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Can Hermit Crabs Live in a Paludarium: The Answer

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Hermit crabs are one of the best pets you can get. They’re easy to maintain, fascinating to watch, and aren’t expensive, and most importantly, they don’t bite or hurt you. However, many people wonder if hermit crabs can live in a paludarium.

Hermit crabs can live in a paludarium. Paludariums are aquariums with a tank section filled with water and live plants. The other tank area is dry, and it houses the crabs. This setup allows hermit crabs to have an aquatic and terrestrial environment, ideal for their overall health.

If you’re interested in setting up a paludarium, here are some tips for creating a perfect environment for your hermit crabs: 

Paludarium Is the Perfect Habitat for Hermit Crabs

As mentioned, a paludarium makes an ideal living space for hermit crabs to thrive in. However, there are various things you must consider before setting up the aquarium just right. Here are some tips that will help you set up your paludarium:

Ensure the Tank Is Large Enough

Hermit crabs are social animals, meaning they like to be around other hermit crabs. For your crabs to have enough space to socialize, make sure the tank is at least 10 gallons (40 L) in size.

You also need to consider the type of hermit crabs you plan to keep as your paludarium’s tenants. There are many types of hermit crabs, and depending on their sizes, they may require a larger or smaller tank.

Nonetheless, it is advisable to err on the side of caution and choose a slightly larger tank than you think you need. Doing this will give your hermit crabs plenty of space to move around and explore in, as well as make swimming more comfortable for them.

Create a Landscape with Different Heights

Different heights allow your hermit crabs to retreat into higher or lower areas depending on their mood. You can achieve this by having large rocks and pieces of driftwood placed at the bottom of the tank to house the hermit crabs during rest times.

These objects also help recreate a realistic environment, so you’ll have less difficulty keeping the tank looking natural.

In addition, make sure to include plenty of live plants in the aquatic section of the tank. Hermit crabs love to climb and play in foliage, so plant some tall plants near the back and sides of the tank. Your hermit crabs will have plenty of places to explore and play.

Make Sure the Landscape Is Secure

Hermit crabs are known to be curious creatures, so it’s common for them to want to explore their surroundings.

Unsafe landscape can be a problem because a land hermit crab can easily fall in the water. Land hermit crabs can drown if they’re submerged underwater for too long. Therefore, make sure all the rocks and plants are securely in place. 

Install a Heater

Hermit crabs require a warm environment to thrive, and the ideal temperature range for them is between 75 and 85°F (23.9–29.4°C). 

If you live in a colder climate, you’ll need to install a heater in the tank to keep the temperature within that range. 

A submersible aquarium heater is one of the most commonly used heaters in aquariums because it’s safe to use in water. You can get this budget-friendly but high-quality Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater from

The water temperature in your paludarium should be around 75-80°F (23.9-26.7°C). If the temperature is too high or too low, it can harm the hermit crabs. 

As such, make sure you monitor the tank’s temperature and adjust it as needed. 

Create a Waterfall

Waterfalls not only look pretty in an aquarium, but they also create a beneficial current in the water. The falls are important for hermit crabs because they like to swim around and exercise.

You can create a waterfall by placing a small pump at the bottom of the tank and attaching a hose to it. The waterfall will draw water from the bottom of the tank and slowly fill it back up again.

You should place the waterfall on the opposite side of where your hermit crabs will most often occupy. That creates a current that allows the hermit crabs to hide away safely when they feel threatened or vulnerable.

Here’s a link to a YouTube DIY video for creating a waterfall inside a paludarium:

Add a Filter to Your Paludarium

Hermit crabs are small animals, so they produce very little waste. However, you should consider installing a filter in the tank to keep the ammonia levels from building up and harming your hermit crabs.

You can find a wide variety of affordable filters on

Provide Your Hermit Crabs With the Right Substrate

The substrate is the floor of the tank. Hermit crabs need a substrate that provides both drainage and nutrients, so carefully choosing it is important. Moreover, hermit crabs love burrowing and digging, so a substrate that mimics the environment where they come from is ideal.

You can use gravel, sand, or soil as your substrate. However, no matter what type you opt for, it should be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep so it can provide a foundation for your hermit crabs.

EcoEarth is a popular and highly rated option because it’s 100 percent organic if you’re looking for an easy-to-maintain substrate. It has a spongy texture and comes in the form of coconut husks that never need to be replaced. You can get your hands on this popular substrate on

Monitor the Humidity

Hermit crabs also need a high level of humidity to thrive. The ideal humidity range for a paludarium is between 60 and 80 percent. You can monitor the humidity level by using a hygrometer. Here is a good option from

If the humidity drops below 60 percent, your hermit crabs may start to show signs of dehydration, such as wrinkled skin. If the humidity climbs above 80 percent, your hermit crabs may become too wet and could develop fungal infections.

You can increase or decrease the humidity level by adjusting the amount of water in your tank and misting it with a spray mister. Also, try placing a small bowl of water inside the tank to increase humidity levels quickly.

If you notice that your paludarium is too humid, you can gradually use a dehumidifier to lower the humidity.

Ensure Your Crabs Have the Right Kind of Water

Ensure that your hermit crabs have access to both fresh and salty water. This will depend on the species of your hermit crab. 

Some species require salty water, while others require fresh water. 

An ingenious solution would be to place two water dishes inside the tank. The bowls should be deep enough to allow your pet to soak themselves while ensuring that the water is not too deep for them to drown. 

Clean the Tank

Even though hermit crabs are scavengers, they can still leave leftovers in the water. It’ll cause algae to grow in the tank, and it can also pose a health risk for your pets. 

As such, you should consider cleaning the tank at least once a week. During the process, ensure to wash all the bowls thoroughly while checking the substrate for any leftover food. 

As with any aquarium or paludarium, make sure you use a safe cleaning product for pets. 

Check for Signs of Sickness

A few signs can indicate that your pet might be unwell or stressed. Some of these signs include your crabs: 

  • Not moving around as usual 
  • Falling on their back or side frequently 
  • Hiding in the substrate for prolonged periods

If you notice any of these signs, take your pets to the vet as soon as possible. 

Final Thoughts

Hermit crabs are fascinating pets, and they will make for an exciting paludarium accessory. However, you must remember that their needs are different from those of other fish, so monitor them closely. 

The most important things to consider are their: 

  • Habitat 
  • Water quality 
  • Nutrition 

If these three factors are taken care of, your hermit crabs will be healthy and happy. 

With a few simple adjustments, you can create the perfect environment for your hermit crabs to thrive in. You can ensure that your pet has a long and healthy life by following these tips. Thank you for reading! 


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