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Opinions on Substrate for Burrowers

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Taysha, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Taysha

    Taysha Arachnosquire

    This weekend I'm going to be rehoming several of my inch slings into bigger homes. (N. Chromotus and A Hentzi) Before I did I wanted an opinion on substrate becuase so far I've had issues with my guys being able to maintain burrows. They always seem to build them only for me to check a few days later and find them collapsed. Right Now I use 50% cocohusk and 50% Organic potting soil. Also 100% cocohusk and have not had thee best of luck. I was thinking of using a mixture more similar to one I use for my Hermit Crabs since they never have issues with burrowing.
    Something like:
    40 Cocohusk
    40 Soil
    15 Sand
    5 Ground Moss (bagged kind can't think of name)
    Would this be a better burrowers set up? Or do Y'all know of a better mixture? What do you use for your burrowers?
  2. Formerphobe

    Formerphobe Arachnoking Arachnosupporter

    I've used different combinations of coconut coir, potting soil, peat moss, sphagnum moss, +/- vermiculite. I've never added sand. Can't say that one combination was any better than any other. With each, I hard pack the substrate while it is very wet around a syringe casing or something similar to make a pre-start burrow. Then, for the species you mentioned, let it dry pretty well before adding the spider. The last time I rehoused my nearly adult N. chromatus, I used a sheet of compressed coconut fibre to make a burrow. She seems to like it.
  3. macbaffo

    macbaffo Arachnolord

    Potting soil or Coco or peat or a mix of them works fine.
    Using sand it will make the soil more loose.

    Inch sling means body length or dls?
  4. Tarac

    Tarac Arachnolord

    I use peat/vermiculite at 50/50 unilaterally and my burrowers make really nice burrows without trouble. It's a fairly light mix that drains fast and holds decent moisture without being soggy. But I think probably a mix of any of those things would be fine.
  5. freedumbdclxvi

    freedumbdclxvi Arachnoprince

    I currently am using a topsoil / coco fiber mix. However, I haven't ever had a major issue with coco fiber collapsing on my burrowers. A number of my Haplopelmas are in just coco fiber that has been densely packed, and the burrows are still going strong. When you put the sub in, are you leaving it loose or packing it down?
  6. spiderengineer

    spiderengineer Arachnoangel

    peat moss all the way. majority of all my T's are burrows and I use peat moss and had no collapse burrows. the key is to pack it in so is not fluffy and easily shifting around.
  7. Taysha

    Taysha Arachnosquire

    Hm I've never thought of doing a prestarted burrow. And by cocnut fibre sheet do you mean like the kind thy use in the bases of hanging flower pots?
    And macbaffo that's mainly what I am asking, for my crabs it seems o make it easier for them o make a burrow in sand mixture but I wasn't sure if it would be the same case for Ts.

    ---------- Post added 12-06-2012 at 07:56 AM ----------

    Ahh, I have always packed it in very lightly so it is fluffy and soft. I thought iw oils be easier for them to burrows like that. If I hard pack do y'all think that will help and just forget about the sand? Also what exactly is vermiculite and where could I find it?
  8. freedumbdclxvi

    freedumbdclxvi Arachnoprince

    I think if you packed the coco fiber down tight, you'd be good to go.
  9. macbaffo

    macbaffo Arachnolord

    Sand due to its fine diameter makes the soil more loose and less cohesive...don't mistake loose for soft soil.

    Try to pack it harder and make a pre made hole.
  10. spiderengineer

    spiderengineer Arachnoangel

    you would think that you would want the soil loose, because it would be easier to burrow. in fact that is not true you want it pack, so that it clumps when you grabs some in your hand this gives your T the ability to have some structural integrity when it burrows so it wont collapse. usually they will not webbed up the burrow until the end so it need to hold together until then.
  11. Formerphobe

    Formerphobe Arachnoking Arachnosupporter

  12. sjl197

    sjl197 Arachnoknight Old Timer

    How does small diameter make it looser?
    Unless we are talking about perfect cubes etc, surely smaller diameter grains can pack together closer than larger, because there are less airspaces. Sure and doesn't hold moisture, and sure grains are more able to move around, but it's fine when mixed with other substrates. I typically add some sand in when making substrate for drier-zone species. As with others above, it totally agree, pack the substrate tight and solid. These spiders can dig through soil that we'd consider really solid. It can take them time, but they'll do it. Naturally though most either expand burrows as they grow, though some will likely go evict their neighbors or take over empty burrows (ie when males have left).

    Taysha, are you aware that A.hentzi naturally range into NW Louisiana, what's the soil like naturally there?
    Indeed if you use natural soil, be careful of pesticides and invertebrate 'hitchhikers'.
  13. macbaffo

    macbaffo Arachnolord

    Why do you mix sand for dry soil species? You aiming for a faster water evaporation?

    It is true that sand fills the little spaces that otherwise would have occupied by air. But sand is also more heavy than air, coco or peat. So a more heavy structure needs also more web to hold still.
    Compact soil, in the meaning of no gaps of air, isn't always the best soil to hold a burrow.
    This is what i thought about it.

    I would try to explain it differently but with my knowledge of English i can't, sorry.
  14. Kazaam

    Kazaam Arachnobaron

    I mostly use peat moss/coco fibre, sometimes I mix it with leaves.
  15. hamhock 74

    hamhock 74 Arachnobaron

    I use straight peat, wet the top layer down and start a burrow with my finger, never had a problem.
  16. sjl197

    sjl197 Arachnoknight Old Timer

    @macbaffo. Well done on the english! Thankyou.
    Yes, i want the upper layers dry, and the layers layers wet. When i pour in water it goes to the lower layers.

    When the spiders build/expand burrows they dig down into the cooler damper layers towards the bottom.

    The sand is mixed thoroughly throughout. So evenly distributed. Weight doesnt matter.
    Are you sure one sand grain is heavier than a large strand of coco?
  17. SamuraiSid

    SamuraiSid Arachnodemon

    Hardpacked is how to do it. Ive used 100% peat moss, 100% coco coir, and a combination of both (sometimes with vermiculite) and have never had any issues.
  18. macbaffo

    macbaffo Arachnolord

    See? My explanation lacked of something. I meant higher density. Plus a large piece of coco has more surface and that permits to transmit weight on a larger area.
  19. dydek

    dydek Arachnosquire

    I always used 100% coconut fiber and never had any collapses, always pack it too, so it isn't loose.
  20. jen650s

    jen650s Arachnobaron

    I have used a variety of substrates over time and the only one I ever had any burrow collapse issues with was vermiculite (way back when that was the material de jour).

    I currently use either coco coir or a mix of peat and coco. Most of my Ts move it around as the desire strikes and just web it in place. It doesn't seem to matter how much I pack it down as long as it isn't outright fluffy and they just rearrange it to suit.
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