My Desert Set Up For My Tarantula

Exoskeleton Invertebrates

Arachnoprince
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IMG_3991.JPG IMG_3987.JPG IMG_3988.JPG IMG_3994.JPG IMG_3995.JPG IMG_2717.JPG Many years ago I used to set up my Aphonopelma, Grammostola rosea, porteri and some Brachypelma species on white silica sand. Those were my desert set up display tarantulas that did really well for me in these type of environment. Today I finally got around doing one of my displays for my Brachypelma smithi. She'll be in his display for the rest of her remaining life.

I used white silica sand, box, batting material, styrofoam, rocks, hideout water dish and a glass top. The box is the purpose to use most of the space of the aquarium, the styrofoam and batting material is inside the box for the purpose of keeping the box fill and as weightless as possible, and it's also the purpose for the aquarium not to be so heavy with just sand.

As you can see from the photo I fill up the aquarium with sand almost to the top so when the tarantula decides to want to climb the sides it won't hurt herself from a fall.

I know there's a lot of you that do not agree of using sand as substrate for a tarantula but I can assure you that my drier species are kept in white silica sand and they do just fine.

Start complaining and start whining.
 

sdsnybny

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you know you can buy half 10 gallon tanks?
Same dimensions for length and width and half the height ;)
Nice set up Jose
 

Exoskeleton Invertebrates

Arachnoprince
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you know you can buy half 10 gallon tanks?
Same dimensions for length and width and half the height ;)
Nice set up Jose
Oh I know I get 10 gallon tanks giving to me for free quite often so I'm basically using a tank gallon tank as an example what people could do with an aquarium that has a lot of height.
 

chanda

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That's a pretty sweet looking setup! The box inside to take up space and minimize weight is a brilliant idea. I'll have to remember that one!

I use sand in a few of my enclosures, too - mostly for desert species like the local Aphonopelma, solifugids, scorpions and wolf spiders, but I also mix it with eco earth for some of my exotics, like my M. balfouri slings.
 

Andrea82

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It sure makes for a very nice background for the B.smithi. Its colours stand out even more against the cream colour.
As for the complaining and whining, i don't, because i have zero experience with sand used in enclosures. But i will be following this to see how it works out :).
What makes sand work so well? Any issues you have had so far?
 

Exoskeleton Invertebrates

Arachnoprince
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IMG_4001.JPG IMG_4002.JPG
But smithi isnt exactly a desert species.

Looks nice.
Brachypelma vagans isn't desert tarantula either but believe or not vagans do very well in white silica sand as well. I couldn't tell you exactly "why" they do well but they do, boehmei and emelia are others that does extremely well. Maybe is their toughness that keeps them alive in some conditions. So why smithi? They do well never had a problem.

All my Grammostola sp. "Northern Type", Grammostola rosea, and Grammostola sp. "Concepcion" are on white silica sand. I also have a Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens female that is currently on white silica sand, it's the first time ever for me to keep this species on white silica sand. She's nice and fatty and doing well at this point and as usual loves to make lots of webs.

One of the greatest things not to deal with and worry about your tarantula having is mites, mites can't live on sand. I never had an issue with mites or mold when kept in white silica sand.
 

mistertim

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Looks nice, though my question would be what if they feel the need to burrow or move sub around to feel more secure?
 

Paiige

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Major kudos on using that box to take up space! My porteri probably has an entire bag of Eco Earth to herself in her tank and this would have saved me time and money. Thanks for that!
Also I'd be interested in perhaps using sand in my next desert setup. Why is it frowned upon? I know it is frowned upon, but don't have a concrete answer as to why.
 

gypsy cola

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This may or may not be related. My G."rosea", B."smithi", B.vagans are active burrowers. Not saying yours but mine. I keep the waterdishes always full and room temps are about 75-80. All three burrow underneath the waterdish and stay there. Ideas or this better as a separate post?
 

Rittdk01

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Looks like a hermit crab setup. Looks neat, but the spiders can't make a burrow if they want. U prob wouldn't have mite problems even on dry eco earth or soil. Very neat and good idea to not make it weigh 50 lbs
 

Ghost56

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Major kudos on using that box to take up space! My porteri probably has an entire bag of Eco Earth to herself in her tank and this would have saved me time and money. Thanks for that!
Also I'd be interested in perhaps using sand in my next desert setup. Why is it frowned upon? I know it is frowned upon, but don't have a concrete answer as to why.
From what I gathered a while back on a thread about sand, most people seem to think it'll get caught in their book lungs.
 

dopamine

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From what I gathered a while back on a thread about sand, most people seem to think it'll get caught in their book lungs.
I think that's only that fine powdered sand you see that's usually dyed yellow or hot pink.
Still, I wouldn't use an all sand set up, rather I'd mix it in with peat or coco fiber.
 

Blue Jaye

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I keep my A.chalcodes on desert sand from where I found her. It's sandy dusty and clay like. Holds up well for burrowing. I think the box idea is awesome but I too will ask why you don't use sand from where you are at. It's pretty darn good stuff for dry species. Just curious ?
 

Bugmom

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That's interesting...
I used silica sand when I had a sling with mites. I think we've talked about it before. The mite count decreased every day. I kept the sling on the sand until it molted. No mites after the molt. Not a mite in sight since. The sling did drink a LOT of water while on that sand though.

I don't think I'd use nothing but sand in an enclosure, but I would consider mixing it in with soil (not coco fiber, would have to be something of equal weight to the sand).
 

Exoskeleton Invertebrates

Arachnoprince
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Looks nice, though my question would be what if they feel the need to burrow or move sub around to feel more secure?
Most adults in captivity B. smithi don't even burrow, more and likely they just make a big pile of mess. The question you have to ask yourself why in the wild they burrow so much vs captivity? Direct sunlight, predators, snow, cold, wind, rain etc. these are just a few things that in captivity our spiders don't have to deal with than if they were outside.

Regardless wether is eco earth, vermiculite etc. hideouts should always be provided to be used as a retreat. Enclosures that are not extremely big also helps them feel secure.
Major kudos on using that box to take up space! My porteri probably has an entire bag of Eco Earth to herself in her tank and this would have saved me time and money. Thanks for that!
Also I'd be interested in perhaps using sand in my next desert setup. Why is it frowned upon? I know it is frowned upon, but don't have a concrete answer as to why.
In my opinion is most tarantula keepers are told to use a certain substrate, enclosures etc. not willing to explore other options, so any other ideas is prohibited. I'm old school so I'm simply going back in time using a substrate that has been done for years before the tarantula pet trade expanded. Believe me if I felt that it would injure my tarantula in any way shape or form I wouldn't be using white silica sand. Some people like to mix it with other types of sand from Petco etc. I personally like the looks of some of the orange looking sand, however I find that type of sand a bit too fine, I prefer the white silica sand by itself.
You could find soil in Utah closer to the native soil for this species. Why not use that instead of some weird Death Valley dwelling B. smithi fantasy?

http://mantid.nl/tarantula/smithi.html
Why don't I just let all my t's wonder around my back yard lol. The same reason we use coco husk, moss, vermiculite, or what ever else we want to use. I'm sure many of us aren't using the earths natural dirt for our tarantulas as substrate. That is because we don't want to, we like how artificial substrate looks, and there is no harm to that specific species from it. You decorate your tarantulas or let them wander your yard if you wish and I will decorate mine how ever I want. The question your asking is like why don't we have a real live tree in our home for our arboreal tarantulas? We provide for our beautiful pets the best possible environment by other people's experiences and recommendations. It works for me but it may not work for someone else. We have that option to choose.
This may or may not be related. My G."rosea", B."smithi", B.vagans are active burrowers. Not saying yours but mine. I keep the waterdishes always full and room temps are about 75-80. All three burrow underneath the waterdish and stay there. Ideas or this better as a separate post?
If I'm guessing correctly here you probably have either slings for some very young juveniles, most tarantulas but not all will seek some sort of object to burrow under. In my 28 years I've never had an adult Brachypelma species burrow, they excavate move dirt around in a pile of nothing most of the time but it's not like the Pelinobius muticus that really burrows as adults.
Looks like a hermit crab setup. Looks neat, but the spiders can't make a burrow if they want. U prob wouldn't have mite problems even on dry eco earth or soil. Very neat and good idea to not make it weigh 50 lbs
I answer your question on a different comment by someone else.
From what I gathered a while back on a thread about sand, most people seem to think it'll get caught in their book lungs.
I've heard that story so many times but not once have I ever had an issue.
I think that's only that fine powdered sand you see that's usually dyed yellow or hot pink.
Still, I wouldn't use an all sand set up, rather I'd mix it in with peat or coco fiber.
I agree with the fine sand I'm not a big fan of it. White silica sand is not a fine powder like some of the other from Petco.
I keep my A.chalcodes on desert sand from where I found her. It's sandy dusty and clay like. Holds up well for burrowing. I think the box idea is awesome but I too will ask why you don't use sand from where you are at. It's pretty darn good stuff for dry species. Just curious ?
I think is a great idea of what your using. As I stated before I use white silica sand cause it has worked well for me in the past. Would I try what you've done with your chalcodes? Sure I would if I ever get around to it.
I used silica sand when I had a sling with mites. I think we've talked about it before. The mite count decreased every day. I kept the sling on the sand until it molted. No mites after the molt. Not a mite in sight since. The sling did drink a LOT of water while on that sand though.

I don't think I'd use nothing but sand in an enclosure, but I would consider mixing it in with soil (not coco fiber, would have to be something of equal weight to the sand).
I've kept Brachypelma smithi 1" and up long ago in white silica sand, I would still do it if I ever get around too. The problem is I would never recommend it to someone that doesn't have the slightest clue on when the tarantula is going to molt. At 1" inch your risking your spider to have a bad molt cause the lack of humidity. When it's time for your little baby sling to molt you're going to have to set it up in a humidity environment, so unless your an advance tarantula keeper and you know what your doing your sling will do fine in your care.

If you noticed from one of my photos I had a glass top made specially for my aquarium, the glass top is the purpose for the water in the water dish not to evaporate quickly and will hold a little bit of humidity in the air not necessarily on the substrate.
 
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gypsy cola

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The "smithi" is a juvi, other are adults. Everytime I rehouse my Rosie, it burrows. I've rehoused just to test it out. The vagans burrows but it is not a pet hole.
 
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