Best way to add more substrate to tarantula enclosure?

LunarBeats

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
30
Beginner tarantula owner here. I've had my a. seemani for about a month and she (at least I think it's a she) seems to be doing well, but I admit I was quite a bit ignorant when I got her and recently found out I don't have the proper levels of substrate in her tank. The tank is about 9 or 10 inches tall, but I only have 2.5-3 inches of substrate. The main issue I'm concerned about is disrupting the habitat she kind of has going, as shes webbed a lot of the area outside her shelter and some of the area around the water dish. This might be a dumb question, but would it be best to move her out of the tank, add the extra substrate, then put her back in, or else carefully add the extra substrate around her log while she's in there, considering she spends most of her time in there as it is. I want to fix this problem so she has room to burrow and whatnot if she chooses, but I want to disturb her as little as possible especially since she seems to have settled in. Thanks.
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,110
I usually just add the new substrate in over the top of the old - unless there's something gross (like mold or mites) in the old substrate that necessitates removing some or all of it. Don't worry about disturbing or covering up her webbing - she'll put down a fresh layer. Just remove the water dish and any other decorations that are not currently occupied by your spider and carefully add fresh substrate around the log that she is in - or if she's not in the log, lift it out, too, and add substrate to the side of the tank where she isn't - then gently coax her over to the newly-refurbished side of the tank so you can finish the job. If she's still in her log and it's a half-log, you can just lift it off of her and coax her to the other side. If it's a full round, you can lift and move it carefully to the other side with her still inside it.
 

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,593
remove her and then just add everything back in. dont bother trying to make it exactly like it was either. she'll adjust just fine.
 

user 666

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Messages
351
Beginner tarantula owner here. I've had my a. seemani for about a month and she (at least I think it's a she) seems to be doing well, but I admit I was quite a bit ignorant when I got her and recently found out I don't have the proper levels of substrate in her tank. The tank is about 9 or 10 inches tall, but I only have 2.5-3 inches of substrate. The main issue I'm concerned about is disrupting the habitat she kind of has going, as shes webbed a lot of the area outside her shelter and some of the area around the water dish. This might be a dumb question, but would it be best to move her out of the tank, add the extra substrate, then put her back in, or else carefully add the extra substrate around her log while she's in there, considering she spends most of her time in there as it is. I want to fix this problem so she has room to burrow and whatnot if she chooses, but I want to disturb her as little as possible especially since she seems to have settled in. Thanks.
It depends.

With well-established tunnelers, I wait until the T is in their hide and then I pile the substrate on top. I have a bunch of enclosures with hides buried halfway down, and I have found that tunnelers can generally sort things out on their own - just don't collapse a tunnel on top of the T.

I have an L nigerimum that had a well-webbed tunnel. It was safe to simply add more substrate, and the same was true for my Lampropelma sp black.

But then there are the ts that don't have enough substrate; they get removed. I take off the top layer of webbed substrate, add the new stuff, mix it, tamp it down, and then add the webbed layer on top before putting the T back in.

That's what I did with my curly hair Houdini this afternoon. (I've had it 8 months and suddenly it decided it wanted to dig a tunnel.)
 

Ellenantula

Arachnoking
Joined
Sep 14, 2014
Messages
2,007
It's a shame to upset a T's habitat, but with A seemanni -- the deeper substrate will be worth her stress. And Ts have nothing better to do all day than lay down new webbing anyway.

I would cup her, remove everything (except existing substrate), add more substrate on top and then put things back however seems most logical.
Be sure and pack down the substrate!

Hopefully, in time, she'll dig an amazing burrowed tunnel system after she settles back in.
 

The Grym Reaper

Arachnoreaper
Active Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
4,139
In all honesty, it'd be best/easiest to just remove the T/hide/water dish/decor and then add in the extra substrate, she'll settle into the new setup quickly enough.
 

Walker253

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jun 12, 2016
Messages
556
I'd take her out. An a seemanni isn't fragile or sensitive to an adjustment. Just cup her, take the stuff out, add the soil, put everything back and add her back in. The last thing you want is to add soil with her in their and she decides to bolt up the side and out. While pretty tough, A seemanni are skittish and quick for a NW terrestrial.
 

Stormsky

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 9, 2016
Messages
33
I agree with everyone else that I would just remove her and all the decorations, pile in all the substrate you want and then put everything back where you want it. She should get over it pretty quickly and then be even happier with the ability to burrow.
 

mconnachan

Arachnoprince
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
1,246
Beginner tarantula owner here. I've had my a. seemani for about a month and she (at least I think it's a she) seems to be doing well, but I admit I was quite a bit ignorant when I got her and recently found out I don't have the proper levels of substrate in her tank. The tank is about 9 or 10 inches tall, but I only have 2.5-3 inches of substrate. The main issue I'm concerned about is disrupting the habitat she kind of has going, as shes webbed a lot of the area outside her shelter and some of the area around the water dish. This might be a dumb question, but would it be best to move her out of the tank, add the extra substrate, then put her back in, or else carefully add the extra substrate around her log while she's in there, considering she spends most of her time in there as it is. I want to fix this problem so she has room to burrow and whatnot if she chooses, but I want to disturb her as little as possible especially since she seems to have settled in. Thanks.
You know what needs to be done which is a great starting point, I would remove everything then add the extra sub, remember to leave a gap of 1.5 x DLS so any falls are small then put all the "furnishing" back in, once your done your T will be much safer and feel more comfortable, so say your T is 3" you would want to leave a gap of 4.5" from the sub to the top of the enclosure, hope this helps........
 

MGery92

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
64
Remove her and the decorations, she will handle this little disturbance. I did it for my seemanni too not long ago, she is happily digging through the substrate since then. She made a very long tunnel and she is working right now. Give her slightly moist sub, they like it a bit more humid.
 

BishopiMaster

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
358
Beginner tarantula owner here. I've had my a. seemani for about a month and she (at least I think it's a she) seems to be doing well, but I admit I was quite a bit ignorant when I got her and recently found out I don't have the proper levels of substrate in her tank. The tank is about 9 or 10 inches tall, but I only have 2.5-3 inches of substrate. The main issue I'm concerned about is disrupting the habitat she kind of has going, as shes webbed a lot of the area outside her shelter and some of the area around the water dish. This might be a dumb question, but would it be best to move her out of the tank, add the extra substrate, then put her back in, or else carefully add the extra substrate around her log while she's in there, considering she spends most of her time in there as it is. I want to fix this problem so she has room to burrow and whatnot if she chooses, but I want to disturb her as little as possible especially since she seems to have settled in. Thanks.
If the substrate has been in there for several months or so, id replace it, especially if new substrate is going on top, i think a lot of people dont replace substrate in this hobby because of the sheer volume of t's that they have.
 

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,593
If the substrate has been in there for several months or so, id replace it, especially if new substrate is going on top, i think a lot of people dont replace substrate in this hobby because of the sheer volume of t's that they have.
no, its because theres no point. why would you replace it?
 

BishopiMaster

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
358
no, its because theres no point. why would you replace it?
Particularly if new substrate is going on top AND the old substrate has been there for awhile, it's good principle, a lot of uneaten food products can go unnoticed,
Ill come halfway, you should remove a layer of soil, half inch to an inch, before adding new.
 

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,593
Particularly if new substrate is going on top AND the old substrate has been there for awhile, it's good principle, a lot of uneaten food products can go unnoticed,
Ill come halfway, you should remove a layer of soil, half inch to an inch, before adding new.
if its a bone dry cage, mold from boli is near non existent. if not, well, i do a through spot clean and then add the sub on top. i usually mix it all together rather then just dumping it on top. good point though.
 

BishopiMaster

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
358
if its a bone dry cage, mold from boli is near non existent. if not, well, i do a through spot clean and then add the sub on top. i usually mix it all together rather then just dumping it on top. good point though.
Yeah i can agree with you if the cage is bone dry its much less of an issue.
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
1,899
I'd take everything out including the old sub. Mix it into the new sub and then repack it back in. I prefer to moisten the older sub (and the new sub) lightly before putting it back so it packs better which helps a lot when they build their new tunnels. I don't try to preserve the old burrow as to me that's an increased risk of collapse from the weight of the new substrate or from packing the new substrate down.

Mine have always made new burrows pretty quickly. I usually use their old sub during rehousing so I don't have to use as much new. So far it's not been a problem.

I've never reused web mats or any large pieces of webbing. I do tend to leave web that's stuck to hides and decorations(if they are being reused) on there. That's mainly cause I'm lazy and it's a hassle to clean off.
 

Ellenantula

Arachnoking
Joined
Sep 14, 2014
Messages
2,007
I've never reused web mats or any large pieces of webbing.
I've reused webbing twice. When I lost a mealie in a terrestrial enclosure -- I noticed her web carpet lifted right out. So after I sifted out the mealie and repacked substrate, etc., I laid her carpet back in on top. I itched for a week. Never again!

And when I rehoused my OBT, I had sorta hoped he'd ride inside his webbed mess into his new enclosure (no such luck) but I did go on and give him his old pile of webbing. He went inside it a few times but then abandoned it.

No more saving webbing for me!
 

darkness975

Latrodectus
Arachnosupporter +
Joined
Aug 31, 2012
Messages
4,154
But then there are the ts that don't have enough substrate; they get removed. I take off the top layer of webbed substrate, add the new stuff, mix it, tamp it down, and then add the webbed layer on top before putting the T back in.
How do you manage to do this? Would it not just disintegrate? Or do you mean the webbing itself if it comes off in one piece?
 
Top