Best Hermit Crab Cages & Tanks Crabitat Reviews and a Care Guide

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)

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.

hermit crab in a hand

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.

Climbing toys

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.

terrestrial hermit crab

Provide water

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.


  1. WikiHow, Set up a Crabitat
  2., Crabitat Setup
  3. PetCoach, Hermit Crab Habitats, How to Create
  4. YouTube, Hermit Crab Care: Basic Care for Hermit Crabs


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