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Can Saltwater Hermit Crabs Live in Freshwater? (The Surprising Truth)

Can Saltwater Hermit Crabs Live in Freshwater? (The Surprising Truth)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Buying hermit crabs for your home is something you should wait to do until you have all of the right information. Many people get confused about different types of hermit crabs and what their needs are.

You may or may not be aware that there are different types of hermit crabs. Some hermit crabs might have different requirements than others.

If you want to buy a saltwater hermit crab, is it going to be okay for it to live in freshwater? Or is that something that will ultimately kill the crab?

Continue reading to learn about hermit crabs so you can make good choices. You’ll understand what you can and cannot do once you’ve received the information below.

Saltwater Hermit Crabs Can Generally Tolerate Freshwater

Generally, saltwater hermit crabs should be capable of tolerating freshwater. Of course, a lot of this depends on what type of hermit crab you have.

As you likely know, there are many different types of hermit crabs. Some hermit crabs are specifically saltwater hermit crabs and they live in areas where they only have access to saltwater.

Others live in areas where they have access to both saltwater and freshwater. If your hermit crab needs saltwater, it’s simple enough to give it what it needs.

It’s recommended to make brackish water for your hermit crab. Brackish water contains salt, but it isn’t as salty as ocean water.

Hermit Crabs Should Have Access to Both Types of Water

Hermit Crab Drinking Water in a Bowl

It’s important to give hermit crabs access to both types of water. This is the best course of action and your crab will know what to do with the water when you put it in the tank.

You’re supposed to keep two separate shallow dishes of water in the hermit crab’s habitat. One dish will have freshwater while the other will contain saltwater.

Hermit crabs need to be able to submerge their bodies in the water. This is important for cleaning purposes and many other things.

As you’d expect, hermit crabs drink water and they’ll use the water to stay clean. You’ll need to replenish the water in the shallow dishes regularly.

Hermit crabs utilize both freshwater and saltwater. When observing hermit crabs, you’ll see that they make custom mixtures of saltwater and freshwater inside their shells.

How to Make Saltwater

Making saltwater is simple enough, but you do want to approach things the right way. Don’t simply try to add iodized salt to the water to make saltwater for your crabs. Doing this will be harmful to your pet hermit crabs. Iodine is a harmful chemical that might even cause hermit crabs to die.

Instead of using standard iodized salt, it’s necessary to use the sea salt products that you can purchase from pet stores. You should have local pet stores that sell exactly what you need.

You can also easily order sea salt products online if you don’t have a pet store close to your home. When you buy these products, you’ll have simple instructions to follow that will show you how to make saltwater for your hermit crabs.

It’s generally recommended to use a gravity meter to get things perfect. These can be purchased from pet stores as well. This is also known as a hydrometer. You’ll use this to measure the specific gravity of the water.

Typically, you’ll need to add one ounce of salt for every quart of water. You must make sure that the salt dissolves completely and then check it with the hydrometer.

Once everything is as it should be, you can give the water to your hermit crab. It’s not difficult to do, but you must follow the instructions for the safety of the crab.

Don’t Give Hermit Crabs Chlorinated Tap Water

Dechlorinating Water By Boiling

It would be a terrible idea to give hermit crabs chlorinated water. The tap water that comes out of your sink likely contains a certain amount of chlorine.

Chlorine is added to tap water for safety purposes. It helps to keep things safe for humans, but it’s not good at all for hermit crabs.

If you give the hermit crabs water that has chlorine in it, you’ll wind up killing them. This would be a sad situation indeed and it’s one that you can prevent by knowing what to do ahead of time.

Using tap water is fine, but you need to treat the water before giving it to the hermit crabs. You can dechlorinate tap water by using special tablets.

Dechlorinating products can be purchased at local pet stores. Many people buy these products when they need to dechlorinate tap water for fish or other pets.

Note that well water can also contain things that will be harmful to hermit crabs. You’ll still want to treat the water if it comes from a well.

If you want to be very safe, you can buy bottled spring water from the store. This is great water that can be given to your hermit crabs without creating problems.

You can save yourself some time, too. When you have bottled spring water, you won’t have to go through an annoying dechlorination process.

What About Marine Crabs?

Closeup of a Marine Hermit Crab on Top of Its Shell

The information above refers specifically to land hermit crabs. There are also marine hermit crabs that live in the water.

These hermit crabs are capable of breathing underwater. They spend their days underwater while land hermit crabs only go in the water occasionally.

Caring for marine hermit crabs is a bit different than caring for land hermit crabs. You have to approach things more closely to how you would approach caring for fish.

You’ll keep marine hermit crabs in a fish tank that contains water. The water should meet specific parameters based on the hermit crab species that you’re caring for.

Different types of marine hermit crabs will need different water conditions. You should look up ideal conditions based on what hermit crab you have.

These types of hermit crabs should be kept in the type of water that they naturally live in. You should prepare the water and make it perfect for the hermit crab so that it can thrive in your home.

Should Fish Be Kept with Marine Hermit Crabs?

You can keep fish with marine hermit crabs if you want to. However, you don’t have to keep fish in the tank if you’d rather not.

Many people think it’s fun to keep fish in the same tank as marine hermit crabs. You can’t put just any fish with these crabs, though.

You need to pick compatible fish that can live in the same conditions as marine hermit crabs. Some of the popular options include clownfish, firefish, and gobies.

Overall, it can be a lot of fun to have fish and hermit crabs in the same tank. Just be sure to look up compatibility first before moving forward so you don’t make mistakes.

Are Hermit Crabs Easy to Care For?

Hermit Crab at the Bottom of an Aquarium

Yes, hermit crabs are very easy pets to care for. Land hermit crabs are some of the easiest pets to care for overall.

They don’t require a lot of attention so long as you’re doing things right. You’re supposed to keep hermit crabs in small groups so they don’t get lonely.

You will need to maintain the habitat to keep it clean. If you don’t clean the terrarium semi-regularly, it’s going to start to smell rather bad.

Even so, it’s easy enough to maintain a hermit crab’s habitat. Feeding hermit crabs is easy and they don’t take up much space.

For many, hermit crabs will be practical pets that make sense. If you live in a small home, it might be better to have a hermit crab habitat than it is to buy a large pet that takes up a lot of room.

Are Hermit Crabs Expensive?

No, hermit crabs are rather inexpensive. You can buy hermit crabs at pet stores without spending much money at all.

Some types of hermit crabs can be purchased for less than $5.00. Others might cost $25.00 or so.

Either way, you won’t need to make a significant investment to get the hermit crab itself. You’ll need to spend a bit of money to get the necessary equipment to care for the crab, though.

You’ll need a heater, a humidifier, and a terrarium to properly care for a hermit crab. It’s also common to buy plants for the tank, rocks, sticks for climbing, and even toys.

Even when you purchase these things, you’ll still be able to get everything without spending an exorbitant sum of money. You can say that hermit crabs are cost-effective pets.

Final Thoughts

Learning about saltwater hermit crabs should help you to feel more confident about what you should do. Usually, hermit crabs are going to require both saltwater and freshwater.

When caring for land hermit crabs, you’re supposed to give them two dishes. One dish will have saltwater and the other will have freshwater.

The hermit crab will decide which type of water it needs. It’ll utilize both types of water and it shouldn’t be a tough situation.

Be sure to prepare the water properly to keep the hermit crab safe. You can’t use iodized salt to make saltwater for the crabs since that is harmful to them.

You must also avoid using chlorinated tap water as the freshwater source. Using tap water is fine so long as you dechlorinate it first.

Many people choose to buy bottled spring water since it’s safe and you don’t have to bother with dechlorination. It’s likely the most convenient option.

Marine hermit crabs are different because they actually live underwater. You can keep them in fish tanks, but you need to give them the right water conditions.

It’s wise to look up the water parameters based on the species of marine crab that you purchase. You can even keep these crabs with certain types of fish.

Now you know everything that you need to know about these interesting pets. Move forward with buying hermit crabs if you think they’d be a good fit for your home.

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