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

Small Hello and Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by pbenner, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. pbenner

    pbenner Arachnopeon

    Hi all!

    My name is Paul and as my profile says I'm located in Central Texas. Because I knew that I wanted to try my hand for a second time at Tarantulas and there were no good sources of feeders around, I started a Dubia colony about 2 months ago with 35 females and 10 or so males. I've upgraded the colony tub twice since I've started and learned a lot. Since the last upgrade (2) weeks ago I've noticed an massive boom in not only activity, but also appetite in the Dubia tub. Because I had more nymphs than I can count I did not feel bad about my purchase this weekend.

    At the Conroe Reptile Show I found one person that had a Grammastola Pulchripes for sale. I was told that this was a great species to start with and had been looking for one of these throughout the whole show and only found one.

    My female friend has named it Charlie for now, but I am hoping that it's more for a Charlotte. He is between the size of a US Dime and US Quarter for size comparison. The box I had purchased with him in mind is a 7.5" x 7.5" x 4.5" acrylic box with small drilled vents in the side and a metal screen circle in the top. I made a mixture of Organic Potting Soil and Paving Sand for the substrate and filled it with about 2" of this mixture packed down slightly.

    I have the lid off of a 1 gallon water jug as his water dish in one corner, and the substrate was moist, so I've not worried about humidity. I'm going to go tonight and get the smallest clay pot I can and bury it in one corner and add some silk plants for aesthetic reasons. He sits nest to my Terrarium that has a computer controlled light cycle so he gets a 24 hour lighting cycle with sunrise, sunset, and moon/starlight.

    He jumped straight on the Dubia Nymph he was offered! This made me happy. My questions are few but as follows:

    1) What is the idea set of tongs to have for interacting with a Tarantula. Offering food or removing things from the enclosure?

    2) Is there anything that I need to avoid feeding my roaches that may affect my Tarantula poorly?

    I may have more dumb I don't see right off and fail on the search, but this place is awesome so far!

    Best and thanks!

  2. Paul1126

    Paul1126 Arachnodemon Active Member

    Hi Paul!
    I am also Paul.

    Post your set up if you can.

    Tongs anything that is long enough so your hand doesn't go too close to the T.

    Just feed your roaches veg, dog food, fish flakes or whatever. Avoid fruit they attract pests faster in my experience.

    Also a great species to start off with!
    • Helpful Helpful x 1
  3. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnolord Active Member

    Congratulations! Welcome back to the hobby!

    For tongs, a twelve inch long metal set is good to have once your dealing with larger or more defensive species, but since you've just got a sling a pair of typical tweezers works fine.

    As for feeding your roaches, just make sure your not feeding them anything that has pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, etc. on it. Avoid anything with extra chemicals too, you just want organic stuff. Fruits, veggies, dog/cat/fish food all works great.
    You might want to check out Roach Forum as well, as there is a lot more information on feeding Dubia on there.

    Hope this helps,

  4. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    for just one tarantula, a dubia colony is kind of a ridiculous amount of over kill. I usually suggest to people that they don't start a roach colony until they have at least 30 tarantulas. You're going to be finding lots of places to sell those I hope.

    Your new friend basically needs one feeder per week, that's it. A small tub of mealworms might cost you $2 and last you 6 months in the fridge.

    one of the very best species to start with, no doubt.

    so the size of a nickel then...lol

    1. Screens are less than ideal ventilation sources, tarantulas can get their tarsal claws caught in them.

    2. When buying topsoil always buy the cheapest stuff available, the stuff designed for filling holes not growing plants. When you see organic on the label, this is not an indicator of the soil, it is an indicator of the additives. Most organic additives are not something you want in a tarantula enclosure. I tend to avoid the word organic when buying topsoil.

    3. Not sure why you mixed it with sand but that's completely unnecessary, dirt is all you need.

    Tarantulas have absolutely no need for a light cycle. They're not like mammals in this respect, for example, my tarantula room has been dark for nearly 10 years.
    they are indeed fantastic eaters.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Helpful Helpful x 1
  5. pbenner

    pbenner Arachnopeon

    Hi Boss,

    I appreciate the reply. I started a dubia colony because I have this guy, as well as aspirations at a few other primary insectivores in the Herp area. This is a start of that. Also, the closest place to get feeders of any sort is 1.5 hours from me, so I am hoping to practice some free market capitalism and sell excess feeders to a few of the locals who have similar needs but lack ability/time/desire to raise their own. Mostly it was to kill time, super bored in a small town.

    Gotcha on the screen, will make sure there is a lack of this in the future. I grabbed the cheapest bag of dirt they had. Said was 100% soil. I added the sand at recommendation of else before getting on here, but can easily not do this in the future. I've got all kinds of plants and other outdoor projects that need sand and can use recycled soil.

    I had no clue on the light cycle bit, but that's where he is, does it bother them? If it does I can move him into a darker space. No sweat.

    Again thank you for your time. ^_^

  6. Mvtt70

    Mvtt70 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Welcome to the forum, great place to get info on most any T species and even some other animals.
  7. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    This is the kind of thing i was talking about....good plan.

    But like i said, you could just order a cup of meales twice a year....theyre cheap and easily shipped by many places.
    Sounds like you know what to look for.

    Now adding sand isnt needed, but in small amounts, its a fine additive....i was just mentioning additives arent necessary, as many new people are wrongly led to believe subs need to be mixed.
    Its not needed, but no, its absolutely not a problem.
  8. Wyoguy069

    Wyoguy069 Arachnopeon

    I have nine T’s and about 55 dubias (best guess). I haven’t had to buy feeders for around a month now which is nice. Even if the colony gets delpleted at some point my feeder cost is very low. We have a rabbit also, so they share some of the same food.
  9. Dman

    Dman Arachnosquire Arachnosupporter

    About the light cycle.....it may not be necessary to have a light cycle but I try to mimic their natural environments. In nature there is a light cycle. There are also areas to escape the light. They do prefer not being in direct sunlight by nature as sunlight means open area and visible to predators. My T shelf is in my family room out of direct sunlight but still a well lit room and I find my T's out a lot.

    They say that they are not that intelligent but I think they adapt well. They learn routine for sure. So I say mimic nature.
  10. pbenner

    pbenner Arachnopeon

    Hi all,

    I have included a picture of Charlie's house. I am pretty sure that he has dug himself a hole underneath the clay pot in the corner, as I cannot find him and this morning there is a small opening that I see there. He is not under any of the magnolia leaves either.

    Knowing that he just consumed a Dubia roach of the 1st or 2nd instar (I'm thinking 2nd) I assume that I can leave him to his brooding under his hide for a while to let him settle in? Any reason that I'd want to disturb him or a when I'd want to disturb him?

    In regards to Dubias;

    I'll take a picture of my setup and make a thread if there is a forum here for that, but this is the 3rd tub change I've done in about 60 days or so due to the first being too small, and the 2nd not holding enough heat or humidity to get the production I wanted. My current setup is a 45g tub from Walmart that is opaque. Into the lid I installed a metal wiring box that has a 15ft extension cable to plug into the wall feeding a Dimmer switch rated for 600w. This is wired to an outlet in the box which has (2) cheap lamp fixtures permanently installed in the lid with 50w CHEs in them. I've got (2) ~15" x ~3" aluminum screen covered 1/2" hardware cloth panels that are bolted to the interior of the box to provide ventilation and there is a substrate of Oathulls and chunks left over from processing rolled oats into rough flour for Mealworm and Superworm Colonies. On top of having access to the Oats in the bottom as a permanent food source, I feed greens (Spinach, Kale, and Mixed Salad Greens) and Mazuri 6f rat food. I use "Juice Oranges" as their only water source. Early on I had a small issue with Fruit Flies, but as the number of individuals in the colony increases, the oranges are fleshed out quicker and quicker. The Colony is out-competing the few fruit flies that remain and their numbers are near zero at this time.

    I absolutely appreciate all the feed back as the last thing I want is to fail at this again. I am still coming to mental terms that I've purchased a pet spider that will possibly exceed the size of my hand. The thought gives me the heebie jeebies. But, facing irrational fears is how we overcome them, yes?



    Attached Files:

  11. Dman

    Dman Arachnosquire Arachnosupporter

    With a small sling it is best to not have much litter in the enclosure. It makes it hard to monitor your T. It also leaves hiding spots for prey items to escape your T. Just a simple hide is fine. I also prefer a larger enclosure as I try to avoid rehousing too often. However, your sling is tiny so one would argue it may be too large. Not a big deal but it comes with it's own challenges. Think of it this way. Tarantulas are not nomadic hunters they are ambush predators. They wait in a small area around their hides and feel for vibrations in their hairs and webs and then strike. They like small confined spaces.

    Overall looks good. For this species any ground litter, plants or decorations is more for your eye than the T's needs. Deeper substrate would be good. You mentioned currently at 2" this T will move dirt and as it grows it will move more and burrow down some. I would add another 1" IMO.
    Go to about 4" to 5" when you need to rehouse down the road.

    Have fun and seek help from Arachnoboards when you become deep in your addiction. Trust me you will become addicted.:)
  12. pbenner

    pbenner Arachnopeon


    It's growing further I guess. After hearing that I acquired a pet Tarantula, I was called to come collect another specimen before it was killed at a friend's house. I have him in a tub with dirt in a separate room.

    Based on what you're saying above, I should present my G. Pulchripes with a roach at the entrance of his den and coax him out in a few more days as opposed to digging him out?


  13. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    Are you trying to rehouse it or just feed it?

    If you're rehousing, I'd just dig it out.

    If you're feeding, there's no need to dig it out -- just place the prey outside the burrow and let the tarantula hunt.
  14. pbenner

    pbenner Arachnopeon

    You're wonderful! Thank you. I'll drop an appropriate sized Dubia in there tonight.



    So the little bugger keeps plugging the entrance to his burrow. I've opened it up with a gentle sweep of a pain brush and dropped a Dubia down there that it pounced on with Alacrity, but it re plugged the hole.

    Do I just keep playing the throw a roach to its death down the Sarlacc pit game or should it eventually be a little more around?

    Thanks in advance.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Jess S

    Jess S Arachnopeon

    Hi Paul. I personally wouldn't unplug a sealed webbed over hide entrance with a feeder because tarantulas often seal their entrances to moult and if that's the case, there is the potential for the prey item to harm/kill the T. that is temporarily incapacitated due to moulting.

    Don't know if a roach is likely to do much harm, unlike crickets etc, but people have reported seeing dubias eating moulting slings. Others say roaches tend to leave the T's alone, but their presence in the burrow while the T is moulting could stress it out. Obviously, it wasn't the case in this instance! But its something to bear in mind.

    A lot of people crush the head of the feeder so they are rendered incapable of chowing down on the T, as doing this will still cause it to twitch and move it's legs, even with no head, gruesome eh. The point being, that it will still move enough for the T. to identify it as a prey item.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. pbenner

    pbenner Arachnopeon

    He hasn't webbed it, just used the dirt and sand to plug it up. I've opened it a couple times trying to see in there but cannot. I only dropped in the roach (that yes was crushed headed) to see what happened and he ate it so am good for another week.

    Assume just leave it alone now or ?

    Sorry I am still a dumb.

  17. Welcome back to the hobby Paul!

    Yeah, true. But I keep a colony of blatta lateralis for 7 Ts (plus a bearded dragon). Honestly, I am getting as much joy from my feeder colony as from my pets requiring the feeders. Okay, maybe I am just weird, but you guys knew that already. lol

    [Note: I got the bearded dragon BECAUSE of the roach colony bounty]
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Jess S

    Jess S Arachnopeon