Moisture retention of Peat Moss, Sphagnum, etc.

Pennywise

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For about 5 years, I have kept various Tarantulas including T. Blondi. I have
used bale peat moss exclusively and I found it suitable except for one
thing, after initially putting down in an enclosure, as time passes it seems
to retain moisture less and less. I have seen some enclosures where an
area of Sphagnum (original plant) was used to keep a wetter location so
if the T or Pede wished to hang out there it would make its own choice.

Yesterday I received a Haitian giant pede 5-6" which appears to like
a very moist environment.

Any suggestions are welcome on how to keep a consistently damp area
without restricting airflow or frequent misting.:?

Haitian Giant S. Alternans?
 
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zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
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I add water directly to the soil. Peat retains water well as long as it doesn't dry out, although mixing it with another medium(coco fiber) helps. I will add that I've found these guys burrowed in both dry & moist parts of the tank, so maybe offer a gradation of moisture levels.
 

Elytra and Antenna

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That species does well in a damp environment with limited ventilation, dry areas might not be good. Be careful not to overfeed it. It may attack a few full-grown crickets every day but the leftovers lead to mite infestations that can suffocate the animal and the rotting leftovers can cause severe rot damage on the pede. One half-grown cricket a week is more than enough.
 

cacoseraph

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That species does well in a damp environment with limited ventilation, dry areas might not be good. Be careful not to overfeed it. It may attack a few full-grown crickets every day but the leftovers lead to mite infestations that can suffocate the animal and the rotting leftovers can cause severe rot damage on the pede. One half-grown cricket a week is more than enough.
+1 for sure!

and if the pede is looking more roung in cross section you might not even want to feed it every week. i pretty much just look at all my bugs' current fatness or thinness and feed based on that. the difference in my feeding frequency and quantity between hottest summer and coldest winter is pretty dramatic

the pede in that picture looks like it is pretty fat and would probably be a pretty messy and wasteful eater right now.
 

Pennywise

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Coco fiber? I have two Coconut Palms in my back yard.
After a frond drops I can peel of these cool little sheets
that are very much like a piece of cloth. I tried grabbing
one and washing and wetting it and then microwaving
it just to get rid of "Galloping Dandruff" or cooties or
whatever lives in it. It s rather stringy stuff but maybe
if I ran it thru my document shredder it might work.
It's got the kind of characteristics that might keep the
peat from packing down thus keeping it a looser mix.;)
 

J Morningstar

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My Hatian Giant, which I got as an adult, lived for several years in my care and I used the coco fiber mixed with some small rocks and a half inch layer of big aquarium gravel on the bottom to allow for the water to get down there without molding, that is the Eco-earth sold in all pet stores. I had only a very small water dish and would slightly overfill it so the substrate would get a little moist. Small heat pad on the back side,NEVER THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK. Almost no ventallation but some very small holes drilled in the plexiglass top. He would hibernate for 6 months out of the year and was fed bi-weekly or less often if he looked fat. I never attempted feeding after he dug in for the winter. I gave him a frozzen pinky rat every spring when he emerged and he loved it. He was one of the best. I miss him. :(
 

recluse

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I use peat and oak leaves. It works for me. It retains moisture well.
 
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J Morningstar

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He was seasonal for upstate NY he would burrow from about late Nov. to spring when the outdoor temps went above 70. So April-ish?
 

Pennywise

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This isn't a commercial but..... OK while my S. Alternans was resting at
one end of the enclosure which at that time was 100% peat moss
I carefully scooped out 50% of the peat moss and replaced it with
freshly hydrated eco earth (compressed coco fiber). after doing it I
directed the pede towards the new substrate. He circled thru it several
times and the returned to the damp area of peat moss by his water
dish. 2 days passed and no change. This morning I noticed him moving
around but I was sure I saw him in the peat area. This afternoon
I found him buried at the other end in the eco earth with only his
antennae showing. Will he stay there or return to the peat moss?
Well let's see what happens.:?
 

Violet

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Substrate I use for my pedes: 80% peat and %20 dry Tree Fern. I mix this thoroughly with water before putting it into the enclosure. Peat by itself should retain moisture providing it’s been pre-moistened and dosen’t get a chance to dry out, I spray my substrate weekly to ensure this dosen’t happen. However the peat does seem to retain less and less water as time goes by, when this happens it’s time for a substrate change.


Any suggestions are welcome on how to keep a consistently damp area
without restricting airflow or frequent misting.:?
Frequent misting should be considered a normal part of Centipede husbandry, just like feeding and cleaning.
 

Violet

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That species does well in a damp environment with limited ventilation, dry areas might not be good.
I’m actually a big fan of humidity gradients.

Surely the 'pede can choose if he/she wants to hang out in wet or drier substrate, providing the ambient humidity in the enclosure is suitable for the species? :?
 

Pennywise

Arachnolord
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The eco earth seems to work perfectly, the pede does not want to
return to the peat area. My next step was to replace the remaining
50% of the substrate with eco earth which has been done.:D
 
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