Hermit crabs can make fun pets. They require enough responsibility to get you engaged, but not too much to steal time from your day. Additionally, their habitats can also be aesthetically appealing, giving your space more decoration ideas. If you’re getting a pet crab, it only helps to buy the best substrate for hermit crab. But what comprises a great substrate and which ones should you check out? We answer these questions and more. We will also share tips like how to decorate, and how often you should clean your pet’s habitat. By the end of this guide, you’ll be knowledgeable enough to look after your own pet hermit crab.
Guide to Buying the Best Substrate for Hermit Crab
When shopping for substrates for your hermit crab, there are three things to keep in mind
The substrate isn’t just for aesthetics. You also need it to be voluminous enough for your crab to burrow through. As a result, you may need to buy two or three packs, depending on the manufacturer’s packaging.
Some substrates are more absorbent than others. The rate at which the substrate holds water is important because it helps regulate the humidity in the habitat. Unless you have a controlled heat lamp or mat, absorbent substrate is the way to go.
If you plan to keep your crab’s habitat in plain sight, then the aesthetics are important. You want substrate that contrasts well with the crab and other decorations in the habitat. Colored substrates like white or black are ideal for this purpose.
Top 20 Best Substrate for Hermit Crab
Now that we’ve gone over these tips, let’s dive right into what you came for — the top products on the market.
Fluker’s All Natural Premium Sand Substrate
Give your hermit crab the satisfaction of an all natural sand substrate in its habitat. With loose grains and small particles, the sand is perfect for burrowing and playing. Additionally, it helps during the molting process.
The Fluker’s All Natural Premium Sand Substrate contains a blend of sand, coconut fiber, sea salt, and probiotics. The coconut water helps improve water retention which can improve the habitat, as well as regulate temperature.
Zoo Med Hermit Soil Coconut FIber
This hermit crab substrate has a little bit of a twist to it. It comes in bricks, instead of loosely packed sand grains. You’ll have to unpack and aerate the substrate to make the particles suitable for use.
Once decompressed, it’s perfect for all kinds of crab enclosures, promoting burrowing and raising the humidity in the area. The substrate naturally breaks down odor and waste products, reducing the amount of work you have to do. Each brick gives about 8 liters of substrate.
Zoo Med Laboratories Hermit Crab Soil
Here’s an identical brick substrate from Zoo Med Labs. But this product comes in a pair of two, giving you a total of 16 liters of substrate. Additionally, the compressed form is shaped like a hockey puck, which is different from the brick we’re used to.
You’ll be glad to know that the Zoo Med Laboratories substrate is just as effective as any other substrate you can lay your hands on. It’s made from eco-friendly materials like coconut fiber and probiotics. It also helps break down waste products.
Zoo Med Hermit Crab Calcium Sand
Here are two pounds of sandy substrate for your beloved hermit crabs. The great thing about this product is that it’s simply sand — there are no additives or extra ingredients that make you question it’s value. Made of all natural calcium carbonate, it’s also free of paint and other color additives.
The sand is yellow like the beach and it’ll give your crabs a feeling of nostalgia. The calcium carbonate in the sand also helps keep the crabs healthy.
AquaNatural Hermit Crab Aragonite
AquaNatural outdid themselves with this substrate. It has all the features your crab needs to thrive and then some! The soil is created sustainably, free of phosphate, and full of aragonite.
You also have the traditional features that crabs love, like stimulating natural burrowing behavior, and simulating their natural habitat. The total size is about 10 pounds, which means you may only need to buy one bag, especially if your habitat is small.
Zilla Coconut Husk Brick Bedding
There’s some controversy around the best substrate for hermit crabs. Some experts suggest that sand is best, while others advocate for a mixture of sand and other materials. Some even say that only non-sand materials like coconut fiber is acceptable.
The truth is that all these options are acceptable choices. But if you belong to the last school of thought, ZIlla Coconut Husk Brick Bedding is just the product for you. It contains 100% highly absorbent coconut fiber, ideal for crabs, geckos, and frogs.
CaribSea Super Natural Torpedo Beach Sand
Not a fan of coconut fibers? How about all natural beach sand for your crab? The CaribSea Super Natural Torpedo Beach Sand recreates your pet’s natural ecosystem. The crab will love it even if it was born in captivity. Additionally, the sand is pH neutral and doesn’t contain any paint or dyes.
CaribSea offers a window to all kinds of exotic places, including the Rio Negro and Sri Lanka. It might even have you wishing you were a crab!
Zoo Med White Hermit Crab White Sand
We already reviewed a variation of this product. But this one offers a fresh experience, with white sand instead of yellow. Mimicking white sand beaches, this product imitates the most exotic of hermit crab habitats, encouraging it’s natural behaviors.
Due to the product’s small packaging, you may have to buy more than one to fill up your crab’s habitat. It’s important to have enough substrate for the animals to play in.
T-Rex Hermit Crab Substrate
The T-Rex hermit crab substrate is perhaps one of the most premium crab substrates you can find. It contains all the finest ingredients, from forest bed bark and calci sand to coconut bark. After wetting, the substrate slowly releases the humidity, controlling the atmosphere in the habitat.
Besides its high-end ingredients, the T-Rex Hermit Crab Substrate also gives a highly natural look for your crab’s habitat.
Zilla Jungle Mix
Off the bat, two things make this product such a great buy. The first is its manufacturer, Zilla. They are known for making the best products for pets, including substrate for crabs .The second is the price. For such a premium product, it’s a steal!
You can already guess what’s in the packaging and what the product can do. It’s a blend of sphagnum moss and fir shavings. This combination is highly absorbent and great for habitat humidity. It is also fully natural, great for the environment, and loved by hermit crabs.
Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding
One of the perks of this product is its availability. You can get it in different sizes, from single and multiple 8-Liter packs to 24-Quart packaging. The substrate has a natural color of black and gray, which will look beautiful against your crab’s exoskeleton.
As expected from a manufacturer like Zoo Med, it’s 100% Natural cypress mulch, a green product. The Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding is recommended for snakes, lizards, turtles, and frogs.
E-Z Botanicals Terrarium Sphagnum Moss
The texture of Sphagnum Moss brings an entirely different experience to your hermit crab’s terrarium. It also contributes nicor fauna and antibacterial properties to the mix. The spongy nature also makes the substrate highly absorbent to water and moisture.
For all its positive qualities, some users have experienced trouble with the product. Some arrivals smell like chemicals, making it unsuitable for use for crabs and reptiles.
SunGrow Hermit Crab Indian Almond Leaves
The SunGrow Almond Leaves add a whole different meaning to substrate for crabs. Firstly, they are more like multipurpose habitat accessories. Besides forming some sort of substrate, the SunGrow Hermit Crab Leaves also add humidity to the habitat, which is always a good thing.
Finally, they are a great source of cellulose. Crabs are foragers by nature ,and eating the leaves can give them tons of nutrition. Put all this together and you have the purchase with the most value on this list.
Zilla Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner
In a pinch, this product can serve as an excellent substrate for your pet. Its rough texture and color miminics the sandy beaches. Additionally, because it can’t be digested, the liner poses no health hazards to your pets.
We should mention that this product is by no means ideal. Crabs need substrate that can holds water and can be burrowed through. This should only be used temporarily if there are no other options.
Penn Plax HC25 Hermit Crab Starter Kit
The Penn Plax starter kit is perfect for new hermit crab owners. It contains everything they need to get started including substrate. Now, the substrate in this product isn’t the best out there. But for a starter kit, it’s quite fair.
Besides substrate, the kit also contains sponge, natural branches, and of course, a 1-gallon tank. If you already own a pet crab, ensure it’s small enough to fit into this tank. You don’t want to place your crab in a small habitat.
Flourite Black Sand
Flourite black sand may be one of the most visually appealing substrates on this list. It has a distinct black color that pulls in light and highlights everything around it. This includes your crabs, foliage and other decorations you might have placed in the habitat.
The product is also perfectly suited for burrowing, with the right consistency and grain size. The Flourite Black Sand substrate is best paired with habitat decorations like logs and branches.
Zoo Med Starter Hermit Crab Starter Kit
Here’s another starter kit for hermit crabs that gives you your money’s worth. As expected, the kit comes with its own substrate which is a great choice if you have a small crab. The soil is spongy and has enough volume to give your pet crustacean enough room to burrow.
The kit also comes with salt and water conditioners, a shell, and a food bowl. You may as well buy this starter kit along with your pet crab; it’ll save you tons of money.
Fluker’s Live Moss for Hermit Crabs
Fluker’s live moss is a great addition to your hermit crab’s habitat. It’s not specifically a substrate, but it does enhance the living experience of the pets. Additionally, it provides gorgeous aesthetics, and gives your crab something to climb.
To get the most out of this product, pair it with some driftwood or other log substrates. Combined, they give crabs a lively environment, simulating their natural habitat.
Fluker’s Hermit Crab Sand Scooper
The sand scooper is a handy tool for all crab owners to have. It makes spreading substrate in the pet’s habitat a real breeze. It also simplifies cleaning by getting into every nook and cranny of the habitat.
The sooper is made of plastic, which makes it sturdy and durable. It’s also easy to clean because all you need is some warm water and crab-friendly deodorizing spray.
Fluker’s Lagoon/Bowl for Hermit Crabs
This multipurpose tool is another must-have for every serious crab owner. The product can double as a decorative pool and a feeding bowl. Bury it in the sand and fill with water to get a lovely pool in the middle of your crab’s habitat.
You can also use it to supply your crustacean with a healthy diet. Fluker’s Lagoon/Bowl is easy to clean, and all you really need is some warm water and safe deodorizing spray.
Before you go, here are some final tips on the best substrate for hermit crabs. While filling the habitat with substrate, you need to ensure you spread it evenly. That way, your pet can move around without difficulty. As we’ve suggested on this list, it’s also a good idea to get other decorating elements like moss, logs, and even shells. Finally, you should clean your hermit crab’s habitat as often as possible. The ideal situation would be to take care of obvious messes and spots every day, and to do intense cleaning on the weekend. If you don’t have as much time, clean the habitat as regularly as you can.