Have you started thinking about buying pet hermit crabs? It’s common for people to care for these neat little creatures in their homes these days.
They can be very rewarding pets to own. It’s fun to observe them, and they’re not overly complicated to care for.
Of course, you’re going to have to spend a bit of cash if you want to buy these pets. How much are hermit crabs to own, though?
Read on to learn about the cost of hermit crabs. You’ll also learn about the equipment that you need and other cost factors that you should consider.
How Much Do Hermit Crabs Cost?
Typically, hermit crabs aren’t going to cost much money at all. You can find hermit crabs being sold for as little as $5 at certain pet stores.
It’s easy to find land hermit crabs being sold as pets. They get sold in large pet stores, and it’s never going to cost you too much cash.
Granted, there are some hermit crabs that will cost more money than others. Generally, the more expensive hermit crabs are rare and cost more money since they’re hard to find.
If you’re looking for popular pet hermit crabs, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever spend more than $25 on one hermit crab. So you don’t need to worry too much about the cost of the crabs.
However, it is worth noting that you aren’t supposed to buy just one hermit crab. Hermit crabs are social creatures that are used to living in colonies.
In the wild, hermit crabs live among many of their kind. They can get very lonely if kept in a tank by themselves.
It’s even possible for hermit crabs to get so stressed due to loneliness that they will die. For this reason, you must keep hermit crabs in pairs or small groups.
So expect to spend money on at least two or three hermit crabs. Buying one as a pet simply isn’t acceptable.
The Hermit Crab Tank
Of course, you’re going to have to spend some money to buy a tank for the hermit crabs. The hermit crabs need a place to live that is large enough and will meet all of their needs.
The tank itself isn’t all that you need to keep hermit crabs healthy, but you’ll learn more about the accessories that you need later. For now, it’s time to focus on the tank and how much you should expect to spend.
It’s common for people to buy terrariums or aquariums and use them as hermit crab habitats. These tanks work nicely for hermit crabs.
Exactly how much you spend will depend on various factors. For instance, larger tanks are generally going to cost more money.
Two hermit crabs are supposed to be fine so long as they have five gallons of space. If you plan to own three or four hermit crabs, it’d be best to go with a 10-gallon tank.
If you’re buying hermit crabs that are larger than usual, you might want an even bigger tank. Some recommend buying a 30-gallon tank for very big crabs.
Some crabs, such as Ruggie hermit crabs, stay rather small, but others, such as Caribbean hermit crabs, can grow up to six inches long. So you need to make decisions based on the crabs that you’re buying.
Buying a tank could cost you anywhere from $20 to $50, depending on where you buy it from. You’ll also need a lid for the tank.
Lids are necessary because hermit crabs love to climb. They’ll be able to get out of the tank if you don’t put a lid on it.
The tank might come with a lid, but if it doesn’t, you can spend a bit of money to get one that is the right size. It shouldn’t be expensive.
Many types of accessories will be required to take care of the hermit crabs. You can’t just put the hermit crabs in an empty tank and call it good.
There are so many things you’ll need to buy. To start, you’ll need some type of substrate material.
Most people buy sand and put it in the tank. Sand is important for hermit crabs because they need to be able to burrow into the sand to molt.
You’re supposed to fill the tank up to a certain level with sand. Some people prefer to use multiple substrate materials and might also use gravel.
Regardless, you should know that buying sand will cost you $10 or so. Both aquarium sand and playground sand will work fine.
You’ll need to buy at least two shallow water dishes as well. Hermit crabs need to have constant access to water.
Fill one dish with fresh water and the other one with salt water. The dishes need to be deep enough for the crabs to fully submerge their bodies, but they need to be shallow enough so that the crabs can easily get out of the water.
Crabs can’t breathe underwater and will drown if they get stuck in a water dish that is too deep. So choose an appropriate water dish at the pet store.
You can buy a water dish for less than $10, and a hermit crab food dish will likely cost around $15 at a pet store. It won’t add much to your total costs, but it’s still worth noting.
You might need to buy water as well. Hermit crabs can’t drink tap water because they’re sensitive to chemicals.
Tap water contains traces of fluoride and chlorine, and chlorine is known to kill hermit crabs. You need to buy distilled water, or you need to buy a special liquid that can remove chlorine from the tap water.
Aquarium salt should be purchased so you can make saltwater for the crabs. Crabs need both saltwater and freshwater in their tanks.
You’ll usually want to purchase logs, caves, plants, and other things to make the tank look natural, too. Hermit crabs like having hiding spots.
It’s good to purchase toys for the hermit crabs. They love climbing toys, and it’d be good to have some options for your new pets.
Expect to spend $50 or so on decorations and toys. You might spend more than that, depending on what you want to get.
Buying a Humidifier
A humidifier is pretty much a necessity for a hermit crab tank. Hermit crabs have modified gills that must stay moist for the crabs to be able to breathe oxygen.
If the environment is too dry, the hermit crabs won’t be able to breathe. So you have to keep the humidity level in the tank between 70% and 80%.
You want to keep the humidity level close to 80%, and the best way to do that is to install a humidifier or a fogger in the tank. This allows you to keep the humidity in the tank high without having to put in much effort.
It’s also wise to install a hygrometer so you can check the humidity level regularly. A hygrometer will cost less than $10, and a humidifier might cost as much as $50, depending on what you get.
Buying a humidifier is much more practical than trying to keep the tank humid enough without one. Some forgo buying humidifiers and use other methods, though.
It is possible to keep the tank humid without using a humidifier or a fogger. Some hermit crab owners mist the tank regularly to raise the humidity.
You can also try leaving moist natural sponges in the tank. This can raise the humidity a bit in the tank and doesn’t cost much money.
These methods do make it tougher than it should be, though. Also, it can be hard to keep the tank humid enough without a humidifier if you happen to live in a dry area.
Buying a Heater
Hermit crabs live in warm areas when you find them in the wild. They live near beaches in tropical areas, and they can’t get too cold.
Since hermit crabs are cold-blooded creatures, it’s not possible for them to regulate their body temperatures. When the temperature dips, the hermit crabs are going to struggle.
It’s said that hermit crabs enjoy temperatures between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures in the evening, but it’s dangerous to expose them to cool weather.
Cool temperatures can stress hermit crabs. Too much stress might cause hermit crabs to lose their legs.
To avoid such problems, it’s best to install some type of heater in the tank. You can install a simple heater that will attach to the tank somewhere.
You’ll also want to install a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature inside the tank. Thermometers will be available for less than $10, and you might spend between $10 and $20 on a heater.
Some people choose to buy heat lamps to keep hermit crabs warm. This is acceptable, but you need to be careful.
Heat lamps can make things too hot if you position them too close to the tank. They can also can harm the hermit crab because they’re also vulnerable to temperatures that are too hot.
The Cost of Food
The cost of food is something that you’ll want to consider as well. It’s going to cost you money to feed your pet hermit crabs.
Hermit crabs don’t eat a lot of food, though. You only need to feed them once per day.
Since hermit crabs are nocturnal, you’re going to feed them at night. Generally, people feed hermit crabs special pellets that are formulated to give them the nutrition that they need.
Hermit crabs will get bored if you only feed them pellets. They might stop eating the pellets if they get sick of them.
So you’re supposed to supplement their diets with fruits and veggies. You can cut up pieces of spinach, lettuce, papaya, bananas, carrots, kale, and many other types of foods and give them to hermit crabs.
Before giving fruits and veggies to hermit crabs, it’s imperative to wash everything thoroughly. Since hermit crabs are so sensitive to chemicals, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Food won’t be all that expensive. The pellets can be purchased for $6 per jar, and you might even find them at lower prices sometimes.
Then you might spend $10 or so on fruits and veggies that you’ll give to the hermit crabs. The monthly food bills won’t add up to much.
Potential Health Care Costs
Most hermit crabs are fairly healthy. These are pets that don’t get sick too often.
Even if they do have problems, you can often solve them yourself without seeking out veterinary help. Many people live in areas where few vets know how to care for hermit crabs.
Yet there are, indeed, veterinarians who know how to treat hermit crabs. It’s just true that not everyone has exotic veterinarians in their towns.
You shouldn’t expect to spend much on health care costs with these pets. It’s pretty much a non-issue when it comes to hermit crabs.
This isn’t the same as buying cats or dogs. Although some vets can assist you when your hermit crab is having problems, many people don’t take their hermit crabs to the vet.
Taking a hermit crab to see a vet will likely be a rare occasion. You might not even ever have to do this if you do your best to care for the crab optimally.
Maintenance costs aren’t much to speak of. You need to clean the tank, but you can’t use traditional cleaners to do so.
Hermit crab tanks need to be cleaned with distilled water. You can’t use chemicals of any kind.
If you need to clean up the walls once they’ve become grimy, it’s best to use white vinegar mixed with warm water. You can then rinse things down properly before allowing the tank to dry in the sun.
You’ll have to buy food for the hermit crabs monthly. It’s necessary to replace the sand in the tank every so often as well.
The sand should be replaced four times per year to keep things safe and clean. Since playground sand and aquarium sand won’t cost you much cash, it’s not that big of a concern.
The things that you need each month for hermit crabs won’t cost you too much money. Expect to spend between $10 and $20 on food each month, depending on how many hermit crabs you own.
Tank supplies might cost as little as $15 per month, but you could spend more than that depending on what you need. Either way, the monthly costs for maintenance won’t be high.
Are Hermit Crabs Right For You?
Now that you’ve learned more about hermit crabs and how much they cost, it’s time to decide if they’re right for you. Most people will be able to afford hermit crabs, but whether you’ll want them as pets in your home will depend on various factors.
They can be rewarding pets to own, and that makes them appealing to many people. You don’t interact with hermit crabs as much as some other pets, but they’re still a lot of fun to observe.
Hermit crabs are relatively low-maintenance pets. Even so, you need to keep the tank clean, and you must monitor the conditions in the tank to keep your crabs safe.
So you must be ready for some responsibility if you’re going to buy hermit crabs as pets. Otherwise, it’d be better not to purchase them.
Do you have enough space in your home for a tank? Hermit crabs are often considered to be convenient because they don’t take up a lot of room.
It’s likely that your home is big enough to fit a hermit crab habitat. If these pets sound good to you, it’s fine to go ahead and buy some.
Remember that you must buy at least two hermit crabs. Hermit crabs need to be kept in pairs or groups.
Learning about how much hermit crabs cost should help you out a lot. Now you have a good idea of how much cash you should expect to spend when starting out.
Buying hermit crabs won’t cost you too much money. You’ll likely spend more money on the tank and accessories than you will on the crabs.
It’s common to spend over $100 on the tank and accessories when all is said and done. The hermit crabs might cost you as little as $10, but you could spend $50 or so if you’re buying slightly rarer and pricier crabs.
The monthly cost of maintaining a hermit crab tank is negligible. It’s still wise to keep the costs in mind for the sake of keeping a balanced budget.
Decide if you want to own hermit crabs and move forward. For many, these pets are perfect because they are easy to care for and fun to watch.
If you worry that you won’t have the time to care for the tank, you can always hold off for now. Hermit crab tank maintenance isn’t hard, though, and it’s not as if you have to spend a lot of time actively monitoring the crabs to keep them safe.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.