anyone with a B. Smithi please answer!

wicked

Arachnobaron
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Apr 15, 2005
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I don't like the idea of reducing ventilation because lack of moving air will allow mold to grow.
Reducing ventilation in combination with keeping the substrate dry shouldn't produce any mold problems. It just helps hold the humidity produced by the water dish.

Where as a tank with a fully screened open top wouldn't hold any humidity for very long, even if you soak the tank.

Where I live it is very dry and arid, so I have to use closed containers, i.e. jars or acrylic cubes, for babies and tropicals. You being in Florida, you probably won't have as much problem with that as I do. :)

This old peanut butter jar set up would be a good example of restricted ventilation. There are vent holes along the bottom and top of the wall, as well as the lid, but it is still "restricted" ventilation.
 

Stan Schultz

Arachnoprince
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... I don't like the idea of reducing ventilation because lack of moving air will allow mold to grow. ...
In Florida (your location) humidity might be a problem for exactly the opposite reasons most of the rest of us endure: too high and largely uncontrollable. I would not worry too much about humidity unless you see a lot of mold growing on organic things in its cage (too high), or the tarantula spends a lot of time resting next to or on top of its water dish (too low). B. smithi are pretty hardy and resilient and will adjust to almost any conditions except a permanent steam bath.

But, here are some additional comments that may help you understand tarantulas, humidity, mold, and care sheets a little better.

Mold is seldom a real issue with tarantulas. Enthusiasts who insist on keeping their tarantulas in damp cages complain about it constantly (Duh!), but we almost never hear of a tarantula dying of a mold or fungus infection. The real significance of mold is that if it can grow, so can a bunch of much more malicious things. Mold is an indicator like litmus paper. If you have mold you're also likely to have mites, rampant bacterial growth, etc., and it's time to rethink your arachnoculture strategy.

The major problem with having other things growing in the tarantula's cage is not that they're instantly deadly to the tarantula. In the wild, tarantulas live with these constantly and manage to survive for years in spite of it. Rather, the average enthusiast isn't able to recognize them until these interlopers become a serious crisis, or know what to do about them until it's too late to save the tarantula. At the very least it results in a lot of angst for the enthusiast, at the worst it results in the loss of an expensive, highly valued pet.

Mold will not grow unless the substrate is damp and the air becomes stagnant and saturated with water vapor (entirely possible in most parts of Florida, I'll admit). About the only times we hear of this happening are either when a newbie reads all the care sheets that recommend 70% humidity or something similar (too high for most tarantulas), and then goes WAAAAAY overboard. Or, in cages where enthusiasts are trying to keep T. blondi, almost always a problematic species to keep anyway.

[Note: As a matter of principle I don't believe in care sheets. It's much smarter and safer to understand how tarantulas work in the first place and act accordingly than it is to implicitly "believe" in something someone who is almost as ignorant as we is trying to foist onto us for whatever reason.]

You were told that keeping tarantulas was almost as simple as tuning a TV. And, you believed them! {D
 
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gmrpnk21

Arachnobaron
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Nov 1, 2010
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319
Yeah I should have been a bit more specific about the mold. Because both my smithi and g. Pulchripes were under 2" I was keeping the substrate moist a well. I think my smithi may be at 2" now, so after she hardens up I will let her be on dry substrate. Now if I can just figure out why my avicularia avicularia. Decided to make her web right on the ground I will be ok.
 
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gmrpnk21

Arachnobaron
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Nov 1, 2010
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Thanks, me too :). I am thinking about a flameleg as well... I could also get a flameknee at a reasonable price. But IF I get another one anytime soon, it will be a G. Pulchra.
 

Stan Schultz

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On these and other forums it is generally considered bad taste to respond to your own postings, but I made a statement that was so far out in left field that I had to issue a correction. Come on people! Why didn't one of you call me on this one? Nobody paying attention?

... In the wild, tarantulas live with these constantly and manage to survive for years in spite of it. ...
This is not true! In the wild the mortality rate among tarantulas is horrendous!

Averaged over decades or generations, in order to maintain a more or less stable population, any particular female must only produce one surviving baby per eggsac, plus one extra over her entire life. This is to replace the male that fathered the babies in that eggsac, and ultimately to replace herself.

If more than that survived, on average, the population would increase endlessly and we'd end up with a temporary population boom. At that point there are all sorts of checks and balances that would kick in to increase the mortality rate and bring the effective reproductive rate back into line.

If less than that survived, on average, either the mortality rate would decrease, slowing the population crash; or the population would crash completely and the species would become extinct.

If we assume that, on average, only one baby survives to reproductive age per eggsac, and that the average eggsac produces 200 babies (but you can pick your own number if you don't like mine), that means that the mortality rate for that species of tarantula is something on the order of 99.5%! (BTW, there are also a bunch of hidden assumptions here, but I haven't the time or space to address every little, niggling detail.)

So, life in the jungle or desert is not an idyllic paradise where there's always lots of food and water, and nobody ever gets sick or dies. That state of affairs is only roughly approximated in our cages where we take Herculean measures to protect our investments, yet another way in which cage life differs from life in the wild.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, was the whole point of my dissertation.
 

Jacobchinarian

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Now I think I know the answer to this but since they like it so dry could you use sand for a smithi. I have heard that if you wet the sand and then let it dry it hardens into an acceptable burrowing material. For most species I know this will definitely not work but for dry species like this has anyone had any success. Again I'm 80% sure I know the answer to this will be a no. I'm just curious.
 

curiousme

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Now I think I know the answer to this but since they like it so dry could you use sand for a smithi. I have heard that if you wet the sand and then let it dry it hardens into an acceptable burrowing material. For most species I know this will definitely not work but for dry species like this has anyone had any success. Again I'm 80% sure I know the answer to this will be a no. I'm just curious.
Click here for a thread that answers this question.
 
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