Should I remove hermit crab from shell to feed a baby octopus?

Joe-Ceph

Haliphron Atlanticus
Supporter
#1
I recently got a tiny bimac (1" mantle, 2" arms) and I'm having a little trouble keeping it fed. so far it only likes live food. Today I found a lot of little hermit crabs that are in thick snail shells about 1/2" to 3/4" wide. Will the little octopus be able to get them out of their shells, or must I remove them somehow? How?
 

CaptFish

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#2
My Mercs never had any trouble with them. and recently Seven ate a hermit was was as big as he is. I didn't see it happen but the hermit legs were scattered everywhere.

D freezes them then cracks the shell off defrosts and feeds them to her octos. I have never tried this.
 

SabrinaR

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
Registered
#3
I would remove them from the shell... D had luck with freezing and then pulling them out with pliers some how... I will go look and see if I can find the thread. I dont think the baby would be able to get them out even if its willing to eat them. Isis ate every snail in the tank but not one of the hermit crabs. She tried them once but decided she didnt like them.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#5
As mentioned above (:grin:) we found feeding the hatchlings deshelled hermits worked very well and they were easily accepted where shrimp was totally ignored until about 5 months of age (and Monty, the hummelincki, still will only eat the small bait shrimp and won't touch table shrimp). I froze the hermits more for to minimize suffering than any need to freeze since mortality is quite low with hermits but it might have helped with getting them to take dead food. We never had one rejected and I recommend them highly as a baby food. Kara suggested leaving them out of the water and letting them crawl out of their shells but we were not successful the one time we tried this approach. It may be that we did not wait long enough as she assures me this works. The simplest extraction method we found was using a quick, sharp tap with a hammer or crushing the shell with a pair of pliers. Unless the hermit was extremely small, they would come out whole as long as the backend was released from the turns in the shell. Aiming the hammer was the difficult part :oops:

Odd you should ask today though, we fed Monty two of the remaining ones last night since we are out of bait shrimp and wanted to give him a change from the fiddler crabs.
 

Joe-Ceph

Haliphron Atlanticus
Supporter
#6
Are you saying that you froze them solid, killing them, and then fed dead, de-shelled, hermit crabs to the baby octopus? Or do you just chill them, without killing them, to "knock them out", then break their shells, and feed them live to the baby octopus?
 

Joe-Ceph

Haliphron Atlanticus
Supporter
#7
Thanks for the input guys. I ended up using a hammer to break a couple of them out of their shells (it was very easy) and toss them into the tank with the baby bimac. The bimac has only eaten live food up to this point, so I don't want to kill them in the freezer. I suppose I could anesthetize them by chilling them for a few minutes first, but I think the tank water would warm and wake them up anyway, just in time to experience the thrill of being eaten alive by a monster five times their size, so I decided it wasn't worth the trouble to chill them.

What should I feed the hermit crabs waiting on death-row? I figure a little flake food should do it for them, but if anyone with experience has any better ideas, please let me know.

Oh, and just to add to the public knowledge-pool:
I collected a bunch of little clams at low tide that are about 1/2" long. The baby bimac ignores them if they are closed, and even if I open them, he rarely eats them. I wasn't comfortable relying solely on them to keep him alive. Even though the clams and the bimac both live in the local intertidal zone, the clams live in the flat wet sand, while the bimac lives in the rocks/tide pools, so a baby bimac probably never sees one of these clams.

I expect the live, deshelled, hermit crabs will solve my problem, but I won't be able to confirm that until tonight (I left for work right after I tossed them into his tank this morning)

Thanks again for all your help
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
Supporter
Registered
#8
Joe-Ceph;166712 said:
I suppose I could anesthetize them by chilling them for a few minutes first, but I think the tank water would warm and wake them up anyway, just in time to experience the thrill of being eaten alive by a monster five times their size, so I decided it wasn't worth the trouble to chill them.
As opposed to a monster five hundred times their size cracking their shell open? :shock:

Glad you found a way to remove them from their shell...
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Supporter
#9
Hermits are scavengers, we feed ours finely chopped fish, but of course they also clean up after others. We have a baby octi at the moment and we are feeding him/her small shore crabs, which are dealt with very efficiently!
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#10
So there's little interest in the baby clams. Octopets, our breeder and supplier some years ago, used baby clams to feed young bimacs. Some of our Tonmo bimac keepers ordered the little clams for their bimacs, and there were stories of the little bimacs loading up with as many clams as they could carry in their arms!

Nancy
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#11
I suspect age may have a lot to do with what the baby will and will not attempt to eat. We definitely saw this with the briareus.

Interestingly, Monty will not take store bought shrimp and we started to wonder if not having a shell on the shrimp made a difference (he takes the shell on bait shrimp I brought back with gusto). I visited a Korean food mart today and picked up some shell on shrimp that are way too large for him but we will experiment with giving him a portion with a shell to see if this is the problem.

We purposefully killed the hermits, a few at a time. We never had any issue with the baby octopuses eating the thawed offering but then the twins were tank raised so they had started to know what we offered was expected to be eaten. They would touch the shrimp, play with it sometimes and even nibble but not eat it so they knew it was an offering and rejected it (thankfully the twins will eat almost any shrimp now). However, Monty was not tank hatched and readily took them dead as he does with the bait shrimp, just not the table shrimp.

If you don't mind hunting them up, you can just leave the live hermits in the tank with the baby and they will be clean-up crew. However, I was too lazy to hunt them and kept them in a small two gallon with an equally small Azoo cascade filter and LR and fed a little Cyclop-eeze every day (sometimes with thawed mysis but not daily)
 

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