How to Take Care of Hermit Crab Sand

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Sand is an important and integral part of your hermit crab's home. Hermit crabs like to burrow, and sand is a perfect medium for burrowing. Although it doesn't matter where you get the sand (from a home improvement center, a pet store, or your back yard), it does matter that your hermit crab's sand is clean, fresh, and free from contaminants. Clean their sand every six months, or more often if you detect mildew, and your hermit crabs will be happy and healthy.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 Cookie sheets
  • Large plastic container

Create a safe spot for your hermit crab while you're cleaning its sand, such as a cardboard box with a soft cloth on the bottom. A hermit crab will be fine in such an environment for several days if it has food and water, but get the sand changed as soon as possible since a cardboard box doesn't make a good permanent home.

Pour the sand from the tank into the large plastic container. Use your hands to sift through the sand to find and remove foreign objects such as rocks, sticks, leaves, or bits of trash.

Add water to the plastic container and swirl the water and sand around to get rid of contaminants. Use a strainer or aquarium net to lift the wet sand out of the water.

Spread the wet sand onto the two cookie sheets. It should not be thicker than 1 inch.

Sterilize the sand by baking it on the cookie sheets for one hour at 300 degrees F. Baking the sand will get rid of any mites and mildew.

Repeat the steps as often as necessary to keep your hermit crab's sand clean. Sand will not be damaged by repeated washing and baking. You can also bake other non-meltable items from your hermit crab's habitat such as rocks or ceramic decorative objects. Allow sand and other baked objects to cool completely before it's put back in the habitat.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have a strainer with small enough holes for the sand, place the sand on a kitchen towel, gather up the ends, and wring the water out through the towel.

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