Hermit crabs are very special crustaceans that require constant attentive care to survive. Since the crabs are never born in captivity, so there is always the issue of adapting to a human environment for these exotic animals. This obviously requires a lot of trust from the crabs because they are super sensitive to any kinds of harshness. Observing the proper rules of hermit crab care are essential, as without care these crabs do not live for long. Usually, when every aspect of their living is taken due care of, these exotic animals can even live more than 20 years and be a lifelong companion of the home.
The first principle of hermit crab care is to acknowledge the mystery of the little crustaceans. You should be able to wonder at the amazing senses of perception and individuality that these exotic animals show in their different daily activities. Their particularity about their shells and their choice of eating foods only when they are hungry, show them as extremely thoughtful beings. They are remarkable climbers and you will be surprised to see the way they climb up and down the rock face or the terraces of the saltwater container in their enclosure. The little crustaceans have very expressive eyes and they often show sudden (and unpredictable) mood swings in their decisions.
The next aspect of crab care is securing the crabs an ideal habitat. If you have marine hermit crabs, then you have to set up a coral reef aqua system with sufficient rock faces to let the crab to climb and rest. The water should be dechlorinated and the aquarist should be able to maintain a balanced nitrogen cycle system in the aquarium. Marine crabs molt within a couple of minute, so no special attention is required during molting for marine crabs. The ideal specific gravity range is 1.022-1.0240 and the salinity range should be 30-40 ppt.
For land hermit crabs, the habitat should be an enclosure of sand substratum. The sand should not be moist, but not dripping. The height of the sand base should be just enough for the biggest hermit crab to completely disappear inside the sand. Provide an abundance of good shell choices for the crabs. Painted sea shells should not be given because they are hazardous for the crabs. The land crab owner should be able to understand the initial signs of molting and take immediate steps to gently remove the crab to an isolation tank. However, if the transfer is not possible because of an advanced molting stage, then the crab-owner should set up an isolation barrier (something which the other crabs can neither climb nor dig up). Alternately, you can also try removing all the non molting crabs to a different enclosure and let the molting crab stay alone in the old enclosure. Molting in land crabs is a prolonged process that can take more than a month, so proper care should be taken of the crab. Disturbing the crab at any point of the molting time is not permitted, as that can prove fatal for the crab.
Another important aspect of hermit crab care is the nutrition of the crabs. A land crab enclosure should consist of a separate container for freshwater and a separate one for saltwater (both dechlorinated). This is because the land crabs drink only freshwater and bath in saltwater. These exotic animals are omnivorous beings and they prefer a carotene and calcium based diet for themselves. They like planktons, dried shrimps, coral deposits, cuttlebones, fish flakes, crushed eggshell, crushed calcium tablets and crushed oyster shell as daily foods. They treat fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts and resins as delicacies. They immensely like to eat their own shed exoskeleton after molting. During molting, the crab should be supplied with a carotene rich diet.