Making Your Hermit Crab Cage A Home: Setting up His Tank

Don’t worry, a hermit crab doesn’t need a complex house like a dwarf hamster or a guinea pig. But at the same time his new tank is his palace so you should make it as appealing as possible for him.

So besides putting up a sign that reads “Home, Sweet Cage” how exactly do you keep a healthy environment for your new pet?

Remember that your hermit crab loves a tropical environment. So your goal should be to make the hermit cage or tank as close to the “tropical hermit crab paradise” as you can get it.

For starters lets talk about the tank itself. If you have a glass or plastic tank lying around the house either one is perfectly fine to use. Make sure you remember that these little crustacean is a Houdini of sorts (he is a master of escape). You will want to make sure that you have a lid on his hermit cage, trust me this will save you hours of hunting for him and also this will ensure his safety as well.

There are some plastic tanks sold as “hermit crab kits” but I would stay away from these. They are entirely too small for your crab to live comfortably.

You probably don’t want to get a tank that is any smaller than 10 gallons, really the bigger the better. That is of course if you can afford it and you have the space for it. Remember that this tank is not only for Herman the crab but also some accessories you will want to give him, along with a food and water bowl.

Substrate: The Floor Covering

A good way of thinking about substrate is to think of it as your hermit crab’s wall to wall carpeting. Since sand is what your crab would being living in in it’s natural habitat this should definitely be your substrate of choice.

This is the perfect substrate for him to burrow into and as you know (or will learn quickly), crabs loves to burrow. Simply put this is one of their most natural behaviors.

If you end up picking your regular “playground sand”, that can be found at any home improvement store or hardware store, you might want to rinse, dry and bake it (at 300 degrees Fahrenheit). This will ensure that the sand is sterilized, and then you can always rewash it whenever you feel it’s necessary.

There are definitely other substrate options out there for you. For example there is coconut fiber based bedding which is created for reptiles. Since the fiber is ground so finely is actually looks and feels a lot like soil, which makes it good for burrowing. You could also consider crushed coral. I would definitely avoid the following two substrates; gravel and wood shavings.

How Hot Would My Herman The Crab Like It?

You will want to keep your hermit cage temperature between about 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to keep your Hermit Crab happy. If the temperature drops below 72 on a regular basis your crab may become stressed and weak. He will be more likely to get sick if he is stressed and weak.


The proper temperature isn’t the only thing that will keep your Herman happy. Make sure that you also consider the humidity requirement of your friend. Crabs breathe using their gills, even though they are land animals for the most part.

In order for your crab to get the proper exchange of oxygen, there will have to be the proper level of humidity in the air. You don’t want to air to be too dry because this is cause your crab to suffocate.

A good level of humidity to allow your crab to breathe properly is somewhere in between 70% and 80%. Sound complicated right? It actually not, you will be surprised what can help the humidity level of the tank. A simple thing like just giving him a dish with water in it will help keep the level of humidity in his take up.

Another good idea might be to put a natural sea sponge in the tank as well. The sponge alone has the ability to hold a lot of water, it also has a surface area so that evaporation can happen. This process will definitely boost the level of humidity.

You now have the essentials for creating the perfect hermit crab cage or tank and therefore keeping your Hermie the Crab happy, healthy and burrowing for many years to come. Enjoy your time with him.