Best Sand for Hermit Crabs: Top 20 for 2021 (Reviews & Guide)

By: Mary
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Being a pet owner is a lot of responsibility, regardless of your type of pet. As an owner, it’s natural to want your hermit crab to thrive. This often involves getting an excellent habitat, and of course, the best sand for hermit crabs. But what’s the best sand? Can you afford it? What are your other options? Don’t fret because we answer these questions and more in this guide. We’ll also go through some of the things you should look out for when buying sand. At the end of the guide, we wrap things up by sharing some hermit crab best practices. Let’s dive into it.

Guide to Choosing the Best Sand for Hermit Crabs

With so many products out there, you need a guide to help you select the best possible option for your crab. This is that guide, and here are three factors you should keep an eye out for when buying crab substrate.

Fiber Composition

Many substrate don’t just contain fine grains of sand; they also have all kinds of fiber and shavings mixed in. You need to ensure that these are the right size and quality. Always look out for coconut fiber and fir shavings as these make the best substrate.

The Size of Grains

Get substrate that’s as fine and small as sand found on the beach. Bigger grains will make it difficult for the crabs to burrow through, and they can even hurt their shells.

Calcium Deposits

Substrates with calcium deposits are an ideal choice. They are refine and great for the crab’s health. The reason is that calcium-rich substrate helps harden hermit crab shells as they interact with it. Unfortunately, these are often expensive and may not fit your budget. The good news is playground sand, or even beach sand, will work just as well.

20 Best Sand for Hermit Crabs

Next, let’s look at some of the best substrates for hermit crabs available today.

Pure Organic Ingredients Natural Decorative Sand

Pure Organic Ingredient’s natural decorative sand is a uniform small-grained sand/substrate. Made of high-quality sand, it has a white color and an even consistency. It is non-dyed, non-toxic, and very eco friendly.

The manufacturer is so confident in this product that they are willing to offer you a money-back guarantee if you don’t enjoy the substrate.

AquaNatural Hermit Crab Aragonite Sand

The Aragonite sand is made by sampling sand from the natural habitat of the hermit crab. As a result, it has a fine consistency, smooth edges, and it’s phosphate-free. The sand’s rich texture also encourages the burrowing that hermit crabs are known for.

Even if your hermit crab has never lived in the wild, it’ll feel right at home in this substrate. Considering that this product is harvested from beaches in the Bahamas, it’s very reasonably priced.

Fluker’s All Natural Premium Sand Substrate Mixture

From horse feed to aquarium decorations, Fluker’s are known for their pet-friendly products. Here we have a hermit crab sand that’s just as smooth and texture-rich as the real thing. It’s made for crab terrariums, but it’ll do just as well for reptiles and other pets.

Fluker’s premium sand substrate is made using a blend of coconut fiber, sand, sea salt, and probiotics. Thus, it’s great for water retention and mimicking the natural habitat of the crabs.

Zoo Med Hermit Crab Calcium Sand Substrate

Zoo Med stakes its claim with this product as one of the best pet product manufacturers in the market. The hermit crab sand substrate comes in several colors, depending on what you want. It’s made of all-natural calcium carbonate without any dye or colorings.

Besides the sand’s substrate properties, it also doubles as a source of calcium from your hermit crabs. Calcium encourages the growth of a strong outer shell.

Zoo Med Reptisand Natural Terrarium Sand

Instead of the traditional yellow sand that we are all used to, how about the color red? Red sand can give your hermit crab some variety while still stimulating natural digging behavior and mimicking its natural habitat.

The great thing about Zoo Med’s red sand is the lack of dye, paint, or artificial coloring. Additionally, it’s fine enough that it doesn’t harm your crab when it moves around.

Zoo Med ReptiSand, 10 Pounds

Many people often fantasize about vacationing on white-sand beaches, away from all the drama of the world. For hermit crabs, they already have a head start – they are separated from the drama. Complete their getaway by filling their terrarium with white sand, and they’ll love it!

You need enough sand to keep your pet comfortable; just a little bit won’t do. Luckily, this product comes in packs of two, three, and four. Buying an extra pack gets you a nice discount.

Zoo Med ReptiFresh Odor Eliminating Substrate

This sand substrate is excellent for messy pets who tend to have smelly habitats. But it works just as well for hermit crabs. It’s small-grained, consistent, and voluminous enough to make your pet’s habitat comfortable.

Zoo Med boasts that the substrate can last up to 12 months before needing a replacement. Since you’ll be needing a lot, you can buy the two, three, or four packs and get a discount.

Exo Terra Desert Sand

So far, we’ve seen sand with various colors, all perfect for your hermit crab. Here’s some black sand for the pet owners that want something different. Now, you may be thinking the substrate will contain impurities.

But not to worry because Exo Terra sifted it to remove impurities and achieve an even grain size. Besides creating a unique desert ambiance, it also conducts heat very well and encourages burrowing.

Reptile Sciences Terrarium Sand

Is manufacturing crab substrate a science? Many people would disagree, but Reptile Sciences don’t! They take the game to a whole other level by making their substrate out of edible calcium grains.

The sand is silica and phosphate-free, and it encourages natural burrowing behavior. Additionally, it’s all you need to cancel out any foul odors that may arise from your crab’s terrarium over time.

Zoo Med Laboratories Inc Natural Bedding

The Zoo Med Laboratories’ natural bedding is suitable for all kinds of reptile pets, including snakes and lizards. However, it’s refined grains and consistent texture also make it perfect for hermit crabs. It encourages the crabs to act as though they were in their natural habitat.

If you have multiple pets, don’t keep them in the same terrarium to save some substrate. Many of them don’t play well together. Instead, get multiple habitats and purchase several bags of Zoo Med Laboratories Natural Bedding. Your little crabs will be very grateful.

Zoo Med ReptiSand Midnight

Here we have another black sand substrate that’s perfect for hermit crabs. It’s non-toxic and free of dyes and color additives. The ReptiSand Midnight is ideal for lizards, geckos, snakes, turtles, and of course, hermit crabs.

As any competent crab owner can tell you, this substrate’s refined grains and volume make it perfect for caring for the pets. You just need a large terrarium and the right heating source.

Zilla Snake and Lizard Litter

Zilla did a ton of research before coming to the market with this product. After consulting herpetologists and scientists, they’ve developed a substrate that’s ultra-absorbent, hypo-allergenic, and perfectly sized.

Hermit crabs, monitors, and skinks are all welcome to enjoy the rich texture of this substrate. Be careful only to use it for big crabs because smaller ones may have difficulty burrowing.

Reptile Sciences terrarium sand

This terrarium sand is similar to the product we described earlier. It, too is digestible and made of calcium. But instead of a yellow texture, this is burgundy. What better way to show that your crab’s terrarium is different than getting sand with unique color?

The product comes in a 10-pound bag, which is great because you’ll need plenty of substrate to fill the habitat. That way, the crabs can burrow.

Zoo Med Eco Earth Brick

Some manufacturers convert their substrates to bricks. In brick form, these products occupy less space while still retaining their consistent nature. Once unpacked and aerated, they can return to their original form and serve as bedding for hermit crabs.

The Zoo Med Eco Brick naturally breaks down odor and waste products, reducing the work you have to do as a pet owner. The manufacturer also offers a limited time “buy two get one free” promo.

Fluker’s Natural Dune Reptile Sand

Three things make Fluker’s Natural Dune Reptile Sand a great substrate. The first is that it’s a great conductor of heat. Hermit crabs need a specific temperature range to thrive. A heat mat often supplies the heat, and it needs to be distributed evenly across the terrarium. That’s where having a conductive substrate becomes helpful.

Fluker’s Natural Dune Reptile Sand is also a great substrate because it encourages hermit crabs’ natural behavior. Finally, it offers excellent value for money, making it one of the best purchases you can ever make for your pet.

S&S Worldwide Fine Terrarium Sand

The S&S Worldwide Terrarium Sand is unique because it comes in a pack of 12. Each pack has a unique color, and that gives you several options on how to decorate your hermit crab’s terrarium. You can also mix the colors to get a unique substrate color.

The only downside is that each bag is only 2 pounds, not enough to fill any terrarium. Thus, you may have to buy extra substrate to get maximum value from the product. But for its great price, it’s more than a steal!

Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate

By now, you know that Zoo Med is notorious for manufacturing superior quality pet products. Here we have substrate made of loose coconut fiber. You may be thinking that only sand is suitable for hermit crabs, but you’d be wrong.

Loose coconut fiber has the right consistency and absorbency to form the right kind of substrate for these crustaceans. The substrate is even and can be easily composted or recycled whenever you’re done with it.

Zilla Jungle Mix

The Zilla Jungle Mix comes in three different sizes, depending on what you need for your hermit crab. The substrate is a blend of sphagnum moss and fir shavings. It is super absorbent and forms a great layer for burrowing and hiding.

The jungle mix is ideal for frogs, toads, geckos, snakes, and crabs. Just don’t put them all in the same habitat!

Zoo Med Laboratories Hermit Crab Soil

So far, we’ve considered substrates that come in large bags. With this product, Zoo Med Laboratories switch things up by giving you a compressed substrate instead. The pack contains four substrate bricks, compressed together. Each brick yields up to 8 liters, making a total of  24 liters of sand and substrate for your hermit crab.

What’s more, is that the compressed substrate is just as effective as the loose variety. It’s soft, consistent in texture, and made from eco-friendly resources.

REPTI ZOO Reptile Sand Fine Mesh Scooper

This list could not be complete without a substrate scooper. Whether you’re trying to lay down the fresh substrate, turn it over, or remove some, the Fine Mesh Scooper will serve you well. It comes in a set of two – one large and one small.

The scooper is made of high-quality stainless steel with an ergonomic design for easy handling. The scooper’s mesh is also designed with dense holes for cleaning substate easily. If you have other pets, you can also use this tool to clean their litter.


We’ve said a lot about how you can pick the best sand for your Hermit crabs, from the right size to calcium deposits. Since we’ve also recommended a ton of products, you’re probaready to make your purchase. You may even have one or two products in mind already. But before you go, here is one important thing to note when preparing a crab terrarium with substrate. The humidity and temperature are just as important as the substrate. You can achieve the right temperature with heat lamps and mats. For humidity, simply provide a water dish in the crab’s tank, and they’ll be good to go. If you want the absolute best for your pet, you can’t be afraid to go the extra mile.