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Substrate discussion

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by RemyZee, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. RemyZee

    RemyZee Arachnosquire Active Member

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    Hi all!
    I wanted to find out what folks' favorite substrates for T's are. I currently use coco fiber, but have been considering adding vermiculite. Some experienced keepers such as Tom Moran (Tom's big spiders) use vermiculite to help with moisture, drainage, and mold prevention. What do you all use, and what are your opinions on vermiculite?
     
  2. chanda

    chanda Arachnodemon Active Member

    It depends on the species, but for desert species I generally use a 50/50 mix of coco fiber and sand/dirt. For species that like more moisture I use coco fiber topped with a layer of sphagnum moss. I've been thinking of adding vermiculite to the moist cages but haven't gotten around to trying it yet.
     
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  3. Venom1080

    Venom1080 Arachnoking Active Member

    Peat moss mixed with topsoil or eco earth.
     
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  4. Socfroggy

    Socfroggy Arachnoknight Active Member

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    It's usually a combination of a two different substrate. I have a mix of sand and Coco fiber in some enclosures and I plan to use topsoil and ecoearth in future enclosures
     
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  5. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoengineer Arachnosupporter

    Straight topsoil. I used to mix in peat moss, because flies are unable to breed in it. But I've since come up with extremely efficient fly traps, so I've gone back to pure topsoil.
     
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  6. RemyZee

    RemyZee Arachnosquire Active Member

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    Ok, you've piqued my interest. Describe these fly traps! :)
     
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  7. Walker253

    Walker253 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Lots of options out there. Everything from the straight top soil or straight Eco Earth (coir) to a mix. I've gone back and forth. The most common mix for me was 40% coir 40% peat 10% sand and 10% vermiculite. That held quite well for burrowers and held moisture pretty good also.
     
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  8. PanzoN88

    PanzoN88 Arachnoknight

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    I only use coco fiber and nothing else, I may try topsoil in the future, but it would take something convincing to make me do so.
     
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  9. RemyZee

    RemyZee Arachnosquire Active Member

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    Agreed. I've used top soil before (alone and as a mix). Mixed it was fine, but using it alone I kept having minor mold problems. I know some folks use it quite successfully, though. Maybe top soil brands make a difference?
     
  10. RemyZee

    RemyZee Arachnosquire Active Member

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    Do you layer the vermiculite on the bottom or mix it in?
     
  11. TomKemp

    TomKemp Arachnoknight

    Cool you started this thread. I was actually reading his site today and remember it saying that a layer of vermiculite on the bottom helps retain moisture for burrowing T's that require it more. I'm getting ready to rehouse two T. Stirmi juvies and I think I'm going to go that route.
    With my substrate I just mix a large batch in a tote so I don't have to do it all the time. I generally mix 50/50 coir and potting soil with a nice dash of vermiculite to hold moisture. I don't know if the layer on the bottom would help anymore considering that I already mix it into my substrate. I suppose it wouldn't hurt either. I dunno.
     
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  12. RemyZee

    RemyZee Arachnosquire Active Member

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    @TomKemp , I'm so jealous of your Stirmis!! I want one so bad.

    I'm sure they'll love their new enclosures, whatever substrate mix you end up going with :)
     
  13. TomKemp

    TomKemp Arachnoknight

    I've been wanting them in my collection for a few years now and finally picked up two smaller guys in the early spring. I really enjoy them.
     
  14. miss moxie

    miss moxie Arachnoprince Active Member

    I use coco fiber. I recently picked up this monster bag but it was USD $29.99 w/free shipping when I ordered it. It's gone up in price since then. It was a bit more expensive than buying two 23L bags of Eco Earth, @ USD $0.60 per liter versus Eco Earth's USD $0.52 pet liter. But I wanted to give it a try since I hadn't seen that brand of coco fiber for sale before. It's pretty much the same stuff, same consistency for the most part. Maybe a little rougher, so to speak. More coarsely chopped in some spots. In the future I'll just buy two bags of jumbo Eco Earth unless the price changes (Eco Earth increases, this new substrate decreases) because it's easier to haul around two bags rather than one giant bag. Plus one stays sealed until I need it. Is it more expensive than cheap top soil? Definitely. But I like the way it looks and works so I don't mind the cost for now. Perhaps when I've got 30 large adult enclosures I will experiment with top soil again.

    I use whatever brand of sphagnum moss for spiderlings and for tropical tarantulas, and mix it either just at the top or all the way through depending on the species/life-stage. I've been considering experimenting with vermiculite in the future though.
     
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  15. sdsnybny

    sdsnybny Arachnoangel Active Member

    @EulersK
    Please elaborate on these efficient fly traps, we are all ears.
     
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  16. The Grym Reaper

    The Grym Reaper Arachnobaron Active Member

    A bit of everything lol.

    I'm currently trialling a mix of topsoil, sedge peat, coco fibre, and fine vermiculite (basically just added topsoil to my old mix).
     
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  17. Walker253

    Walker253 Arachnobaron Active Member

    What about just buying the bricks? I've found them on Amazon for between 12.50 and 15.00 for an 11 pounder. Mixed it up in an 18 gallon Rubbermaid and it fills it up. I use really hot water to mix. I use less water and for some reason hot water mixes better. It seems to dry faster and I just use it as I need it. I rarely put moist coir in a new enclosure. Loose Eco-Earth, where it may be dry, is so pricey. Not knocking your method, I don't need that wrath lol. Just curious and thinking of another way
     
  18. FrDoc

    FrDoc Arachnopeon

    Anybody have any reviews on the Lugarti "premium" substrate? Seems kinda steep price wise, but if it's worth it...
     
  19. miss moxie

    miss moxie Arachnoprince Active Member

    When I have my own place I don't mind having an 18 gallon Rubbermaid tub full of substrate, but until then just having a bag of it takes up much less room in my bedroom which is where all my Ts are and where I do all of my housing and put together enclosures.

    Hot water would evaporate faster considering the air is at a much lower temperature, so it makes sense that using hot water to prepare the brick would result in faster drying.
     
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  20. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoengineer Arachnosupporter

    I'll admit that I haven't tried the stuff, but here's my opinion.

    There isn't much to be "worth it" about any substrate. If the substrate works for you, then why does it really matter what else is out there? I've failed miserably with vermiculite, but other users swear by it. It's about what makes a particular mix work in your climate. Experiment on hardy species, they'll forgive you for it. Then refine it on more delicate species.

    Advising on moisture is particularly difficult in this hobby. Humidity doesn't matter, but substrate "moistness" does. However, the water that is held in the substrate dries out surprisingly quickly. It's the color of the substrate that is a tell-all, but learning to read it takes time. Which is why hardy species are your friend.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4