Enclosure Size

Paiige

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So everyone seems to be on the same page with enclosures that are "too big" stressing out Ts, potentially causing them to be more reclusive, etc., etc.

Is it possible that a "too big" enclosure can stress a T enough to the point where they won't molt? I.e. if they're in heavy premolt and should be molting but they don't feel safe enough to let their guard down? Can a T 'decide' not to molt, or will they reach a certain size and their body just has to go ahead and do it for the sake of not splitting at the seams regardless of the environment?

Reason for my asking is my GBB, the little @#&% still hasn't molted after laying down a mat and seeming to be about to flip over last week. I know his tank is a little too big for him but I haven't wanted to rehouse him since he's been in premolt but I'm now concerned that he just doesn't feel safe enough to just get the deed done. This little guy has me constantly worrying :banghead:
 

Chris LXXIX

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I don't think you have to worry (I'm talking only about your 'GBB' now, I have my reserves about too much bigger enclosures in general but it's another story, not related to yours). Just wait. Btw do you have pics? :-s
 

Trenor

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So everyone seems to be on the same page with enclosures that are "too big" stressing out Ts, potentially causing them to be more reclusive, etc., etc.

Is it possible that a "too big" enclosure can stress a T enough to the point where they won't molt? I.e. if they're in heavy premolt and should be molting but they don't feel safe enough to let their guard down? Can a T 'decide' not to molt, or will they reach a certain size and their body just has to go ahead and do it for the sake of not splitting at the seams regardless of the environment?

Reason for my asking is my GBB, the little @#&% still hasn't molted after laying down a mat and seeming to be about to flip over last week. I know his tank is a little too big for him but I haven't wanted to rehouse him since he's been in premolt but I'm now concerned that he just doesn't feel safe enough to just get the deed done. This little guy has me constantly worrying :banghead:
I personally think that the problems from a too big enclosure has less to do with stress and more with keeping. I've noted with slings (less than 2 inches) in enclosures that are good for their size tend to eat better. While with oversized enclosures they eat less. Over that size, I've not had any trouble with them eating even in larger enclosures. Another problem with larger enclosures is a lot of people do not account for height when setting them up. Most RUB and other container are made for people storage so they tend to be taller the bigger in size the are. Once my Ts hit 2.5-3 inches I put them in an enclosure that is big for them to cut down on the rehousing needed.

How would a keeper even know if a T was stressed? What are the signs that a T is stressed? They don't make a distressed noise like other animals. It is normal for them to be flighty and hide. They don't lose hair or show bags under their eyes. So how would we even know? I think keepers saying a T is stressed has more to do with the keeper being stressed than the T. :D

I doubt your GBB not molting has little to do with the size of it's enclosure. They can take their time when preparing for a molt. If it was you other T would you be worried about it taking a while to molt? Don't worry about it too much and it'll be molting before you know it. :)

Good luck.
 
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KezyGLA

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I don't believe the whole 'enclosure too big' problems apart from one. Difficulty hunting prey is the only thing I have experienced with large enclosures. Even that isn't a big problem.
 

sdsnybny

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I know its a GBB but even they, when close to a molt, can benefit from overflowing the water dish. I have seen molts not come when they look evident and by upping the humidity even a little will bring it on.
 

basin79

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If a keeper did provide a large enclosure or provided large enclosures then it's probably safe to assume they don't have many T's. Therefore they'd be able to sit down/stand up and ensure the prey found itself near the T and could watch the drama unfold. You'd be able to make sure finding prey wasn't a problem.
 

Paiige

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They can take their time when preparing for a molt. If it was you other T would you be worried about it taking a while to molt?
Nah I probably wouldn't be worried if it were any of the others :embarrassed:
Thanks again guys. I personally have never seen any signs of "stress" from a too-big enclosure but it seems to be the general consensus. I will up his humidity and see if that helps.
 

cold blood

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I don't believe the whole 'enclosure too big' problems apart from one. Difficulty hunting prey is the only thing I have experienced with large enclosures. Even that isn't a big problem.
I agree that stress is not the right word. What I think happens in larger enclosures is closer to what you would see in the wild. Small ts that hide a ton and eat a lot less than people think.

Think about it, a wild t doesn't sit out in the open for days and days like many of our captive ts do....heck, many species that almost never burrow in captivity, live their wild lives deep in burrows. Not to mention recruitment is very low in the wild, while near 100% isn't uncommon in artificial conditions.

Smaller enclosures artificially alter their demeanor, this makes for a t that's out more and eating more, hiding less and growing faster. It makes them easier to monitor, easier to get in contact with prey (less hiding places for prey, too) and allows us to grow slings to colorful juvies in a relatively short time with superb survival rates.

I've explained the experiment I did with larger enclosures. Almost every single sling kept in an over size enclosure grew at half or less the speed of the ones in smaller condiment cups. All these slings also burrowed away and rarely emerged to eat, as pre kill was left at the entrance regularly.

Interestingly, I aw no such correlation with arboreals.

Oversize enclosures effect small ts a lot more than large ts...a large t in a large enclosure will merely result in less defensiveness.
 

KezyGLA

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I have heard that if you keep small Ts in smaller enclosures that they grow quicker but I didn't know of the reclusive trait. Thats a shame it is not noted in arboreal as I would immediately change my irminias enclosure to a smaller one ahaha

I had heard folks saying that their Ts never eat when in larger enclosure and that they seem stressed constantly. I think these people dont provide decent hide or sub depth. As for eating it probably a matter of time.

Thanks for some interesting info @cold blood.
 

mistertim

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Yeah agree with some others here. I don't really think a large enclosure necessarily "stresses" them but IME they'll tend to do what they would in the wild...find their "spot" in the enclosure where they feel secure and safe and basically make that area of the larger enclosure their home. Getting prey to them is the biggest pain in that instance because you generally will need to put it relatively close to the spider and wait for it to get gobbled up. Otherwise if the enclosure is big enough and/or the spider small enough it is entirely possible for the hunter and the prey to never even come across each other.
 

Jeff23

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I have four GBB's that range between 1.5" and 2.5" length. All have molted multiple times in 8"x 10" x 4.5" deep Snapware plastic tubs so I personally don't think it is the enclosure size.

I am not having a problem with any of my arboreal T's in over-sized enclosures. I plan to continue to over-size them. None of my T's in them are going hungry and they are building nests like happy T's. I put a cricket in any of the enclosures and it is gone the next morning when they are not in premolt characteristics. I think they are happier because crickets aren't dropping into their nest when they aren't hungry. I can also detect whether they are hungry easier because they leave their nest when they are ready to eat. Cleaning is easier without bothering the T. As far as growth rates - I don't care. I'm not in a race with anybody to make my T bigger than theirs. I just enjoy seeing them thrive.

For terrestrials mine are all over the map. I have an AF 4" davus pentalore in a way over-sized plastic tub enclosure (12" wide x 15" long x 10" deep) which wasn't my plan but it was convenient at the time when the enclosure I planned to use didn't arrive on time. This T sits right out in the open all the time. She does browse the full container sometimes but usually sits in a web nest built next to some plastic plants on the substrate. She rejected the partially buried cork bark half tube for burrowing possibilities. Even though this is working, I don't want more large setups like this. It eats up real estate and uses way too much substrate.

I have multiple Euathlus Sp. Red and Tiger. This includes two females and multiple slings. Part are staying out in the open quite often and part are staying burrowed. All of them are in way over-sized containers.
 

darkness975

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Any time I hear the whole "large enclosures stress Tarantulas" thing I wonder what would happen if this was actually a true statement. There would be a population of zero in the wild if this was even remotely true. But like others have said regarding a larger enclosure they likely tend to act more like they would in the wild. Find a spot and call it home. For a keeper, this is not really a good or bad thing. The only real issue would be with feeding, since in captivity the amount of prey items wandering by the spider's home is not the same as in the wild when millions of invertebrates are on the move every day and night all over the place. The keeper would have to basically make sure that the spider is eating. It also wouldn't hurt to have the water dish closer to its home too.

Other than that I say build as big of an enclosure as you want. A couple of really nice display tanks can be the highlight of the collection while the rest reside in the typical sterilite tubs or Kritter Keepers that many people here use.
 

Anoplogaster

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Any time I hear the whole "large enclosures stress Tarantulas" thing I wonder what would happen if this was actually a true statement. There would be a population of zero in the wild if this was even remotely true. But like others have said regarding a larger enclosure they likely tend to act more like they would in the wild. Find a spot and call it home. For a keeper, this is not really a good or bad thing. The only real issue would be with feeding, since in captivity the amount of prey items wandering by the spider's home is not the same as in the wild when millions of invertebrates are on the move every day and night all over the place. The keeper would have to basically make sure that the spider is eating. It also wouldn't hurt to have the water dish closer to its home too.

Other than that I say build as big of an enclosure as you want. A couple of really nice display tanks can be the highlight of the collection while the rest reside in the typical sterilite tubs or Kritter Keepers that many people here use.
Completely agree! I think T's in larger enclosures tend to hide because that's just what they do normally. A smaller enclosure is simply a hiding spot that they can't get out of. Heck, you can set up an entire room as one big enclosure, and even have many species living in it. They will each have their own territory. Just like in the wild. As long as there are plenty of features they can claim as hiding spots.

The only thing to watch out for is height, like others have said.
 

darkness975

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Completely agree! I think T's in larger enclosures tend to hide because that's just what they do normally. A smaller enclosure is simply a hiding spot that they can't get out of. Heck, you can set up an entire room as one big enclosure, and even have many species living in it. They will each have their own territory. Just like in the wild. As long as there are plenty of features they can claim as hiding spots.

The only thing to watch out for is height, like others have said.
I wish it was actually possible to do that. I always wondered how awesome it would be to have a giant room sized invertebrate ecosystem or reptile ecosystem. Imagine the immensity of that!
 

viper69

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So everyone seems to be on the same page with enclosures that are "too big" stressing out Ts
I know that is not true.

Large containers don't cause stress per se. Large containers that are not properly decorated w/the appropriate cage furniture etc, that causes them to be scared a bit. I have observed the difference the right amount cage furniture has on an Avic in the same container. Too little and it withdraws its legs and will often remain in corners/against container sides. Put in the right amount and their defensive posture disappears.
 

Anoplogaster

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I wish it was actually possible to do that. I always wondered how awesome it would be to have a giant room sized invertebrate ecosystem or reptile ecosystem. Imagine the immensity of that!
Why is it impossible? I wouldn't necessarily call it an ecosystem, though. But a room full of T's and reptiles is plenty possible, as long as they all originate from the same type of habitat in the wild. The only thing is you'll need to be ok with the idea that your lizards will occassionally dine on your T's..... and probably the other way around if you have some large T's:rolleyes:
 

Jeff23

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I think one area of confusion on all of these posts can be summed up in a couple areas. I am still learning on this so please don't think I am trying to battle with anyone or pretending to be an expert.

What size is over-sized?

I was wondering to myself why my thoughts are contradicting everyone else and then I realized that maybe what I am calling over-sized is not over-sized to at least part of our opinions.

If we go by the partially liked and disliked document, The Tarantula Keeper's Guide, it says the width should be at least double the tarantula's maximum leg span and the length should be at least double the width. I have seen a couple people change this value to triple the length of the T for the width of the enclosure. In truth I suppose it depends on your species and comfort levels. Some people are more comfortable with a Tapi in a much larger enclosure and/or feel they need the space to stretch their legs. And then there is Megaphobema genus which some people feel needs a much larger enclosure as a sling or juvenile due to the way stress affects these T's. It almost seems like we are back at the care sheet quandary where it is simply impossible to be specific on what is right/wrong when you also consider that we are stuck with the available enclosures on the market (unless you make your own).

What does constitute a success and/or a happy tarantula?

Can we really say that a tarantula is happy just because it is growing fast and has a huge abdomen? Or is the tarantula happier when it is not being disturbed with tongs and falling objects that it can't immediately identify as a cricket versus enemy? My Psalms pulcher's and Tapi's cover every square inch of the 32 oz deli cups in web. So does this mean the entire container is the tarantula's hide? It has been stated that OBT's are much less defensive with a larger enclosure where you are not messing with them inside what they treat as their hide. A Tapi is not the same as an OBT but probably still feels a threat when something invades the local area.

Some people have made comments that a T waits for the food to come to them. My Avic's and Tapi's definitely hunt. I was thinking that maybe this is arboreal versus terrestrial versus burrowing. But I am not getting different results for any of them. My Bumba cabocla will come out of the burrow to hunt and eat. My D. Pentalore will hunt live crickets as well. When I dropped a cricket in my D. Pentalore's hide she went into defensive mode like she was telling the cricket to get out. Later the cricket became dinner when she left her hide to search for it. Maybe they only hunt in captivity? I am not sure of the facts on this.

My 2.5" A. Versicolor is in an arboreal enclosure from Jamie (8"x 8" x 14"). This size exceeds the 2X rule. My girl has a web tube in the upper left corner of the enclosure. But I am find smaller web strands scattered all over the place. I had to break web to open the side door recently. When I put a cricket in this enclosure, I don't put it in my girl's hide. I drop it on the substrate. While I had problems with her eating in the large AMAC, she hasn't missed an occasion in hunting and eating her cricket the same night it arrives on my regular feedings. Sometimes she will not hunt/eat the cricket if I try to feed her too often. I think these web strands help her locate it. Maybe over-sized is the size at which it exceeds what the distance the Versi is willing to expand her web detectors and varies with each spider (size differences, sensing ability, etc.)?
 
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cold blood

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Can we really say that a tarantula is happy
I think an issue is that line above.

Its not about happiness, happiness plays zero role dealing with an animal completely incapable of happiness.

In general small terrestrials do best in small enclosures, yes, there may be exceptions to this general rule, but an exception or two is just that, an exception and doesn't mean that the general rule is wrong.

As keepers we want our slings out of the fragile sling stage as fast as possible, this is simply to increase survival rates artificially. Slings that hide less and eat more, grow faster, its just that simple. So making a sling a better eater that's easier to monitor just means better growth and higher survival rates.....keep in mind, that in the wild, this doesn't occur and as a result, survival rates are abysmal.
 

Anoplogaster

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Not a battle..... more like a healthy debate that's worth discussing occassionally:)

My belief is that tarantulas are an ancestral spider. This means that they have a body plan and behaviors that have served them well for millions of years in the wild. Sometimes, we forget how unforgiving the wild can be. When we try to achieve the perfect environment for our T's in captivity, we never think about how variable natural conditions actually are. No environment in nature is as consistent as we can achieve in the little fortresses of solitude we create in our homes. Now, with that said, spiders are what we call R-selected organisms. That basically means fast growth rate and many offspring. This is an adaptive form of reproduction that allows for success in unstable environments. They have many offspring to increase the odds of passing their genes, because most are not likely to survive.

With all that in mind, we can discuss the best possible captive conditions for these animals. As owners, our goal is to increase that survival rate. So, while they are adapted to unstable conditions, they would still benefit from stable conditions. What does that have to do with enclosure size? Well, coming from a reptile and aquarium background, I've experienced that larger enclosures tend to be more stable than smaller ones. If the outside temperature and humidity fluctuate, a smaller enclosure is more likely to experience that same fluctuation more rapidly than a well-kept large enclosure. However, smaller enclosures come with the benefit of being able to more closely monitor your animal and its environment. Not to mention feeding. If you release crickets into a larger enclosure, the odds of your spider finding them are always going to be lower. If you have a spider in a deli cup, the cricket is pretty much in their face. I usually set up larger enclosures for the stability (and because they're fun to set up), and I tong feed dubias that I raise myself. The biggest reason I tong feed is because dubias have a tendency to bury themselves if you drop them on substrate. It's also worth mentioning that I keep mostly arboreals, where I never have to worry about falls in large enclosures.

In regards to a "happy" tarantula, they are not capable of emotions as far as we know. They just don't have the brains for it. They respond to stimuli, and they acclimate themselves to whatever size enclosures we put them in. They don't perceive their surroundings the same way we do. They have no idea they're even in a box.
 

Jeff23

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I think an issue is that line above.

Its not about happiness, happiness plays zero role dealing with an animal completely incapable of happiness.

In general small terrestrials do best in small enclosures, yes, there may be exceptions to this general rule, but an exception or two is just that, an exception and doesn't mean that the general rule is wrong.

As keepers we want our slings out of the fragile sling stage as fast as possible, this is simply to increase survival rates artificially. Slings that hide less and eat more, grow faster, its just that simple. So making a sling a better eater that's easier to monitor just means better growth and higher survival rates.....keep in mind, that in the wild, this doesn't occur and as a result, survival rates are abysmal.
I understand that, but I have seen people say that once they reach 1.5-2" they are generally out of the most dangerous part of the cycle.

I know my situation is slightly different in that I travel (need more substrate to keep moisture longer). All of my 1/4"-1/3" T's are in 5.5 oz deli cups which is also over-sized based on some people keeping them in vials. I generally overcome the issue of the T finding prey by breaking their pre-kill up into a few pieces that are placed in more than one spot in the container. My Aphonopelma and E. Sp. Red could probably use a little benefit of growing faster, but it seems like everyone says they are going to be slow growers no matter what I do.
 
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