1 inch.

Their color varies with age, with young specimens having bright blue, green or yellow coloration. As they age, their color changes to shades of different colors including orange, yellow, green, and others.

Read this Article: Corner Fish Tank (Setup Ideas, Equipment, Stocking And Much More…)

Other Hermit Crabs:

The Coconut CrabThis is the largest member of the Coenobitidae family growing to a staggering 40 inches. They are also extremely dangerous to handle, their large powerful claws can exert bone crushing pressure.
The Scarlet Reef HermitThis species also goes by the name Red Reef or Red Legged Hermit for the deep red coloration of its appendages. This crab also has a yellow face with small green eyes at the top of the eye stalks.
The Electric Blue HermitThis is another popular reef dwelling species native to the Marshall Islands and is perfect for your home aquarium. They have stunning coloration as they sport electric blue legs as their name suggest with the addition of black bands.

Tank Conditions and Natural Habitat

Hermits can be divided into two categories: land and water-dwelling species.

They are both found throughout the world in completely different habitats.

Land species are found along tropical coastlines. They need to be near the ocean or freshwater streams to keep their gills moist in order to respire. They also return to shallow saltwater to breed.

Water-dwelling species like the Halloween Hermit, spend their entire lives within the Indo-Pacific ocean. Here the water temperatures range from 71-83°F and there is a pH of between 8.1-8.4. The specific gravity is in the region of 1.020-1.025.

They are found inhabiting reef systems near to the shore so they need a decent water flow as they would naturally encounter tidal cycles and currents which pass over the reef.

Hermit Crab

Tank Setup

Because there are actually so many different species that all require different tank conditions, we will give a general overview here.

However, the most important thing to remember is your tank setup should closely resemble those that the species would encounter in their natural habitat. A large majority of them need the water parameters listed above.

A good filtration system will provide multiple benefits to the tank. Filters not only clean the water by removing suspended particles, they also provide biological filtration and water flow throughout the aquarium.

Be sure to purchase a filtration system that either meets or exceeds the tank’s required filter size.

The addition of seaweeds like sea lettuce will absorb excess nitrates from the water. During photosynthesis, the plant will also remove carbon dioxide from the water and replace it with dissolved oxygen which your inhabitants need to breathe.

LED lighting systems are a great option for providing the correct amount of lighting for reef systems although they can be fairly expensive.

A sandy substrate and plenty of live rock should be added to the tank to make it more natural. It will also provide additional areas for good bacteria to grow and filter ammonia and nitrites.

You will also need to complete a nitrogen cycle before adding any crabs to your tank – this can take up to 8 weeks.

Remember to do your research and make notes of the specific requirements each Hermit species needs, as well as any fish species so that you can choose species that can coexist in the same tank with each other.

What Size Aquarium Do Hermit Crab Need?

The size of the aquarium they need will depend on the size of the Hermit you want to keep.

As a general rule smaller hermit crabs need 1 gallon of water. So a 20 gallon tank would house 20 small species such as the Scarlet Reef Hermit.

For larger species like the Halloween Hermit, keep 1 per 2 gallons of aquarium water.

Tank Mates

Hermit Crab Tank

Within their wild habitats, these creatures are found coexisting with various organisms including fish and other invertebrates.

Reef-dwelling species will be found with a lot of different fish from all over the world including Clownfish, Butterflyfish, Damselfish, and Gobies.

There are many popular species that can be kept with Hermits and a good place to start is with ones they would encounter in the wild. The fish mentioned above are all great tank mates.

Other species like small Wrasses, Pajama Cardinalfish, Firefish, and Royal Gramma are also excellent options – Mandarin fish also make good tank mates. They also do well in the same tank as cleaner shrimp which provides a useful service to the aquarium by removing algae and cleaning the other inhabitants.

Aquatic plants will also be beneficial. Species like Green Finger Algae, Dragons Tongue Algae, and Halimeda plants are all great examples.

Avoid keeping any predatory species like Groupers, as well as beaked species such as Parrotfish, Triggerfish, and Pufferfish.

Keeping Hermit Crabs Together

Keeping Hermit Crabs together depends on the species you are looking to keep.

Generally, all small and peaceful reef-dwelling species can be housed with one another.


Hermit Crab Appearance

These decapods are scavengers which indicates they will definitely consume practically everything they locate – in bush they will definitely prey on points like eco-friendly and also reddish algae in addition to lifeless living things like fish, shrimp, and also various other worn out concern.

Hermits are going to definitely quest snails as a meals resource however additionally to acquire their coverings.

They often tend to produce incredible clean-up workers for any kind of storage tank – they consume unnecessary algae like eco-friendly hair algae and also reddish scum algae. They are actually additionally incredibly efficient at looking with the storage tank’s substratum looking for any kind of leftover meals and also wearing away concern.

Feeding your Crabs a different diet plan is actually extremely essential for their wellness and also they must be actually nourished a diet regimen of collapsing vitamin developed pellets. Food must be actually delivered in little volumes two times daily, ideally in the early morning and also twilight.

If you carry out certainly not possess huge volumes of algae in your fish tank, after that you must be actually giving dried out algae or even spirulina algae biscuits in addition to various other meals.

You can easily nourish all of them higher healthy protein meals including new sardines and also tuna every once in a while to enhance their diet plan.


The Coconut Crab

Hermit Crabs require a considerable amount of interest and also care.

Firstly, they require to become always kept under the proper situations and also in a habitation that matches their organic crazy setting. If these are actually certainly not satisfied, it can easily induce stress and anxiety which leaves all of them vulnerable to diseases and parasites.

Land-residence species require a great deal additional care and also interest than water-dwelling ones.

Shell rot is actually a popular health condition that influences all of them, it is actually brought on by germs that break the chitin in their exoskeleton. This produces gaps and also can easily trigger second extra serious diseases.

Feeding your animals infected sea food like shelled Oysters or even Mussels or even inadequate care health conditions within the storage tank can easily each trigger shell rot.

Any shelled sea food you opt for to nourish all of them must be actually steamed to get rid of any kind of germs and also fungis.

Hermits can easily eliminate layer rot by themselves through dropping their exoskeleton. The just therapy for this health condition is actually high quality water which must be actually delivered in any way opportunities to aid the crab cure on its own.

Another usual disease is actually fungi. Fungal diseases seem like cosy areas on your Hermit Crab and also may be brought on by excess moisture.

If you identify a fungus disease, you will definitely require to soak all of them in deep sea.


Breeding Hermit Crabs can be extremely difficult also for knowledgeable enthusiasts.

Getting all of them to multiply is actually the very easy component.

The trouble really is located along with the rearing of the younger. Like all shellfishes, they create planktonic larvae, and also for that reason attempting to multiply all of them in a well established coral reef unit is actually merely certainly not a sensible alternative.


The method of molting is actually where the microorganism sheds its exoskeleton.

They perform this given that as they remain to develop, their challenging exoskeleton performs certainly not develop along with all of them therefore they require to eliminate this exoskeleton to permit all of them to widen.

Healthy samplings dropped their exoskeleton the moment every 18 months. Juveniles alternatively molt about the moment a month up until they grow.

Prior to the molting method, they will definitely come to be somewhat duller and also much less multicolored.

When they have actually dropped their exoskeleton, carry out certainly not eliminate it coming from the storage tank as they will definitely start to consume it – it has plenty of crucial calcium mineral which it needed for enhancing their brand-new exoskeleton.

At this factor you must start to enhance all of them along with calcium-enriched meals additionally.

Are Hermit Crabs Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Hermit Crabs are actually discovered throughout the planet in a variety of atmospheres (both property and also sea units).

Before you carry a Crab residence see to it you carry out tons of study right into their particular care demands.

If their necessities are actually certainly not fulfilled it can easily induce stress and anxiety which can easily leave all of them vulnerable to disease and also health condition.

There are actually a considerable amount of little Hermit species offered which may be inhibited a 20-gallon fish tank, however if you are actually searching for a bigger species after that you are actually mosting likely to require a larger storage tank.

Have you ever before always kept Hermit Crabs? Let our company understand in the opinions segment listed below…



Lucky author of gillsfish.com (waited years for the domain). I've always kept a few tanks going. I keep a few African cichlids around in my 50 gallons but primarily focus on our 100 gallon which changes nearly every month depending on what my kids may have in mind.

Gill's Fish