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First B. Albopilosum Experience

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by LarsCody, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

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    Hello! After a good bit of research I’ve taken the plunge and bought my first Honduran Curly Hair. I’m enjoying this experience so far and after lurking this forum for days I have made an account too. It’s been an interesting experience so far. First day I brought it home and housed it. Must have over dampened the substrate because it would just chill on the walls. Then the next night, it started doing laps around the cage and even biting the wire mesh top (looked like it was doing pull-ups. GET SWOLL). After a good bit it has calmed down and laid some silk onto the top of the substrate (Creature Soil jungle mix). It likes to hang around its hide although not go in the hide. I was told by an employee at the store it was purchased from that I should wait 3 days until feeding. Judging by the laps around the tank it’s made, I waited two days and this spider gobbled up that cricket quite effortlessly (stupid cricket hopped right in front of the T). Not even a trace of bolus! Since then it has been hanging in a corner by its hide - sometimes in the low-rider stress position and sometimes slightly more relaxed. Slightly.

    I was beginning to get concerned because it’s only done 180 degree turns in the same spot when nobody is looking, but to me this amounts to normal behavior. I haven’t even had it a week at this point!

    Not going to post tank setup (I know someone is going to say “more substrate!” but I’m not interested in stressing the animal more at this point) but it’s basic with an angled cork bark hide at one end and a water dish on the other. The animal is housed on top of a bookshelf slightly in the apartment door. It’s a fairly decent volume of traffic since the kitchen table is a few feet away (and the kitchen) and the living room is less than 10 feet away. I’m light-footed but my wife is slightly heavier on her feet sometimes. And the three year old, hooo boy.....but hopefully the bookshelf and books on it absorb most of the floor vibrations.

    Anyway, right now is low key late night chill time for the T and myself. Thanks for reading and here are some photos of it drinking, eating, and relaxing.
     

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  2. JSgrewit42

    JSgrewit42 Arachnopeon

    I’m going to be that person. You need more substrate. It will stress him more in the long run that he cannot burrow. The spider will survive the rehouse and be fine.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  3. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

    Ok, I’ll bite. I have no issue picking up more of the substrate. This leaves me with several questions:

    1. Can I do place the substrate in with my buddy as long as I don’t allow the soil to bury or touch it?

    2. If question 1 is acceptable, how do I pack it down? At the size my animal is now, and having seen the underside pressed against the glass, by eyeballing it seems like it has 1/4 inch fangs right now and I’m not trying to get whacked.

    Kind of missed the memo on packing it down the first time because of everything I’ve heard about rough substrate.

    3. Is the stress really going to be greater if the substrate isn’t added as opposed to leaving the tarantula be? It’ll eat and drink when it needs to although it hasn’t drank anything for a few days now. Was a thirsty boi/girl when I got it....shame on that store giving it gel cubes. I’m concerned about too much stress right now although there are no cases of stress related tarantula death.
     
  4. It'll be less stressful to add substrate now. It likely hasn't quite settled yet and would be more stressful if you wait till its established it's territory just to change it up again. Take the spider out, just place a catch cup over top and slide the lid under. You can use anything to compress the substrate, depends on the size of the enclosure, a glass would work.
     
  5. The Grym Reaper

    The Grym Reaper Arachnotank Arachnosupporter

    Na, that's normal for a recently rehoused tarantula.

    "MOAR SUBSTRAYT!111"

    What's worse?

    5 minutes of stressing your tarantula out to correct the enclosure or;
    Potentially finding your tarantula dead from a ruptured abdomen which you could have prevented.

    Mesh lids and terrestrial tarantulas are a bad mix, they can get their tarsal claws stuck and either lose legs or fall and die. Replace it with drilled acrylic.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
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  6. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

    Thanks for the advice! I’ll have to pick up more soil when the shop opens in the AM. I misted a slight bit on the side with the water dish but the climate is very arid where I live so I’m not that worried about mold. Only fed it once so far and couldn’t find the bolus so I’m assuming the entire carcass was dissolved...unless it’s buried. I still have the container that the tarantula was sold to me in so I can use that in place of a cup for a quick substrate dump in its tank. Maybe while I’m out I’ll find some decor to throw in with the house upgrade.

    Somebody was just chillin’ in their hide! Just saw it put down a little more silk, too.

    Off topic and a bit of a n00b question, but what are these wet spots left over after it lies down for a long time? They’re about the size of its whole underside.

    That’s an awesome plan. But I’m not so handy and searches come up with clip tops that go over the wire mesh. Any insight into tank covers that might help? The current is a slide with a pin lock setup.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2019
  7. The Grym Reaper

    The Grym Reaper Arachnotank Arachnosupporter

    Just take the inside measurements of the underside of the lid, get a thin sheet of acrylic cut to size (I believe you can get this done in any half-decent hardware store on your side of the pond), drill or solder a bunch of holes in it (place the sheet of acrylic on top of a junk piece of wood, use a HSS drill bit, go high RPM but with little pressure, basically let the bit do the work) and then fix it to the underside of the mesh with aquarium silicone.

    Basin has a quick video on it (it's for Exo Terras but the same principle applies), there are tutorials for drilling acrylic on YouTube as well, the stuff to do the conversion should be pretty cheap to get

     
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  8. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

    I much appreciate the resources and I don’t want to seem ungrateful. But I have not the workspace, equipment, or knowledge to accomplish this feat. Would be more cost effective to buy one since that’s what I’m trying to do anyway. Tools aren’t my bag. Can’t believe nobody really makes these pre fabricated. Almost comes to a point where I’m ready to do the tape trick since finding an easier fix is utterly frustrating.
     
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  9. BennyBTamachi

    BennyBTamachi Arachnopeon Active Member

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    Hi Lars ;)

    Also got a B. Albopilosum 3 weeks ago, my first T :)) adult female.
    I had some similar issues at first: staying on the wall (fixed it with humidity adjustment and feeding), not moving a lot (she is bit more active lately, but still has some long phase of inactivity, which is normal I believe), and also staying around the hide but not inside. For the latter I'm gonna get her a cork bark cause she seems not to like the plastic cup I placed in her enclosure (even though now she is putting half of her body insidr, but still not fully below the hide hehe).

    She eating well, but always carefully and slowly walking to the prey, haven't seen her moving really fast yet. Also managed to dig up 2 mealworms that had time to dig in the substrate, but now I'm always crushing the mealworm head first, less concerns...

    Anyway, really enjoying it so far, hope you enjoy as much!!! And let's make our Ts as comfortable as possible ;))

    Cheers!
    Quick pic:
     

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  10. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

    Beautiful little girl! Since this post I’ve added more substrate in the case of a fall so there was a rehousing. Was surprised that right before I added more my T was starting to check out the hide, and when I pulled the hide out there was a decently thick layer of web on the outside of the rear portion, from edge to edge of the enclosure. Just fed it again last night and still can’t find a bolus. Pretty convinced that it just tries to eat the whole cricket regardless of size. First one took a couple of minutes, this considerably bigger one took almost 2 hours!

    It seems to be ok walking on substrate but I have a moist mid layer I’m keeping an eye on (the substrate is prepackaged moist - Jungle Mix). Not too worried about mold on account that where I live the humidity tends to stay <20% on a typical day.

    Anyway thanks for checking in and nice T! Here’s a pic of mine eating:
     

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  11. thesillynames

    thesillynames Arachnopeon

    B. Albo was my first tarantula aswell but one thing I learn about them is they need alot of substrate well atleast mine does. Mine closed the enterance and digs strait into the other corner of enclousire and wont come out for months. They are not really agressive, mine is quit chill i have seen her flicking bristles at me few times and thats it. Brachys are one of the best starting tarantulas to be honest. And i warn you you might get addicted and end up with 10s or maybe 100s of tarantulas
     
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  12. Minty

    Minty @londontarantulas Arachnosupporter

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    Cool spider, I love this species. I’d recommend following the friendly advice given too. :)
     
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  13. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

    Hey guys! I’ve added substrate as previously mentioned so as to prevent a fall and allow for burrowing. Following up on your replies, the T is fairly docile and more skittish/afraid than aggressive. Moved like a turtle when I housed it the first time, but had lightning in its proverbial heels when I had to move it to add substrate. It’s been lazy lately, but I chalk that up to typical T behavior. I’ve had my little buddy for a week as of today!
     
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  14. u bada

    u bada Arachnopeon

    a few things to comment about:

    -coconut fiber (brand eco earth) or peat moss tend to be of the better substrates, although some if not many here say potting mixes... I've had bad experiences with molds with anything other than coconut fiber. I tend to be weary of mixes like your jungle mix which has fir in it (fiber from a coniferous tree) which could potentially have resin in it but who knows. Also looks like the mix you have has chunks of things in it? Just want to be careful there's limited amounts of sharp edges because that could scratch the t's undersides. Coco fiber if perfectly good and for one spider is reasonably priced, easy to pack down, etc. Tamping down with a your hand, bottom of a cup, whatever helps to give them a bit of firmness both to stand on and play around with- hard to burrow into loose substrate for them. Another thing against chunks, it can be hard for them to feel secure with floating chunks in substrate.

    -Common behavior as noted by others for a t to be hanging on walls and being active when getting used to new digs, but good relatively stable and thick substrate helps ease them in, for better or worse a happy Brachypelma just chills and doesn't do all that much. Usually that's after a bit of exploring and digging in webbing a bit of a place for itself. If it's doing too much and hanging on walls for too long could be a sign it's not too comfortable. Once I gave mine in the beginning more substrate, she calmed down immediately and soon i was fascinated watching her with handfuls of substrate as she started building what she was meant to build!

    -You may want to take it easy with feeding. These guys don't have to eat all that much especially when mature. Mine I haven't fed for a at least a couple months, she just chills inside her den mostly. Don't be too concerned about seeing boluses, most of mine eat everything up, just when there are parts they don't feel like digesting or just don't want to finish they're meal they'll dump a bag out of their den.

    -You definitely want to change the top from mesh. Acrylic is better as stated. I was schooled on that here early on. The t's I had with mesh tops really did spend too much dangerous time clinging and trying to munch through it and was not a good situation. There are a lot of tutorials on how to make a acrylic top, but maybe just invest in a big critter keeper, or fix a lid from a similarly sized enclosure.

    -Mature brachy's are pretty adaptable to dry, and less problems if kept dry, even if albo's do come from humid areas. Even though it's dry where you are, in a glass terrarium wet can sit in there and things can get moldy, so take it easy with keeping things damp, just keep one corner wet if anything so they can hang out in that spot if needed. Many have reported here their albos don't care about being near the wet spot, but if they do that means they would need to more humid. The water bowl generally is enough to keep moisture in the enclosure enough for them. If that's enough, here's the most recent thread on it (i think):

    https://arachnoboards.com/threads/brachypelma-albopilosum-moisture.317773/

    -Better to rehouse and get it right, and they'll adjust much faster that way.
     
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  15. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

    I didn’t really know glass was frowned upon. Thinking of doing a complete rehousing with a critter keepers type cage with the cross ventilation on the lid (I’m not doing that make-your-own lid project due to the cost benefit analysis and my lack of building/engineering skills). You mentioned coco fiber and that seems to be a common consensus but I see lots of people saying to mix it and that it’s not good for burrows by itself. I’m looking for a substrate requiring no mixing besides for packing it down (which I do with gloved fists to get the best pressure) but I’m not sure if I need it to be burrow friendly. I’ve read that b albos stop burrowing around 3 inches and mine is roughly 2.5-3” by eyeballing it. So are burrows even an issue? Is it too early to tell if it’ll burrow?
     
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  16. u bada

    u bada Arachnopeon

    Glass is considered ok for terrestrials as long as it has a well ventilated top. But it sounded like you were keeping the substrate moist, which in combo with a taller glass enclosure means stagnant air and problems with molds and potential issues with mites. You could theoretically keep the glass enclosure if you can find the right lid and keep sub on the moist part dry. What I mentioned is last post is a bit of a care tip- just moisten one corner of the sub, the rest dry. If the t stays near the wet spot then it may make sense to keep a larger section moist (but not the whole sub), but if the t hangs out anywhere else than the wet spot then most likely the t has adapted to a dryer environment and is fine on dry sub. Long story short, t bodies are very sealed in efforts to minimize water loss (with varying degrees according to species) so erring on less moisture than most makes more sense.

    However, to note certain species do need moisture and to keep them requires some fairly intensive considerations to keeping sub the exact right kind of moist and with decent cross ventilation for success. Albos are not that particular.

    As far as sub is concerned, yes everybody has a different opinion on what works, that is fo sho... however, with a mix there's a lot more variables so I'm just suggesting you stick to one thing and see how it goes. Throwing other medias in there are for, say, maintaining moisture, or adding texture for web anchors, or making sub more solid or less solid, etc. Better to worry about those things as you go along with the hobby.

    Albo's are plenty fine with just coco fiber, a nice hide and water dish. Mine made a fairly deep burrow into pure coco fiber that over time completely bone dried and that hole is pretty solid. She's an easy 5"+ mature female, so yeah they still have it in them when older. I do wish she'd come out more though. lol that said, some don't burrow, just depends on the personality. ;) But back to coco fiber, I've experimented with various mixes like many here- vermiculite, peat moss, top soil with sphagnum moss strands, leaf pits, thrown in, but find coco fiber the least problematic.
     
  17. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

    Thank you! My current enclosure dimensions are
    10.5”x 20.5”x 8” with a fine wire mesh top for ventilation. There is just enough space for the T to stretch its legspan from the top of the sub to the top of the enclosure, more or less. I think I misspoke - the sub came pre-moistened and the bottom layer hasn’t dried out. Top layer with the T is fine. I don’t mist or make it rain for that to happen. And when I’ve added surface water in the past it’s evaporated in an hour or two. Can always tell because once the T finds out it says NOPE then starts climbing up the sides.

    Here are some photos for reference:
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2019
  18. docwade87

    docwade87 Arachnoknight Active Member

    That enclosure is huge! Is it a 20galling long?

    For most full grown terrestrial Ts something around the size of 5-10 gallons max is all that is needed. They don’t need all that space and it typically doesn’t suit them well. They do better with smaller areas. When they are smaller you keep them in smaller containers and move them up as they grow. Putting them in a adult size enclosure when they aren’t full grown or near it typically doesn’t work well.

    I use that substrate and have been experimenting with it. I do like the fact that it holds form well, don’t like that it isn’t dry to start. None of my Ts have seemed to dislike it so far. It does retain moisture better for those that need moist substrate. Not sure if I’ll stick with it or not. Time will tell. I would agree with “U bata” as far as sticking with one substrate for now and see how it goes.
     
  19. u bada

    u bada Arachnopeon

    Yeah was gonna say, looks a little big for it. Looks like main thing though is just changing out the mesh top, imo. Sub could be fine then, just myself not sure about fir wood stuff being in mix, weird zoomed has it for herps but who knows... maybe someone else has an opinion? Anyway, sometimes brachy's and other NW terrestrials will but a fine web over sub they don't like lol once they're settled...and then they just walk over that at their leisure. I'd probably put a much larger hide or piece of course myself, but that would just be my preference. Cute little guy, that a male for sure?
     
  20. LarsCody

    LarsCody Arachnopeon

    Most people seem on here seem to show an extreme disdain for the Jungle Mix stuff, you’re the first in this thread to not bash it. I’ll say this, it’s a definite upgrade from the habitat I received the T in. Was literally like playground mulch but sharp and edgy. Looked like straight up thick wood shavings. What were they thinking? I got the enclosure because the guy who sold me it said “it’ll work to house it for its whole life”.

    Glad you mentioned it, because this little creature does lay web on the surface so it definitely doesn’t care for it. The T has done it on that bottom dry layer which was my original fill line from like day 2 or 3 of having it and webbed the top layer again. There’s actually a large patch of web on a flattened area on the far side that’s hard to see.

    As far as the particles in it....seems like these are slow, calculated animals so how would they manage to drag themselves over it to hurt themselves? A fall is one thing, but daily movement doesn’t seem to be any problem.

    Also not sure if male. It’s very leggy even when fed well. But it’s in between that sling and juvenile stage.