Sterilizing and/or drying peat w/ microwave?

Moltar

ArachnoGod
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So i picked up a "cube" of straight peat moss at a local garden store. This is the chopped up, partially decomposed variety not the stringy, fresher type generally used for plant decoration. Apparently it was more moist than i initially thought. After i redid my adult smithi's tank i realized the humidity was way too high at ground level: about 85%. Also mold started popping up in places accompanied by a quite musty smell and she basically wouldn't touch the soil at all. She covered everything with webbing and spent a LOT of time walking around upside down on the lid.

I've taken this same bag of peat and nuked about 6 cups at a time for 2 minutes each, long enough for steam to rise out of the peat and for it to become too hot to touch. I've done this enough times to get plenty of soil to fill the tank to the necessary level.

My question is this: Does that seem adequate to you experts out there to kill any mold spores present and do you think it really dried the substrate to an adequate degree? Also should i be sterilizing soil in this or some other manner every time i set up an enclosure?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
 

Talkenlate04

ArachnoGod
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Feb 13, 2006
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I have used the microwave a few times when I did not have the means to replace substrate. Other then the earthy smell all over everything when I was done I am pretty sure it did the trick.
I even put peat in there that had mites. Nuked them all.
Now it will still be moist when you put it back in, but sterile. Just compact it in the tank and let it dry out naturally. She will eventually come down when it suits her.
And no you dont have to sterilize the substrate before you put it in. Its an extra precaution if you want to, but its not needed. When I re do or make a tank I use the peat right out of the bag, never had a problem.
 

cacoseraph

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watch out with mic'ing. hotspots can dry out and start smoking/flaming.
 

Talkenlate04

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Speaking from experience?
Dang I am glad I never caught anything on fire. It did get really hot thats for sure.
One time I forgot I had wood baking and that set off ever smoke alarm in the house. :8o
 

Moltar

ArachnoGod
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Apr 11, 2007
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Yeah i almost caught a cork hide on fire drying it out in the oven a few weeks ago. For that reason i was watching the nuker pretty closely last night while doing all this.

Thanks guys. You've just reinforced what i already thought was right. It's nice to have seasoned veterans telling me i'm on the right track. I'll leave the peat in a big open bowl to dry out for a couple days more before re-stuffing the tank.
 
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