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Author Topic: Please can anyone shed light on my beloved crab's demise? (re chitin)  (Read 411 times)
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Cedric the Rainbow Crab
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« on: February 10, 2019, 10:11:03 AM »

Hello all, I am hoping to find an answer (I realise there may not be one though) as to why my pet Cardisoma Armatum/Rainbow Crab, Cedric died. He had just successfully completed his 3rd moult (in my care) . He was missing his most rear leg on the right hand side. When he first came, he was missing this leg, same one. It was present and perfect after his first and second moults with me. Other than that, everything seemed perfect. He was seemingly enjoying the much needed nutrition from his cast exoskeleton, and I was leaving him well alone to get through the most stressful time when his carapace was still soft. I kept his main daytime light hours slightly shortened, and thus extended his dusk and moonlight hours. Other than quietly dropping tiny bits of his normal diet in should he decide he needed more than just his old shed, and monitoring his water, I stayed well back to let him complete his final, and probably most important stage of his moult.
Last night, doing one last quite check (just peeping in through the glass) something seemed to scream *WRONG!!* He looked perfect, he was still hiding in his log cave, but more still than I have ever seen. His eye stalks were at noticeable angles. A few hours earlier, he was, or appeared to be, eating his old shell.
When I lifted him out, again, aside from the one missing leg, he was aesthetically perfect. BUT! He was soft! All over! It was like he was made of soft rubber or silicone, absolutely no sign of hardening at all, and this was nighttime of day 3 since slough, leading into day 4. It to me, seems like the process of his chitin production had absolutely not happened. He had a very varied diet, vegetation, some fruit, live insects, mealworms, Crab Cuisine, basic fish flakes etc. He had access to cuttlebone constantly, and I would gut load is crickets with calcidust. I let him eat what he chose to eat, as I always felt no one could know better than him what his body needed, especially when he was approaching the pre-moult self starvation time.
If his death was due to the none production of chitin (that is what his body tells me anyway) then can anyone shed even the slightest light on why this would happen?
I fully respect this is not a 'pet crab' forum, and is specifically intended for breeders of the Blue crab, but I do like to keep my learning curves unblinkered and wide, hence why I joined.
I absolutely adored my enchanting crab, and feel so lost and heartbroken at this completely unexpected death. If I can learn something from it, and maybe apply that knowledge to my (maybe) next crab, it will not feel that it was in vain.
Many thanks if you have patiently read through this long post.
Regards,
Anne.
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jack1747
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 11:14:34 AM »

completed his 3rd moult (in my care) .
Any idea how old it was? How long have you had it?
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2019, 02:09:13 PM »

Very sorry to hear that your cute Cedric passed away. i was looking forward to seeing some more posts about him.
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2019, 02:46:02 PM »

So very sorry to hear of his passing. It's amazing how attached you can become to a creature. Please keep us posted on what you find out. Mark
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 04:25:21 PM »

sorry to hear that news ,
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Cedric the Rainbow Crab
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 04:46:54 PM »

Any idea how old it was? How long have you had it?

I'm really not sure of his actual age Jack1747, although I would say he was no more than 6 months old when I got him. He really did have that rounded 'baby' look at the time. I have had him about 11-12 months. His carapace is is like paper tissue that has been wet, then sun dried..Tracing paper kind of feel to it, but not as 'tough'. His legs and underside felt like the stuff a soft rubber toy crab would be made of, and his tail flap was parted and hanging loose from his underside. Does that strike you as a chitin problem? Thank you for responding!
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Cedric the Rainbow Crab
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 04:52:50 PM »

Thank you 'Discover', Bluetip4me' and 'Tattoo' for your kind words. I hope I can learn something from this, be it my own errors in his care, or more about the natural or unatural problems that occur, and they may occur. Everyone's kindness here on this forum is very much appreciated.
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2019, 07:46:26 PM »

Sorry for your loss; you seem to be a dedicated and consciousness owner.  As to why he died, that's a tough question to answer.
My first question would be, what was the hardness of the water he was living in? Carbonate hardness is important.  There may have been a lack of trace elements which would explain the softness of his shell.  I've worked in the aquarium trade for nearly a decade, and maintain several large SW aquariums at home.  Shellfish and crabs are most vulnerable just after their molt.  While your crab is not strictly an aquatic species, I would look at your water quality first, not just salinity and pH, but hardness, phosphate, and nitrate levels.  Don't be discouraged, they are fascinating creatures, but fragile in an enclosed environment.  I'll look at my references and see if I can come up with any other suggestions.
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Cedric the Rainbow Crab
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2019, 10:04:15 PM »

Sorry for your loss; you seem to be a dedicated and consciousness owner.  As to why he died, that's a tough question to answer.
My first question would be, what was the hardness of the water he was living in? Carbonate hardness is important.  There may have been a lack of trace elements which would explain the softness of his shell.  I've worked in the aquarium trade for nearly a decade, and maintain several large SW aquariums at home.  Shellfish and crabs are most vulnerable just after their molt.  While your crab is not strictly an aquatic species, I would look at your water quality first, not just salinity and pH, but hardness, phosphate, and nitrate levels.  Don't be discouraged, they are fascinating creatures, but fragile in an enclosed environment.  I'll look at my references and see if I can come up with any other suggestions.


Thank you so much Sunpal, your kind words and your help mean a lot. Cedric did actually love to spend time in his water, he was more of a dipper than a digger for sure. He had two lots of water, fresh water, and a separate dish of brackish water. His substrate was (after some trial and error to find one he would even go near) very damp cocofibre.  I changed it regularly to prevent stagnancy in the lower part of the substrate, but he still liked to sit submerged. Kind of ironic, but I'd just bought him a massive viv, 179.5 us gallons. I'd started work developing it for him, made a huge false bottom for substrate drainage, started on steps so he could actually get to his substrate, started creating a climbing wall, ordered isopods and springtails, and well, basically I wanted him to have the best set up I could possibly give him. But I have missed something somewhere, I've just ended up failing him.
This is the water report for my immediate area, it is a hard water area. Thank you again!
https://www.unitedutilities.com/help-and-support/your-water-supply/drinking-water-quality/water-quality-search-results/?postcodeField=PR9+0JH
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