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Peat moss for substrate makes mold?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by OxDionysus, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. OxDionysus

    OxDionysus Arachnobaron Old Timer

    I use peat moss for my substrate and it has been giving me mold problems when I mist the cages. Is this typical for peat moss? Its organic and comes a bit damp, am I supposed to bake it in the oven like I do sticks and such I find outside?
  2. barabootom

    barabootom Arachnolord

    I gave up on 100% peat for that very reason. Peat works well when it's kept very dry but if you have any moisture in it and don't have adequate ventilation it will mold. I currently use 1/2 peat mixed with 1/2 potting soil and I have much less of a mold issue.
  3. blix

    blix Arachnosquire

    Tons of people use peat moss and potting soil individually without encountering mold problems. The key words are ventilation and a decent enclosure.

    If you enclosure lack holes and proper ventilation, then you are bound to get mold due to stall air.

    I had this problem myself, and solved it by opening my windows for 4-5 hours per day.
  4. Kris-wIth-a-K

    Kris-wIth-a-K Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I have NEVER had a mold problem with peat moss and that is all I use. The only reason it should have mold is if you leave a dead cricket or food in there really. Even when I put pathos plants in there, I still had no mold. Sticks from outside are usually the cause even when they are baked not everything is completely gone. That is why when I build a tank, I wait for about a week and keep it really dry after baking it. Then I put everything together with the peat moss and no mold.

  5. GailC

    GailC Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I constantly had fungus growing in my damp tanks when I used peat, even with good ventilation. I use a coco fiber/vermiculite mix for tropical enclosures now and save the peat for dry tank.
  6. straight moss will give you molt when wet. try a mixture of cocofiber/peatmoss, & for high humidity add some vermiculite.
  7. When I place the Moss in the Home I make sure it is completely dry...then After it is situated the way I want it I lightly mist it and presto I never get mold problums in moss anymore.
  8. Paramite

    Paramite Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I've always used peat moss and peat moss only. Even in the very moist enclosures, like my blondi's and I've never had any mold. The key is ventilation, LOTS of it.

    Edit: Besides, if MISTING gives you mold, the problem is definitely something else than the substrate. With a decent ventilation it will dry within a day after misting. I always pour water directly on the substrate so it will stay moist longer and I'm still having no mold problems. So, you figure it out...
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2009
  9. Moltar

    Moltar ArachnoGod

    Strangely enough, my experience has been the exact opposite of this. I have problems with coco fiber and peat/coco mixes in moister tanks. Not so with peat. My E murinus is on straight peat, she likes it kind of boggy in there but i've never had a mold/fungus problem. Some haplos and trues I've kept on coco or coco mix have developed this white fungal growth that starts down in the dirt at the moistest part and the grows up and out at a frantic pace.

    So far I've not had this problem with peat at ALL. I use coco for grammies, brachys and whoever else likes it dry. Swamp diggers get peat with a little sand, vermiculite and charcoal mixed in. It doesn't hold hydration as well but thats a decen trade off for less fungus risk. I've heard that the acidic properties of peat prevent such things.

    If you guys are getting mold on the surface it may be other material that the fungus is growing on rather than the peat. Perhaps chunks of wood or bark mixed into the peat or leftover food bits.
  10. The solution to your problem is so simple that it hurts!


    What kind of tarantulas are you keeping?

    What makes you think you need to mist?

    Do a search* for misting and/or humidity in this forum. Put on another pot of coffee and clear your schedule. You've got a lot of reading to do.

    * Look for the link on the gray bar at the top of this page. If it's not there you may need to break down and register first. It's okay. It's free with no strings attached. The Log In/Register link should be somewhere up there too.