Ficus ginseng with M. Balfouri?

Storm1028

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Hello, I watched a video from Pure Exotics making an enclosure for M. Balfouri. I noticed them using ficus ginseng in the enclosure and I happened to do the same. So this question is slightly too late since the plant is already in the enclosure (dont worry, the balfouri is not in the enclosure yet). Is the plant safe for the balfouri? May I please get the pros and cons of having ficus ginseng in the enclosure with M. Balfouri? Thank you in advance. I will attach a picture below.
 

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cold blood

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First off, it will require watering and even minimally, its gping to have a natural humidity increase, which is actually bad for a baboon.

Second, its going to eventually get completely webbed, almost certainly leading to a dead plant...now you have to do a total re house as removing it from under mats of webbing wont be an easy task.

That doesnt even consider it being up rooted (many ts can and will do this) or chewed up.

Live plants can be a ton of extra work, but they can also look amazing...the key is putting them with the right species....a tropical one most likely....definitely not an arid species, and definitely not a prolific webber.

My advice is to just stick with plastic plants.

On another note, that appears to be an exo terra with front doors....thats an arboreal enclosure and not suitable for a terresrial, its especially un suited for a fossorial....so a re house is in order any way.

Curious what the substrate is?
 

chanda

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Hello, I watched a video from Pure Exotics making an enclosure for M. Balfouri. I noticed them using ficus ginseng in the enclosure and I happened to do the same. So this question is slightly too late since the plant is already in the enclosure (dont worry, the balfouri is not in the enclosure yet). Is the plant safe for the balfouri? May I please get the pros and cons of having ficus ginseng in the enclosure with M. Balfouri? Thank you in advance. I will attach a picture below.
The plant looks nice in the enclosure. My main concern would be that the water required to keep the plant alive might make the cage too wet for the balfouri, which prefer a dry environment.
 

Storm1028

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First off, it will require watering and even minimally, its gping to have a natural humidity increase, which is actually bad for a baboon.

Second, its going to eventually get completely webbed, almost certainly leading to a dead plant...now you have to do a total re house as removing it from under mats of webbing wont be an easy task.

That doesnt even consider it being up rooted (many ts can and will do this) or chewed up.

Live plants can be a ton of extra work, but they can also look amazing...the key is putting them with the right species....a tropical one most likely....definitely not an arid species, and definitely not a prolific webber.

My advice is to just stick with plastic plants.

On another note, that appears to be an exo terra with front doors....thats an arboreal enclosure and not suitable for a terresrial, its especially un suited for a fossorial....so a re house is in order any way.

Curious what the substrate is?
The substrate is zoomed excavator clay
 

viper69

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Say if watered 1x every three days, will the substrate grow mold?
Depends on the amount of ventilation and water requirements of the plant to a smaller extent. Pure Exotics builds setups that are incredible. Remember, build the setup around the T, this includes the plants.
 

boina

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Say if watered 1x every three days, will the substrate grow mold?
If you water it every 3 days you will have a dead plant. That's a succulent requiring very little water. The plant would need to be watered every two to three weeks, depending on temps, but then it needs a decent amount so it can fill up it's water stores again. It would work well with a tarantula that wants it mostly dry but can handle a lot of moisture for a day or three. B. albopilosum and B. vagans come to mind, but there must be others.
 

EulersK

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Say if watered 1x every three days, will the substrate grow mold?
As CB said, some species work fine with plants. This is not one of them. But to answer your question, yes, it will absolutely grow mold eventually. Decaying organic matter will almost certainly mold unless you've got the proper microfauna. Springtails need to be added so they keep the mold at bay and out-compete the fruit fly larva. You'll also need isopods to eat the decaying plant matter that will inevitably build up. But a healthy amount of plant matter won't be available to the isopods from only a single plant, meaning you'll need to supplement their food with extra leaves. Now, those leaves must be safe for the tarantula and be edible by the isopods. You'll also need to keep it humid enough in there as to keep the isopods alive - fun fact, they have gills. However, it can't be too humid as to avoid harming the tarantula, springtails, or the plant. And with the plant, it needs light (of course) which your spider will hate unless set up properly. The plant will also need proper substrate, but the overlap of substrates that plants love and the substrate that tarantulas love is almost nonexistent. Your springtails and isopods will eventually create a bio-reactive environment that will result in a thriving plant, but that will take months, if not a year.

I've been heavily involved in the hobby for only four years, and I've only begun to build proper vivariums. So far, two out of three have been spectacular failures. If one piece of the puzzle goes wrong, your entire ecosystem goes downhill. It's often hard to bring it back as well. All the while the tarantula is suffering the consequences. You need to have a firm understanding of the husbandry of everything involved.

Try vivariums later on unless you've done them before. Get your bearings with tarantulas and try this again later with a more appropriate species.
 

boina

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As CB said, some species work fine with plants. This is not one of them. But to answer your question, yes, it will absolutely grow mold eventually. Decaying organic matter will almost certainly mold unless you've got the proper microfauna. Springtails need to be added so they keep the mold at bay and out-compete the fruit fly larva. You'll also need isopods to eat the decaying plant matter that will inevitably build up. But a healthy amount of plant matter won't be available to the isopods from only a single plant, meaning you'll need to supplement their food with extra leaves. Now, those leaves must be safe for the tarantula and be edible by the isopods. You'll also need to keep it humid enough in there as to keep the isopods alive - fun fact, they have gills. However, it can't be too humid as to avoid harming the tarantula, springtails, or the plant. And with the plant, it needs light (of course) which your spider will hate unless set up properly. The plant will also need proper substrate, but the overlap of substrates that plants love and the substrate that tarantulas love is almost nonexistent. Your springtails and isopods will eventually create a bio-reactive environment that will result in a thriving plant, but that will take months, if not a year.

I've been heavily involved in the hobby for only four years, and I've only begun to build proper vivariums. So far, two out of three have been spectacular failures. If one piece of the puzzle goes wrong, your entire ecosystem goes downhill. It's often hard to bring it back as well. All the while the tarantula is suffering the consequences. You need to have a firm understanding of the husbandry of everything involved.

Try vivariums later on unless you've done them before. Get your bearings with tarantulas and try this again later with a more appropriate species.
Everything you said goes for tropical/subtropical vivs (except for the fruit flies. Those are very likely Sciaridae and def. not Drosophila). That's a desert viv the OP is trying to do. It needs to dry out regularly to keep the plant alive and well. There's no way to keep isopods, sprintails etc. in there. Decaying matter also won't be a problem, because a single Ficus ginseng won't produce much and it's easy to take out single lost leaves and what he can't take out will just dry up. It also won't produce mold, because it will dry out regularly - desert viv, as I said. And what do you have against potting soil as substrate for your sub/tropical viv? About every German I know uses and recommends it and there are some very successful breeders among them, so it can't be bad for tarantulas. I do agree that light will be a problem, though. That Ficus def wants more than the tarantula, whichever one that is going to be. The tarantula will need a very good hide to use during the light cycle.
Vivariums are easy. I've done a few and they tend to work well. You just have to know about the plants as well as about the tarantulas.
 

Storm1028

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Everything you said goes for tropical/subtropical vivs (except for the fruit flies. Those are very likely Sciaridae and def. not Drosophila). That's a desert viv the OP is trying to do. It needs to dry out regularly to keep the plant alive and well. There's no way to keep isopods, sprintails etc. in there. Decaying matter also won't be a problem, because a single Ficus ginseng won't produce much and it's easy to take out single lost leaves and what he can't take out will just dry up. It also won't produce mold, because it will dry out regularly - desert viv, as I said. And what do you have against potting soil as substrate for your sub/tropical viv? About every German I know uses and recommends it and there are some very successful breeders among them, so it can't be bad for tarantulas. I do agree that light will be a problem, though. That Ficus def wants more than the tarantula, whichever one that is going to be. The tarantula will need a very good hide to use during the light cycle.
Vivariums are easy. I've done a few and they tend to work well. You just have to know about the plants as well as about the tarantulas.
I made the T a tunnel stretching from the left end of the terrarium to the right. A large piece of Wood is on top of the tunnel. I also positioned the ficus to shade both opening of the tunnel. I will post pictures when I get home tonight.
 

EulersK

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Alright, so I didn't really look up the plant before. Since you're apparently insisting on doing this with an M. balfouri, here's some information on the plant in question.

Full sun is ideal, in the house as well as outside if the tree is exposed to the ultraviolet radiation gradually or if it is defoliated before placing the tree outside. A very shady position is unfavorable.
The Ficus should be watered normally, which means it should be given water generously whenever the soil gets slightly dry. Daily misting to maintain humidity is advised
Fertilize weekly or every two weeks during summer, every two to four weeks during winter.
Source: https://www.bonsaiempire.com/tree-species/ficus

So, in fewer words: This plant needs frequent watering (most sites suggest never letting it dry out), heavy sunlight, and needs to be fertilized frequently. This plant wouldn't be terrible for a humid species, but that's a bit cruel to subject an arid species to.

I mean, it's your spider. Do what you will. But you asked for advice, and there it is. You're putting the plant before your spider - fair enough. Constant humidity won't kill an M. balfouri, but it will make the enclosure uncomfortable.
 

EulersK

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Everything you said goes for tropical/subtropical vivs (except for the fruit flies. Those are very likely Sciaridae and def. not Drosophila). That's a desert viv the OP is trying to do. It needs to dry out regularly to keep the plant alive and well. There's no way to keep isopods, sprintails etc. in there. Decaying matter also won't be a problem, because a single Ficus ginseng won't produce much and it's easy to take out single lost leaves and what he can't take out will just dry up. It also won't produce mold, because it will dry out regularly - desert viv, as I said. And what do you have against potting soil as substrate for your sub/tropical viv? About every German I know uses and recommends it and there are some very successful breeders among them, so it can't be bad for tarantulas. I do agree that light will be a problem, though. That Ficus def wants more than the tarantula, whichever one that is going to be. The tarantula will need a very good hide to use during the light cycle.
Vivariums are easy. I've done a few and they tend to work well. You just have to know about the plants as well as about the tarantulas.
It really has to do with the OP's experience level. This is his second tarantula, and his first was a Grammy. Getting husbandry down on the tarantula should be a priority, not adding in plants. I appreciate his enthusiasm, but this is a bad recipe if things go wrong. Which they likely will, given this species' knack for webbing and uprooting anything not bolted down.

Although I still stand by no plants being in with an arid species like this. Even very infrequent watering would be putting the plant ahead of the tarantula. The majority of sites I visited advised that the soil to this plant should never dry out, which is a big no-no for this species of tarantula.
 

Storm1028

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The spider won't go into the enclosure in like 1-2 years since it is just a sling (1"). The enclosure in 12" x 12" x 12" which is way too big for a 1" sling. So it's an experimentation. I will try watering 2-3x a month like what boina adviced and see how well it does. I care about both the T and the plant. I care more about the T that is why the plant is in the enclosure first before the spider so that if I mess up, the spider won't get the consequences. If the plant is dying because of not enough water, I will water more, eventually collect data and know how often to water the ficus. This allow me to understand water requirements and if it is suitable for M. balfouri. I have gone to many sites of the care of Ficus. There are ficus on the island of Socotra but it is different from Ficus retusa (ficus ginseng). In conclusion, I will just experiment and see if it is necessary.
 

boina

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It really has to do with the OP's experience level. This is his second tarantula, and his first was a Grammy. Getting husbandry down on the tarantula should be a priority, not adding in plants. I appreciate his enthusiasm, but this is a bad recipe if things go wrong. Which they likely will, given this species' knack for webbing and uprooting anything not bolted down.

Although I still stand by no plants being in with an arid species like this. Even very infrequent watering would be putting the plant ahead of the tarantula. The majority of sites I visited advised that the soil to this plant should never dry out, which is a big no-no for this species of tarantula.
I just want to point out that the majority of sites about plant care are about on par with sites about tarantula care - or so called care sheets ;). Interestingly German sites generally recommend less watering than English sites for this Ficus, meaning it's likely they just copied from other same language pages.

That Ficus retusa or macrocarpa in that viv we are talking about is however not in a Bonsai pot, meaning care is going to be different. First of all it has a lot more substrate that will retain water much longer and allow more root growth, therefore needs less frequent watering and definitely a lot less fertilizer. That care sheet you quoted talks about BONSAI care and that's more about the setting than about the plant - and I wouldn't keep any Ficus as wet as some sites recommend, although I have no experience with Bonsais. That part about daily misting to keep up humidity should have tipped you off, though - that's pretty ridiculous. (Btw., I've seen 'care sheets' recommend that cacti of all things should never completely dry out... no words)

Still, I absolutely agree that an M. balfouri isn't a good species for that setting and I think I said that before:

It would work well with a tarantula that wants it mostly dry but can handle a lot of moisture for a day or three. B. albopilosum and B. vagans come to mind, but there must be others.
 

EulersK

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I just want to point out that the majority of sites about plant care are about on par with sites about tarantula care - or so called care sheets ;).
Fair enough. My thumb is about as green as tar, so I have nothing to go off of other than what the Google tells me. I can keep a vivarium going just fine until a plant is introduced. Just providing fallen leaves as food for the CUC has worked best for me for obvious reasons.
 
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