Recycling substrate

JoshDM020

Arachnobaron
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So, I've been thinking about this for a while now. I know the big thing is "we dont know how the urticating setae of one species may effect a different species" and more often than not its just as easy, if not easier, to use new substrate altogether. But, if you take the old substrate and bake it in the oven at a high enough temperature, shouldnt it singe the web/setae resting in the used substrate? I have no intention of doing this, I'm simply curious. And I'm no cat, so i should be safe on that count.
 

Anoplogaster

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If you use a high enough temp to singe web and setae, I'd imagine the substrate would burn, too.
 

JoshDM020

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If you use a high enough temp to singe web and setae, I'd imagine the substrate would burn, too.
Fair enough. I suppose the only way to find out for sure on that aspect would be to try it out, see how hot the sub in question could stand it before it burned? And somehow compare that to singing points of web/setae? Web wouldnt be hard, but idk if i wanna go collecting setae...
 

Charlie69

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I am more worried about the tarantula getting stressed because it sence another t in the enclosure. Maybe if you rinse it good in a strainer first, then dried it in the oven?
 

user 666

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I recycle substrate, and no, I do not sterilize it. At first I didn't see the reason to bother, but now I am working towards a bioactive substrate.

One part of my substrate is a locally sourced coarse leaf mulch. It comes with free isopods which have since set up a colony in my substrate bin.

My long term plan is to introduce the isopods into all my enclosures, but that is going to take a while.
 

ErinM31

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I am more worried about the tarantula getting stressed because it sence another t in the enclosure. Maybe if you rinse it good in a strainer first, then dried it in the oven?
It seems to me that it would be easier to rinse away the substrate itself than webbing and hairs. I would never use substrate from one T's enclosure in another's (except between an MM and AF of the same species which I plan to introduce ;) ). Besides potentially stressing the T's, I'm sure there is waste and food particles that I miss so I feel it's better to start clean and the substrates I use for my T's are not expensive.
 

ErinM31

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I recycle substrate, and no, I do not sterilize it. At first I didn't see the reason to bother, but now I am working towards a bioactive substrate.

One part of my substrate is a locally sourced coarse leaf mulch. It comes with free isopods which have since set up a colony in my substrate bin.

My long term plan is to introduce the isopods into all my enclosures, but that is going to take a while.
I would be concerned about the safety of having isopods in a tarantula's enclosure. Might they harm the T while it molts? I think some have said that the T moves enough that isopods would not, but my AF Aphonopelma chalcodes took a full day to molt, frequently being very still, perhaps resting from exertion. In any case, the last thing I would want to do would be to chance further danger or stress to my T's when they are vulnerable!

I think it would be cool to have a colony in a herp enclosure if the conditions are right. I need to get a colony established before introducing frogs or toads as those times I've tried introducing them, they were all quickly eaten! :rolleyes:
 

mconnachan

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I recycle substrate, and no, I do not sterilize it. At first I didn't see the reason to bother, but now I am working towards a bioactive substrate.

One part of my substrate is a locally sourced coarse leaf mulch. It comes with free isopods which have since set up a colony in my substrate bin.

My long term plan is to introduce the isopods into all my enclosures, but that is going to take a while.
The isopods may carry untold amounts of parasites, I wouldn't use the mulched leaves from the wild, unless they've been thoroughly sterilised, then the isopods are killed, as well as nasty spores or parasites, it's just not worth the risk IMO. Just noticed you say "locally sourced" what does this mean...
 

grayzone

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Though not recommended, ive admittedly placed a new t right into an old ones enclosure a time or two and have never had any problems or ill effects.
May not be ideal, but ya gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.

The remnants of an old tarantula in the enclosure is no more stressful to a new t than you rehousing it and/or maintaining its enclosure
 

The Grym Reaper

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Just remove any large chunks of webbing, give the substrate a good mix up and it's good to go, never had a problem, I only throw substrate away if it somehow becomes absolutely rank. As for the hairs, they are organic, they're going to break down eventually, I don't see how they're a problem, I can't really see how any trace amounts of webbing that may remain in the substrate would cause a T any more stress than that of being rehoused to a new enclosure either.
 

Rittdk01

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I've reused the same enclosure multiple times when t's outgrow their enclosure. None of my tarantulas have had any problems.
 

Venom1080

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I reuse sub for the same spider if there's no mold or anything. I'd never reuse the same cage for a different spider unless I had to, I'd probably take off the top inch or so as well. Sub doesn't really go bad so there's no reason not to reuse it, for the same spider that is.
 

Trenor

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Well, I used to do a mix in when I had older substrate. I'd take the heave webbing off and throw it away then add the rest into the substrate bin to be reused. I did a lot of rehousing a while back. While the Ts didn't seem to care one way or the other with the used substrate I decided not to from now on with my NW Ts.

My biggest problem with reusing old substrate had to do with me. I moisten the substrate in the bin to get it to the consistency that packs well when I place it in the new enclosure. The last time I did a big rehouse (15 full and 20ish sling enclosures) I noticed my left hand (the one I use for mixing and packing substrate) was red and puffy and burning for about 2ish weeks afterward. Yeah, I managed to hair myself worse that any of my Ts ever have. :shifty: Since then I used my elbow gloves when working with the substrate till it was all gone. I've washed out the bin and mixed up new substrate. I doubt I'll be reusing substrate from now on with my NW Ts. With the topsoil (cheap), back sand (free) and coco bricks (I buy in bulk so pretty cheap) it's really cheap to fill up even a deep burrower enclosure with all new substrate.
 
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EulersK

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I would be concerned about the safety of having isopods in a tarantula's enclosure. Might they harm the T while it molts?
I can speak from experience when I say that isopods are perfectly fine in any decently large tarantula's enclosure. While using wild caught ones is ill-advised, I've been using captive bred ones along with springtails in my humid enclosures for almost a year now. I wouldn't put them in with a tarantula that is less than 3" simply because they're unneeded, but I would worry about tiny slings molting with isopods. After all, isopods are known predators from time to time.

As a side, isopods make great feeders for small slings.
 

boina

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The isopods may carry untold amounts of parasites, I wouldn't use the mulched leaves from the wild, unless they've been thoroughly sterilised, then the isopods are killed, as well as nasty spores or parasites, it's just not worth the risk IMO. Just noticed you say "locally sourced" what does this mean...
While using wild caught ones is ill-advised,
Weeellll, practically every German breeder I know (and I know a few by now) will tell you the exact opposite: go out, collect top soil and leaves from the woods (no pesticides are used in a wood) and use that as substrate. Of course they use wild caught isopods and springtails. All the small critters coming in with soil and wood from the outside are encouraged. Never sterilize anything! Mushrooms in your enclosure is a sign that you are doing something right! I got yelled at for using coco fiber substrate, because it's too sterile: it will mold and get mite outbreaks, because it doesn't contain all the natural small critters that will keep them in check.

Guess what? It works. There are definitely no tarantula parasites in the soil around here. Isopods are not carrying any tarantula parasites, that's absurd. Nasty spores have no chance, because they have to compete against all the other micro fauna in the soil. You are much more likely to get some nasty spores AFTER sterilization, because they spread by air and they find a perfect soil without competition in your enclosures. I take wood and moss and leaves and isopods from outside and I never sterilize anything and I don't plan on ever starting. I'd be much too scared of some nasty bacteria or spored multiplying unchecked.
 

mconnachan

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Weeellll, practically every German breeder I know (and I know a few by now) will tell you the exact opposite: go out, collect top soil and leaves from the woods (no pesticides are used in a wood) and use that as substrate. Of course they use wild caught isopods and springtails. All the small critters coming in with soil and wood from the outside are encouraged. Never sterilize anything! Mushrooms in your enclosure is a sign that you are doing something right! I got yelled at for using coco fiber substrate, because it's too sterile: it will mold and get mite outbreaks, because it doesn't contain all the natural small critters that will keep them in check.

Guess what? It works. There are definitely no tarantula parasites in the soil around here. Isopods are not carrying any tarantula parasites, that's absurd. Nasty spores have no chance, because they have to compete against all the other micro fauna in the soil. You are much more likely to get some nasty spores AFTER sterilization, because they spread by air and they find a perfect soil without competition in your enclosures. I take wood and moss and leaves and isopods from outside and I never sterilize anything and I don't plan on ever starting. I'd be much too scared of some nasty bacteria or spored multiplying unchecked.
Very interesting, when you think about it, the way you explain the isopods as being cleaners and don't carry any parasites makes sense, and after sterilization would provide the perfect breeding ground for spores etc. thanks for taking the time to explain this.
 

EulersK

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Weeellll, practically every German breeder I know (and I know a few by now) will tell you the exact opposite: go out, collect top soil and leaves from the woods (no pesticides are used in a wood) and use that as substrate. Of course they use wild caught isopods and springtails. All the small critters coming in with soil and wood from the outside are encouraged. Never sterilize anything! Mushrooms in your enclosure is a sign that you are doing something right! I got yelled at for using coco fiber substrate, because it's too sterile: it will mold and get mite outbreaks, because it doesn't contain all the natural small critters that will keep them in check.

Guess what? It works. There are definitely no tarantula parasites in the soil around here. Isopods are not carrying any tarantula parasites, that's absurd. Nasty spores have no chance, because they have to compete against all the other micro fauna in the soil. You are much more likely to get some nasty spores AFTER sterilization, because they spread by air and they find a perfect soil without competition in your enclosures. I take wood and moss and leaves and isopods from outside and I never sterilize anything and I don't plan on ever starting. I'd be much too scared of some nasty bacteria or spored multiplying unchecked.
It's not so much the parasites or the isopods themselves - I just wouldn't trust that something more sinister would hitch a ride. Ants, true spiders, that kind of thing. And yes, I know - "look through it". But dropping in some captive bred isopods and springtails is much, much easier than dealing with that. It's not the causation of isopods, but rather the correlation of other critters that may do harm. Plus, people like myself have no option to go out and gather soil. I'm in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the only soil around is in people's yards.
 

boina

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It's not so much the parasites or the isopods themselves - I just wouldn't trust that something more sinister would hitch a ride. Ants, true spiders, that kind of thing. And yes, I know - "look through it". But dropping in some captive bred isopods and springtails is much, much easier than dealing with that. It's not the causation of isopods, but rather the correlation of other critters that may do harm. Plus, people like myself have no option to go out and gather soil. I'm in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the only soil around is in people's yards.
I didn't say it's the only way to do it, just that it's one possible way. There are many different ways of keeping tarantulas that work (within reason, of course). And in Europe we have the advantage that we certainly won't bring in any tarantula parasites because the next wild tarantula is something like 1000 miles south of here. If there were wild tarantulas living around here I'd be much more careful.

Ants are never a problem, though, unless you catch a queen by mistake. Worker ants will just run around incessantly trying to find their nest and die very soon. They may annoy the tarantula for a few hours, but that's about it.
 

Tim Benzedrine

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I doubt I'll be reusing substrate from now on with my NW Ts. With the topsoil (cheap), back sand (free) and coco bricks (I buy in bulk so pretty cheap) it's really cheap to fill up even a deep burrower enclosure with all new substrate.

One of my thoughts was "Sheesh! How much could folks be paying for substrate where recycling it would be an economical advantage?"
 
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