A. geniculata juvenile suddenly died.

Ovalman24

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Dec 6, 2021
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Hi all, I've been in the hobby a year or so now and I've had my first death, my juvenile White knee was somewhat sluggish the past few days so I've been trying to keep an eye, obviously checking the substrate and making sure there was a water dish etc. Sadly this morning I noticed she'd passed away. It leaves me concerned for my others incase I'm doing something wrong. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Dorifto

He who moists xD
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Pics of the enclosure, husbandry, house climate, temp... etc this information it's needed to know the possible causes of this death.
 

Ovalman24

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Dec 6, 2021
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I've noticed mites in the enclosure aswell, to be honest I think this is just bad husbandry on my part...... I keep them at around 20 degrees Celsius and lightly mist when they need it but I feel like the enclosure is way to moist and that could be why?
 

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KaroKoenig

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Yep... if the look of the surface is an indication of the water content in the substrate, then your enclosure is a water-saturated swamp. Somehow, I have my doubts that this level of wetness can be achieved by "lightly misting".

Did the swampy conditions kill the specimen? Who knows, probably. But to add something constructive here: For the future, I recommend you watch Tom Moran's videos about how to keep moisture-dependent tarantulas and what "moist substrate" actually means.
 

Neonblizzard

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How much height is there to your enclosure? Looks swampy but maybe they climbed up and fell
 

Ovalman24

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Yep... if the look of the surface is an indication of the water content in the substrate, then your enclosure is a water-saturated swamp. Somehow, I have my doubts that this level of wetness can be achieved by "lightly misting".

Did the swampy conditions kill the specimen? Who knows, probably. But to add something constructive here: For the future, I recommend you watch Tom Moran's videos about how to keep moisture-dependent tarantulas and what "moist substrate" actually means.
I will give them a watch and thank you for the help, feel terrible for the poor little T, makes me worry about how I keep my others but they all seem fine thankfully!

How much height is there to your enclosure? Looks swampy but maybe they climbed up and fell
It's about 3/4 full of substrate, I'd noticed the T being sluggish and then dead this morning, I do think it's probably due to my lack knowledge on how to keep her and the dampness has has a part to play.
 

Benson1990

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Its very easy to over do it on the moisture, I've found that out myself the hard way too, a little goes a long way I've found.

Sorry for the loss.
 

Dorifto

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Too damp=moisture saturated air=hard to breathe=suffocation

+ Mold and mite outbreaks

Do not "light mist" based on a schedule. Because daily light mist could end in a swamp.

Always add water based on the moisture level on the substrate. Depending on your climate it could mean on a daily basis or weekly.
 

Smotzer

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Too much moisture. It’s never a good idea to add any moisture on a schedule. You want the bottom layers to remain darker and slightly moist, and allow the upper most layer to lighten and dry IME
 

Frogdaddy

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I would agree that the substrate looks pretty wet. I acknowledge it's hard to judge substrate moisture sometimes. It's not scientific but I go on feel. Does the enclosure feel a little lighter than usual? Time to add moisture to the sub. Does it feel heavy? Probably good on moisture. Works for me anyway.
 

KaroKoenig

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Lack of knowledge can be amended. Doesn't help this particular spider, but what's done's done - and you seem self-critical, which is good.

For the future, there already is some good information in this thread. Let me just add a few points that are most likely not obvious in their transition from theoretical reading to actual practice:

- Moisture in the substrate: You would not believe how much water soil can actually absorb. With a spider like an A. geniculata, it is easy to go overboard. Misting doesn't do the trick - neither does observing the substrate surface only. Watering the substrate directly is much better. Doing so, check the side of the enclosure and the colour change in the substrate. It can take hours for water to trickle down to the bottom parts and spread out, depending on the substrate you use. What you want is a darker bottom layer and a lighter top layer. If you see an actual watertable at the bottom of the tank, it's already way too much. For an A. geniculata, it is perfectly fine if the surface of the substrate is actually dry. In fact, it is desirable. See photo of my office spider tank below, where the top layer is dry to the touch. The spider will dig to the level of moisture it needs. But it can't dig mud.

- Ventilation: I believe you are using a Kritter Keeper or something along those lines. While these look like they have tons of ventilation, that is not necessarily the case. The ventilation is only at the top. Near the bottom - remember the spider's lungs are literally at ground level - it's likely that little to no actual air exchange takes place. Gaseous decomposition products from the substrate (CO2, carbohydrates, etc.) accumulate.
What you want - especially with species that do need a bit of moisture, is some ventilation at or very near the substrate surface. This creates a "chimney effect", where air escapes through the top and fresh air gets sucked in through the holes at the bottom.

- Spider hydration:
It is a misconception that extra moist (wet even) substrate helps a great deal hydrating the spider. This holds true for spiderlings, which are more prone to dehydration due to their more permeable exoskeleton. Juveniles and upwards have much less of a problem with that. To be on the safe side, keep the substrate somewhat more dry and provide a water dish. Change water at least once a week. It may look clean to you, but the spider with its extremely sensitive chemical receptors might think otherwise.

All this should not be the end of your research, but just the start. So... have at it :).

20211206_134806.jpg
 

Arachnophobphile

Arachnobaron
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Hi all, I've been in the hobby a year or so now and I've had my first death, my juvenile White knee was somewhat sluggish the past few days so I've been trying to keep an eye, obviously checking the substrate and making sure there was a water dish etc. Sadly this morning I noticed she'd passed away. It leaves me concerned for my others incase I'm doing something wrong. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I'm really sorry to hear of the loss of your tarantula. I know it sucks but stay in there and just do alot more research. You now, unfortunately have this experience under your belt. No one is really going to beat you up over it.

You also did what many people cannot do.....admit your mistake and own up to it and that...you have my utmost respect.

Is the substrate coco-fiber???
 
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