A few questions from a new spider keeper. Help me out!

ember

Arachnosquire
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Howdy!

I am a momma, and a wife, and an animal lover. We have one very large tarantula in our family now... and we love him (her?) quite a bit. We snagged him from a bad situation where his spidery needs were not being met... and he lives in the lap of eight-legged luxury here with us now! This Rosea is now very respected, instead of living in a tiny plastic box with no amenities.

Being interested and responsible animal owners, I am excited to join a forum where I can learn more than care-sheet basics about our spider. My son is as interested with animals as I am, and he is already talking about more arachnids at some point. We will learn all we can now, and thus be ready where life hands us another opportunity to take in an invertebrate in need.

Our spider is named Ananci. He (she?) lives in a 20 gallon tank on our bookcase, guarding our books. Ananci is a good keeper of our stories! He has a base of the tank made of compressed coconut fiber, and we have a moss collection in parts, as well. Ananci has a really cool vase (made to look ancient, with a manufactured crack and hole in the side) that he can hide in, and has an over turned bark round for climbing under or on top of (it is not hight or precarious - long and flat-ish) and he likes to spin web over that. He has a small ceramic bowl with a sponge for water (well, also to help the tank with humidity - though we have no heat sources or anything like that - and so the crickets can drink too) and since the tank is on the middle shelf of the case, he has plenty of shading from the light.

I want to learn how to keep him healthy, things to look for that suggest problems so I can fix conditions before it affects his health, etc. Also, I need, for my own curiosity, to lean how to sex him (or her).

Here is a big question: what to do about ants? I have those small house ants wanting into the tank. They are climbing the book case in a small line. I keep wiping the trail with peppermint and eucalyptus essential oil, but I am questioning the effectiveness. Ants can be harmful to even a really big spider, right?


Since I just moved him into a big tank, should I be concerned that he will not know how to catch the illusive cricket, now that they have more room to keep away from the spider? Or can I just trust that he will know how to get crickets even if they are not literally climbing all over him (her??)? I have not seen Ananci eat anything since moving to the new tank. He is not very active, but I have nothing to compare this too since I have not had this spider for long, and have never owned another Rose (all of our spiders where when I was a young child - they belonged to a parent and I was a passive viewer).

There seems to be some discoloration or something on the spider's back... almost, as my mind's eye sees it, as if the spider has rubbed the hairs off or something. Is this a red flag or a sign indicative of something that I need to know?


PS - this is a BIG spider. I am no good at guessing sizes of things, but he or she is seriously large... about the size of my hand (generic woman-sized hand). He or she was docile when I moved from tiny plastic box to the tank... no biting or hair throwing.

Thanks!
 

Selenops

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First off, a twenty gallon tank is way too large for a Rose Hair, they don't need to be housed in anything larger than a five gallon honestly (ten gallon at most). This can also lead to the Rose Hair locating food a difficulty.

Secondly, the waterdish, discard the sponge, wash it out with warm water, and then refill with purified water.

Ants can definitely be problematic to a pet like this tarantula (even lead to it's death). I always like to investigate what is drawing the ants and where they are coming. Then combating them from there. I usually corden off potential entries into the home with baking soda.

A darkening of the abdomen usually means pre-molt. Also another reason a Rose Hair will fast.
 

cheetah13mo

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The reason ants want in the tank is because there is food being left in the tank that does not get eaten. Monitor his/her eating and remove the leftover scraps and the ants will dissapear. The tank is ok but don't but the T in anything bigger. It would be best and easier to take care of in a five or ten gallon. Depending on what species your spider is, it most likely has rubbed the urticating hair off her rump as sign to go away. The urticating hair can be quite itchy so be carefull. All the hair will come back after the next molt.

Welcome to the hobby and the boards.
 

ember

Arachnosquire
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Well, like I mentioned, the spider is BIIIG. I have no idea on age or history, but a 5 gallon tank would be too small, I think... leg and movement room wise. Is this larger tank actually problematic, or just not necessary? He does not seem dwarfed by the space, or like it is expansive or anything. Just different than what he was in before.

There are no food scraps in the tank.

The abdomen is not darkening - it is a patch on top that is lighter, not darker.

Is there a more preferred food than crickets? Meal worms or something?

Why should I remove the sponge? (I am not being snotty, I am genuinely curious. Teach me!) The water that is in there is filtered water.

How active should this spider be? I have read that inactivity is a sign of problem, right? So, since I have nothing to compare the activity TO, please tell me about your spiders' activity levels.

I have gathered what I can from google searches, care sheets, etc... now please help me with the real information that only experience can offer. I want to be more than a mediocre care giver - I want to be an excellent care giver to this spider and learn as much as I can.

Thanks.
 

Selenops

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Well, like I mentioned, the spider is BIIIG. I have no idea on age or history, but a 5 gallon tank would be too small, I think... leg and movement room wise. Is this larger tank actually problematic, or just not necessary? He does not seem dwarfed by the space, or like it is expansive or anything. Just different than what he was in before.

Seriously, a five gallon would do fine, I have a 5"+ Asian tarantula in a ten gallon and boy it has tons of space but not so much the spider is overwhelmed. Tarantulas spend exponential amounts of time inactive or using very little of the space provided.

There are no food scraps in the tank.

The abdomen is not darkening - it is a patch on top that is lighter, not darker.

Is there a more preferred food than crickets? Meal worms or something?

No, crickets are fine.

Why should I remove the sponge? (I am not being snotty, I am genuinely curious. Teach me!) The water that is in there is filtered water.

Wet sponges in the waterdish is a invitation for bacteria and other nasties.

How active should this spider be? I have read that inactivity is a sign of problem, right? So, since I have nothing to compare the activity TO, please tell me about your spiders' activity levels.

Tarantulas usually have a very low activity rate.

I have gathered what I can from google searches, care sheets, etc... now please help me with the real information that only experience can offer. I want to be more than a mediocre care giver - I want to be an excellent care giver to this spider and learn as much as I can.

Thanks.
 

cheetah13mo

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Well, like I mentioned, the spider is BIIIG. I have no idea on age or history, but a 5 gallon tank would be too small, I think.

I have over 40 T's and out of 12 mature adults, only two are in a ten gallon. Everything else is in a five gallon or smaller and are just fine. Too much room can make them nerveous and wander looking for a new, more confined space to live. I'm not suggestion you change the tank or anything. If she's doing fine, don't change it. It's just something to look at if you start seeing odd behavior.

There are no food scraps in the tank.

There would be no reason for ants to be anywhere if there wasn't food present.

Why should I remove the sponge? (I am not being snotty, I am genuinely curious. Teach me!) The water that is in there is filtered water.

I'll second the bacteria problem in sponges.
 

Mina

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I agree, a 20 gallon tank is waaaay to big for a rosehair. The reason you want to keep them in a smaller tank is that in a big tank it can be difficult for them to find their food. Tarantulas hunt by the vibration the prey makes, if T and prey don't cross paths, the T won't know there is food available. Another reason is rosehairs just aren't an active tarantula. They are referred to as pet rocks for a good reason. They just don't need that much space.
You don't want a sponge in the water dish for two reasons. The tarantula cannot suck water from the sponge, and crickets crawling over it will turn in into a bacteria heaven.
You don't have to feed your tarantula anything other than crickets. You can, of course, but your T will be healthy on a diet of crickets.
At the top of this forum you will find a sticky on sexing tarantulas. You can do it by looking at the bottom side of their abdomens, or waiting until your tarantula moults and examining the shed skin.
Do you know about moulting? What will happen and what you should and should not do?
 

ember

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Seriously, a five gallon would do fine, I have a 5"+ Asian tarantula in a ten gallon and boy it has tons of space but not so much the spider is overwhelmed. Tarantulas spend exponential amounts of time inactive or using very little of the space provided.
Okay - I was mistaken, the tank IS a 10 gallon, not a 20. I overestimated, and my husband corrected me when he read my posts.

It is hard, I have read so much conflicting information on Rose Hair keeping. That is why I wanted to come here and ask the experienced keepers, and come to this with a blank slate mind (putting aside all that I have READ in exchange for actual advise). I have read that these spiders are supposed to active, that you must have a sponge, that the tanks need heated, etc... many things that I have already discovered are dangerous or unnecessary - thankfully before I had the chance to harm our new spider.

No, crickets are fine.
Thanks. Is there anything that is BETTER? I will do any footwork if it will help the spider. This is another area where I have read conflicting information; that crickets will kill a spider, that they have to be full gut, smaller is better because the wont hurt the spider, bigger are better because they are easier to catch, etc...

Wet sponges in the waterdish is a invitation for bacteria and other nasties.
This makes sense. So, if I take it out, do I risk our (big) spider drowning in the water?


Tarantulas usually have a very low activity rate.

How low is too low (like, time to start worrying)? How long between eating when food is available is okay?

I have over 40 T's and out of 12 mature adults, only two are in a ten gallon. Everything else is in a five gallon or smaller and are just fine. Too much room can make them nerveous and wander looking for a new, more confined space to live. I'm not suggestion you change the tank or anything. If she's doing fine, don't change it. It's just something to look at if you start seeing odd behavior.
Again, I was wrong on my tank size in my post. Sorry! He (she?) has two hiding hole type areas that he likes, and does not seem nervous or agitated... as far as I can tell! (Which is not very far!) What are obvious signs of stress?

There would be no reason for ants to be anywhere if there wasn't food present.
Nope. There are no food scraps. Live crickets, yes, No scraps. I wonder if they are interested in the water/sponge, the coconut fiber, the moss, or something else.... Either way, I just don't want them to hurt my spider! There is not a solid line of ants or anything, just a few here and a few there. What are some effective methods of keeping ants away without endangering the spider?

I'll second the bacteria problem in sponges.
How do you keep water for your spider? Since you have over 40, you must have a method that is not deadly! {D

Any clue on what the white (looks like "dry skin") is on top of his back? Is this something I should worry about?

Thank you all!
 

bonesmama

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Enough has been said about tank size......although I think that since these creatures have survived practically unchanged for ---how long?--- in the wild so a 20 gallon tank would not pose such a problem for the T catching it's prey.....it would really pose no problem at all. I've got a few in 10 gallons, and all but 1 use every inch available for them to walk around in. I go by the habits of my T' as a deciding factor as to how big of an enclosure I keep them in. Of coarse, I only have 15, so I have more room for larger tanks than someone who keeps 50 or 100.....
What I want to tell you about is the patch you are seeing on your T's back-- G. rosea have a "mirror patch" on their abdomens, it looks like a round, maybe nickel sized patch on a large adult-- that is perfectly normal for this species.
Another thing to discourage ants naturally- place the tank in a shallow pan of water, like a cookie sheet and the ants won't cross to the tank. I've had ants in one of my T's tanks, and she freaked out......lol, of coarse she doesn't like change of any kind!
 

edesign

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It is hard, I have read so much conflicting information on Rose Hair keeping. That is why I wanted to come here and ask the experienced keepers, and come to this with a blank slate mind (putting aside all that I have READ in exchange for actual advise).
you're going to so glad you did! :) one word of advice, learn the scientific names of the spiders as common names are misleading to say the least at times and can be used to describe a number of species. They can be intimidating at first but once you start recognizing the common ones from repetition the rest will fall in to place!

Is there anything that is BETTER? I will do any footwork if it will help the spider. This is another area where I have read conflicting information; that crickets will kill a spider, that they have to be full gut, smaller is better because the wont hurt the spider, bigger are better because they are easier to catch, etc...
some people feed roaches (Blabtica dubia...or is it Blaptica? they are popular) but a lot of people feed a staple food of crickets as well. Some spiders will eat meal worms, some won't...my A. seemani refuses them but my L. parahybana loves them (then again, everything is food to it lol). A problem with meal worms is that they will burrow lickety-split so make sure the spider grabs them right away or put them in a bowl with sides high enough they can't wriggle out. Then there's pinky mice but let's not go there...

This makes sense. So, if I take it out, do I risk our (big) spider drowning in the water?
how deep is it? a 5" G. rosea has good size legs and if it drowns in 1/4" of water and the bowl only has 1/2" sides then it probably "deserved" to be taken out of the gene pool ;) Just use common sense, don't make the water too deep or the sides too high...for spiders that size I often use the plastic lids from juice containers (such as the Ocean Breeze brand 1/2gallons) or a lid from a peanut butter jar (plastic). Try em out and see which works best...they're free too (well, they don't cost extra lol) so when it gets dirty just throw it away and replace with another.

One thing you may want to watch with the water bowl more than the spider is crickets. They can drown a lot easier than the spider so tossing in some small rocks that will allow them to crawl out of the water and the bowl will help. Just watch them for mold/bacteria growth which probably won't ever happen.

Tarantulas usually have a very low activity rate.

How low is too low (like, time to start worrying)? How long between eating when food is available is okay?
hehehe...G. roseas have been known to fast for over a year (one report of 2 years!). So they're feeding schedule is not an accurate indicator of when to worry. Best thing to do is watch the abdomen, if it starts shrinking too much then you can start worrying. A little shrinkage is fine and you don't want TOO large of an abdomen as this can make them more prone to injury. Just make sure the spider has a water dish and feed at least once a month (they don't have to eat every week but sometimes they don't mind ;) ).


What are obvious signs of stress?
constant pacing, scrunching up like they're trying to hide, hanging upside down from the roof, hanging out on the walls, etc. the last two can indicate that the substrate is too moist for their liking, let it dry out for a few days and they'll come down.

What are some effective methods of keeping ants away without endangering the spider?
maybe vaseline? I'm not too sure...but ants can spell trouble for even a large T.

How do you keep water for your spider? Since you have over 40, you must have a method that is not deadly! {D
see above...

Any clue on what the white (looks like "dry skin") is on top of his back? Is this something I should worry about?

Thank you all!
not sure what you are referring to, try the search engine here on the forums. It is towards the top right of the page just below your "private messages" link and mood indicator. Use the advanced search function so you can choose which subforum to search since searching for T problems in the myriapod forum probably won't help too much ;)

Good luck and welcome to AB!
 
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edesign

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G. rosea have a "mirror patch" on their abdomens, it looks like a round, maybe nickel sized patch on a large adult-- that is perfectly normal for this species.
ah...i did not know this (believe it or not lol...but i've never kept a G. rosea).

ember...here is a link to some pics of mirror patches:

http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=78804&highlight=mirror+patch (last picture, first post...C. cyaneopubescens)

http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=72152&highlight=mirror+patch

and a thread entitled "mirror patch" :)
http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=58242&highlight=mirror+patch

this is a link to someone asking about white flakey stuff on the T's abdomen :p
http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=65501&highlight=mirror+patch
 

bonesmama

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NEVER had a G. rosea....I don't think you can really consider yourself an arachnophile.......lol! {D
 

ember

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Here are some pictures...

Can you all tell me the scientific name for my spider based on these photos? You know, so I can sound less like an idiot when I talk about him/her?

Also, you can see that patch I was talking about...

And the size of the spider in relation to the tank size. Does it still seem to large of a space?

When I got him, he had been kept in a TINY plastic box.. his legs were touching the edges and he could not move around. He had to rest feet on the water dish. The substrate was sand and was moldy under and around the water. It was sad.

It is good to know that I should not be too worried about the spider starving to death. :p












 

cheetah13mo

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Can you all tell me the scientific name for my spider based on these photos? You know, so I can sound less like an idiot when I talk about him/her?

Also, you can see that patch I was talking about...

And the size of the spider in relation to the tank size. Does it still seem to large of a space?

When I got him, he had been kept in a TINY plastic box.. his legs were touching the edges and he could not move around. He had to rest feet on the water dish. The substrate was sand and was moldy under and around the water. It was sad.

It is good to know that I should not be too worried about the spider starving to death. :p
The scientific name is Grammostola rosea. It's very good you gave your T more room. The box it was in was too small. It does look like a lot but like I said above. If your T is finding food, by it's size, I'd say there is no problem there, and your T is not acting in a panic and moving around a lot, then I would not worry about the tank size. It looks like she's settled in and do fine. An inactive tarantula is happy and content. An active, nerveous T needs your attention because something is wrong.

By the way, your T has a darker color to her than what I normally see and is very pretty.
 

Mushroom Spore

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Can you all tell me the scientific name for my spider based on these photos?
Holy cow. You need either a shorter enclosure or about ten times as much substrate in there, and you need it yesterday. The tarantula should be able to stand up with its rear legs touching the dirt and almost touch the top of the enclosure with its front legs. Any taller than this, and if your T climbs and falls it will die horribly. If their abdomen cracks there is absolutely nothing you can do and they will die in less than a minute most times, if not instantly.

If all that mossy stuff is in there for humidity reasons, or if it's moist or damp at all, get rid of it. They like their dirt as dry as can be, the only thing wet in a rosea's enclosure should be the inside of the water bowl. :)
 

edesign

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ember, what are you using to hold the lid on? and agree, more substrate will be a very good thing

The tarantula should be able to stand up with its rear legs touching the dirt and almost touch the top of the enclosure with its front legs. Any taller than this, and if your T climbs and falls it will die horribly. If their abdomen cracks there is absolutely nothing you can do and they will die in less than a minute most times, if not instantly.
maybe a bit extreme...but he's right, a fall can sometimes rupture the abdomen (more so with terrestrial than arboreal species though) and in many cases this will result in the T dying. If it is a minor rupture and caught soon enough there are first aid methods you can try, often involving getting "hands on" with teh spider. Again, try the search engine here...might even be a sticky about it somewhere on the front page (you did read the stickies right? :eek: ) as I don't recall any real specifics off the top of my head, been a while.
 

Cerbera

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Yes absolutely - that looks far too moist. Out with the moss I say too, which only ever serves as great places for crickets to lay eggs and hide. however, to minimize damage from falling I'd leave it there until you do the whole tank change, and get the substrate up to a reasonable level.
 

ember

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The mossy stuff is dry. It dry in a bag. It is not moist at all (contrary to how the photo makes it "feel"). Can my spider really climb up the glass wall... since there is nothing along the wall to help it up? So far he/she has shown zero inclination to climb at all, and I understand that these are not climbing spiders, persay. Teach me of my evil ways so that I may no be the death of a spidey!

What type of substrate would this type of spider like the best? (I have coconut fiber right now - not moist, but not dried out or anything). The lid is an open thick wire mesh top of air flow.

Does the abdomen seem in good proportion to the body? Not too small? (Not too large?)
 

cheetah13mo

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For a tarantula that size it would be tricky but yes, any corner would be the easiest. the real fine hairs on their feet can hold on to the glass sufaces. Glass is not perfectly smooth and a T can climb it. Dry cocanut fiber is fine. A lot of people use Bed "O" Beast and peat moss too. All of these are good choices. The abdomen is not too small. If anything it's a little on the large size but not too large. The size is real good and healthy.
 

Cerbera

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The mossy stuff is dry. It dry in a bag. It is not moist at all (contrary to how the photo makes it "feel"). Can my spider really climb up the glass wall... since there is nothing along the wall to help it up? So far he/she has shown zero inclination to climb at all, and I understand that these are not climbing spiders, persay. Teach me of my evil ways so that I may no be the death of a spidey!
Yes, your spider can climb unassisted. It is definitely up to you to ensure that it can't fall onto anything hard, or sharp, or indeed fall at all more than a couple of inches or so.

What type of substrate would this type of spider like the best? (I have coconut fiber right now - not moist, but not dried out or anything). The lid is an open thick wire mesh top of air flow.
Dry peat moss is my recommendation here.

Does the abdomen seem in good proportion to the body? Not too small? (Not too large?)
That seems a healthy size, possibly verging on the overfed. It's certainly not too thin !

hope that helps...

J
 
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