aquarium gravel

arachnophile223

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
224
i know that it is generally frowned on by most enthusiasts. but i have encountered several who have written books, and stuff that admit to having kept some one the smooth gravel for long periods without a problem.

anyway my question is: [while i'm not planning on using it myself] why is gravel such a bad substrate. i'm interest to see what your points of views are. i have heard that it is too abrasive. but have heard it defended by in the wild T's burrow in soil that contains much sharp gravel and stuff. i have also heard that it is because they cannot burrow into it. but what about a T that has been kept on a substrate where it could burrow for years but never even tried? [like a rosea for example] if it's gonna just sit on top, then gravel should be ok. [in this aspect anyway]. if you have a T that never digs, and just sits on top of the substrate, and you are going to provide a hide...why couldn't you use gravel?

just wondering. at this point, i'm not planning on using gravel. but i wanna know why it's so forbidden in the hobby....
 

Hobo

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Staff member
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
2,206
I wouldn't want to use it because it holds water like crazy, probably supporting all kinds of nasties.
I used to keep lots of fish, and sometimes, when I'd empty out a tank/bowl, I'd be too lazy to empty out the gravel and just stick it in the garage until I needed it again.
I'd come get it a few months later to find the gravel still wet and gross underneath.

Now thnk about whenever your water dish overflows a bit, whenever your tarantula spills prey juice everywhere, and when she takes a dump. All that stuff's gonna seep into the bottom and become rancid. At least with coir/peat, it'll get absorbed and dry out relatively quickly.

Also, a fall onto hard gravel is probably worse than a fall onto some coir/peat.

I'm not saying it wouldn't work. I have a friend who had a rosea in elementary school and he kept it on that rainbow gravel for six years until he gave it away. Nowadays we have cheaper and better alternatives, so why use gravel at all?
 

malevolentrobot

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Messages
310
I'm not saying it wouldn't work. I have a friend who had a rosea in elementary school and he kept it on that rainbow gravel for six years until he gave it away. Nowadays we have cheaper and better alternatives, so why use gravel at all?
i believe this was the strongest point made the last time this discussion came up, it's just basically outdated substrate that was used when the hobby was beginning, from what i remember others posting.
 

arachnophile223

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
224
I wouldn't want to use it because it holds water like crazy, probably supporting all kinds of nasties.
I used to keep lots of fish, and sometimes, when I'd empty out a tank/bowl, I'd be too lazy to empty out the gravel and just stick it in the garage until I needed it again.
I'd come get it a few months later to find the gravel still wet and gross underneath.

Now thnk about whenever your water dish overflows a bit, whenever your tarantula spills prey juice everywhere, and when she takes a dump. All that stuff's gonna seep into the bottom and become rancid. At least with coir/peat, it'll get absorbed and dry out relatively quickly.

Also, a fall onto hard gravel is probably worse than a fall onto some coir/peat.

I'm not saying it wouldn't work. I have a friend who had a rosea in elementary school and he kept it on that rainbow gravel for six years until he gave it away. Nowadays we have cheaper and better alternatives, so why use gravel at all?
true, true...i was just wondering thanks for responding...
 

bobusboy

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
287
For high humidity environments I've seen some people put a centimeter of the gravel at the bottom of the tank beneath the substrate.

Whether this works or not I don't know, but I assume this isn't the application you're talking about.
 

Raine

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 12, 2010
Messages
10
whenever your tarantula spills prey juice everywhere
This one made me laugh! Brings back memories of the first time I saw my Sav. Monitor eat a large locust. It wasn't pretty! I keep watching Ts hunt (including when I saw my own do it) but I can't figure out if they eat like 'normal' spiders or they actually put the thing in their mouth and chew it up. I know that regular spiders web up, inject with venom, and wait until the insides go mushy before sucking it dry. But my T didn't look like it was doing that. So which one does it do? :confused:
 

Toirtis

Arachnobaron
Joined
May 14, 2010
Messages
316
I wouldn't want to use it because it holds water like crazy, probably supporting all kinds of nasties.

Now thnk about whenever your water dish overflows a bit, whenever your tarantula spills prey juice everywhere, and when she takes a dump. All that stuff's gonna seep into the bottom and become rancid.
Precisely my findings.
 

LirvA

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
117
This one made me laugh! Brings back memories of the first time I saw my Sav. Monitor eat a large locust. It wasn't pretty! I keep watching Ts hunt (including when I saw my own do it) but I can't figure out if they eat like 'normal' spiders or they actually put the thing in their mouth and chew it up. I know that regular spiders web up, inject with venom, and wait until the insides go mushy before sucking it dry. But my T didn't look like it was doing that. So which one does it do? :confused:

Ts don't chew their prey. They regurgitate stomach acids onto the prey which dissolves it and they suck up the juices.
 

RoachGirlRen

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 8, 2007
Messages
994
I dislike the idea of gravel for a number of reasons.

1. Coarser grain gravels could trap a T's foot/limb if it shifts, or so I will assume after hearing of more than a few comparably sized animals kept on such a substrate experiencing this problem.
2. Cushions falls poorly. Why put an animal that ruptures easily on a hard, uneven substrate?
3. Difficult and annoying to clean. You can easily spot clean waste from the surface of fine particulates like coconut fiber, peat, sand/soil mixes, etc. Not so with gravel; things tend to fall between the cracks and rot.
4. Easy escape route for prey. The FBTs at my job are kept on gravel and crickets are constantly wedging themselves under the grains, making them inaccessible. Plus, they die down there and aren't seen right away, leading to a smelly, rotted mess.
5. Fails to hold surface moisture, but will readily fill up with a bunch of stagnant, nasty water at the bottom of the aquarium if misted regularly. Coarser grains of materials that don't really hold water mean that water simply filters through and winds up at the bottom.

I guess I just don't really see the point in a substrate that is unattractive, inconvenient, and less safe compared to the numerous alternatives out there. I could see wanting to include some rocky matter if you were trying to make some kind of naturalistic display vivarium/exhibit for certain species (ie. many photos of wild Aphonopelma show them in fairly rocky areas), but even then you'd want plenty of soil in the mix for it to be realistic.

in the wild T's burrow in soil that contains much sharp gravel and stuff
"Natural" doesn't always equal "safest" when designing an enclosure. The reason many species survive longer in captivity than in the wild is because we can control the environment and eliminate hazards. Now personally, I wouldn't be too worried about rounded aquarium gravel being "too abrasive" for a lighter-weight species even if I think it is a lousy substrate for other reasons. That argument seems a bit silly to me. But if I had a big heavy female T. Blondie you can bet your bippy I would avoid hard or rough objects in its enclosure even if they encounter rocks and twigs in the wild; there is simply no reason to subject a captive animal to something potentially harmful for the sake of replicating an unimportant nuance of "the wild" - especially if there is no meaningful benefit to be gained from it.
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,659
For high humidity environments I've seen some people put a centimeter of the gravel at the bottom of the tank beneath the substrate.

Whether this works or not I don't know, but I assume this isn't the application you're talking about.

We did this with our H. sp.Vietnam enclosure, but she was nice enough to bring lots of the gravel up to web around the entrance to her burrow. We have a tube that extends down there to that layer, so that we can pour water in if needed, but it hasn't needed it yet in 2 years.
 
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