The 5 Best Substrates For Hermit Crabs
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If you have ever been on a beach vacation, you’ve undoubtedly come across your fair share of hermit crabs on the boardwalk. Hermit crabs make wonderful pets for children because they are low-maintenance and very entertaining to keep.
Like any pet, however, hermit crabs require an adequate habitat and a healthy diet. Part of creating a healthy habitat for your hermit crab is decorating it appropriately, and that means choosing the right substrate.
In this article, we’ll talk about decorating your hermit crab tank and provide some tips for choosing the best hermit crab substrate. You’ll also see our top 5 picks for the best hermit crab substrate.
At A Glance: Best Substrates For Hermit Crabs To Buy
We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
Compare Best Hermit Crab Substrate
1. Fluker's Hermit Beach Sand Substrate
2. Exo Terra Coco Husk Brick Tropical Terrarium Reptile Substrate
Best Coconut Fiber Substrate
3. Zoo Med Hermit Soil Coconut Fiber Brick
4. Hermit Habitat Terrarium Substrates
Best Sand Substrate
5. Zoo Med Blue Hermit Crab Sand
Silica sand, coconut fibers
7 to 8L (expanded)
All-natural, supports humidity and digging
All-natural, increases humidity
Increases humidity, supports burrowing
100% Acrylic Coated Substrate, Colorfast
Silica- and phosphate-free, natural
What To Look For In Substrate For Hermit Crabs?
Hermit crabs do best in a tropical environment. Though it may look like the shells they carry around are attached to their bodies, that isn’t the case – they molt (shed their skin) from time to time and that requires a certain amount of humidity. The substrate you choose for your hermit crab needs to support this natural occurrence and meet other needs as well.
Here Are Some Important Things To Look For In Hermit Crab Substrate:
- All-natural. You don’t want to put anything in your hermit crab tank that could potentially harm your new pet, so choose a substrate that is all-natural and non-toxic.
- Fine texture. Your hermit crab will be in near-constant contact with the substrate in its tank, so choose something that will be gentle – especially when your hermit crab leaves one shell and goes looking for another.
- Easy to clean. In addition to improving the aesthetic appearance of your hermit crab tank, the substrate you choose will also prevent waste from dirtying the tank – choose one easy to clean.
- Good for tunneling. Hermit crabs love to dig, so you should choose a substrate that is good for tunneling and digging but won’t injure your hermit crab as he exhibits these behaviors.
Our Top Picks For The Best Hermit Crab Substrate
Now that you have a better idea what to look for in a hermit crab substrate, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best hermit crab substrates.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best hermit crab substrate:
Fluker's Hermit Beach Sand Substrate
- Materials: Silica sand, coconut fibers
- Amount: 6 pounds
- Key Features: All-natural, supports humidity and digging
- Mimics the sand found in natural habitat
- All-natural and non-toxic for hermit crabs
- Supports humidity and burrowing behavior
- Some hermit crabs dislike the texture
Exo Terra Coco Husk Brick Tropical Terrarium Reptile Substrate
- Materials: Coconut husk
- Amount: 7L
- Key Features: All-natural, increases humidity
- Affordably priced, expands to 7L
- All-natural coconut fiber materials
- Increases humidity in the habitat
- Compressed, needs to be broken up by hand
Zoo Med Hermit Soil Coconut Fiber Brick
- Materials: Coconut fibers
- Amount: 7 to 8L (expanded)
- Key Features: Increases humidity, supports burrowing
- Naturally increases humidity in the tank
- Supports natural burrowing behavior
- Expands to 7L or 8L coconut fiber substrate
- Compressed, needs to be broken up by hand
The material itself increases humidity and helps support your hermit crab’s naturally burrowing behaviors. It also naturally absorbs odor and breaks down waste, helping to keep your hermit crab habitat safe and healthy. One brick expands to about 7 to 8 liters of substrate.
Hermit Habitat Terrarium Substrates
- Materials: Natural Gravel
- Amount: 2 pounds
- Key Features: 100% Acrylic Coated Substrate, Colorfast
- Made of 100% digestible calcium carbonate
- Completely free from silica and phosphate
- Naturally neutralizes tank odors
- May not support burrowing behavior as well as coconut fiber
- Somewhat more expensive than other options
This terrarium sand is a natural odor neutralizer and contains non-toxic color pigments, making it perfectly safe for your hermit crab tank. Plus, it is a significant source of calcium and other nutrients for your pet.
Zoo Med Blue Hermit Crab Sand
- Materials: Calcium carbonate
- Amount: 10 pounds
- Key Features: Silica- and phosphate-free, natural
- Made from 100% calcium carbonate
- Fine texture and neutral white color
- Provides essential nutrients
- May not be as easy to burrow in as lighter substrates
- Not specifically designed for hermit crabs
It has a very fine texture, making it good for burrowing, and it is free from silica and phosphate. Plus, it delivers essential nutrients like strontium, potassium, and magnesium.
Tips For Decorating A Hermit Crab Cage
Though hermit crabs may be small, they are fairly active so choose a tank at least 5 gallons in capacity to provide ample space for your pet to move around. In addition to choosing a tank large enough, you also need to think about how you’ll decorate the hermit crab cage.
Here Are Some Simple Tips For Decorating Your Hermit Crab Cage:
- Choose a tank 5-gallons in capacity or larger for every two hermit crabs you plan to keep – they need plenty of space to move around.
- Cover the bottom of your hermit crab tank with 2 to 3 inches of your chosen substrate – make sure to rinse it well before using it.
- Place several options for hiding places around the tank so your hermit crabs can rest and hide when they want to.
- Provide at least two empty shells for each hermit crab in the tank – they should both be larger than the shell your hermit crab is currently carrying.
- Add a shallow dish of dechlorinated water somewhere in the tank – you may also want to put a small sponge in it to make sure your crab can climb out of the dish easily.
Now that you have a better idea of how to decorate and arrange your hermit crab tank, you can see the important role substrate plays. Take what you’ve learned here and consider the reviews above to choose the substrate that is best for your hermit crab habitat.
Hermit crabs make very entertaining pets, especially if you give them a wide variety of colorful shells to choose from. Though they are fairly low-maintenance pets, they still require a certain degree of care and an adequate habitat. Take what you’ve learned here about decorating your hermit crab cage to choose the best possible substrate to line it.
If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for hermit crab substrate, try out one of the top 5 best hermit crab substrates we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!