Going to try strait vermiculite

Gail

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I've been getting frustrated with the peat moss and peat moss/vermiculite mix that I generally use. First, the slings construct such elaborate burrows that it is often impossible to figure out what's going on with them. Secondly, although I (thank you God :D ) don't have a mite problem with the peat I do have a problem with scuttle flies (much less now since I got rid of the 55 gallon tank full of adult millipedes) and mold. Food boluses will mold up overnight. So, I decided to try the strait vermiculite. Have to say that it does have an odd smell about it - sort of chemically. I did up two cages of my larger T's with it and stopped switching everyone over until I see if this smell is going to cause any distress. Anyone else have any ideas about this smell? Anyone else using strait vermiculite? I only just barely dampned the vermiculite. I'm going to try keeping my big girls a bit dryer as well and just supply a large shallow water dish.

Gail
 

Wade

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It might not help much with your mold problem. Verm doesn't do anything to impede mold growth, it's just that being non-organic it doesn't provide nutrients for mold or pests, but it won't stop them either. It also doesn't hold a shape for burrowing very well by itself.

Wade
 

kosh

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well.........when i was cleaning out the slings deli cups this morning...i noticed a little bit of mold on some of the spider poo and also this tiny little fly came out of one of the cups....this could be the exact thing you are talking about...and i dont like it...i keep my large T on straight vermiculite....i dont mist and i keep a water dish in it and the humidity is usually around 55-70%...it hasnt molded or had any flies come out of it in the 5 months i've been using it....but as wade said....it doesnt hold up much for burrowing....but i prefer to see my spider, so not being able to burrow isnt such a problem for me...my spider does bulldoze the vermiculite around though and i provide him with an artificial burrow (a small flower pot buried with half of it exposed above the substrate) which he has used from time to time (like when he moulted)....also, i know what smell you are talking about...and i think it does go down with time..although the verm i bought wasnt very strong smelling to start with but it did have a unique smell to it...to me it is kind of a clean/sterile type smell.......instead of a musty/moldy type smell with peat....
 

AlbinoDragon829

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I use straight vermiculite with my P. Murinus and, to tell you the truth, mine actually smells kind of nice. There's no mold or anything and I just have a water dish in there. The Murinus will bulldoze the area quiet often, and actually has made a burrow it, much to my grand disbelief. Perhaps it has something to do with the room it is in?
 

Henry Kane

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Hay Gail. Nothing wrong with straight Vermiculite. Other than cosmetic reasons, it will do just fine. (But I'm sure ya know that ;) )
I know those flies you're talking about. I' had a scuttle fly nightmare and that's no lie. I won't go into it (unless you want to hear the story) but I mean!
Vermiculite should certainly help with that problem.
Good luck, and DAMN them accursed flies....damn them to Hayelll! Kin I get an amen?!

Atrax
 

AlbinoDragon829

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Originally posted by Atrax
Hay Gail. Nothing wrong with straight Vermiculite. Other than cosmetic reasons, it will do just fine. (But I'm sure ya know that ;) )
I know those flies you're talking about. I' had a scuttle fly nightmare and that's no lie. I won't go into it (unless you want to hear the story) but I mean!
Vermiculite should certainly help with that problem.
Good luck, and DAMN them accursed flies....damn them to Hayelll! Kin I get an amen?!

Atrax
I'd like to hear the story! And yes, I hate those flies too... I've seen them coming out of my cricket enclosures and it pisses the hell out of me.
 

kosh

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Amen!!!!
so far i have only used peat with the current slings i have and only had one little fly...today...i hope it is not a sign of things to come.....
and i notice quite a few people "hate vermiculite"...how about elaborating as to just WHY you hate it?? i have only used a sterile manure/humus mix, vermiculite, and now peat with the slings.........maybe someone should start a poll on the substrate thing.....
 

MrT

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Amen Brother,

Lets hear the damn fly story.
 

Gail

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AMEN!
Those flies are horrible! Up your nose, in your eyes, in your ears! They are the main reason I only have one small container of baby millies left - I could not take them anymore. Even my fly paper trick never got rid of them all.

Gail
 

Gail

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I take it then that the odor (which is definately coming from the vermiculite) is not harmful to the T's. I just never used it strait before and when it's mixed with peat moss you can't smell it.

Gail
 

Steve Nunn

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Hi,
I use only peat and if I want to give it some structure, for burrowing or something, I'll add sphagnum moss.

One problem with vermiculite over peat is that the vermiculite will stick to some T's scopula pads and make things quite uncomfortable for them. Peat also has the advantage of slowing down mold and fungus because of it's high level of acidity, not too much to affect a T, but just enough to affect mold and other nasty gunk. Lots of people use vermiculite and with great success but I have this problem. If I use verm with dry habitat spiders, then the verm sticks to the scopula pads, if I use it with wet habitat spiders, then it gets moldy a lot quicker than the peat.

Many different companies bring out peat moss and if you've bought from a company with not so good peat, it can contain a lot of mud, perhaps contributing to this smell you mentioned Gail. Before switching to just straight verm, you might want to try another supplier of peat, but make sure to go for something that's really light, the lighter the better. Heavy peat is a sign of mud saturation.

And if your T's are burrowing, then you know you've got happy T's. I know it's not so pleasant to the eye to see just a burrow, but at least the spider's happy, right? 99% of all T's create burrows in the wild, you've just got your setup a lot closer to a wild habitat than they guy next door with a half inch of substrate and a flowerpot for cover, usually with an overly fat, bald T.

The argument about substrate is a never ending one and there just isn't a right and wrong type (with the exception of pine bark), so go with what either you or the T's are happy with and no matter what you choose, experimenting a bit will help you find exactly what suits both you and the T's.

Good luck!
Steve Nunn
 

savian

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Jul 17, 2002
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I have been useing straight vermiculite for some time now. I have never notice any real smell to my stuff but that could just be me. I have to say that I have had no problems with anything. I really like useing it over anything else. Hope it works for you.:D ;) :)
 

Immortal_sin

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I use both, but I've never tried straight verm for the terrestrials.
I only do that with the arboreals.
Amen to Atrax..I hate the damn scuttle flies as well!
I see probably one or two at a time, so not enough to cause distress.
It's a pain when my spiders (especially slings) burrow, but I'd rather them do that then be on verm.
And since I usually don't feed slings under 1-2" live prey, I'm not worried about the prey item attacking a molting sling.
I'm seriously considering switching everyone over to pre killed, but that's for another thread!
 

Poenens

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Oct 8, 2002
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I've wondered about the "vermiculite smell" too. The most recent batch I've gotten seems to smell less; in any case, I've never noticed any adverse effects. I usually stick to a 50/50 mix of peat and vermiculite, since it holds burrows well. The only time I go with straight vermiculite is in those occasional cases where mold seems to recur frequently, and even then I can't say for sure whether it helps.
 

MrT

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Gail,

I just stuck my face in the bag of verm I have, and it has no smell what so ever. Maybe the stuff you have has been exposed to something?

The stuff I have is called "Black Gold". Made by Sun Grow Horticulture in Bellevue Washington. 1-800-842-3256

Ern
 

kosh

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MrT.....is it black verm??
that would be cool
 

Henry Kane

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Ok, here's the story. A while back I was keeping probably 60 inverts or so. Well, one day I decided that the house needed a few more plants. We go and buy several new houseplants from Home Depot, bring them home, etc,etc..
A couple days later I'm noticing these little flies here and there. I thought maybe they flew in from outside or something. Within a day from that, the house was frikkin' swarmed with them. I mean thousands and thats no lie. I tracked them to the source which was of course the new plants. The entire top layer of soil in each plant was solid flies. Gross, huh? Well, I start off on a huge fly killing spree. I had an adhesive lint roller and was doing pretty good with that for a while when suddenly it dawned on me. "Oh s**T! The bug room!" I ran upstairs,(where I used to keep them) went inside and as I examined each enclosure I discovered that they had effectively raided the substrate of literally every single enclosure! I had never seen anything multiply so fast in my life!
Here's what I had to do. First, ALL the plants were history. Out they went immediately. Next, I finished killing everysingle fly I could find. That alone probably took at least 3 or 4 hours. Then came the hardest part. I had to catch every single invert (mostly T's) and quarantine them each in a deli cup with absolutely no trace of substrate. Once that was done, every ounce of dirt was disposed of. Every piece of corkbark, wood, anything organic, GONE! From there, total sterilization of each enclosure. Hot water, diluted bleach solution etc. By then I was easily 24 hours into all this. After that, I left all the bugs in quarantine in their deli cups etc. for about a week. Finally when there was absolutely no sign of the little fu**ers I was off to buy new dirt. This time, I went to a nursery and spent a ton on new dirt, verm. etc., went home and began all new enclosures.
Exhausted, dirty and seriously considering quitting the hobby, I dragged myself to the showers and off to bed. I think it was about 4 in the morning. Whew!
Now, here's the best part. I get up the next day, start putting T's in the new houses, everyone's happy. A day goes by, another, another, everything seems just great. "I killed you" I shouted. "I won you bastards...you did not know who you were f'ing with did you?!" Total triumph.
Well, the next weekend, I go to get food for all the buggies. Get it, bring it home, go in the bug room to start feeding, then I saw the slightest aerial movement from the corner of my eye. A cold chill crept over me. Nausea set in and I became pale and faint. I reluctantly focused in up close and there to my horror was another one of those hell sent flies. I looked closer, another, closer another. They had begun to multiply again! AAAAAAAAahAHHAHHAAHHhhhhhh!!!!!:eek: *the laughter that only the totally insane can emit*
So, I had to start completely over, which I did, except I cleaned and sterilized twice as hard the second time. It finally did work that time. It was a long, hard, fierce battle but it was finally over.
I'll say this much, whenever I even think I see fly-like movement out of the corner of my eye, it frikkin; scares the bejeezus outta me! Every bit true, no exaggeration!

Sorry so darn long.

Later.
Atrax
 

Botar

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I use to keep a ton of plants in my house and had a similar problem with mealy bugs... I lost my entire collection of plants to those nasty little bastards. I saw a wasp that they sell on the site Gail mentioned (I think it was Gail) that I would have liked to have tried. Now I only have one Jade Tree. I've always wanted to try Orchids, but those mealy bugs left an impression on me... much like your "hell flies".

Botar
 

MrT

Arachnoking
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Atrax,
Did you take all the fly dirt and dump at Home Depots front door?

I'd have been down there kick'in their ass.:mad: :mad: :mad:

Ern
 
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