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Shopping at Pet Stores - A Helpful Guide

When you go to the local pet store for supplies, you probably go straight to the Hermit Crab section. Stop. And slowly back away. Almost everything in the Hermit Crab section is not appropriate.

Below, we will guide you on where to find useful items that are NOT located in the Hermit Crab section of your local pet store. That's right, stretch those legs and continue down to the fish aisle, reptile aisle and even small animals and birds aisle! Because you're about to hit the jackpot on useful items that are safe for Hermit Crabs, but are not marketed for them.

Let's share our pet store secrets below!

Here are some useful and safe Hermit Crab supplies that you can find in other sections of the pet store.

Fish/Aquarium Section

• Seachem Prime Water Conditioner

• Marine Salt

• Frozen Bloodworms & Shrimp

• Air Pumps

• Airlines

• Airstones (bubblers)

• Internal Filters

• Sponge Filters

• Check Valves

• Fake Plants

• Aquarium Gravel

• Driftwood

• Fish Tanks

• Tank LED Lights

• Breeding Foods - Bottom Feeder Pellets, Phytoblast, Marine Snow, Reef Roids

• Water Testing Kits

• Aquarium Syphon

• Small Glass Aquariums for pools

Reptile Section

• Decor

• Hideouts

• Lizard Hammocks

• Dried Mealworms

• Dried Crickets

• Food Bowls

• Heat Mats

• Heat Cords

• Hanging Plants

• Thermometers

• Hygrometers

• Thermostat

• Brine Shrimp

• Flower Mixes

Bird Section

• Cuttlefish Bone

• Shell Grit

• Bird Seed

• Wooden Ladders

• Dried Millet Sprays

• Dried Mealworms

• Hideouts

Small Animal Section

• Wheels


• Dried Veggies

• Alfalfa

• Ramps

So why are the Hermit Crab marketed products not useful? Most of them are severely expensive for what you actually get and serve no real benefit to your crabs.

They are a marketing ploy at best.


Most shells available are either not suitable, extremely expensive or are painted.


The marketed food unfortunately does not cover their entire dietary needs and is usually filled with preservatives and additives to make them last longer. Both which are unsafe for Hermit Crabs.

Heat Sources

The heat sources are very low wattage, which won't make a difference in your tank temperature. Usually between 2-5W.

Water Conditioner

The water conditioners do not remove all of the required nasties that a proper aquarium primer would. These include Ammonia, Chloramine, Nitrites, Nitrates and Chlorine.


The salts marketed at crabs do not cover the vital minerals that hermit crabs need in their salt pools. They need a high quality marine salt (not crystals)


The tanks are usually a hard plastic with vents in the lid and are very shallow. These do not hold the required minimum substrate amount (15cm) and lack the ability to hold in heat and humidity, as well as being far to small to house a colony.


Hermit crabs need very deep pools in order to fully submerge and fill their shell water. Unfortunately the very small bowls are far to shallow to offer this much needed requirement.


The only Hermit crab marketed substrate is usually Calcium sand/coloured sand or Reptile Bedding tanbark. Both of these are extremely unsuitable. Calcium sand is very dangerous as when it gets wet, it can set like concrete, often sticking a Hermit crab inside its shell. Reptile Bedding is far to dry and will not allow a crab to create a safe moult cave to moult. Both of these types of substrates encourage crabs to surface moult which is very unnatural and dangerous.

So there you have it, next time you head to the pet store for supplies, quickly bypass the Hermit Crab section and enjoy your shopping spree knowing you are providing safe and useful products for your crabbies!

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