Species-specific Substrate?

LD67

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So, my new brachypelma emilia is in his/her house with just peat moss. Considering that it comes from Mexico, I was wondering what would be the optimal substrate for it. I also plan on getting a grammostola pulchripes in the near future. Since that one comes from South America, the environment is much different than that of Mexico. Is there an optimal substrate for the gram, or does anyone have an opinion on a basic substrate that works well for many Ts?
 

YagerManJennsen

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Peat moss should be fine, just keep it on the dry side.

Top soil is dirt cheap (pun absolutely intended) and it works well for any species.
cocofiber works well to the only downside is the price.
 

viper69

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So, my new brachypelma emilia is in his/her house with just peat moss. Considering that it comes from Mexico, I was wondering what would be the optimal substrate for it. I also plan on getting a grammostola pulchripes in the near future. Since that one comes from South America, the environment is much different than that of Mexico. Is there an optimal substrate for the gram, or does anyone have an opinion on a basic substrate that works well for many Ts?
Succinctly, use google. ;)

If you really want to make/use a substrate the species is found on, the best way is to use google and find the location where the species is from. It may take some digging, but often one can either primary literature or secondary sources describing the area. In some cases even photos of the habitat. They don't necessarily give you the composition the soil is made of mind you, but you can get a reasonably idea.

For example, there are many species kept in captivity that burrow into some variant of cocofiber, but in reality these species live among rocky hillsides and make shelter under rocks, not coco fiber.
 

Poec54

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Are you under the impression there's one type of dirt in Mexico, and another in South America? The soils are going to vary somewhat throughout any given tarantula species' range, so which do you pick? Keep in mind the climate too, as that determines how wet the soil gets and how fast it dries out. If a tarantula comes from an area with hard, compacted soil and a lot of rocks, duplicating that in captivity could be a death trap, as tarantulas in the wild aren't slipping off of panes of glass. What's of greater importance to a tarantula owner is using a substrate that meets the spider's needs in captivity, which means a certain amount of water retention, the ability to dig and make tunnels in it, that it's soft to land on for falling tarantulas, and that it's natural. For me, that's bagged top soil. I don't use cocofiber as few animals live under falling coconuts, for obvious reasons.
 

louise f

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cocofiber works well to the only downside is the price
In Denmark Cocofiber is dirt cheap. You get it thrown in your face for almost zero costs. While other types of soil is expensive here. Pretty weird with that difference.
A brick of cocofiber here cost a price of 1,50$

I only use cocofiber for my T`s.
 
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14pokies

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I have been using long fiber coco husk lately ( I'll snag a pic later after my coffee kicks in) and I think I love it..
It doesn't get saturated like the fine "grain" stuff and once it takes up moisture it holds it pretty well.. A little bit of water in this stuff adds humidity for days with out having vey moist sub..
So far I haven't had any mold or that white hairy mildew that sometimes pops up on the top of regular coco fiber..

So far I can say it holds a burrow very well moist or dry and is working for every T that I have it on.. Versi, balfouri, fimbriatus,irminia... It can be packed down for pet holes or used loosely for arboreals..

It reminds me a lot of peat but I don't have problems rehydrating it if it dries out or that damn musty smell when its wet..

This is the stuff I was reffering to earlier.. 20160930_134059.jpg 20160930_134120.jpg
 
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Poec54

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you dont use it just because you consider it unnatural? or are there more reasons?

Besides personally hating the stuff, it's also something that tarantulas don't live in, in the wild.
 

Chris LXXIX

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Coco fiber works perfectly, no matter if that 'medium' (Poec54 ™) -- muahahah, and I can't resist to think about a seance, btw --

is of course not a natural one, no doubts. T's lives in the dirt, after all. But not everyone can use, or have access, to decent topsoil. Here in Italy, where to gain T's isn't easy at all, I can't risk to use the brands available here, and, to order online topsoil brands from other nations, frankly, would be ridiculous.

So I use coco fiber (not the annoying bricks that need forever to dry) or Irish peat moss. I can guarantee that with coco fiber, no matter, T's are able to create impressive, solid, long burrows (my collection is basically OB T's and NW's high strung).
 

Hellblazer

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What's of greater importance to a tarantula owner is using a substrate that meets the spider's needs in captivity, which means a certain amount of water retention, the ability to dig and make tunnels in it, that it's soft to land on for falling tarantulas, and that it's natural. For me, that's bagged top soil. I don't use cocofiber as few animals live under falling coconuts, for obvious reasons.
Besides personally hating the stuff, it's also something that tarantulas don't live in, in the wild.
So what's more important, a safe and functional environment, or recreating what they're found on in nature? You're kind of contradicting yourself. I understand if you just don't like it, but the Ts not living on it in the wild excuse is kind of silly. I do agree that top soil is great though.
 
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Poec54

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So what's more important, a safe and functional environment, or recreating what they're found on in nature? You're kind of contradicting yourself. I understand if you just don't like it, but the Ts not living on it in the wild excuse is kind of silly. I do agree that top soil is great though.

Not a contradiction. I said we can't necessarily recreate what's in nature, as that works with fresh air, sunshine and rain. What can do is provide them with a relatively natural cage that they'll feel at home it. Cocofiber is a fluffy, compressed, processed material sold in bricks, whereas top soil is plain dirt dug up from the ground. Why would you want to use something as a substrate that animals don't live in, in the wild?
 

14pokies

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Why would you want to use something as a substrate that animals don't live in, in the wild?
Because Its heavy ,clumpy and attracts flys.. Its hard to recommend it as a sub to newer keepers because there are so many varietys that have additives or fertilizer pesticides etc..

When compressed in an enclosure coco fiber isn't fluffy it's also always additive free and fool proof..

Good stuff IMO..
 

AphonopelmaTX

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Substrate, the debate that will never end. :)

It's true one can not recreate what tarantulas burrow in naturally so the argument is for what is more natural than something else. The only example I can use in this matter is Aphonopelma species in the USA since we are talking about native species. The soil native Aphonopelma species live in is clay soil. They dig a multitude of different types of burrows from simple scrapes underneath rocks to foot deep burrows dug in the open. In captivity, clay soils would be impractical due to the weight from how much one would need to allow a tarantula to burrow in and when dry it's like dealing with concrete. Tarantulas in captivity probably wouldn't even expend the energy to dig in it since environmental conditions would be favorable enough to stay in the open.

Although, I'm sure clay soils can be used in shallow containers for tarantulas that will build scrape style burrows underneath cork bark since one wouldn't use that much of it. Considering how heavy topsoil is, like clay soils, usually in these types of conversations no one "pro topsoil" ever comments on how big the types of containers are that are being used to house their tarantulas and how much topsoil is being used in such a container. For all anyone knows exclusive topsoil users are using a small amount in a plastic shoebox style container. I don't see how anyone can use the stuff in large quantities unless they never move their spiders' containers.

Using topsoil or any other soil mix can be a tricky thing since buying it means the composition of the topsoil can be different from region to region or brand to brand. The topsoil I use is a sandy loam. Meaning it contains a large amount of sand and small amounts of clay, silt, and organic material (composted forest products is what is on the label). None of my tarantulas (Brachypelma spp., Aphonopelma spp., Euathlus sp., Grammostola sp., etc.) will dig in it straight of the bag. It dries hard as a brick and by watching my tarantulas constantly climb the walls of their containers when used, there is something about it that the spiders don't like. However, when I mix it with cocofiber, all of my adult tarantulas start digging and making burrows. I even have one adult female Brachypelma boehmei that has made it's own burrow in it. Cocofiber by itself is spongy when wet and won't hold the shape of a burrow when dry. For species requiring damp substrate cocofiber is fine to use plain. I use it exclusively for my collection of Theraphosa species since they need consistently damp soil and build the scrape style burrows underneath a wooden half log. Everything else gets a 50/50 mix of topsoil (sandy loam) and cocofiber. It is light enough for my tarantulas to dig in (and for me to carry) and holds it shape when dry so burrows don't collapse. It's the best of both worlds.

So really, there isn't a species specific substrate that can be used, but in my experience one could use different types of substrate/ soil to elicit different behaviors from tarantulas.
 
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Venom1080

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s..

It reminds me a lot of peat but I don't have problems rehydrating it if it dries out or that damn musty smell when its wet..
so true. peat moss holds humidity and burrows well but its a pain to set up if youre putting a moisture loving species in. this stuff takes forever to absorb water. coco fiber is a upgraded version of peat moss. its perfect in every way i can think of except for price. as for not being natural, its a light brown compared to black, as long as its not pink or something im fine with color.
 

Chris LXXIX

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Frankly, the substrate debate is annoying just like the 'T's & name' issue or the handling part discussions.

Use the substrate you want, aside for reinforced concrete or stuff like that, if you know at least the "know how basics" of T's care nothing will happens if, instead of topsoil, your choice is coco fiber or Irish peat moss.

Name your T/T's if you want, no one care. It's your choice.

Handle, no matter the % chances of escape/bites/injury risks, nor the fact that T's gain no benefit from that practice, then feel free to start the next :embarrassed: thread asking perfect strangers advices due to an incident involving that.

Goddam, we are living in D(i)emocracy, after all.
 

Matabuey

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I personally use a mix of soil and sedge peat for all my T's.

Not sure if you can get this stuff in America: https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/prorep-sedge-peat/

Besides personally hating the stuff, it's also something that tarantulas don't live in, in the wild.
Tarantulas also don't live in boxes, or eat some of the feeders we give them, in the wild.

Redundant point to make, when we are talking about an animal that doesn't posses the level of intellect to be able to differentiate between one substrate to another. As long as they can exhibit natural behaviours, then what's the problem?
 

Matabuey

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Before I assume anything, would you clarify?
A T doesn't posses the intellect to think/feel "I don't live on this in the wild", or "this doesn't feel nice to me", or "I'd be much happier if they'd gave me a better suited substrate".

Doesn't really matter what substrate we give them, as long as they can exhibit their natural behaviours, they won't be stressed - ability to burrow, etc.
 

Chris LXXIX

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A T doesn't posses the intellect to think/feel "I don't live on this in the wild", or "this doesn't feel nice to me", or "I'd be much happier if they'd gave me a better suited substrate".

Doesn't really matter what substrate we give them, as long as they can exhibit their natural behaviours, they won't be stressed - ability to burrow, etc.
Except the Goddess.
 
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