Good Old Mold & Scuttle Flies

Will an increase in temperature and ventilation help avert the development of mold?

  • Yes

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Please specify in the comments

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1

DeadlyGecko101

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
17
Just found mold developing in two of my enclosures. What I found interesting is the contrast in mold between them.

1. Ephebopus murinus - This is a species I keep moist for many days at a time. She gets her water once a week (I dig holes on opposite ends of the terrarium with the blunt end of a paintbrush/tongs, where I then pour water directly into the sub... this is to make sure I'm producing the property humidity levels that the spider can seek out by entering its burrow; water dish is ALWAYS FULL) Despite the conditions she's been kept, mold had never been an issue until two days ago. There was some mold around her water dish. Nothing too crazy, I could've spot cleaned it but I decided to do a complete rehouse and add more ventilation.

2. Aphonopelma seemanni - here's where the big difference comes in. I give my A. seemanni some additional moisture apart from her water dish (always kept full). She seemed to appreciate it and I never saw mold developing until now. What's shocking is the sheer volume of mold in her substrate which I probably only moisten once in a two-week period (compared to my E. murinus where I make it rain at least once a week). She has about 3 inches of coco-fiber and the top layer has 1/2" to almost a full inch of mold! How did this happen?

What's staggering me is how much mold developed in my A. seemanni's tank, almost over night. I will be sure to rehouse her, just as I have done for my E. murinus and add more ventilation.

Another, far more troubling infestation has also found its way into my T's enclosures. I've noticed it in about four cages, which is half of my collection. I want to stop it before it spreads to all of them (this is of particular concern since the other four are slings and they are far too fragile to begin with). Dang scuttle flies. It's to my understanding that they come around when food is not removed from a tarantula's enclosure. I've heard the best thing to do in this scenario is clean out every enclosure with dish soap/vinegar/tap water solution. I'm gonna scour the forums for any information that can help me with these two issues. Any help from you guys is also appreciated.

For now I'll rehouse my A. seemanni and keep a closer eye on all my cages. Spot cleaning for mold and uneaten food/parts.
 

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,603
maybe your cages in a poorly ventilated, humid part of the house?
 

Moonohol

Two Legged Freak
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
115
I've had trouble with mold in the past. I'll tell you what has worked for me. Tons of cross ventilation to make sure there will be no possibility of stagnant air. Vent holes below the surface level of the substrate so the sub can aerate. Mix sphagnum moss in with the substrate, as it holds moisture and deters mold growth. Keep tons of sphagnum moss above the substrate as well. If the mold persists, get a springtail culture and introduce them in to your enclosures. I don't have any experience with flies so I will leave that to others with more info there.
 

DeadlyGecko101

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
17
maybe your cages in a poorly ventilated, humid part of the house?
I usually keep the door to my T room open to the rest of my house. I also use a space heater for several hours a day to circulate warm air around the room. Normal temperatures in my house are around 72 F to 74 F, but with the heater on it gets to 78 F to 80 F.
 

DeadlyGecko101

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
17
I've had trouble with mold in the past. I'll tell you what has worked for me. Tons of cross ventilation to make sure there will be no possibility of stagnant air. Vent holes below the surface level of the substrate so the sub can aerate. Mix sphagnum moss in with the substrate, as it holds moisture and deters mold growth. Keep tons of sphagnum moss above the substrate as well. If the mold persists, get a springtail culture and introduce them in to your enclosures. I don't have any experience with flies so I will leave that to others with more info there.
One thing that you have mentioned, I have already implemented in many enclosures: sphagnum moss. The substrate I use always contains shredded coco-fiber, vermiculite, and sphagnum moss. I've thought about switching to peat (or at least introducing it to my substrate formula). Any opinions on this?

Now, the subject of cross ventilation. It will keep the air from getting stagnant, while also allowing humidity to escape. I can't be sure by how much but I may find myself hydrating my T's more often. This isn't a big sacrifice, not so much as losing the ability to stack my enclosures. Even though I have a relatively small collection, I try to afford the benefits of using as little space as possible for the sake of later expansion. This may not be realized any time soon, so, I suppose I'll start cross venting my enclosures, as well as creating more air holes at the substrate level. I'll observe how this changes things and if worst comes to worst I'll invest in a springtail culture. How much would a small colony go for?
 

Moonohol

Two Legged Freak
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
115
One thing that you have mentioned, I have already implemented in many enclosures: sphagnum moss. The substrate I use always contains shredded coco-fiber, vermiculite, and sphagnum moss. I've thought about switching to peat (or at least introducing it to my substrate formula). Any opinions on this?

Now, the subject of cross ventilation. It will keep the air from getting stagnant, while also allowing humidity to escape. I can't be sure by how much but I may find myself hydrating my T's more often. This isn't a big sacrifice, not so much as losing the ability to stack my enclosures. Even though I have a relatively small collection, I try to afford the benefits of using as little space as possible for the sake of later expansion. This may not be realized any time soon, so, I suppose I'll start cross venting my enclosures, as well as creating more air holes at the substrate level. I'll observe how this changes things and if worst comes to worst I'll invest in a springtail culture. How much would a small colony go for?
I've not yet experimented with peat moss as substrate. I use shredded coco exclusively, but I'd like to try out peat moss in the future. Peat is essentially just sphagnum moss that's decomposed in to highly acidic soil. Many say that peat retards mold growth, but I've also never seen any concrete evidence demonstrating that. Cross ventilation won't reduce humidity that much for you; top ventilation is what does that. Top ventilation allows humidity to escape, cross ventilation creates a microclimate for your T by allowing air exchange without letting too much humidity escape. It is very easy to control the humidity levels in an enclosure with ample cross ventilation by simply altering how regularly you add water to the substrate. By utilizing cross ventilation instead of top ventilation, you'll still be able to stack enclosures. I have seen springtail cultures online for $10-$15. If you scour the classifieds, you should be able to find some there for even cheaper. Many sellers will include springtail cultures as freebies if you ask.
 

DeadlyGecko101

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
17
I've not yet experimented with peat moss as substrate. I use shredded coco exclusively, but I'd like to try out peat moss in the future. Peat is essentially just sphagnum moss that's decomposed in to highly acidic soil. Many say that peat retards mold growth, but I've also never seen any concrete evidence demonstrating that. Cross ventilation won't reduce humidity that much for you; top ventilation is what does that. Top ventilation allows humidity to escape, cross ventilation creates a microclimate for your T by allowing air exchange without letting too much humidity escape. It is very easy to control the humidity levels in an enclosure with ample cross ventilation by simply altering how regularly you add water to the substrate. By utilizing cross ventilation instead of top ventilation, you'll still be able to stack enclosures. I have seen springtail cultures online for $10-$15. If you scour the classifieds, you should be able to find some there for even cheaper. Many sellers will include springtail cultures as freebies if you ask.
I see, that's an error on my part. It seems I use cross venting already! The only issue is I'm using too few vents.
 

DeadlyGecko101

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
17
I've not yet experimented with peat moss as substrate. I use shredded coco exclusively, but I'd like to try out peat moss in the future. Peat is essentially just sphagnum moss that's decomposed in to highly acidic soil. Many say that peat retards mold growth, but I've also never seen any concrete evidence demonstrating that. Cross ventilation won't reduce humidity that much for you; top ventilation is what does that. Top ventilation allows humidity to escape, cross ventilation creates a microclimate for your T by allowing air exchange without letting too much humidity escape. It is very easy to control the humidity levels in an enclosure with ample cross ventilation by simply altering how regularly you add water to the substrate. By utilizing cross ventilation instead of top ventilation, you'll still be able to stack enclosures. I have seen springtail cultures online for $10-$15. If you scour the classifieds, you should be able to find some there for even cheaper. Many sellers will include springtail cultures as freebies if you ask.
Could you conclude from this that ventilation (and lots of it) is a more key variable in maintaining the perfect humidity than just moisture and higher temps?
 

Moonohol

Two Legged Freak
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
115
Could you conclude from this that ventilation (and lots of it) is a more key variable in maintaining the perfect humidity than just moisture and higher temps?
It's just another factor in maintaining suitable conditions for your Ts. As long as the temp is within the typically accepted range (~65-80F), most Ts are going to be fine with that. Ventilation is just a good way to ensure your enclosure isn't getting too stuffy, regardless of moisture requirements.
 

DeadlyGecko101

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
17
It's just another factor in maintaining suitable conditions for your Ts. As long as the temp is within the typically accepted range (~65-80F), most Ts are going to be fine with that. Ventilation is just a good way to ensure your enclosure isn't getting too stuffy, regardless of moisture requirements.
Suitable conditions are what I seek! Mold be gone! Thank you for the invaluable suggestions Moon.
 
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