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Thread: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

  1. #1

    Question Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    I got a new crab about 4 months ago, and put it in the iso tank for a month. After that I took him out and there were no sign of mites so I gave him a bath and I put him in with my other crab. After about a month I noticed tiny, white, round mites in the tank. I cleaned everything, gave the crabs a bath to get rid of the mites, and put them back in the tank. About a month later I got the same kind of mites again. I donít know how they keep getting in the tank. I use coconut fiber soil in the tank, and I heard that it can attract mites. I donít have any plants near the tank and I remove the uneaten food every day so it doesnít attract the mites. So how do the mites keep getting in the tank?

    Any advice you can give would be appreciated!

    crabs4ever

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Near Morinville, Alberta
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    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    Morning! Thanks to Kelly for tossing me this link to this thread. I missed it!

    Congrats on the new crab. By the sounds of it, you have a harmless variety of mites that has infested your tank. Luckily, they are not crab mites, but rather, they are food mites. Chances are, some food got buried at one point, or left in the tank for more than just a day and you've ended up with this issue. Fortunately, it's harmless to your animals.

    Are you using 100% coconut fiber? If so, that can be another issue due to the high organic content of the soil. That's going to encourage these guys to infest a little more easily.

    Instead, try this mixture instead:

    80% Playsand to 20% Coco fiber mix.

    What this will do is create a less organic soil, which still retains moisture to provide humidity but will inhibit the growth of certain 'bad' buggies. It will also be a benefit to your crabs, as they prefer to dig and make 'caves' in soil that holds a shape. Coco fiber isn't super effective for this. Plus, 100% organic soil without sand could cause issues with your crabs when they molt. Anything organic, moist and not alive is going to be 'rotting' to some degree. If your crab is molting in that coco fiber, your crab can have difficulty regrowing it's exo skeleton and actually die because of fungas or constant contact with decaying matter.

    If you switch out to the 80/20 sand/coco mix, your problems should reduce in a variety of ways. And your crabs will be happier. Remember the 3" rule. Have your substrate 3" deeper than your tallest crab

    As for the mites, they'll come back sometimes. Just monitor when you have an outbreak, and perhaps avoid that kind of food. Meats are very typical for attracting these mites if they're in the soil. Some fruits will be the cause as well. If you can, avoid putting any rind in the tank. This will limit the mites that will be produced from exposure to the moist environment.

    From what I've seen, you'll always notice them with certain foods. So, you'll never truly get rid of them. But, you can also try feeding in a dish. This will avoid direct soil contact which will encourage them to reinfest your tank. Even something as simple as putting a slate stone in the tank and leaving the food on there will make life easier for you, and still be accessable to your crabs.

    Either way, your crabs are fine. These mites are not the variety you need to worry about. Typically crab mites are small, black and require very good eyes to see. They often hide deep in the shell on the soft body and don't venture off the crabs if they don't have to. So if you're seeing white/cream colored mites, typically around the food areas in the tank.... This kind is harmless. Still gross though.

    So do another tank change. Pick up a 50lb bag of playsand from Home Depot ($5-6), mix with your cocofibre and add a specific food dish to your tank to avoid buried food. This should reduce or eliminate your problems
    - Danielle
    "Snakes are just tails with faces."
    Lots of geckos,lots of snakes, lots of cats,a bunny thrown in there for good measureand a dog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Sherwood Park, Alberta
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    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    Awesome information as usual Danielle. Surprisingly we have not had to ask this question yet but at least now we will have the information if this comes up in the future! A couple of our guys love to drag off fish and bury it, nothing like seeing one of them be a greedy little bugger nom noming through the glass at the bottom corner of the tank.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    Quote Originally Posted by angrybirds View Post
    Awesome information as usual Danielle. Surprisingly we have not had to ask this question yet but at least now we will have the information if this comes up in the future! A couple of our guys love to drag off fish and bury it, nothing like seeing one of them be a greedy little bugger nom noming through the glass at the bottom corner of the tank.
    They are yucky to see for sure. Creeped me out when I first got an infestation, haha. Glad I could help you out, Rikki! They typically come in on fruit/veggies (the peels), get into the sand and then show up around the food areas consistently. They thrive with protein, especially shrimp and egg yolk. So as long as you limit how often those items get buried, it shouldn't be too bad.

    They're pretty easy to fix too. Last time I had these I just made sure to dig-up any food I could find and went back to putting the food in a dish. After that, it didn't appear to be a problem anymore.
    - Danielle
    "Snakes are just tails with faces."
    Lots of geckos,lots of snakes, lots of cats,a bunny thrown in there for good measureand a dog

  5. #5

    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    THANK YOU thank you thank you!!!! I am very relieved to hear that the mites are harmless. I had sand in my tank when I first got it, but when I tried to clean it it was very difficult. I rinsed it in a bucket about 20 times, but the water coming off of it was still very dirty. I also baked it but it still smelled bad. Don't know whether this was because of the previous owners not having cleaned it for a long time. Do you have to replace the sand every time you clean the tank? Thanks again for the advice.

    Crabs4ever

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    So where exactly are these mites from. I have my crabs in my bedroom and I'm just a bit worried if these mites would come from my bedroom. I had an infestation and just cleaned it up, but should I be worried that they'll maybe infest my room too? thanks!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    Is it possible that these mites could infest my room too? Where are they even from initially? thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    These aren't mites in the traditional 'parasite' way. At least, not living off of people or animals. You'll find them in scraps and decaying food found around the tank. They typically arrive on the outside of things, such as peels or fruit, some meats (shrimp especialy), etc.

    I wouldn't worry about them infesting your room. Just maintain a clean tank and remove any uneaten food within a day. Also: Make sure to keep your food off the surface of the tank as best you can. This is the ideal preventative measure, as it limits the substrate to food contact and inhibits them from living in your substrate and becoming an issue. So put your food in a crabby-accessible dish and your problems should reduce immensely.
    - Danielle
    "Snakes are just tails with faces."
    Lots of geckos,lots of snakes, lots of cats,a bunny thrown in there for good measureand a dog

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    today my hermit crab that was molting for weekes finished. buy i found mites in his old shell. i dont know what to do because i got rid of the shell and dont see any mites.
    Also his exoskeleton is in the sand i dont know where but it is and i have another hermit crab molting should i clean the whole tank??
    What do i do?



    __________
    deanjhon530

  10. #10

    Default Re: Mites in Hermit Crab Tank

    Take the exo and the molted crab into a small temp iso until he eats the exo. Try crushing up the exo and mixing it into its food. DO NOT clean the tank until you have confirmed both crabs are done molting. You could catch 5-10 isopods from outside and place them into the tank. They will eat all the mites.

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