Do hermit crabs need a heat lamp

Do hermit crabs need a heat lamp? Find out

Hermit crabs do need a heat lamp to live comfortably and happily inside the tank. Heat lamp helps to maintain the aquarium’s temperature. Moreover, it keeps them warm in their habitat. However, monitor the temperature and humidity levels to check whether it is within the appropriate range for your hermit crabs.

But what to do if heat lamps are not available? If available, then how to use them properly and what are the necessary things to keep in mind. Let’s indulge into the answers of these questions.

Just follow the footsteps of this guide below!

Do Hermit Crabs Need a Heat Lamp?

Absolutely Yes! Hermit crabs do need a heat lamp. Although most aquarists and crab lovers say that you don’t necessarily need a heat lamp, trust me it’s worth it.

We all know that hermit crabs require a heat source to maintain their body temperature and overall health. As a result, a heat lamp is one of the best ways to provide this necessary warmth.

Important Note:

You can provide a heat source like an under-tank heater or ceramic heat emitter in the habitat of hermit crabs.  It will also help maintain the proper temperature 🌡️ just like heat lamp.

Moreover, hermit crabs become sluggish, exhibit reduced activity, have difficulty molting properly, and may even die without adequate heat. Therefore, provide a heat lamp or heater in their enclosure to create a comfortable and suitable environment for their health.

Hermit crabs are ectothermic!

It’s important to understand that hermit crabs are ectothermic. It means they rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature.

They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Still, it’s essential to maintain a consistent temperature between 75-85°F (24-29°C) is crucial for their well-being.

A heat lamp or under-tank heater is often recommended to achieve and maintain this temperature range within their habitat. Thus, it’s your duty to monitor the temperature and humidity levels of the tank whether they are within the appropriate range for your crabies’s well-being.

Things to Consider While Setting Up a Heat Lamp in the Tank:

Consider the following tips when you are setting up a heat lamp in the aquarium of your hermit crab:

  1. More Crabs, More Heat Lamps:

Hermit crabs are social creatures and naturally live in groups in the wild. Keeping multiple hermit crabs together in a tank can mimic their natural social behavior and they become companions. That’s why it is ideal if you have three to four hermit crabs in a single tank.

Similarly, you will require more than one heat lamp to ensure consistent temperature regulation throughout the enclosure. It depends on the size and number of hermit crabs.

  1. Place It Correctly

You should position the heat lamp on one side of the tank to create a temperature gradient. This helps hermit crabs to move between warmer and cooler areas as needed to regulate their body temperature.

  1. Safety Measures:

Double-check that the heat lamp is securely mounted and away from any flammable materials such as bedding or decorations. Keeping this factory in view, you can use a ceramic heat emitter or a heat lamp with a protective guard to prevent accidental burns.

  1. Set Up a Timer:

Hermit crabs require a regular light and dark cycle to regulate their behavior and biological functions. Then, why don’t you consider using a timer for the heat lamp? It helps to maintain a consistent day-night cycle.

  1. Backup Heating:

Always have a backup heating source such as heat mats or warm water bottles on hand. In case of power outages or malfunctions, it will maintain the temperature inside the tank and prevent chilling.

  1. Regulate Heat Output:

Adjust the height or wattage of the heat lamp to achieve the desired temperature range inside the tank. Keep in mind that too much heat can be harmful to hermit crabs. So, it’s essential to find the right balance.

  1. Monitoring and Adjusting:

Last but not least, regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels within the tank and make necessary adjustments to the heat lamp setup as needed. Factors such as ambient room temperature changes, seasonal variations, and tank size can impact the effectiveness of the heat lamp. Hence, it’s essential to stay vigilant and responsive to create optimal conditions for your hermies.

Related article: Hermit crab tank set up :A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Keep Hermit Crabs Warm Without a Heat Lamp?

Hermit Crabs

There are many aquarists who cannot afford expensive heat lamps. Here are a few advices that will help you to keep your cold crabbies warm:

  1. Cover the Hermies Tank:

You can wrap your hermit crab tank snugly with blankets, foam, or towels to help retain heat. This keeps the heat inside where your crabs need it. It’s like giving them a cozy little nest to snuggle in.

Plus, it helps maintain a stable temperature. Thus, your hermit crabs stay happy and healthy. Just make sure not to cover any ventilation holes, so your crabs can still breathe easy.

  1. Use Heating Pads in Winters:

You can use adhesive heating pads designed for reptile tanks. These can be attached to the sides or bottom of the tank to provide warmth. Moreover, these heating pads are the ones that stick on the tank like a sticker.

I’ve noticed that the heat tends to wear off the stickiness over time. But hey, no worries! I just use duct tape to keep it in place and it’s super cheap to get the job done.

  1. You can Use Regular Lamps:

If your tank is cold, place a regular lamp with an old-fashioned incandescent bulb near the tank. Then, let it shine into the tank. It’s like giving your hermit crabs their own little sun!

I actually have a small table lamp on top of my 120-gallon high tank, and it works wonders. It acts like sunshine during the day, warming up the tank alongside the under tank heaters (UTHs) I have. At night, I switch it off to let the tank cool down naturally, just like it would in the wild.

You can also use a halogen lamp for the same effect since it produces a lot of heat too. Just remember to switch off the light at night because hermit crabs prefer darkness when they are active.

  1. Use Humidifier:

Did you ever think about getting a humidifier for your hermit crab crib? It keeps the tank warm and cozy while boosting humidity levels. All you need to do is just plug it in, easy peasy.

Here is the only downside. You gotta refill the water every few days. But it beats the hassle of constantly misting with a spray bottle and juggling sponges and moss.

Interestingly, if you are feeling crafty, you can work on a DIY humidifier using a bubbling rock. It’s a pretty clever way to keep your crabs safe!

  1. Heat Packs:

In colder climates or during power outages, use heat packs specifically made for reptile or small animal enclosures. Activate them and place them near the tank for temporary warmth.

  1. Warmer Substrate:

Use a substrate like coconut fiber or sand that retains heat well. This provides a warm surface for hermit crabs to burrow into and regulate their body temperature.

Lastly, you can place heated hideouts or shelters inside the tank. In this way, the cute hermit crabs can retreat for warmth when needed.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Does my hermit crab need a reptile heat mat?

Sure thing! Different types of hermit crabs have different heat needs. But generally, your little crab buddy will want a cozy and damp home. Also, you should maintain tank temperatures between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and keep the humidity around 75%.

For this purpose, you can grab a hygrometer to check humidity and a thermometer for the temperature. Just like us, hermit crabs like a warm and humid environment to stay happy and healthy. So, consider getting a reptile heat mat if needed to keep their home nice and comfy. Your hermit crab will thank you for it!

  1. What kind of lighting does my hermit crab need?

Since hermit crabs are nocturnal creatures, they are most active when the sun goes down. It means they spend their days hiding away. But be cautious not to make their habitat too bright; excessive light can make them less active.

For daytime, opt for a regular white light or full-spectrum lighting. However, switch to a red light when night falls. This way, the light will not disrupt your hermit crab’s activity and natural rhythm. It’s like creating a cozy nighttime ambiance for your tiny crustacean friend!

  1. Do hermit crabs need heat at night?

Yes, hermit crabs do need heat at night, more specifically if they are kept in captivity. Provide them a consistent tank and room temperature even at night.

  1. What is the best heat source for a hermit crab?

The best heat source for a hermit crab enclosure is a low-wattage heat mat, heat pad placed on one side of the tank. Under Tank Heaters (UTHs) are also the best heat sources for a hermit crab.


In this guide, we have found that heat lamps are a good source of warmth for hermit crabs in chilly tanks. However, we forgot to mention a drawback of heat lamps – they zap the humidity of the tank and create hot spots. So, you need a (warm water) spray bottle to maintain a humidity level between 70 to 85%.

Also, most people use heat lamps for their hermit crab homes but they forgot to turn them off at night. As a result, their crabs die due to more heat and extra brightness. If they are getting natural cozy daylight, it’s enough for them to maintain body heat.