How to Set Up a Crabitat: Beginner’s guide

You can set up a hermit crab crabitat easily if you have food, water (freshwater and saltwater), extra shells, substrates, and hideaways. Plus, you need to maintain property humidity and temperature (heat) level in the crabitat. Also, use a big tank and with every essential accessory in it to keep the hermies happy and healthy.

Do you know hermit crabs are the most delicate crab species in terms of taking care of them? So, let’s follow the footsteps of this guide and create a cozy haven where your hermit crabs can flourish and explore to their heart’s content.

Let’s dig in!

Items Needed to Set Up a Hermit Crab Tank


Choose a glass or plastic aquarium, minimum 10 gallons in size. Larger tanks help maintain stable conditions and provide ample space for exploration.


Use a blend of sand and coconut fiber substrate in a 5:1 ratio, at least 6 inches deep to allow for burrowing and molting.

3.Heating Source

Use an under-tank heater or heat lamp to maintain a temperature range of 75°F to 85°F.

4.Thermometer and Hygrometer

Monitor temperature and humidity levels between 70% and 80%.

5.Water Dishes

Provide two shallow dishes for fresh dechlorinated water and salt water for drinking, bathing, and hydration.

6.Hiding Places

Include coconut huts, caves, or other suitable hiding spots to reduce stress and provide security.

7.Climbing Structures

Use driftwood, cholla wood, and climbing vines to keep crabs active and mimic their natural environment.

8.Feeding Dish

Provide a shallow dish for food, ensuring it’s easy to clean and large enough for a variety of foods.


Offer extra shells in different sizes for molting, as crabs change shells as they grow.


Use safe plants, coral pieces, and shells, avoiding any sharp or toxic items.


Ensure a secure, well-ventilated lid to prevent escapes and maintain humidity.

12.Spray Bottle

Mist the tank regularly to maintain humidity, keeping the substrate damp for burrowing.


Use dechlorinator to treat tap water, removing harmful chlorine and chloramines.

14.Saltwater Conditioner

Create saltwater using a marine salt mix, crucial for crabs’ osmoregulation and health.

15.Cleaning Supplies

Use non-toxic cleaning supplies to maintain tank hygiene, preventing harmful bacteria buildup.

Tank Size and Recommende

Tank Size (Gallons)Recommended Number of Hermit CrabsProper Space (Square Inches per Crab)

Important Note:

Fill the saltwater bowl with a blend of dechlorinated water and aquarium salt mix. Remember, don’t mix table salt into the water. Otherwise, it could be harmful for your hermies!

Pick a Peaceful Spot for Placing the Tank!

Selecting the perfect spot for your tank is one of the main steps that if you focus on everything but ignore it then your all efforts will go in vain.

I’m going to introduce a few useful tips that will help you pick a perfect place for keeping the hermit crab tank. Let’s walk through each one of the healthy tip:

1.Keep it Away from Vents:

Make sure the tank isn’t near any air vents. It’s important to keep the tank at a stable temperature.

If it is close to a vent, the crabs could be harmed by sudden blasts of cold air. And you should know that cold temperature and air is the enemy of hermit crabs.

2.Avoid Direct Sunlight:

You should avoid placing the tank in direct sunlight. Whether it’s near a window or somewhere outside, don’t place the hermit crab tank into that place where there is direct sunlight exposure. Crabs are not fans of sunlight, and it can dangerously heat up the tank.

3.Pick a Moderately Busy Place:

You should choose a spot that’s moderately busy, but not overly crowded. Understand it – “Place your crabs somewhere you’ll frequently pass by, so you can easily check on them.”

However, try to avoid placing the tank in areas where you use potentially harmful sprays, such as hair spray, cologne, or room deodorants.

So, many hermit crab keepers have shared their experience that they skip their bedrooms for them. Their hustle and bustle in the night was quite noisy. That’s why I recommend you to keep the crab shindig away from your sleep zone!

Here is a very useful YouTube video that will help you a lot in setting up a hermit crab tank. Don’t miss out watching it!


Can I buy a hermit crab set up kit to make a home instantly?

Yes, you can buy a good hermit crab set up kit. It is more convenient to make a home instantly and effortlessly. However, remember that the kit should contain each and everything that is necessary for making a sweet home for your hermies.

How deep of water do hermit crabs need?

Hermit crabs need shallow water dishes, deep enough for them to submerge but shallow enough for them to easily climb out, typically about 1-2 inches deep.

How long can hermit crabs stay underwater?

Hermit crabs can stay underwater for 15-30 minutes. They need to breathe air, so they should not be submerged for long periods.

How long can hermit crabs go without water?

Hermit crabs can go without water for a few days, but it is essential to always provide fresh and saltwater to maintain their health and hydration.

How to make saltwater for hermit crabs?

To make saltwater for hermit crabs, use a marine salt mix according to the package instructions, typically mixing 1/2 cup of marine salt with 1 gallon of dechlorinated water.

Can hermit crabs live in freshwater?

Hermit crabs cannot live in freshwater alone; they need both fresh and saltwater to meet their hydration and physiological needs.

Can hermit crabs see in the dark?

Hermit crabs have limited vision in the dark but rely on their other senses, such as smell and touch, to navigate their environment.

Are hermit crabs nocturnal?

Yes, hermit crabs are nocturnal. They are most active at night when they explore, forage, and interact with their environment.

Salt to water ratio for hermit crabs?

The salt to water ratio for hermit crabs is typically 1/2 cup of marine salt per 1 gallon of dechlorinated water.


Setting up the perfect crabitat is essential for the health and happiness of your hermit crabs.

By choosing the right tank, maintaining proper substrate, humidity, and temperature, and providing appropriate food, water, and enrichment, you can create a thriving environment for your pets.

Regular monitoring and maintenance ensure that your hermit crabs remain active and healthy.For more detailed information on hermit crab care and diet, check out our guides on Hermit Crab Food and Nutrition and Comprehensive Care for Hermit Crabs.

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