Hermit crabs are decapod crustaceans of the superfamily Paguroidea.
There are many species, each of which deserves attention, but not all hermit crustaceans are suitable for keeping in an aquarium. And those that are suitable require some knowledge from the owner. What kind of knowledge? Let’s look at this article.
The appearance and structure of hermit crabs
The size of the hermit’s crab is from 2 to 15 cm, determined by the species. The description of the appearance and structure of arthropod is quite unusual. The body consists of head, legs, body, mustache, and claws. The latter is located near the head. The claw on the right is larger than the left. It’s used to cover the housing entrance. The left one is used to cover the housing entrance. The legs are arranged in a row with claws, with their help the crab moves.
The structure of hermit crab is easier to see in the picture. Because in real life, this arthropod is always in a hurry and does not allow you to look carefully at yourself.
The torso (at the front) is covered with a chitin layer, i.e. shell. The non-hard back part is not covered by anything. That’s why the crab hides it in the cabin. It’s hard for him to survive without the shell. It’s fixed with small hind limbs. The crab house is set up in the shells of different clams. Cranial legs always choose shells larger than their body for convenience. Because crab is constantly growing, it is necessary to periodically look for new housing.
The appearance (including color) of the hermit crab is determined by age and appearance. It can be pink (of different shades), blue, red, purple.
Popular species of hermit crabs
There are hundreds of varieties of hermit crabs known. By and large, they only differ in color, less often in size. Among the aquarium lovers who choose arthropods by color, the most popular are the following hermit crab: blue-striped, golden, orange-striped, red-legged.
Health and longevity of hermit crabs
At the stage of crab larvae, hermits often become food for sea creatures. In adulthood, survival rates are higher thanks to the lifeboat. The most difficult moment in life is the transition to new housing. Then the soft body has no protection and hermit crab can easily become prey for another animal. It happens that the crab drives out of the home of a weaker relative, and takes his place. Also, as a home of crab hermits pick up caps from tubes and bottles, pieces of the lung, and other human garbage. But even with home, hermit crab can’t feel safe completely. After all, squids and octopuses with their jaws can easily destroy a crab house. The life expectancy of these arthropods is 10 to 11 years.
Requirements for the keeping of hermit crabs
A comfortable stay for one hermit crab can be provided with an aquarium of at least 40 liters in size. And more, depending on the size of an adult animal and the number of living organisms living in it. The water temperature is at least 26 degrees. A lower temperature will provoke disease, while a higher one will accelerate metabolism and lead to premature aging. Requirements for the acidity of 8 pH. Salinity is 35-37.
At the bottom of the aquarium pour fine sea sand, a layer of at least 12 cm. Other fillers may damage the delicate body of arthropods. The sand must be sea sand because any other can not provide the ecosystem with the right minerals. Also, crab hermits are very happy to climb and play. In this regard, the presence of natural stones and toys in their home is required. As the crab grows, the hermit will need a new home, so you should put into the aquarium and several shells of different sizes.
The neighborhood of hermit crabs
It happens that the crab, in search of a home, offers congeners to exchange shells. They tapping claws at the neighbor’s house. If the latter is suitable for the exchange, the crab’s exchange shells. Otherwise, they split up or come into a confrontation, you can’t guess.
The crabs are hermits who can’t stand being alone at all (despite their name). For this reason, the aquarium should have two or more individuals. Practice shows that the representatives contained in captivity are very calm. They can be seen aggressively very rarely.
But the snails have almost no chance to survive with such neighbors. The shells will be appropriated and their former owners ate.
With fish and shrimp, in most cases, the hermit’s crab neighbors are peaceful.
However, there is a creature whose neighborhood benefits the crab – actinia. The symbiosis of hermit crab and actinia is fascinating! He carries it on his shell and feeds it, and it protects it with poisonous tentacles!
The hermit’s crab, moving to a new home, gently carries its neighbor with it!
Feeding hermit crab
Feeding arthropods rarely causes problems. This is because these animals eat all kinds of food. They are scavengers, in most cases enough fish food leftovers to fall to the bottom. If you want to treat your pet, offer him seafood: shrimps, squid, octopus, dry algae. The food should be pre-shredded. Also, collecting “edible” garbage hermit crab relieves the aquarium of detritus, lower algae, and cyanobacteria.
Crab in no case should not overfeed.
The hermits are very smart animals. They quickly navigate when feeding other aquarium residents (eg, fish). At the right time, the crab will be at the feeding site to pick up the leftovers.
Captive breeding of hermit crabs
The main role in reproduction is played by female specimens. From time to time the female produces a large number of eggs (it happens that up to 15 thousand at a time). She carries them on her abdomen. Seven days later, the larvae appear, which can swim and live in a pond on their own. After four molts, they become a young crab. In natural conditions, they multiply throughout the year. The hermit crab does not reproduce in an artificial environment.
Interesting facts about hermit crabs
- Hermit crabs completely eat small fish (to the bone) in just a few hours.
- They are active both during the day and at night. It keeps going on searching for food.
- Other crustaceans and multi-bristle worms can live in the crab’s house. Interestingly, it does not touch its own and eats others with pleasure.
- Hermit crabs are called pond orderlies. It can be explained as follows: they eat everything they meet. Thanks to this interesting fact, their habitats are always very clean.
- The crab meat is white, tender, and pleasant. It weighs 20% of their body weight.
- Molting turns an ordinary hermit’s crab into a helpless animal. It occurs several times in the first two years of life, and then so much more in the remaining period of existence.
- Crab breathes through the skin gills. To maintain oxygen metabolism, it needs to show up periodically in the fresh air.
- The eyes are on the stems. This allows them to stretch out, which regulates vision.
The hermit crab is real beach cleaners. Thanks to their way of life, they rid the natural environment of organic decline. Living in aquariums, as noted by the owners, clean up their glasshouses. Hermit crabs destroy cyanobacteria, detritus, and other harmful artificial reservoirs. This means they not only decorate but also clean up your aquarium!
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