I thought I’d do a little update on my crab keeping routine. There are many recommended things that I used to do but have stopped doing. I am not saying anyone should follow my method of crab keeping, just that it works for me.
Substrate: After trying many substrates I’ve settled on a coral sand that I love and the crabs seem to enjoy. I also keep moss in the tank and this seems to be the favorite place for the crabs, especially molters. I clean it monthly by swapping it out with clean dry coral sand and then cleaning and drying the dirty stuff, then storing it till needed. Sand was a huge messy pain in the rear. Forest bedding wasn’t much better and my crabs seemed to hate it. I use gravel only for the wading pool area. I used sand for ISO’s and now am trying out a sand/FB mix. Once my molters are done in the ISO tanks I may try putting some moss in there as well since its so popular in the main tank.
Bathing: After religiously bathing my crabs weekly, and bathing new crabs before adding and bathing molters when they are hardened… I no longer bathe my crabs regularly. They have two pools of water that allow them to wade and bathe themselves. Once a month (or longer) I put some warm salt water in a large tub and put all the empty shells in and then the crabs and let them wade awhile and look over shells. My new crabs and finished molters are set down in the pool when I put them in the main tank and that’s all the bath they get.
Main tank molting: This has been happening at my house for a few months now. With my smaller crabs its hard to tell what they are up to so I don’t always catch them in time to ISO them. Plus I don’t take all of them out daily to check them. When I find a molter I check for exo. If there is some uneaten I will ISO the crab and remaining exo to make sure they finish it since I disturbed them. Anyone showing PMS gets placed in ISO for a week to see if they will dig down.
Digging up molters: Honestly I’ve done this with three crabs intentionally. Because they were under long after they had hardened and finished exo. I could see all of these crabs through the glass of the ISO tank. If I couldn’t see them I wouldn’t have bothered them. Because of this behaviour, I believe crabs hibernate.
Multiple species: I keep PPs, Es, Indos, Rugusos, Cavipes all in the same tank and have no problems and no aggression.
My crabs are not neglected by any means. I watch them more than I handle them. They are busy and rarely shy. I’ve not had any crabs die during molting, or from lack of bathing or from a shell fight or cannibalism. My last PPS death was back in September I believe.
I know there are constant discussions back and forth on how to keep crabs and what is needed and what isn’t. You really have to decide for yourself what works. I think crabs are as different as dogs and cats can be. Your location and tank set up may require more effort on your part or less, which seems to be my case.