There are two types of hermit crab cages; a terrarium and an aquarium. A terrarium, just as the name suggests (terrestrial), is a glass container used for keeping small land creatures such as crabs and reptiles. On the other hand, an aquarium is a glass container in which aquatic animals are kept. All aquariums come without a lid and you will be required to buy one separately. When buying the lid, you can substitute the glass lid for a plexiglass or lexan lid. Lexan is more affordable and readily available in most stores.
Hermit crabs are very sensitive animals and require a lot of care and attention. Hermit crabs can be divided into two major categories; aquatic and terrestrial. Both types live in shells and they need access to water and this is why land hermit crabs live around the shorelines to have access to both water and land. And, when it comes to picking a hermit crab cage, the cage should be at least six inches high and ten to fifteen gallons big.
Best Cages for Hermit Crab Pet(s)
Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium
This terrarium is versatile and easily adaptable. It features a waterproof base with an extra high fixed front panel that allows for deep layers of substrate and has room for glass mounted décor. Water can be added as high as the ventilation strip. The bottom of the glass panel is higher to enable the installation of a heat cable or a substrate heater. The raised bottom prevents any damages to the heating accessory and keeps the whole bottom panel well ventilated.
The Exo Terra terrarium provides a natural looking rock background which provides many design options as well as an extra climbing dimension. This background also provides canals for running cords and tubing from the bottom to the top without being visible. Dual doors allow easy access for feeding, misting and maintenance. This feature helps in the retention of heat and humidity inside the terrarium. It has a removable stainless steel cover that allows UVB and infrared penetration. It allows easy access while cleaning and decorating. The cover has durable locks at the side that secure the cover to the terrarium.
Exo Terra provides other accessories such as the compact top canopy, dual top canopy, monsoon, locks and hygro, combo and thermometers which can be purchased separately. It comes in a variety of sizes that cater to all needs.
- Comes with a lot of decorative material.
- Easy to use
- The bottom is properly sealed and does not leak
- Has two doors
- Some customers complained of the opening between the background and the tank being two big
- The top is crisscrossed with plastic bars which are likely to melt if you are using ceramic heat bulbs.
Aqua Culture 10 Gallon Empty Aquarium
This Aqua Culture aquarium is enclosed with glass made with high strength silicone which provides a water-tight seal. It is perfect for a starter aquarium measuring 20 × 12 × 10 inches, which is roomy enough to host a few hermit crabs. It’s also easy to clean and doesn’t leak. All you get is the tank, which is okay for the price, and you will have to customize it to your liking. The size is also perfect for smaller spaces.
- Good quality
- It is easy to clean
- It does not leak
- It does not come with a lid therefore the crab can crawl out, but you can easily buy one separately
- All other accessories are sold separately
Lee’s Herp Haven Breeder box, Round
Lee’s Herp breeder box can be used as a nursery or a terrarium. The bottom area is made of pure plastic, so it can hold water without leaking. Again, it has a self-locking lid which has a feeder window, so feeding your crab will be easier. And, the lid has airline tubing holes and attachment holes, thus you won’t be keeping your pet in a dangerous environment.
It can fit two small hermit crabs and a few accessories such as a food dish and a small branch. It can also be used as a temporary carrier for small animals. The company also has a kit for hermit crabs in case this one does not suit your needs.
- It is cost friendly
- Lid stays on perfectly
- It does not leak
- It is small but it can accommodate two small hermit crabs.
Aqueon 10 Gallon Black Aquarium
The Aqueon black aquarium is carefully constructed to ensure that it stands up to almost all applications. It is available in a range of sizes and comes in an oak trim style or a black trim design with clear silicone seals. It is suitable for both marine and freshwater animals. It measures 20.2 × 10.5 × 13 inches and weighs ten pounds. Larger aquariums have one-piece center-braced frames that prevent the glass from bowing. If you will be using any aquarium appliances, make sure you include a drip loop before plugging them in into an electrical outlet.
- It is affordable
- It does not leak
- Great packaging, product arrives intact
- It is sturdy
- Does not have a cover or any accessories
Zilla Reptile Starter Kit 10 with Light and Heat
As the name suggests, the Zilla starter kit is more suitable for animals from dry areas. When using this kit as a hermit crab cage, it is important that you keep the humidity levels intact. Every kit comes with two dome light fixtures. A black incandescent bulb that provides heat at night, and a white spot bulb for basking during the day. For added heat, you add a reflector dome with a heat emitter; preferably one made of ceramic.
The kit also comes with a temperature and humidity gauge that allows you to monitor the environmental conditions. Place the gauge at the bottom of the tank for more accurate readings.
Again, it has a brown terrarium liner that fights odor, it cannot be digested and it is nonabrasive, so your pet will be safe. The liner is placed at the bottom of the terrarium and you can trim it to fit perfectly.
Also, the feeding port is convenient and easy to use. And, the screen cover comes with screen clips that help hold it in place. To install it, hook the cover clip on top of the cover and then adjust the bottom of the clip so that the edge sits between the glass and the tank frame. This is a suitable cage for a hermit crab, however you will have to replace the brown terrarium liner with substrate. It weighs 17 pounds and measures 20.2 × 10.5 × 12.6 inches.
- Easy to put together
- It is cost friendly
- The tank and top screen are very sturdy
- The bulb overheats and it wears out quickly, but you can replace it
- Accessories are not included
Exo Terra Faunarium, Flat Home
This is the perfect temporary home for your pets. It has great ventilation, so it is easy to disinfect and clean. The door is made from transparent plastic for easy access. Even though it is made of plastic, you can still use a heat mat to maintain the required temperature levels for hermit crabs.
To maintain humidity, you add a sponge or moss in the faunarium. The large size can fit about half a gallon of water, but you can always get a larger one and it is ideal for transporting and quarantining purposes.
The flat home measures 18 x 11.6 x 5.9 inches and weighs 1 pound. Again, it comes in six different sizes to choose from depending on your needs. And, it can also be stacked together if you are carrying many animals.
- Easy to clean
- It comes with a divider
- Durable plastic
- The top is hard to take off
- The plastic has a slight yellow tint
Reptizoo Mini Reptile Glass Terrarium
This Reptizoo terrarium is a good option for a hermit crab cage even though it was originally designed for reptiles. It is easy to use and requires no installation. It has a 360 degree view of the tank with the whole view of the landscape. The top is made of metal screen to offer enough ventilation and is also safe for any overhead heat sources that you may need to add. The cover also has feeding ports specially designed to make the feeding work easier.
Also, the terrarium has a lift and pull sliding door that comes in handy when feeding or cleaning. Again, it is designed to hold water as it is leak proof, and it is 6.61 pounds and measures 8 x 8 x 12 inches.
Lastly, it comes in a variety of sizes to choose from depending on your preference.
- Good quality
- Great ventilation
- Easy to use
- Accessories are not provided
Zilla 28015 5-Gallon Critter Cage
The Zilla cage is designed to create a tropical paradise for your pet to enjoy. This cage has great features that increases the durability of the tank, improves safety and allows easy access. The sliding door opens and closes easily. For extra security, the cage has a built in lockable latch and a safety catch that closes with a snap.
Also, it is very roomy and can fit water bottles and drippers. The top part is made of mesh and it weighs 16 pounds while measuring 24.3 x 12.8 x 12.5 inches.
Again, this critter cage is leak proof and can, therefore, be used as a hermit crab cage. When using this cage, you will have to replace the hanging water bottles with water bowls since crabs need to submerge themselves in water once in a while.
- Perfect size for your crab pet
- Safe for your pet
- Doesn’t leak
- Very durable
- You have to remove the whole lid when you want to access the tank. Would be better if it had a flip up for easy access.
How to Safely Take Care of a Hermit Crab
Choose the right type of hermit crab
You must know how to take care of a hermit crab before owning one. There are six types of hermit crabs, but the most common is the Caribbean crab which is commonly referred to as the purple pincher due to its big purple pincher. This is the easiest to take care of and is the best to start with. It is important that you pick a type that you can take care of with ease.
Handle with care
Hermit crabs take more time to adjust to new habitat, so you should give them more time to make the adjustment. During this de-stressing period, just change the food and water regularly and let them be. Hermit crabs can die from post purchase stress, so patience is key.
As crabs grow, they shed their exoskeleton. During molting, the crab buries itself under the substrate for a couple of days or even weeks. During this period, the crab should not be disturbed. Once it sheds the exoskeleton, you should not throw away the skeleton, the crabs eat it to ensure the next exoskeleton is just as strong. After molting, you should provide shells for your crabs. The Caribbean hermit crabs prefer the ones with circular openings. Avoid buying painted shells because the paint chips sometimes and it can be toxic to the crab if ingested.
Hermit crabs eat anything they find, so be very careful on what you feed them. They require a varied and steady diet. Avoid foods with preservatives and spicy foods. Foods like shrimp, blood worms and other seafoods are a good option to start with. Hermit crabs also love fruits and vegetables such as pineapples, bananas, mangoes, apples, watermelon, etc.
Hermit crabs enjoy attention; however, you should be very careful when playing with them. You should never drop or keep them out of their cage for too long. They can be aggressive when they feel threatened so be gentle with them.
Factors to Consider When Setting up a Hermit Crab Cage.
Size of the tank
A hermit crab can grow up to six inches long and it is therefore very important that you pick a tank that will give your crab enough room to move around in. The number of crabs you are planning on keeping should also determine your tank size. Hermit crabs are social animals and should not be kept alone.
Ensure you have a hygrometer in your tank to help you monitor the humidity. Hermit crabs require humidity of around 75-85%, this helps the hermit crabs breathe properly. Humidity below seventy percent can cause the crabs to suffocate and die. Adding natural moss to your crab cage is a great way to increase humidity. Acrylic terrariums hold humidity and heat more efficiently.
Hermit crabs require warm temperatures because they are tropical animals. Low temperatures slow down the metabolism of the crab while very high temperature cause heat damage which cannot be undone. Consider getting a tank with a thermal indicator to help monitor the temperature easily.
Hermit crabs enjoy climbing, so including a few toys in your cage will keep them busy and entertained. Natural toys such as seashells and natural rocks are great additions to your hermit crab cage. Plastic logs are also good for hermit crabs to play and hide in. They can be toxic, so make sure the crabs don’t eat them. To maintain the hygiene of the cage, boil the toys to make them sterile before placing them in. Never use half pine logs because they irritate crabs and they can also be toxic.
This is the material placed on the bottom of the tank. You should use the sugar-sized arrogate sand for hermit crabs because the other grades cut the crab. When wetting the sand use dechlorinated saltwater. If you decide to use compressed coconut fiber also known as jungle bedding, make sure to expand it in the salt water as well to prevent mold. Substrate levels should be at least three times the height of your biggest crab. It is important that you get substrate that your crab can dig and bury itself in, as this helps them relieve stress.
Clean the substrate
Dirty substrate can cause mold which is very harmful to hermit crabs. You should change it after every six months, but you should check it monthly for any mold. If there are ants or mites, you should change the substrate immediately. When your crab is molting, you should wait till it’s done to change the substrate, a molting crab should never be moved. To sterilize the substrate, you should put the sand in the oven for two hours at 250 degrees Celsius. Boiling the shells and eating dish in dechlorinated saltwater helps kill all the mold and bacteria.
When setting up your crab cage, you should provide two water dishes, one for freshwater and the other for salt water. The water dishes should be deep enough for the hermit crab to submerge itself in the water. Having salty water and fresh water helps the hermit crabs balance the salinity of their shell’s water. Chlorinated water is very harmful to hermit crabs, it causes their gills to blister eventually causing suffocation. You can dechlorinate the water by aging it and using a dechlorinator to remove any chloramines.
What not to include in your hermit crab cage
- Never use chlorinated water
- Do not use metallic dishes
- Do not use painted toys, they can be toxic to the crabs.
- Climbing toys should not be too high as the crabs can climb out of the cage
What if you are on a budget?
If money is tight, the first thing to do is find a nice large tank at a cheaper cost. You can find these at flea markets, yard sales or second hand shops. Once you find a cheaper tank, then you can move on to setting up your hermit crab cage. The one thing that you should not compromise on is the hygrometer. Cheap is expensive in this case, cheaper hygrometers break down very fast causing you to buy another one which is expensive in the long run.
Hermit Crab Cage light fixtures
Go for combo hoods when buying light fixtures. To make work easier, you can also invest in timers to control the lights. Buy bulbs with higher watts so that they can provide heat as well. This will cut the cost of buying heating pads all together.
Hermit crab substrate
Substrate is pretty affordable, but keep in mind that hermit crabs require smoother and finer substrate to prevent injury. Play sand is a good example and it is very affordable. For better results, you can add eco earth to the play sand. Wet your substrate using salty de-chlorinated water. You can add a few sponges to keep the tank humid, but these will have to be replaced often. You can be as creative as you want when decorating your hermit crab cage.
Wrap it up
With all the information given to you, you can now make a decision on what suits your needs best. The market is full of imitations, so be very careful when making the purchase. It is important to note that reviews on broken items do not reflect on the functionality of the product but the shipping company. If you do make a purchase, choose a reliable shipping company that will safely deliver your product; especially if it is made of glass. Another key thing to note is that the shipping weight is different from the product weight. The shipping weight includes the weight of all the packaging material used. Though the titles of these products are specific to other animals, it can be used in a number of ways to make a safe cage for your hermit crabs. Each product offers unique features, so it is up to you which one you want.