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Substrate

Discussion in 'Tarantula Enclosures' started by BigOtto, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. BigOtto

    BigOtto Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Palatine, Illinois
    There are a couple recommended substrates for tarantula enclosures and there are things you should never use.

    Good Substrates

    Cocofiber - is one of the best substrates to use. It holds moisture very well and your tarantula will like to walk on it. Tarantulas also find it easy to dig their burrows in. It is found in most pet stores in a dehydrated brick. 1 brick makes enough substrate for several medium sized enclosures. Half a brick will fill a 13x9x2 baking sheet to the top. Take the brick out of the wrapper and cut it in half then add about 6 cups of water and let it soak up the water. Keep adding water and allowing it to soak in until it is easy to break up. Once it's broken up squeeze out the extra water and place it into the enclosure and pack it down.

    Peat Moss - is a good additive to your substrate but not as the only substrate in an enclosure. It can also be used as decoration in an enclosure. Search youtube.com for tarantulaguy1976 and find his back drop tutorial as an example. You will see his use of peat moss in his enclosures.

    Vermiculite - is a good substrates to use. It holds moisture well and your tarantula will like to walk on it. I have not used it but have heard and read that it is good to use.

    Bad Substrate

    Bark chips of any kind - Tarantulas do not like the feel of bark chips on their feet and will climb the sides of the enclosure. You do not want your terrestrial tarantula to climb, they are fragile and can severly injure themselves if they fall from even short distances. Cedar or pine chips will harm your tarantulas health, the sap from the pine will coat their hairs making it unable for them to molt. Cedar is not liked by most insects or spiders. Bark chips also hold moisture poorly. Your tarantula will also be unable to build a burrow of it's own and most terrestrial tarantulas do dig burrows.

    Aquarium Gravel - Tarantulas do not like the feel of bark chips on their feet and will climb the sides of the enclosure. Moisture does not soak into gravel but sits at the bottom of the enclosure. Your tarantula will also be unable to build a burrow of it's own and most terrestrial tarantulas do dig burrows.
    josh likes this.
  2. Josh

    Josh Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    777
    Excellent suggestions Otto. What are your experiences with T's burrowing into the coco husk? Is it packed enough to allow for burrowing? The stuff I use for my tortoise is rather loose...
  3. BigOtto

    BigOtto Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Palatine, Illinois
    I pack it into the enclosure and they dig their burrows just fine, they ussually reinforce it with webbing. When you do major maintenance and have to replace the substrate their burrow is really pretty solid. I use it in my vials for sling as well.
  4. jetfire

    jetfire Moderator

    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    chucktown,sc
    If it's a burrowing species , it helps to pack the coconut coir down before putting the spider in the cage.the packed down bedding holds the tunnel better than looser bedding (in my experience, anyway)...
    josh likes this.
  5. laurarfl

    laurarfl Member

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Central Fl
    My burrowing T's do well with the coco. I moisten it, but not super wet. Even as it dries a bit, it holds burrows very well. One has a beautiful perfectly round opening into the burrow reinforced with web. Seems quite stable. My G rosea is rather picky. She doesn't like to touch anything even slightly moist and webs the entire ground. I've tried coco, peat, soil. Weird girl, that one.
  6. Josh

    Josh Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    777
    Has anyone used organic potting soil for their T's substrate? I like to use whatever is closest to the natural environment if it's safe...
  7. laurarfl

    laurarfl Member

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Central Fl
    My G rosea is on organic potting soil right now. I have to keep it dry or she climbs and webs excessively. She does not burrow but I provide hides.
  8. Ravenrose

    Ravenrose New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    St.Helens, UK
    I had mine on potting compost at first but recently switched to cocofibre. She is much happier and has made many webs in her enclosure since i changed it.
  9. Josh

    Josh Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    777
    I wonder how careful you'd need to be that the potting soil doesn't contain wood bark chips...
  10. laurarfl

    laurarfl Member

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Central Fl
    Mine is top soil, so that isn't an issue. I have a specialty nursery that I buy my organic "dirt" and vermiculite type media from.
  11. BigOtto

    BigOtto Member

    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    Palatine, Illinois
    If it is compost your using you do have to be careful that no conifer used is in it.
  12. Josh

    Josh Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    777
    Does 'conifer' include any pine, fir, cedar, hemlock, etc? I tried to google it but the definitions were pretty vague and differing
  13. CrypticSpider

    CrypticSpider Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Where the Spiders are.
  14. spider62

    spider62 New Member

    Messages:
    23
    I like the Coco substrate and silk plants. You might also add cork bark and drift wood for decor and hides. My rose- hair burrowed (dug) out beneath the cork and it looks good to boot!
  15. Josh

    Josh Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    777
    spider62, you should come back and post some more. There's just a lonely number one under your Message Count!

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