Our Hand-Picked Best Substrate for Hermit Crabs In 2019

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We see different animals living in different conditions. It may seem that it’s hard for a specific animal to stay at a specific place given the characteristics of the environment and the animal as well.

But the reality of it is that an animal lives its best life in the environment it’s found.

So, whenever we find an animal, we have to understand that it’s living at it’s home.

If your plan is to pet the animal at home, it’s more than necessary to create a homely environment for it.

The same goes for hermit crabs. So you need to buy the best substrate for hermit crabs if you want to create something like it’s natural habitat.

Hermit crabs are not usually those animals you can tame, like a bird or a cat. It’s just that you can keep it at home if you wish. Like aquatic turtles that you can keep in a home aquarium.

As you cannot tame them, it’s necessary to create a setting suitable for them. That’s why you need to get a substrate that’s best for your hermit crab.

Our Top 3 Picks | Side By Side Comparison

Why Do You Need The Best Substrate For A Hermit Crab?

Just like any other substance, you can easily buy cheap substrate for your hermit crab. They will look the same but will be fake.

Dedicated aquatic life companies are now making substrate with the real stuff, keeping it as accurate as possible for the hermit crabs to feel safe.

They often go under the sand to keep them safe for the predators.

Also, during the scenario of molt when their hard exoskeleton changes, which takes 3 months, they like to stay buried.

Because in crabs, there is a scenario of cannibalism. When one crab does not have the exoskeleton cover, other crabs usually eats it. So, to keep itself safe it goes under the substrate.

The molting process works best in the dark. The hormones required to create the shell, cannot work well while exposed in the light. It takes more time.

Normally it takes 3 months for the process to be completed under the sand. Guess how long it would take in the open?

A pet dies when it’s unhappy. We have a proof for dogs to do so.

A hermit crab stays happy when it lives in a known environment. When placed at a fish tank, the setting will not be known unless you put some substrate.

So, to pet a hermit crab, the substrate is a must. Substrate for hermit crab is different than the substrates for planted aquarium or substrates for saltwater tank.

Best Substrate For Hermit Crab

How To Choose The Best Hermit Crab Substrate

We might not understand the difference between a substrate that looks exactly the same as the real sand and stuff but is not.

A hermit crab who lives in that environment will understand indefinitely that it has been put in a different place than he was before. So, buying an unnatural substance is a waste of money.

A substrate requires cleaning and changing. Eventually, after buying the fake stuff, you will switch to natural. A lot of people I know who have gone through this same process.

There are many different variations in substrates. Many have corals, many have coconut strips, and some have rocks or broken shells.

You have to understand which type of scenario is suitable for your hermit crab. It completely depends on where the crab was brought from.

If you catch the crab, you’ll know for yourself. If you buy from an aquatic shop, you should ask the shop owner to tell you about a suitable environment.

Now the problem is that the shop owners have a tendency to sell their substrates to you. So, they might tell you one to sell.

It’s better to talk to them who have kept hermit crabs as pets before. They will have the necessary experience to share.

Best Substrate For Hermit Crabs

1. Fluker’s All Natural Sand Mixture

If I’m to name some of the best companies who produce aquatic goods for us aquarium lover, Fluker is a name to trust. While most substrate manufacturers use calcium carbonate, Fluker’s goes unconventional.

They use the most common substances acceptable to the hermit crabs. So, wherever you get a crab from, be sure that this mixture is the one you can buy right away without hesitating.

The best thing about this substance is that it has added probiotic which helps to keep the substrate clean by creating bacteria.

Features:

  • Materials: This all-natural sand is essentially the mixture of coconut fiber, silica sand, calcium carbonate, sea salt, and a natural probiotic. These materials are the most commonly accepted ones by a hermit crab. The salt gives the substrate an oceanic feel which is exactly the environment where the hermit crab lives.
  • Cleaning: The probiotic helps the substrate to stay clean for the longest amount of time. Thus, regular cleaning like other substrates is not necessary.
  • Moisture: The substrate contains coconut grits which keep is moist. Hermit crabs like to live at the moist sands. It’s easier for them to dig and hide from the predators in the moist sands. So, they prefer damp sands.

Pros:

  • The blend of the best available materials
  • Contains probiotic to keep the substrate clean
  • Does not require too-regular cleaning
  • The moisture is accurate for the crabs

Cons:

  • The calcium carbonate might harm the pet if kept dry

2. Zoo Med Hermit Coconut Fiber Brick

Product Features
60 Reviews
Product Features
  • Zoo Med Hermit Soil Coconut Fiber Brick 650g

If you search for the most eco-friendliest substrate, this one is bound to appear. If it doesn’t appear, do check the reviews of the people who have used it before. They will talk about its good sides.

It’s completely made of eco-friendly coconut fiber. The coconut fiber keeps the soil moist thus making it the most suitable setting for your hermit crabs. It’s really easy for the crab to go underground because of the moisture of the soil. Also, coconut fiber has the potential of breaking down the waste and gets mixed with the natural habitat, thus keeping the place clean for your crab.

Features:

  • Material: Solely made with coconut fiber. No other substance is used. But it is actually enough for the crabs. Because hermit from require going underground and staying at a damp place more than sands and salt. So, it covers up both the important criteria.
  • Longevity: Coconut fiber is known to be a natural dissolving substance that helps other waste materials to dissolve quickly. Works as a catalyst. In a tank, it can keep the habitat of your crab as clean as possible for the longest period of time.
  • Expansion: The brick that you’ll receive after ordering will only weigh about 650g which will seem very inadequate. But that 650g of coconut fiber expands up to 8 liters after water is added.

Pros:

  • The amount of substrate is more than adequate
  • It’s a natural catalyst to dissolve the waste
  • Material is very suitable for crab habitat
  • Moisture is perfect

Cons:

  • Requires to add sand to make sure it’s easier for your crab to burrow

3. Hermit Habitat Terrarium Sand

Product Features
16 Reviews
Product Features
  • A Significant source of calcium for a healthier hermit crab
  • 100% Digestible Calcium Carbonate; Silica & Phosphate Free
  • Natural Odor Neutralizer
  • Non Toxic Colored Pigments
  • Creates a unique and colorful environment

Now all other substrates are boring. Why do people buy an aquarium and keep it in the office or home? Two reasons. To keep an aquatic life nearby and the second reason is to increase the attractiveness of a place.

Why are other substances boring? Usually, animals like crabs do not care if the sand is white in color or green. Because they don’t have the concept of color. So, there’s no harm in adding a little color to the sand, isn’t it? Most of the substrates have the same usual color. Like the sands color is sandy, the coconut fibers color is coconutty. But the terrarium sand has an appealing blue color.

The next question should be is it natural? The answer is, yes. It is 100% natural with an added color which is digestive. The best part is the color works as an odor neutralizer.

Features:

  • Materials: the terrarium sand contains calcium carbonate which is a necessary substance for the hermit crabs to grow. Also, it helps to form the exoskeleton perfectly in really fast. It does not contain any silica or phosphate, and also has great consistency in burrowing.
  • Odor Neutralizing: The habitat of a hermit crab may cause a stink to happen. It might be a shock because you don’t smell anything at the beach where the hermit crabs live. That’s because the ocean is not a contained place but your fish tank is. So, it causes the tank to stink. But due to the odor neutralizing of terrarium sand, it’s always fresh.
  • Molting: During the molting season of the crabs, they require to go underground. The best part is that the blue sand always gives the crabs a darker environment and it contains a lot of calcium carbonate which helps to build the shell of the crabs.

Pros:

  • Gives a better look to the crab habitat
  • Easily digestive and 100% natural
  • Does not contain silica and phosphate
  • Odor neutralizer

Cons:

  • The acrylic color seems to irritate the crab if it comes off from the gravel

4. Zoo Med Eco Earth Coconut Fiber

Product Features
436 Reviews
Product Features
  • Zoo Med Eco Earth, a compressed coconut fiber expandable substrate that can be safely composted or recycled, is perfect for all types of reptiles, amphibians, small animals, or insects.
  • Compressed brick will expand to make 7 to 8 liters of substrate.
  • Made from an eco-friendly renewable resource.
  • Naturally absorbs and breaks down odor and waste products.
  • Use damp for tropical species, dry for desert species, or mix with an organic fertilizer for the perfect Vivaria soil.

The only company that turns coconut husk into coconut fiber substrate is the Zoo Med Eco. They create the finest coconut fiber substrate available for your hermit crab.

It is actually a compressed brick so each brick is about 1.5 pounds. But don’t be confused about the amount. Because adding water makes it a lot more than you and I both expected.

It breaks down the waste and dissolves it. Thus leaves no odor whatsoever, keeping the habitat clean and odorless. Also, the moisture helps the crab to burrow and have the time of their lives living in a fish tank.

Features:

  • Materials: It only contains the best-compressed coconut fiber and it’s 100% natural. Most of the coconut fibers are not naturally created. But this fiber is directly collected from natural coconut husk and disintegrated to the fiber.
  • Moisture: One compressed brick weighs about 1.5 pounds. Added water makes it 7-8 liters. That’s a lot, right? And coconut fiber is the dampest substrate available. It creates the best environment available for your hermit crab at home. Also, it’s very easy for them to burrow right in.
  • Waste and odor control: This is a natural waste controlling substance. Works as a catalyst to mix the waste and clear the odor from the fish tank. Thus keeping it clean and fresh for your crabs and visitors.

Pros:

  • Gets decompressed to up to 8 liters
  • Keeps the fish tank clean and odor free
  • Moistures to the perfect level for the crabs
  • No smell at all

Cons:

  • Keeping food for too much time in the substrate causes it to rot

5. Galapagos Hermit Crab Tropicoco Soil

If you brought your hermit crab from a tropical environment, then this is the substrate for you. Whatever you need for your tropical hermit, this substrate has it all. It’s ultra soft with comfortable bedding for your crabs.

Hermit crabs normally live happily in soft tropical weather. They want their substrate to be soft in order to dig in to grow a new shell, and also to keep themselves safe from the bad weathers and predators.

This substrate is a sub-mixture of the necessary tropical elements and coconut fiber. It has to be decompressed with salt water to give the proper tropical ocean bedding for your crabs.

Features:

  • Materials: It’s basically coconut fiber brick but mixed with some regular tropical natural soil. It mixes with the salt water, unlike regular water. If mixed with salt water, it gives a great oceanic-tropical vibe. The material is great for the hermit crabs.
  • Soft bedding: Among all the available coconut fiber substrates, this one has the best bedding option for your crabs. The crabs love to stay at a place which is softer than usual. Beaches are not soft, but when the sand is wet, it’s preferable by the hermit crabs. They find it easier to live and dig down there during shell change.
  • Good Weather: Most other substrates concentrate on the moisture only but this one concentrates on the whole weather. Yes, you might say providing the crabs a moist soil is enough for them. But your goal is to keep them happy and giving them perfect tropical weather is the best way to keep them happy.

Pros:

  • Provides perfect tropical weather
  • Ultra soft bedding
  • Provides ocean weather

Cons:

  • Too much absorbent of moisture

Final Thought

Finding the best substrate for hermit crabs is a lot of work. But to make sure you buy the best thing, you have to understand which one is best for your crab. You don’t want to be buying the wrong product and resenting later. The idea to spend money is that you have to spend it wisely.

If I’m to suggest one substrate it will be the first one on the list, Fluker’s All Natural Premium Sand Substrate Mixture. There are several reasons why I have marked it to be the best.

One reason is that it is very cheap. It costs less than $10 for a 6-pound bag. So, it’s kind of the best buy.

Then it has probiotic in the materials. Probiotic creates necessary bacteria and keeps the substrate fresh and waste-free for a long time.

Also, it has all the necessary elements for a hermit crab to grow and having its shell replaced.

So, you can read the features all over again or judge just by reading two lines. You have your answer. Now buy the best available substrate for your hermit crabs and let it enjoy.

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