Share your balfouri communals

Kodi

Title Master
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Well I've got my mind set on a balfouri communal with 3 slings. Who can share some success (or failures) with these communals? How many balfouri did you have and how old were they? How long did the communal last? And of course pictures if you have any. ;)
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
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I currently have two M.balfouri communal setups. One with three tarantulas in it and the other one with four tarantulas in it. So far, both are doing very well and all the tarantulas are accounted for as of tonight. I feed both communal setups heavy to promote growth and lessen the need to food competition. If all the food gets eaten quickly I add in one or two more roaches till they leave some untouched. This ensures all of them gets all the food they want to eat. I spread it around the enclosure to give all of them a chance to get some and have some space though I have seen two Ts feeding off the same roach before.

The three tarantula communal is my oldest at about 4.5 months old. They were 3/4-1" and all sack mates. I started them off in a 5 X 3.5 X 3 enclosure with one hide/starter burrow in it. They all took to digging out the burrow and web up the place. I noted that they webbed a lot of the same areas at the same time. At one point two of them were backed up to the same plant webbing together side by side. About a month ago they were starting to get a bit too big for the enclosure so I moved them into a 12 X 7 X 6 enclosure with 4 hides and a lot more space/plants. Since then they have webbed up and settled in. They have lightly webbed all over including the other burrows but all three are living in the one main webbed up area/burrow as far as I can tell. I feed them often and they are doing well.

The four tarantula communal is really new at about 3 weeks or so. They range between .5-1" and their sizes differences seems to indicate that they may be from two different sacks. I bought them in a 5 T bundle set (from a communal clean out) and the 5th one is definitely from a different sack as it is 1/8-1/4" in size. I kept it out due to it being so small and me worrying about a sling that tiny in such a big enclosure. I started them off in a 9 x 6 x 6 enclosure with 3 full hides/burrows. So far they have only webbed up the middle section of the enclosure where the biggest hide/burrow is and they are all staying there together. I have not decided if I will add the solo M.balfouri into the communal when it gets big enough. If I do it'll be during a rehousing so none of the Ts will have their spaces already claimed.

Here are a few shots of my T's and their enclosures.

My original enclosure with my three T communal. You look hard enough you can see the third one's foot sticking out the edge of the hide/burrow. :)

The same three T communal in the new enclosure. They are all living in the heavy webbed burrow at the bottom.

Here is one of the little guys eating on a roach.


Here is a pretty bad photo of the new four T communal. Even though they have so much space they all cluster in one area. It's not due to food because I drop food all over the enclosure and they bring it back here where they stay. All four were in this photo but two are hard to see. Two can be seen in the webbing and the other two are in the funnel.


Now just so you understand, M.balfouri communal setups don't always end up without the loss of some tarantulas. I have had good luck with them (so far) though I have heard of some people who haven't. I will say I have heard more success stories with a T loss here and there then I have heard stories of total loss except for one tarantula. I have not tried any communal setups except for M.balfouri ones and my t are still fairly new as these things go.

Proceed at your own discretion.

That being said, I have really enjoyed this species and watching them live together.
 
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Kodi

Title Master
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That. Is. Awesome. So when feeding you just spread the food to prevent any accidental strikes?
I plan on getting 3 sac mates and putting them into a 6x5x5 and when they grow out of it rehousing into an 8x8x14.
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
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That. Is. Awesome. So when feeding you just spread the food to prevent any accidental strikes?
I spread out the prey not because I'm worried about them accidentally striking each other but to allow them the option of moving away from others when eating. IMO they don't strike like A.genic does at the water and just about everything else. They seem more of an ease up and curl bite. This could be a result in how well and often they are fed. A very hungry T will strike a lot faster/harder than a fuller one. I do use pre-kill prey (crushed heads) for them as that is easier for me to know how much they are eating and it keeps the Dubia roaches from burrowing if they are not eaten.

I plan on getting 3 sack mates and putting them into a 6x5x5 and when they grow out of it rehousing into an 8x8x14.
As with most baboons, give them lots of substrate, a good hide/starter burrow(or two) and lots of fake plant cover. I used a water dish both communal enclosures.
 
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antinous

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Don't mean to hikjack this thread by any means, but would you have to separate them (at least by gender) when they mature? I'd like to start one but not sure if I should keep them all in the same enclosure for their whole life.
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
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Don't mean to hikjack this thread by any means, but would you have to separate them (at least by gender) when they mature? I'd like to start one but not sure if I should keep them all in the same enclosure for their whole life.
Barring any large issues, I don't plan on separating them at all. I will likely rehouse them as a group when they need more space but will keep them together. Depending on how many male/females I have I might ship some of the males off to help with breeders that need them to provide more for the hobby. Though I plan to leave some in the communal as well. In the event that all of the slings in the communal turn out to be female(which would be awesome) I will likely buy a male to add into the communal.

I have seen instances where large groups of these tarantulas have been kept together their whole life along with their offspring. I'm not sure how long they have had their communal setups but the second set I bought all came from cleaning out some of the slings that were in their communal that was getting too large.
 

antinous

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Barring any large issues, I don't plan on separating them at all. I will likely rehouse them as a group when they need more space but will keep them together. Depending on how many male/females I have I might ship some of the males off to help with breeders that need them to provide more for the hobby. Though I plan to leave some in the communal as well. In the event that all of the slings in the communal turn out to be female(which would be awesome) I will likely buy a male to add into the communal.

I have seen instances where large groups of these tarantulas have been kept together their whole life along with their offspring. I'm not sure how long they have had their communal setups but the second set I bought all came from cleaning out some of the slings that were in their communal that was getting too large.
Gotcha, thanks! Just trying to imagine the size of enclosure that would be enough for all them haha. What size do you think the final enclosure will be for yours?
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
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I know that there are more experienced communal keepers on here then I than am. I would really like to see what your experiences you've had. You guys should toss out some of your communal setups and stories. :D
 
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Trenor

Arachnoprince
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Gotcha, thanks! Just trying to imagine the size of enclosure that would be enough for all them haha. What size do you think the final enclosure will be for yours?
That depends on how fast the communal grows. A setup that has spiderlings hatching would dramatically increase how many Ts you have to house. Once offspring become likely I'll have to make sure the current enclosure is set up in a way that the little ones can escape out vent holes used in the larger enclosures.

I would take into account the total size of tarantulas to be housed and find an enclosure that was large enough to handle all of them with extra room for them to have space to live.
 
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Kodi

Title Master
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If you're housing sac mates together wouldn't it be a bad idea to let them inbreed?
 

antinous

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If you're housing sac mates together wouldn't it be a bad idea to let them inbreed?
Theoretically, no. It wouldn't pose anything bad per say. However, it doesn't happen (as far as I know) since males mature quite a bit more quickly than females.
 

Trenor

Arachnoprince
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If you're housing sac mates together wouldn't it be a bad idea to let them inbreed?
They are not likely to mature at the same time. If there are males in the original three group then they will mature long before the females will. Those will likely be sent off to others to use for breading. My second communal may provide some males for the first one as they are much smaller than the original one.

As far as I am aware, there are not any long-term studies with information on if tarantulas have issues with inbreeding like mammals do.
 
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