Hermit crabs are an excellent addition to the aquarium clean up crew. There are many different types of hermit crabs available and each one assists in the cleaning of the aquarium in a different way.
There are small hermit crabs which are excellent at getting into all the nooks and crannies and giving them a good clean. At the other end of the scale are the large ones which due to their size are able to consume more waste.
There will always be an element of cleaning that the aquarist has to perform themselves, for example cleaning the skimmer. I have yet to find something that will help me empty the skimmer cup!
Natural cleaning as in natural filtration in my opinion is a great way to go.
Hermit crabs as well as all all other members of the clean up crew are live animals however and therefore have a requirement to be looked after and it is our responsibility that we meet their requirements.
If there is not enough waste in the aquarium then we should feed them, if they get stuck then we should give them a helping hand and we should help them grow.
Personally I find hermit crabs fascinating. They move around the aquarium in their own unique way, bumping over things and if you have a close look at them they are strange looking yet intersting little animals. I don’t know if you have seen a close up macro shot at all of a hermit crab but they look like they should come from another planet!.
Hermit crabs like any other animal are going to grow and when they do they are going to outgrow their home – their shell.
They will actively look for another shell and if they take a fancy to one which another animal lives in then they will attempt to take it. The other animal could be a snail, another hermit crab or some other type of animal.
They may do this even when they have not out grown their existing shell – they may just take a fancy to having a new home. Much like we do when we purchase a new house.
To counter losing your snails etc then simply add some empty shells of various sizes to the aquarium. It is much easier for the hermit crab to move into an empty shell than have to either fight anohter hermit crab or drag another inhabitant out of it’s home.
If you do add shells then remember to add shells of various sizes.