By Bob Goemans
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Aquarium Systems (Instant Ocean) 

Hermit Crabs

 Calcinus elegans (Blue-banded Hermit Crab)

Calcinus elegans
(H. Milne Edwards, 1836)

Blue-banded Hermit Crab

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable


Most hermits forge on various kinds of algae and detritus. Some are quite large and can be considered bulldozers, knocking things over in the aquarium and becoming destructive. Large hermit crabs may also nip at corals and are not recommend for reef systems. Yet, there are some small hermit crabs, mostly from Mexico, Florida, and the Caribbean that are fairly beneficial, especially in aquariums with a sandy bottom. Unfortunately some eat coralline algae, a favorite alga amongst reef keepers. If the supply of algae is quite limited, an algae wafer or feeder block may help supplement their diet.

An assortment of slightly larger empty shells should also be provided because as they grow in size they need a larger shell to protect themselves from predators. They may also sometimes pick on snails, however it is thought they are wanting the shell and not attacking the snail itself.

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