Invertebrates can be a great addition to community marine aquariums and can provide you with something different to watch. For lovers of variety, hermit crabs are best of all, because their appearance (and some of their behaviour) will change as they choose different shells to protect their growing bodies. They also make lively, intelligent pets capable of recognising and getting to know their owners.
If properly cared for, they are long-lived, and they can be a great help to you in cleaning and maintaining the aquarium environment.
Caring for Hermit Crabs
The down side of keeping hermit crabs is that they can be rather delicate, and they're not always in great shape when you buy them, but with proper care and attention there's no reason why they shouldn't prosper.Hermit crabs need an environment with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and hide in - they're perfectly suited to living on reefs. Because of their use of shells they are generally able to defend themselves from predators, but they have vulnerable periods, especially when moulting, and they should not be kept with aggressive fish. Bear in mind that they grow continually. Hermit crabs are not fussy eaters. They will happily eat algae, helping to keep your aquarium clean, and they enjoy algae discs and pellets. Smaller crustaceans and shrimp are a good choice because these will boost their calcium levels, making it easier for them to develop their exoskeletons. Some individuals will nibble at calceous rocks if you have these in your tank.
Hermit crabs have difficulty competing in aquarium environments where floating food is quickly snapped up by fish. Make sure enough material reaches the bottom to sustain them.
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