How Much Do Hermit Crabs Cost?

Before deciding to bring any pet to your home, it is always recommended to do quick research first, just to make sure that this will not bring any unwanted debts at a later point.

Hermit crabs are known to be quite great pets to those people who do not intend to spend either much time or high costs while taking care of them. However, keeping such pets does need some budget requirements, and here is all there is to know about how much do hermit crabs cost.

Basically, there are three main groups of costs you will encounter: the one-time cost of purchasing your hermits, the second one-time cost of setting up their home, and standard monthly maintenance costs.

Hermit Crab Price

Before we begin, please know that adoption is always the most humane option for any pet. If you can, try checking your local forums first. Maybe there is a hermit owner in your vicinity who is simply not able to take care of its crabs anymore and cannot release them in the wild.

If that is not an option for you, then you will be able to easily purchase your new pets without the need of breaking the bank. Pet stores sell them starting from $5 when they are small, and slightly increase their rates for those hermits who are larger.

Also, if you decide to get yours from a certified breeder, which is probably a better option than heading to the closest pet store, be prepared for somewhat higher prices. This is not only because breeders are more reliable, but also because they can often provide you with more exotic and rare species than others.

Whatever the case may be, you will most likely never have to pay more than $50 for a single hermit. But remember, they are extremely sociable animals and need to be housed in groups of at least 3 specimens. This is essential for their well-being.

Housing Cost

Providing the perfect home for your new pets is most likely to be the biggest one-time cost you will encounter. Depending on the tank type and size, these can go anywhere between $20 and $50.

Even if a mini-colony of small-sized crabs can live just happily inside a 10-gallon tank, please have in mind that your creature will grow over time. Therefore, choosing a 20-gallon tank at the very beginning will save you the trouble and cost of getting a larger tank in the future.

Also, it is really handy to get a second, much smaller tank, which will act as either a quarantine area for a sick crab or as a molting area. Such an additional tank does not present many costs, as it requires no decoration but simply a decent amount of substrate.

Hermit Crab Supplies

Next, you will have to properly setup your main enclosure with all the needed requirements. Here is a basic list of what to get:

– Substrate

We suggest choosing coconut fiber substrate instead of sand, as it greatly keeps humidity but it will also avoid uncomfortable consequences as it cannot really get inside the hermit’s shell and harden.

You will spend approximately $20 to get enough substrate for properly setting a 20-gallon tank. However, keep in mind that substrate is not permanent but it has to be completely replaced every 2 or 3 months at least.

– Lightning

Hermit crabs require a decent lightning system across their tanks to thrive. Depending on the voltage and the brand, this can cost anywhere between $10 and $20 and it will also need to be replaced once it burns out.

Try getting bulbs of higher quality, which are slightly a bigger investment but they are also more durable. Some owners like adding a simple night bulb to their tanks too, so they can easily observe their pets being more active during nighttime, but this is not essential.

– Shells

A single shell is not expensive at all but, keeping in mind that you will be needing at least 3 shells for each of your 3 hermit crabs, these costs can gather up around $20.

They need to be replaced as often as your hermit molt, as they will require a slightly larger selection of shells as they grow.

– Aquarium Salt

Since you will not be able to simply driving to the ocean shore and pouring a decent amount of water into a jug, you will need aquarium salt to transform de-chlorinated freshwater into saltwater.

This is as a big investment as $10 but it can certainly last for several months. Depending on the type and brand, you will need just a tiny salt portion every two or three days to fulfill your pet’s needs.

– Thermometer & Hygrometer

This is usually a one-time investment as long as they do not break.

It will cost you around $15 to ensure that you can constantly keep track of the environmental conditions around your enclosure and therefore provide the ideal temperature and humidity levels to your hermit pets.

– Decorations

Decorations can be tricky to estimate when it comes to cost because these can vary a lot depending on your personal preferences.

For instance, if you wish to have some live plants inside your hermit tank, keep in mind that this can become quite of a cost as your pets will quickly eat them up and you will therefore need to replace them in no time.

On the other side, plastic plants are perfectly safe for your pets and will require less investment. Other than that, you will probably decide to buy some cool climbing branches to save you the trouble of having to disinfect natural ones.

Items like coconut shells and tiny houses for hiding are also really helpful. Your pets will additionally need at least 2 water dishes and 1 food dish. These can be bought or handcrafted. Some people like to add natural sponges to their water dishes, too.

None of these make big investments, but depending on your wishes, these can sum up to a decent sum sometimes. However, a general starting cost goes from $25.

Hermit Crab Food

Luckily, food is the most frequent yet most affordable cost you will encounter. Firstly, these creatures are really small and therefore require tiny portions of food each day.

Commercial pellets are their basic food when living in captivity and this costs about $10 but lasts for a decent amount of time. As for all other food, it would be unfair from us talking about costs. Hermit crabs are omnivorous scavengers which makes them amazing little money-savers.

They will basically accept any fresh food offered by their human parents. If you are having a sushi evening during the weekends, simply put aside a small part of seaweed for your pets.

Barbecue with friends? Just boil up a small part of that chicken you are going to eat and offer it to your hermit crabs. The list is really un-exhaustive here, as you can basically offer them any vegetable as long as it is not starchy and any fruit unless it is highly acidic.

Occasional nut treats, unsalted popcorn or even simple grass will certainly keep your pets happy and full.

Wrapping Up

Even if some pet stores like advertising hermit crabs as cheap and low-maintenance pets, this is only partially true. Indeed, they do not require much time or high costs from their people, but this does not automatically mean that you will be able of providing them the life they deserve without putting some money on the side.

More importantly, please always take into consideration their lifespan when calculating keeping costs. Well-maintained and healthy hermit crabs can be your companions for a really nice part of your life and can survive even up to 20 years when held as pets.

Hermit Crabs   Invertebrates   Updated: March 2, 2021
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.
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