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Author Topic: about shedding tanks  (Read 11140 times)
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saltysandman
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« on: February 18, 2010, 02:53:55 PM »

hey all, i'm fascinated by this forum and am completely a newbie when it comes to shoft shells. i'm lucky to be in an area of florida where i can go catch 5-10 crabs everytime i go. albeit only once a month. reading about these shedding tanks i'm considering getting a fish tank (50gallon) and try to harvest soft shells. i have a stupid question.  Huh if done properly, will the crabs that i catch, all become soft shells within a short time frame? say 2-8 days? Also, after setting up my fish tank, can i just segregate the crabs so they don't kill each other? how much space do they really need? i'm visualizing a Penitentiary of sorts. i could get some acrylic dividers so they can see each other. feed them a chunk of chicken a day and wit for them to get soft. sounds kinda cruel.  laugh death row for crabs! and for their last meal....i mean my last meal....

i've read that the crabs will need a little marine salt for the trace elements. i catch them in the intercoastal and most of the time the water is very fresh (hardly any salty taste). i already found a complete 50 gallon fish tank set up with stand and filter for $125. is this possible or am i just going to kill a bunch of crabs. if i can't get the softshells i'd much rather cook them in a singapore chili crab recipe! thanks in advance!

ssandman
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jack1747
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 03:07:23 PM »

Here's a good place to start http://www.bluecrab.info/molting.html

http://www.bluecrab.info/resources2.htm
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 03:12:34 PM »

Beat me to it Jack.......or just schroll down to the bottom of this page and click on the crab icon in the center.  A wealth of information there.
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saltysandman
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2010, 03:26:47 PM »

thanks Jack. so i misunderstood! it takes between 2-14 days for PEELERS to actually molt. So the average hard shell, not peeler, can take 30-50 days to molt. the larger the crab the longer between molts. ahhhh. i'd be willing to invest this time to eat the softies!

Understood. okay, how's the rest of my Alcrabraz plan? I'm thinking if they are segregated, i could have about 12-15 crabs in a 50gallon tank. Will they be too cramped if i have them in individual cells say 9"x9"?
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saltysandman
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2010, 03:54:03 PM »

wow! great resources (still reading). i feel pretty naive now. in the blue crab technical resources, it talks about a protein skimmer in a closed system. Do you think that this is a good idea? Since i'm only going to be doing this to eat my 5 softshells a month, would it be necessary? I'm kind of excited to try this even though the work will not yield much. Thanks again for your input!

SS
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2010, 05:33:49 PM »

I think it would be a function of surface area vs. the size of a fish tank.  Most floats (shedding tanks) have only a few inches of water in them.  It's not like keeping a crab in a aquarium.  You can keep one (1) in a aquarium and it will shed sooner or later.  What you will be looking for are Rank Peelers.  Ones that are going to bust within hours not days.  If you have a source of rank peelers then I would think you could get a few soft crabs (4 or so in a 50 gal. tank) via keeping them in a well aireated aquarium with say 6-8 inches of water. Trying to shed pinks or anything else would probably just be killing crabs...  Undecided
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2010, 05:38:08 PM »

I think it would be a function of surface area vs. the size of a fish tank.  Most floats (shedding tanks) have only a few inches of water in them.  It's not like keeping a crab in a aquarium.  You can keep one (1) in a aquarium and it will shed sooner or later.  What you will be looking for are Rank Peelers.  Ones that are going to bust within hours not days.  If you have a source of rank peelers then I would think you could get a few soft crabs (4 or so in a 50 gal. tank) via keeping them in a well aireated aquarium with say 6-8 inches of water. Trying to shed pinks or anything else would probably just be killing crabs...  Undecided
If you feed them any kind of meat or fish you will screw up you water and kill your crabs,I have 4500 gals of water in a closed system and 1 bunker willpollute my water.
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saltysandman
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2010, 06:03:28 PM »

Indeed this seems much more difficult than i first thought. I'm saddened that my jailhouse idea is not going to work. I guess i will try 1, then 2, then so forth and see how it goes. Like looking at them so maybe they'll just end up being pets.  laugh laugh laugh laugh till they get soft.

btw, what's a bunker? if i can't feed them fish or meat, what else? fish flakes?
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2010, 06:16:06 PM »

You need to be able to distinguish a "ripe" peeler and stick strictly with them. They don't eat in that stage (which includes, they don't eat each other). With ripe peelers you don't have to worry about feeding them and you don't have to worry about keeping them in compartments. If you get a green peeler or regular hard crab in there with the ripe ones, you will know.
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saltysandman
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2010, 06:41:59 PM »

Thanks Mike. That sounds like a good plan but if they aren't eating it might be hard for me to catch them since i catch all my crabs with hand lines w/chicken legs.  Cheesy Now, i know how to look for the peelers and i do recall many of the crabs i caught in the past having softer shells.

I have learned much from all the input to this thread. Thanks guys!
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Crabcruncher
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2010, 10:39:06 PM »

If you want softcrabs once in a while, keep it simple.
Dont worry about trying to recognize the peeler signs, let the male crab do it for you...in other words, only keep the females that are being cradle carried by the males. They will shed their shell from between one hour and one week.  If you try to read the signs and mistake them , you will probably give up after the crab doesnt shed after three weeks.
Do not feed them.
Get a STYROFOAM cooler to keep the females in, I have had up to three in their at one time and shed all three.
When I catch a doubler{male carrying female peeler} I fill a five gallon bucket up with about four gallons of water from where I caught the crabs. In my garage, I put the peeler in the cooler, add the water, than turn on a portable aerator that runs on 115 volts. Bought it at basspro shops. The aerator is important, without it the peeler will stress out and kick the bucket when trying to back out of shell.
They like to shed when you are not around, so check them often. When they are getting close, you will see their top shell lift slightly at their back. Time to get frying pan ready.


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« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 10:42:21 PM by Crabcruncher » Logged

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saltysandman
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2010, 09:32:17 AM »

thanks Crabcruncher. this seems like the simplest thing to do. i already have a many 5 gallon buckets and a couple aerators. looking forward to crabbing these weekend!
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2010, 09:37:47 AM »

thanks Crabcruncher. this seems like the simplest thing to do. i already have a many 5 gallon buckets and a couple aerators. looking forward to crabbing these weekend!

I wanna go too. Cry Cry Cry Cry Cry
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