Haplopelma tanks, Martin Huber style!

Lopez

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Inspired by Martin Hubers post on making tanks for Asian deep-burrowers, I decided to rehouse my sulky Haplopelma sp. "longipendum"

I ventured out into the big wide world in search of a suitable container, eventually finding something appropriate in Wilkinsons supermarket. These plastic tubs are for storing cereal, they have a tight sealing lid, and an opening flap, ideal for feeding time! They are 5 litres in size, and cost £2.99 each. The only problem is they are not totally transparent.
 

Lopez

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I then marked and drilled two lines of ventilation holes at the top of the tank, and 3 small drainage holes at the bottom
 

Lopez

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Filled the container 2/3 with a moist compost/peat mix, compacting it down densely
 

Lopez

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Before creating a deep burrow at the front with a broom handle
 

Lopez

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Before inserting one very unco-operative tarantula ;)
 

Lopez

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Not bad for barely 15 minutes work :) Whaddaya a think?
 

Vys

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Nice! Keep us posted on how it adapts!
 

Lopez

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Originally posted by Vys
Nice! Keep us posted on how it adapts!
Of course - remember all credit must go to Martin Huber for the idea :)
 

dennis

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Originally posted by Lopez
Of course - remember all credit must go to Martin Huber for the idea :)
Erm, it was his idea to put asian burrowers in a tall container with a lot of dirt .... ??
I remember about Martin posting a few pictures of glass tanks he made for them, 10x40x40cm iirc. But I thought he also said it was not his idea, but Volkert's idea.

Aw well, as long as the spider is happy, it doesn't matter whose idea it was :).


Dennis
 

Lopez

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Originally posted by dennie
Erm, it was his idea to put asian burrowers in a tall container with a lot of dirt .... ??
I remember about Martin posting a few pictures of glass tanks he made for them, 10x40x40cm iirc. But I thought he also said it was not his idea, but Volkert's idea.

Aw well, as long as the spider is happy, it doesn't matter whose idea it was :).


Dennis
I think you misunderstood me :)

I was inspired by Martins post detailing the use of such tanks - I have no idea who thought of using such cereal containers in the first place, I just believe in credit where it's due - I wouldn't have thought of this if I hadn't seen Martin's post. :)
 

Martin H.

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Hi,

Originally posted by dennie

I remember about Martin posting a few pictures of glass tanks he made for them, 10x40x40cm iirc.
BTW, these glass tanks for my larger species are 10 x 25 cm and 35 cm high.
For a photo >>click here<<
And for the smaler ones I use clear cereal boxes: >>click me<<, >>click here<<.
see also this thread where I go more into details: >>click me<<


Originally posted by dennie

But I thought he also said it was not his idea, but Volkert's idea.
you are right, I have "stolen" this idea from Volker von Wirth. =;-) He is using this kind of tanks much longer than me.

Together with Volker von Wirth I wrote an article about these special Haplopelma tanks. At the moment it's only published in German:
  • von Wirth, V. & Huber, M. (2002): Einige Praxis-Tipps zur Haltung von Haplopelma Arten und anderen Röhren bewohnenden Vogelspinnen. Mitteilungen Deutsche Arachnologische Gesellschaft e. V. 7(11): 14-23.
You can download the Novemer/Dezember issue of this magazine, the one with the Haplopelma-tanks article, on the DeArGe website for free. Go to www.dearge.de and then to "Service" und choose "Leseprobe" in the sub-menue (it's written in german and with a lot of photos). At the moment we are working on the English translation of this article. Hopefully this year it will also be puplished in English, in the BTS Journal or the ATS Forum Magazin (or both - we'll see). Depends which of these magazines want's to publish it. =;-)


Originally posted by Lopez via PM

I have a quick question regarding moisture - you say that twice a year you soak the tank in the bath for moisture - does this not encourage huge amounts of mould and mites?
Nope and I even let all food remains and cast skins in the tanks. Most Haplopelma species "store" the food remains at the end of the burrow => no chance to reach them without digging the spider out.
If you are afraid of mould you can put springtails or woodlice in the tanks. They will eat food remains, mould, mushrooms,... If there are no food remains there is nothing which can mould. =;-)
As "garbagemen" I put a small tropical woodlouse (probably the species is Trichorhina tomentosa - see the photo below) with about 4 - 5 mm bodylength in all of my moist tanks (they need the moisture otherwise they will dry out). They will eat anything which can mould and keep the tanks clean.

Only a few times I had problems whith mould in the past. The reason was that I have used bad potting soil. It was composted potting soil which probably wasn't completely rotten. There where small white and yellow bowls of mould all over and especially in the soil. => I have exchanged the soil and the problem was gone.


And do you also provide a water bowl in these tanks, or does it become unnecessary?
I don't use water bowls for almost any of my spiders. Only a few new world ones have water bowls (but not always filled) and fresh aquired spiders which might be dehydrated I offer water. IMHO proper kept specimens don`t need water bowls, they will get their humidity from the prey and from the humidity in the air via the respiration.

all the best,
Martin

PS.: Here is a photo of the tropical woodlice I have in almost all of my rainforest tanks (probably the species is Trichorhina tomentosa):
 

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Crotalus

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I guess it works fine but its not pretty to look at.
For my asians and other deepburrowing species I used 30x30x30cm all glass terrarium with top opening. A part of the lid was aluminium mesh for ventilation. Never had any mite problems what so ever.
Then fill up with peat and the tarantula can dig their own burrow and esp. the asians create their elaborate funnel on top of the burrow which I doubt they can do in the plastic container.

/Lelle
 

Lopez

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Thanks for the reply Martin.

I assume that woodlice native to the UK would be unable to survive in such warm conditions?
 

greensleeves

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Eww, woodlice!

Originally posted by Martin H.
PS.: Here is a photo of the tropical woodlice I have in almost all of my rainforest tanks (probably the species is Trichorhina tomentosa):
Yuck, yuck, yuck!

But if it works for keeping the tank clean, it can't be all bad, I guess.

How do you keep the population of woodlice from exploding in the tank? Does the tarantula snack on a few now and then?

Greensleeves
 

Martin H.

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Hi,

Originally posted by Lopez

I assume that woodlice native to the UK would be unable to survive in such warm conditions?
Since I keep my Haplopelma spp. at room temperature or slightly above, I think native woodlice would survive in these temperatures but adults are big enough that they might end as prey of the tarantulas. A friend of mine has tried it and not all but a lot got eaten by the tarantulas. But also depends on the tarantula species.

"Hot tanks" (26 - 28°C or higher) might be indeed too warm for them.


Originally posted by greensleeves

But if it works for keeping the tank clean, it can't be all bad, I guess.
IMHO they are the perfect "cage mates" and very helpful! =;-)

How do you keep the population of woodlice from exploding in the tank? Does the tarantula snack on a few now and then?
These tropical ones are too small as prey for adult tarantulas, they ignore them. But I raise very tiny Spiderlings like Orphnaecus sp., Selenocosmia peerboomi, S. lanipes, etc. with them. Pefect food for small spiderlings: Uneaten they can't grow too big and harm the spiderlings like crickets. And easier to pick up and put in the boxes with the spiderlings than for example springtails or jumpy little crickets.

If the woodlouse population would get too big (I never had this problem), you can keep the tank a little bit dryer and a lot would dry out. They will only survive at moist places. Or you put in some food for the woodlice. They will congregate arround the food and you can take the food together the a lot of woodlice out of the tank and use them to "inoculate" a new tank with them.

all the best,
Martin
 

Lopez

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Tarantula and scavengers living in harmony - a very good idea that I'm surprised not more people use.

I'll have to see where I can get some of these tropical species from. :)

Incidentally, the Haplopelma has settled in very well - now I need to construct a smaller version for my sub-adult Chilobrachys fimbriatus.
 
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