1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Is this substrate safe?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by ChaelP, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. ChaelP

    ChaelP Arachnosquire

    Advertisement
    I wanna try this substrate but is it safe for tarantulas?

    Its composed of coconut dust and soil(i know is safe), carbonized hull and perlite soil conditioner. I dont know what the last 2 components are. Can anybody tell me if this is safe for ts? Thanks
     

    Attached Files:

  2. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoworm Staff Member

    Perlite is basically just a stone (volcanic glass, to be exact), so I think it's perfectly safe. And carbonized hull is just some kind of seed husk that has carbon added. Also harmless.

    What I'd worry about is that this soil is clearly intended for growing and fertilizing plants. The ingredients aren't always fully listed, so I'd be worried about organic or inorganic fertilizers that aren't listed.

    @Trenor knows quite a bit about soil, so he may be able to expand on what I already said.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 2
  3. ChaelP

    ChaelP Arachnosquire

    Oh thanks. I wouldnt worry about fertilizers. I asked if this soil mix has any, they said none. Its basically just mixed soil :D in that case ill try it. It seems nice. Quite dry, with white rocks as design. Thanks :D
     
  4. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    It should be fine if that's all that's in there. Carbonized hull is just the hard outer covering (hulls or husks) of rice grains that has been treated with high heat (essentially partially burned) under low oxygen conditions to speed up the decomposition process. It contains high amounts of carbon, silicon,and potassium. Perlite is essentially a form of volcanic glass (obsidian) that had a high water content and was then heated so that the escaping water vapor created lots of microscopic holes in it, causing it to "puff up," resulting in a very lightweight and porous substance. Both products are used to help make soil lighter and less dense, to aerate soil and increase water retention. Neither of these substances are toxic.

    The big question is what kind of tarantula do you want to use it for? For an arboreal species that has little contact with the substrate anyway, there should be no issues. For a terrestrial species that is content to live in a hide and does not make extensive burrows, it should also be fine. If you are trying to use it for an obligate burrower, the big questions is whether - at the ratios used - the mix will hold together and support a burrow or if it will collapse. If your tarantula does not like the consistency of the soil - or is unable to construct a stable burrow - it will be stressed and unhappy.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoworm Staff Member

    Not to sound condescending, but did they personally mix it? Likely not. I learned quite awhile ago to never trust the word of a worker at the store. Research and experience trumps all.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  6. ChaelP

    ChaelP Arachnosquire

    Its basically soil with bits and pieces of other stuff thats in it. I put it in my b.smithi/hamorii 3" and b.vagans 2" with some kind of a hide. Vagans at this size will burrow, ill check if this substrate works. If not ill change it back to cocopeat.
     
  7. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    So... you're asking if the substrate is safe to use with your tarantulas... after you've already put it in with them? o_O
    Good thing it wasn't something highly toxic! :wideyed:
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  8. ChaelP

    ChaelP Arachnosquire

    I transferred them after eulersk replied. While doing some research of my own. Im not careless.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. miss moxie

    miss moxie Arachnoprince Active Member

    Agreed, never trust a salesman! At least not 100%. Some of them really do know what they're talking about and put their time and effort into learning their product line in and out...buuuutttt the typical teenager working at Lowe's probably doesn't put that much effort into learning soil composition.
     
  10. Trenor

    Trenor Arachnoprince

    1,741
    4,701
    378
    NC
    If the soil has fertilizer in it (natural or chemical) they will usually list it on the bag. If its good stuff they usually list the mix on the bag as well. I've seen most of the bags with the fertilizer information not fully list listed to be a weak mix usually with animal manure or some plant matter in it. They can't really list the composition as it's hard to know exactly what the breakdown is without testing so they just list it contains fertilizer.

    I've not really came across any that added fertilizer and didn't bother to add it on the bag. If they were going to go through the trouble to add it they would likely list it was in there in hopes of sales or more money. That doesn't meant that all the soil that doesn't list fertilizer is good for your pets. Depending on where it was dug from and what was in the soil or growing/sprayed/died etc it could have active ingredients in it even if nothing was added by the company selling it.

    I have found that the cheaper the soil the less likely they added anything. It never hurts to test the soil with a group of insects that are expendable at the least.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Helpful Helpful x 1
  11. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoworm Staff Member

    Now that's the response I was looking for! Good point about them going through the trouble to add fertilizer, I hadn't thought of that. Although, my rebuttal is this. You know those little spheres full of liquid? They're a fertilizer, I forget their name. People often mistake them for insect eggs, but in reality they're a slow-release fertilizer. I've bought bags of plan old topsoil before that had these spheres added, and of course it was nowhere on the packaging. Perhaps it was leftover from a previous processing? Cross contamination, is what I mean.

    Like, oh, I don't know... crickets? ;)
     
  12. Trenor

    Trenor Arachnoprince

    1,741
    4,701
    378
    NC
    I'm not sure which spheres you mean. There is a good chance I've not seen them before since I don't buy a lot of premixed potting soil. I know sometimes they will use the foam balls in the dirt to make it not pack as hard. Other silicone balls are to help absorb extra moisture and release it over time as the soil drys out. Pop me a link to the liquid ones and I'll check them out.

    There is always a risk that they might have added something to the soil and did not list it. I've not encountered any that have but the amount of that stuff I buy is pretty limited.

    Yeah, those work. :D
     
  13. miss moxie

    miss moxie Arachnoprince Active Member

    Ah, I think @EulersK is talking about the little balls of resin (I believe) that is filled with liquid fertilizer and crack open with exposure to liquid, heat, elements, etc.
     
  14. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoworm Staff Member

    They are apparently called osmocotes (source). I'm familiar with the foam balls and silica grains as well - the former is harmless, and the latter I use (in a form) to water my roaches.

    To be clear, this "cross contamination" has happened precisely once. I've no knowledge on the processing or packaging of soil, but I imagine that they'd use the same equipment for fertilized soil as they do for regular topsoil. After all, why would the average user care what's in their topsoil?
     
  15. Trenor

    Trenor Arachnoprince

    1,741
    4,701
    378
    NC
    Huh, I'll have to look those over. I would image you're right though it could have been ran incorrectly or from where they were changing what they were running.

    It's like those two flavor Dum Dum Suckers that are made every time they switch the flavors. They used to throw or give them away. Now you get those as a bonus mystery flavor in the bag with the regular flavored ones.
     
  16. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoworm Staff Member

    I recently read about how those are made, absolutely perfect analogy. All the more reason to run a cricket test on every batch of topsoil you buy, regardless if you've used the same brand before.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Arachnoknight Active Member

    Osmacote is a brand name for a range of slow release fertilisers. The granules vary in colour depending on the group of plants it is meant for, most tubs have a mix of colours. It's pretty easy to spot in premixed potting soil, but it'll come to the top if you water heavily when potting plants , so you could water some to check I guess.
    " Easy wetting " is something to watch for too, usually a chemical that reduces matric tension has been applied, it can simply be a detergent added sometimes.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoworm Staff Member

    Interesting, I've not seen that listed before. It's something to keep an eye out for though, so thank you.
     
  19. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Arachnoknight Active Member

    Yeah, it's on quite a few potting mix bags here. I learned about it during my horticulture courses, and how you can achieve the same thing by adding a little detergent when watering.