Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fun little blog activity 2

I liked the last one so much (see entry in April) that I thought I'd try it again, this time on Photobucket.

I swore I wouldn't blog about other people's blogs. And this isn't. Kinda. Kinda isn't. So therefore it kinda is. Sigh. I give up. /becomes slave to internet culture. Found this little activity HERE.

Go to a photo hosting site
Type in your answers to the questions and post the first image you get as your solution. Here's mine:

What is your first name?
(Autumn - I'm guessing that's the little girl's name also)

What is your favorite food?

What school did you go to?
(Long Beach Poly - my high school - go Jackrabbits!)

What is your favorite color?
(deep blue)

Who is your celebrity crush?
(Brad Pitt - yum)

Who is your favorite Disney princess?
(Alice in Wonderland - she counts!)

Favorite drink?

Dream vacation?
(Japan cherry blossom festival)

Favorite dessert?
(chocolate mousse - um...)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
(psychologist - could they find a smaller picture?)

What do you love most in life?
(sleeping in, although perhaps there are loads of things I like better, but in keeping consistent with my last answer, to see how Photobucket differs from Flickr, that was my answer)

One word to describe you?
(intelligent - I don't know that guy, but perhaps he's an astrophysicist)

What do you dream about?
(traveling - WTF?)

I'm going to go ahead and judge Flickr the winner over PhotoBucket in this challenge.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Molting? - Crab Experiences

I redid Shell Beach for the hermit crabs (Not Sure, Rita, Frito, and Upgrayedd). I think I'm better utilizing the space. They sure like to climb! Upgrayedd, being the largest and most active, is often around the edges of the top. Crazy escape artist.

Here's some pictures of the newly redone tank. Upon the advice of some people at the Forum, I readded the wet sand I'd removed - thinking it would mold - and being told that they need the wetter sand to dig down into, that the soft sand isn't good enough to dig into as it collapses in on them. /facepalm. Of course. Okay, so now the sand is much thicker too as I had taken several cups out before to dry and added it back in. Now I won't worry about the sand getting wet. I was always overfilling the bubbler, especially. For now, I have removed the bubbler as last night at 3am it vibrated itself off the stand and behind the stand making a horrible racket. In the pitch dark, I unplugged it and moved the stands, banging my back on the tv stand. Fun at 3am! Ah well. I'll put the bubbler in the freshwater bowl on the left if its not too noisy and after I think of a way to keep the bubbler pump from moving around. I'm thinking of using Velcro circles.
Above, fresh water with a sea sponge and shells in it. Most of these shells are too large, I think. The shells on the sand here are very small. The container is a GladWare sandwich container.
This container is the same type but has salt water and shells that I think are a better fit. No one has changed shells yet, but its only been a day. I'll be so excited to see them in pretty shells, but they seems to enjoy their mud-fashion they're all sporting. I had to overlap the hidey log (they don't use it anyhow) with the container as the smaller ones seemed to have a hard time getting out of the container on their own.

Do you think they'll be able to use the two sources of water appropriately even with shells in them? And will they shell change in the water?
See two of them in the back corner of the basket?But I'm wondering if Upgrayedd is molting? I came home today and did a head count. Two in the back corner of the basket. And...two missing? I found Upgrayedd in the back corner by turning the tank around as you see here.
(Picture immediately above is sideways, turn your head left.) You can see there he's active, red legs out and all. And there's loads of sand, even the dry line is visible. I tried to mix the moist and dry and the front is all mixed, but I didn't even think about the back under the basket. There is quite a bit of sand there for him. I'm just concerned to keep him healthy.

I cannot find the other one. What should I do?

Help. I'm worried for my crabs and don't know the proper care of them during a molting - if that's what this is. Do they just like to burrow sometimes?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Shell Beach

Welcome to Shell Beach. Do you get the bonus points for recognizing the movie reference? Dark City. There is no Shell Beach. But at my house there is! I set up the crabitat today and got Not Sure some friends. I felt that having more than one in my tiny tank previously was wrong and once I got the bigger tank set up, its good for more crabs.

Here's the full view of the crabitat.
Left: notice the big shell that's also a water dish with sea sponge. Behind it are the clay-colored salt-water bath and the green food dish with powdered hermit crab chow from the pet store. The little shell to the right is for treats - today's treat is freeze dried bloodworms from the pet store for feeding to fish. Behind that is the "bubbler" everyone seems so fond of for keeping humidity high. Its just a fish tank air tube and pump through an air stone. I submerged mine in an empty and cleaned plastic fruit cup (it was pears, in case you wondered) and covered it with river rocks I already owned.
Middle is shells shells shells.
Right is the hiding hut, a few pieces of driftwood, and the low end of the sand dune. I also added a piece of cuttlebone to the right but after I'd taken the picture.
With all the awesome shells to choose from, why would anyone use crappy painted shells? Nature is beautiful and colorful!
In case you're wondering what Not Sure's friends' names are, I stayed on the Idiocracy movie theme. They are: Rita, Frito (the lawyer), and Upgrayedd (the pimp) - he's the largest of them, because of his giant pimp-hand (er, purple pincher).

Total cost of my crabitat and its inhabitants (for those thinking of getting hermit crabs as pets):
00.00 10 gallon aquarium from someone on FreeCycle
20.00 hermit crabs x4 from PetSmart (I feel I "rescued" them all)
04.00 playground sand from Home Depot (50 pounds in one bag. I have more than half left)
10.50 shells, large and small shell for water/food, sea sponge from an eBay seller
11.00 shells, 1 full pound of them, assorted from another eBay seller
13.00 thermometer and humidity gauge in a 2-pack
01.50 cuttlebone (sold for birds) to supply necessary calcium
03.00 driftwood pieces x2
03.00 hiding log
08.00 air pump, air tubing, air stone for "bubbler" to keep humidity high
06.50 powdered crab food from pet store as a daily food
04.00 salt water conditioner for cleaning shells and adding to water
00.00 two plastic water bottles, one for clean and one for salty water for daily refilling (reused my own)
00.00 river rocks to put over bubbler, already had
00.00 plastic fruit cup to make use of bubbler
07.00 plexiglass lid for tank from Home Depot
04.00 special knife to cut plexiglass to fit

Now, could I have done it cheaper? YES! I could have found my own driftwood. I live on the beach. I probably could have got my own crabs too, but I'm okay with store bought. I probably could have gotten the salt water conditioner cheaper too. And next time, I will buy a larger size for a bigger savings, not the pet store's stuff.

But it gets worse. Husband, just skip this part...

Here's what the pet store sold me that I didn't need in their misguided efforts to make a sale and not know what a crab needs:
20.00 tiny plastic cage (as shown in my other post)
11.00 temperature and humidity gauge for another cage (I couldn't remove it)
09.00 calcisand - unnecessarily expensive! refer to my play sand above!
40.00 of stuff I do not need. Grr.
But, I will be using this second tiny tank as my isolation tank for a sick, injured, or molting crab. So at least I'm making the best of things.

Realistically, do you need to spend $100 to keep hermit crabs? Absolutely not! However, you do need basics. And basics are not always cheap, but regular maintenance after that is very very low. So over the long run, the good initial investment is worth a bit as they are a super cheap pet after you set them up to start with - much like fish.

Here's what you need:
  • Good sized tank. 10 gallon minimum. As big as you like, but remember they're not tall and don't fly, so long not tall.
  • Some kind of hiding thing. A coco-hut or a log or a fishtank accessory (not painted) or any number of woven baskets or things you may already have. Remember they're scavengers.
  • Something to climb. Again, like above, you may have stuff laying around that will suffice or branches in your yard.
  • A thermometer and hygrometer (humidity monitor). Do fork over the money for this, but anywhere from $5 to $50 depending on how fancy you like it. I'm fine with dials but you may prefer digital.
  • 4 dishes: clean water, salt water, food, treat. Use the caps from Gatorade bottles for the food and treat. Use baby food jar lids for the water, or peanut butter lids for the water, depending on the size of your crabs. Remember to change the water and refill the water and clean out the food dishes. You do NOT need to buy anything special.
  • A cuttlebone. Again, less than $2 at the pet store in the bird section.
  • Some crab chow. I like powder, you may like pellets. Some people make their own. I'm all about convenience. If I knew somewhere I could buy it cheap and pre-ground, I would.
  • A sea sponge. Not a regular sponge from the kitchen. Put this in the plain water so your crabs can still climb in the water, but if they need to, they can grab on to climb out and won't drown. Also helps with humidity.
  • The bubbler. Its optional, but its helpful. I also like the white noise they make.
  • 2 or more crabs of a similar size (so they can share shells and so small doesn't drown in large's water dish). Don't crowd your tank, but you can see after you add 1-2 how many will fit comfortably.
  • Some spare shells. Don't use the painted ones. Don't use the ones that look lacquered. Natural shells. Lots of places sell them. My pet store did NOT sell them. But look online and factor in shipping charges to see if its worth it. For me, with the flat shells or for a whole pound, it was worth it.
  • Special note: before you put stuff in your tank to stay (climbing or hiding things, extra shells), make up some of your salt water and boil your things in it. This decreases molding with the high humidity. What I did is took a large glass measuring cup, added salt additive, laid shells opening up, boiled plain water, and added the water to whatever line for the additive I'd put in (1 tsp for 3 cups, so 3 cups of water) and swished around. Dry thoroughly, preferably in the sun.
  • Keep in a low traffic area, they have a compound eye like a fly and can be jumpy. And out of direct sunlight, but not in a dark room (like my computer room, or a basement) as they need the light regulation to know when to be active.
  • They're nocturnal so keeping them in the bedroom may not be the best bet.
I hope this helps someone. I'm happy to answer with my novice opinion if you have anything to ask. Or I can probably refer you to some good sites.

Happy crabbing!