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

Safety of substrate - Ecoearth from brick has a chemical smell after water added

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by LisaD, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. LisaD

    LisaD Arachnosquire

    I bought several packs of three Ecoearth bricks on Amazon. Each three-pack was sealed by shrink wrap. I put the brick in a clean bucket, added water to one brick and it quickly swelled. I have a nice bucket full of good looking Ecoearth. BUT it has a smell, not an earth smell, more of a chemical smell. Is this normal? I have let it sit a couple days and the smell has lessened. Anyone else notice this? I'm hesitant to use it, unless this is normal. The smell is a little bit like acetone.
  2. Hmm never had this issue before at pet store, is it a lot cheaper on amazon? I’d let it air out but not completely and see if it’s any better . If it smells really bad maybe try and get refund from amazon, dono. So bizzare 7-$9 a 3 peice brick in pet supplies
  3. MikeyD

    MikeyD Arachnosquire Active Member

    It's not soil it's ground coconut husk so it wont smell like soil. I have noticed the same thing before but never experienced any problems.
    Found this in a material data sheet.
    Coconut fiber has a slight, unpleasant odor. A conspicuous musty odor indicates moisture damage inside the bales. Since coconut fiber may easily cause odor-tainting, it must not be stowed together with odor-sensitive products (e.g. foodstuffs).
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Mpmackenna

    Mpmackenna ArachnoNerd Arachnosupporter

    Id order a different batch and compare. Id also put feeders on it for a while and see if they die or get lethargic. Not worth killing a T over 10 bucks of substrate. Ive never had a batch of ecoearth smell like chemicals and ive used it for decades.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    I am always amazed that people buy these bricks....what a massive hassle.

    To me its like buying a car from a dealership unassembled.
    • Funny x 5
    • Like x 1
    • Agree x 1
    • Award x 1
    • Meh x 1
  6. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member


    Better safe than sorry, always. If you hear clearly an acetone sort of smell, don't. After all (well this at least here where I live) substrate is so damn cheap, so why risk even if there's a 0.01%? :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2018
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Coffee Coffee x 1
  7. Mpmackenna

    Mpmackenna ArachnoNerd Arachnosupporter

    I don't find putting a brick in a pot and going to bed to be a hassle at all. The bricks are usually cheaper, store easier, and when ordered ship cheaper than the bags. I prefer it to pretty much everything else. I make what I need and the rest stores easy.
    I know you buy 40lb bags of dirt, but not everyone has the need or wishes to store 40 lb bags of dirt.

    Tomato, tomato... (insert different pronunciation)

    By the way, I dont assemble regular cars but when I buy RC cars I buy the kits and assemble them myself.


    I dont always drink beer, but when I do I drink Dos Equis Amber....
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    At $1.37 for 40lbs, its the cheapest option. All one needs to do is dump it in....and the bag can be stored pretty much anywhere (closet, attic, basement, garage, freezer, even outside in a shed, and at any temp, for as long as you need, decades even. No buckets full of wet sub to mess with, no need to dry the stuff out to use.....to me that stuff really is a hassle, I am glad you are fine with t....lol.....I am not.

    Here's the thing, you say not everyone needs that much, but those bricks expand to a large amount...so, its horse a piece there. Ether way you have extra.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  9. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member

    The problem with bricks for me is that they take forever to dry :)

    Thankfully, here in Italy (ok, another nation and everything) substrate is very cheap, the price difference between a brick and a 1 KG bag of ready to use substrate (coco fiber or Irish moss peat only) is a nothing.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Mpmackenna

    Mpmackenna ArachnoNerd Arachnosupporter

    I've used everything in the past 20+ years. I've blended peat moss and vermiculite to make my own, I've used dirt, I've used bags of Eco-earth and the bricks. Lately I've been using the bricks.
    I also like death metal and sometimes I smoke cigars. Sometimes I listen to death metal and smoke while I watch coco-fiber hydrate. I'm one crazy dude.
    • Funny Funny x 8
    • Like Like x 1
    • Love Love x 1
  11. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member

    The old school Death Metal one, like Chuck Schuldiner 'Death'? :pompous:
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Nightstalker47

    Nightstalker47 Arachnoking Active Member

    Did you really just compare assembling an automobile to placing a brick of sub in water? :rolleyes: :hilarious:
    • Like Like x 3
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Beer Beer x 1
  13. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member


    I've also used them all as well...I tend to listen to the dead though;)

    Did you not find that to be an amusing exaggeration?
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Love Love x 1
  14. Mpmackenna

    Mpmackenna ArachnoNerd Arachnosupporter

    Yep. Good stuff, but I spent more time listening to Napalm Death and Cannibal Corpse.
    Lately Ive been spinning Six Feet Under, Obituary, Goat Whore, and TBDM. Its an eclectic sampling.
    Apologies to OP for thread jack.

    I can dig some Dead. Had a chance to see Jerry at one of his last shows in Chicago. Passed on it thinking "I'll catch him next time". Total bummer.

    @cold blood hmmm new profile pic... last one had one fish, this one has two fish, I suspect next will be a Red Drum, and then a Blue Cat.
    After that comes Green Eggs and Ham, Sam I am.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2018
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Creative Creative x 1
  15. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member

    Next will be, straight from (new) Lake Tiberias, Packerland, Northern USA, a multiplication of fish :angelic:
  16. StampFan

    StampFan Arachnobaron Active Member

    What he said, except for me it is peat moss instead of dirt. I don't get the appeal of that whole process of brick expansion when there are cheaper, less intrusive options.
  17. +1 it’s a pain and expensive!!
    I occasionally use it but I’ve had more issues from coco fiber then With moss or top soil. I use it rarely. top soil I mainly use I break it up sometimes is it’s softer. Top soil is $2 a bag or so.
  18. MetalMan2004

    MetalMan2004 Arachnobaron Active Member

    I have a bag of soil AND a brick (gasp). I also went to the Slayer, Anthrax, Lamb of God concert a couple of weeks ago. Phenomenal show.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. StampFan

    StampFan Arachnobaron Active Member

    I miss John Bush. I must admit. I like both of those guys doing lead vocals. John passed on lead vocals for Metallica at one point, was glad to see him get his shot with Anthrax. Nothing against Joey, but John has a lot of depth. And to keep it relevant, peat moss in a bale is super cheap, at least here....same as coco without the hassle. And slightly more acidic, so none of that yucky yellow nasty mold.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. lostbrane

    lostbrane Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    I had the same thing happen to me about a month ago. Once it dries/with plenty of ventilation the smell isn't there anymore, even when getting it wet again. At least, that's been the case so far. All the feeders have been fine, and the tarantulas aren't exhibiting any worrying behavior. All that being said, I'm definitely going top soil from now on. I have plenty of places to stash 40 lbs of dirt.

    On a side note, I saw Anthrax about 4 years ago, but that was before I was into them. Bit of a mess up there to be sure. Heh.
    • Like Like x 2