What Does a Hermit Crab Need to Survive: All You Need to Know

A hermit crab needs a lot to survive – a clean and dry cage, high humidity levels, fresh water, food, and live rock to lay its eggs on. Make sure to provide all these things to your pet hermit crab, and they will be happy and healthy. Giving them an environment close to their natural habitat is also essential. This way, they will feel comfortable and safe.

Hermit Crab Tank Setup to Survive

A hermit crab needs a big tank to allow it to move around and explore. The bigger the tank, the better – although 2 feet is usually a good size. A hermit crab tank needs a small space (5 gallons or less) for the crabs to live in, plenty of hiding places – some seaweed or coral will do – and enough space to swing its legs freely. The water should be fresh – if it becomes cloudy or murky, add more fresh water. 

Tank Mates

A hermit crab needs a tank mate to survive. This is usually an eel or an octopus, but it can also be a small crab or a fish. The hermit crab attaches itself to the underside of its tank mate using claws and chelicerae (jaws). This type of bond is solid, so you don’t need to worry about your tank mate disappearing on you during transport.

Water Bowls Inside Your Tank

Ensure the bowl is big enough for the crab to swim in but not so large that it can’t move around. Additionally, place the bowl on the bottom of your tank, so it’s easy to access. Make sure to keep fresh fruit and vegetables near the bowl so that crabs have something to eat while drinking. 

New vs. Pre Owned Tank

Here are some talking points to help you make your decision:

  • New tanks can cost more upfront, but they typically last longer and are easier to care for. 
  • Pre Owned tanks may be cheaper upfront, but if you’re buying one for a hermit crab that has already been established in its home aquarium, the tank will likely already have been set up correctly and meet the hermit crab’s specific needs. 
  • A 10-gallon hermit crab tank is just large enough for an average-sized hermit crab. If your pet grows more significant than this size, it will need a bigger tank.

Substrate for Hermit Crabs to Survive

Hermit crab’s substrate can be anything from sand to moss and should be changed monthly or when it starts to look dirty or moldy. A hermit crab is sensitive to its environment and will perish if its substrate changes too much. So, keep the substrate damp but not wet, and avoid hot spots that could kill the crab. Most importantly, provide a hermit crab with the substrate it needs to live!

Here are some excellent options: 

  • Coconut fiber is excellent for retaining humidity and helps clean your hermit crab. 
  • Pine shavings or bark chips can also be used as a substrate, as they are high in moisture content and provide insulation.
  • Avoid gravel, which can quickly become dirty and matted, affecting your hermit crab’s health. Instead, use a material like a coconut fiber that won’t cause any problems!

Make sure to change the substrate every couple of weeks to maintain their health and well-being.

Humidity Level for Hermit Crabs to Survive

Hermit crabs need a place around 70%-80% humidity. Here are a few things to remember: 

  • Ensure the temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit but not too hot or cold. 
  • Keep the hermit crab enclosure humid by misting it daily or using a humidity sponge. 

Temperature Level for Hermit Crabs to Survive

Hermit crabs need a place around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Hermit crabs can tolerate lower temperatures during the winter months as long as they have access to water and food. To maintain a consistent temperature, their enclosure must have humidity levels of 70-80%. 

Décor, Toys, and Hiding Spots for Hermit Crabs to Survive

Décor is essential for hermit crabs, providing them with a place to hide and food. You can provide décor for your hermit crab using sheets, towels, or clothing. Additionally, provide pieces of coral for your crab to scavenge. Crabs are like small toys to play with and will be buried in the sand for future retrieval. Providing hiding spots helps keep your crab safe from predators.

Climbing Toys

Climbing toys are an excellent way for hermit crabs to stay entertained and active. These can be anything from wooden blocks to fake plants to find new hiding spots. If your crab isn’t getting enough exercise, you can buy a crab-walking toy or set up a play area in your home for it to explore. Providing plenty of climbing toys is essential so that the hermit crab has something different and fun to do every day.

Hiding Spots

Hiding spots can play an important role for hermit crabs. Adding décors like shells or rocks will make them feel at home and more likely to venture out from their hiding spot. In addition, a small area of your home can serve as a place to hide and store food. Also, hermit crabs need a place to hide when they are not foraging – in another part of the house or outside!


Plants are great additions to crab homes – not just because they add some fresh green color but also because they can be used as a place to stash food or hide from predators. Hermit crabs especially need live plants in their habitat as these crustaceans rely on them for hatching and raising their young. Plants make a great focal point and provide décor that your crab will love!