Hermit crabs are creatures that require a lot of attention and care to survive. Neglecting these small crabs will only lead to sickness or even death. In our article on what hermit crabs need, we emphasized the importance of maintaining the proper temperatures in the crabitat.
These crabs need a temperature of between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Achieving such temperatures in the crab’s habitat requires you to use various devices, including heat mats and heat lamps as well.
This brings us to the main question, do hermit crabs need a heat lamp?
Well, you can opt to use one, but It depends on the size of your terrarium. Most people argue that heat lamps are too intense and could dry out the air in the habitat.
There’s a lot of debate revolving around heat lamps, which explains why crab owners tend to avoid them. People feel only comfortable using them when the temperatures are too cold and when the terrarium is too large.
Do Hermit Crabs Need A Heat Lamp?
The most straightforward answer to this question is YES & NO. Heat lamps can do the job, but you have to be extremely careful when setting them up. If you have to use a heat bulb in your crabitat, you must ensure that you are using one that has low wattage.
Usually, a heat lamp suffices when you are experiencing freezing temperatures. In that case, you can use a 40-watt bulb. Even then, you’ll be required to limit the duration in which you leave the lamp switched on. Leaving the heat lamp on for an extended period can cause damage to the crab because of overheating.
If you decide to use a heat bulb, make sure you have a device that can monitor the temperatures in the tank. As you well know, the temperatures should fall somewhere between 25-32 degrees Celsius. So, make sure the tank’s temperatures do not exceed the 32 degrees mark.
Hermit crab owners have their concerns about heat lamps zapping out humidity. These concerns are valid, which is why you need various moisture sources. Apart from misting the crabitat, try having some sphagnum moss and natural sponges in the crabitat. Others prefer to place the heat lamp near the water bowls to minimize moisture loss.
Heat Lamp Or Heat Mat? Which Is Better?
If you want to create warmth for your hermit crab without sacrificing humidity, we’d recommend that you use a heat mat. Unlike heat lamps, mats are easy to regulate, and there is no way they’ll harm your crabs if you set them right.
A heat mat will raise the temperatures a few degrees; therefore, you won’t have to worry about humidity. Although heat mats are also known as Under Tank Heaters (UTH) they should not be placed under the substrate when dealing with hermit crabs.
Experts recommend keepers place them on the side of the tank. This means that the heat mat won’t mess with the substrate’s wetness. Besides, you won’t run the risk of burning the crab while it’s molting or hiding under the substrate.
So, if you were to choose between a heat lamp and a heat mat, which one would you go for?
Here at The Pet Space, we recommend heat mats because they are much safer. However, if you have a huge tank, you might consider using a low-wattage heat lamp to distribute the heat evenly.
Whichever device you choose, make sure you are not sacrificing the humidity in the tank as you might end up suffocating the hermit crab.
Are There Any Other Alternatives For Heating Your Tank?
Yes, there are various ways of heating a hermit crab’s tank, but the bottom line is, not all are reliable. According to the Crab Street Journal, the under-tank heat mats/ strips/ pads are the best heating solution. These guys also recommend using ceramic heat emitters and overhead lights, but they do mention that they are challenging to maintain.
Keep in mind that you should never use heat rocks in the crab’s habitat. Using heat rocks will kill your hermit crab in no time. Heat rocks are notorious for burning pets, which is why you should stay away from them.
Avoid Overheating Your Hermit Crab
Keeping your hermit crab warm is necessary, but you might end up killing the crab if you do it wrong. As I mentioned before, temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit are dangerous for your hermies.
It is hard to know whether your hermit crabs are overheating, which is why you need to have a digital gauge to monitor the humidity and temperatures. Avoid using analog gauges as they won’t give you the right numbers.
Nowadays, you can find a heating mat with temperature control, meaning you won’t have to adjust the temperatures normally. I found the TFWADMX Under tank warmer is ideal for heating your crabitat. It is efficient and saves a lot of energy.
From the above information, it is evident that heat lamps are not the most suitable way to heat your hermit crab’s habitat. They are pretty bad for pets that depend on high humidity to survive. Besides, they create hot spots and dry the tank. You’ll be better off with an under-tank heat mat such as the TFWADMX UTH or the Ultratherm Undertank Heater.