Mold?! ugh..needing some help for the newby:(

phoebe12483

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
27
This morning I was taking a peek at my new 3.5" A. Versicolor and to my horror, noticed that there is about a centimeter patch of mold forming at the base of a branch in her cage! Thus far, that is the only bit I can see, but I am obviously worried that I have created a potentially dangerous environment for her...

...I must admit...I am 100% guilty of over-stressing about maintaining good ventilation with high humidity, and so for the first three days did light mistings to keep humidity up. From all the research i've done, this does not seem to be the solution as it only spikes the humidity for short periods of time and the increased moisture can only lead to mold growth. So, I've have since stopped the daily mistings and switched to only doing it once or twice a week. Her substrate was slightly damp when I created her home a week ago, and has dried out substantially since then, although obviously not all the way.

SO what now?! Do I stop misting all together? She does have a water bowl, and there is a humidifier in our room. Humidity level on the pet store hydrometer (I know...I'm learning guys...I'm in the market for a real one) is about 65-70, temp at 70 F. I live in Colorado and it is DRY here, hence my over concern about humidity etc. Her substrate is a mix of eco earth coconut soil/ sphagnum moss, and organic top soil...I am having a hard time finding peat moss. She is in a zoo med 10 gallon high with a full screen top and ventilation holes at the base. She does have live plants in her terrarium, so they will have to get water somehow.

More questions - Does anyone know where I can find some cleaner buggies? Do I need to go in and completely clean her substrate out, or should I just let everything dry? I have been trying to not mess with her too much as she is new and bolted out last time I opened her cage (it took us half an hour to get her off the wall and back in). She appears to be doing okay since bringing her home- ate voraciously yesterday, still no web though. I'd prefer not to stress her out more by going in and messing with stuff, but an obviously terrified of harming her due to mold. Any advice would be great on how to handle the current small patch of mold, and how to prevent it from ever happening again. Being a newby sucks:(:8o
 

Hobo

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Staff member
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
2,207
I'd just let everything dry out. A little mold isn't that big a deal really, IME. Keep her dish full, spot clean the visible mold off, remove boluses, and once everything is dry, you can try blocking the top screen loosely with plastic. The gaps between the doors and the front ventilation should suffice at both keeping it humid enough without having to mist at all, while still keeping it ventilated enough. It's how I keep my A. avic, and she has got along fine so far. In fact, she layed a almost somewhat good sac in that setup.

I don't think Isopods or a complete cage cleanup is necessary, unless you are completely overrun with mold.
 

Salt

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
36
I would recommend cutting it from the rest of the branch and keeping it a little less humid. If it continues, replace the branch. To calm her down a bit, try putting a large rock or something in there, for her to hide in (though they are arboreal and build webs, they also like to hide sometimes).

Also, to stop her escaping, try putting her in an ICU or a penpal before removing her from the terrarium. Hopefully, once everything is settled, she'll build a web.
 

Midknight xrs

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
132
What type of branch is it? The recommended wood on this forum seems to be corkbark, so depending on the branch in there now, that would be more the culprit then the husbandry. Everything else seems to be in order as far as care goes. mold will grow in environments where it is best suited for it.

Just inform us of the type of branch you are using and we can probably help with adjustments from there.
 

phoebe12483

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
27
The branch in her cage is California drift wood that I purchased at the reptile store...which they recommended. The mold does appear to be localized to that area, and upon further inspection, is across most of whole base of where it sits in the soil...so I can't exactly cut that portion off, and I would have to take her entire set up apart. If its the material causing mold growth, where can I get something more appropriate and is it okay to leave that in there until I can get a replacement?

As you can see in the pics, her favorite (only) place she hangs out is on the door that opens. Its hard to even access her water dish. I've handled her before, but any suggestions given her position to not having her dart off again if I need to go in and do some cleaning/replacement of the interior of her enclosure? I had hoped to not have to go in there again until she had become a bit more comfortable.
 

Attachments

gmrpnk21

Arachnobaron
Joined
Nov 1, 2010
Messages
319
I had the same problem with my pinktoe. I removed the wood completely and replaced it with the bendable type.
 

Joanie

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 4, 2002
Messages
205
You could also just let the substrate completely dry out, and continue to mist without misting enough to soak the substrate. When I see mold (or mites) my first instinct is to let everything other than water dishes get dry as a bone, and it always seems to do the trick. It's not a good solution for tiny slings, but your versi looks large enough to handle a little dryness as long as she's getting chances to drink as well.
 

gmrpnk21

Arachnobaron
Joined
Nov 1, 2010
Messages
319
I don't mist at all. I just have a good size water dish (you could get 2 for bigger enclosure) and keep it full at all times. Keeps the humidity up and No worries about mold!
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,659
The branch in her cage is California drift wood that I purchased at the reptile store...which they recommended. The mold does appear to be localized to that area, and upon further inspection, is across most of whole base of where it sits in the soil...so I can't exactly cut that portion off, and I would have to take her entire set up apart. If its the material causing mold growth, where can I get something more appropriate and is it okay to leave that in there until I can get a replacement?
That little bit of mold should be alright until you feel a little more comfortable with opening that door and switching out the wood. I wouldn't mist any more, just let it dry out for now. Once you do switch the wood out, put a large wide water dish down on the bottom of the enclosure and block off some of the ventilation and you will be able to keep the enclosure humid. Snake plant(mother-in-law's tongue) doesn't need to be watered every day, or every week, or heck even every month in some cases, so there is no need to keep the substrate damp for it. If you would rather go with moist substrate to keep the humidity up, just keep it moist, not swampy or soaked.

Don't waste your money on a hygrometer for this species, it is not needed.

OP from a different thread said:
In terms of her set up, I have been concerned about ventilation problems, however the mold is totally isolated to the part of the drift wood that is sitting in the soil. There are ventilation holes lining the bottom of the terrarium, and the top is a full screen top. There is no way to add additional cross ventilation without drilling holes into the sides...which I could attempt, although it would be easier then to just purchase an entirely new set up.
I wouldn't fret over cross ventilation. I know you will see time and again that this species in particular NEEDS cross ventilation, but underneath it all I can't rule out that it isn't hype and scare tactics. There are people on the forum that have raised many Avicularia without any cross ventilation at all. Since you have a live plant in the enclosure though, it will always have fresh oxygen to use.

Please don't try and drill holes in that pretty enclosure, we have broken glass a few times trying to do just that and even if you are being careful, cracks happen. That enclosure is perfectly fine for that T and once it settles in and makes itself a web, you will feel a bit better about it also.

I wouldn't throw that piece of wood away either. It would be great for a dry arboreal enclosure, such as P. murinus.:)
 

webbedone

Arachnobaron
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
410
If you want to keep the wood peice and are being paranoid about mold coming back, boil it in a pot of water to kill the remainder of the mold spores that should prevent it from coming back for a long while(thats what i do and i get wood pieces from the woods)(also hooray for creeper viens in the back yard and a sawzo!), set it back in the enclosure and do what hobo said just use the water bowl and partially cover the ventilation with plastic wrap or something of the sorts that should be more than enough to achieve desired humidity, i've personaly reached as high as 60-80% humidity with just water bowl and the ventilation covered by plastic.

Now if you dont want to keep using the same wood piece get yourself a nice piece of cork bark and all your mold problems will be over!
 

beckett5000

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
36
I don't mist at all. I just have a good size water dish (you could get 2 for bigger enclosure) and keep it full at all times. Keeps the humidity up and No worries about mold!
I agree with gmrpnk21 I only mist when my T's are about to molt. My problem with over misting was with mites. No matter how much I cleaned they popped up everywhere. I can't find the article someone sent me, but it talked about how mites are always present. You just don't see them until the population spikes into the thousands. It suggested that I stopped misting, and just provided plenty of water in a dish. It fixed the mite problem and my T's are doing great. I don't know if it works good for all T's. I keep Brazilian terrestrial species.
 

RJ2

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Messages
67
you could place a rock underneath the wood to keep it of the moist substrate.
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,659
If you want to keep the wood peice and are being paranoid about mold coming back, boil it in a pot of water to kill the remainder of the mold spores that should prevent it from coming back for a long while(thats what i do and i get wood pieces from the woods)(also hooray for creeper viens in the back yard and a sawzo!), set it back in the enclosure and do what hobo said just use the water bowl and partially cover the ventilation with plastic wrap or something of the sorts that should be more than enough to achieve desired humidity, i've personaly reached as high as 60-80% humidity with just water bowl and the ventilation covered by plastic.

Now if you dont want to keep using the same wood piece get yourself a nice piece of cork bark and all your mold problems will be over!
She has already invested in new wood. Boiling wood, means you have to dry it out too, which can take time. ;)


beckett ~ Misting when Ts are about to molt doesn't really accomplish anything. It is internal hydration that matters, so misting to give a spike to humidity isn't helping anything. It can occasionally signal/ cause/ induce a molt, but it isn't a sure fire way to do that either. Best to keep a full water dish and be patient. :)
 

webbedone

Arachnobaron
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
410
Not to steal the thread but i have a creeper vien in the back yard choking the crap out of a tree so i go out with a sawzo and a cut a piece in a shape that i want. Than i bend it any wich way i want and let it dry out, after that i boil it in a pot to kill any pathogens or mold spores and it never molds, ever. It is tedious to watch the pot and than waiting for the piece to dry but its amazing what you can shape it into! Also its FREE!!!
 

phoebe12483

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
27
Many thanks for the feedback everyone.

It was a good thing I went in and replaced the wood as there was significant molding that wasn't outwardly apparent, but localized only to the driftwood. The humidity is actually staying around 60-70 just with the use of a humidifier near her cage, so it doesn't even seem necessary to partially cover the top of the enclosure. I've more or less stopped the mistings (maybe a light spray once a week), but have an always full water dish and there are live plants, so hopefully that alone should do the trick. I'm sure I'll post back should the problem occur again...lets hope not!
 
Top