substrate...need help

frodogecko

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@KezyGLA @Venom1080 @CEC @cold blood @EulersK
I'm having a terrible time finding a good potting soil to make substrate. At first I was just using coconut fiber by itself, but it wasn't firm enough. Now I've been mixing eco-earth coconut fiber, vermiculite, and potting soil, but I recently read a past thread that perlite can be harmful for T's. The soil I've been using has perlite, plus it has huge chunks of wood and other stuff. By the time I remove all the giant chunks of wood and other debris I end up throwing out about half of it.

So, this weekend I went looking for good soil with no pesticides or fertilizers. I found one called Jiffy Natural & Organic...it contains sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, coir pith, and lime for pH adjuster.

I also found one other called ferti-lome...it contains sphagnum peat moss, horticultural perlite, limestone, dolomite, and non-ionic wetting gent.

My first question...is perlite actually harmful for T's?
Second question...do either of these sound okay? (The second one has "horticultural" perlite)
Third question...what kind of soil do you guys recommend? I need something to firm up the coconut fiber.

I can really use the advice. I just got a new T and he's got mites so I want to re-house him as soon as possible. Also, if perlite really is harmful I'll have to change out almost all my T's substrates. :arghh:
 

cold blood

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Coco fiber needs to be pressed down...this compresses it so a t can burrow in it. Mixing isn't necessary. Conversely, because dirt is denser, it should not be pressed down or it will harden solid.

I personally use top soil and don't generally mix it...although I have when I had the bottom scraps of another bag of something. I avoid anything labeled as "organic" as all soil is inherently organic, this reference is generally referring to the additives...which can be manure.

The stuff to buy is the cheap stuff, stuff not marketed for growing plants, but for filling holes. Yes, there can be rocks and wood fragments...you can remove them, personally I leave the wood, it looks natural to me and sometimes its interesting to see hem incorporate it. I do remove the larger rocks and break up all the clumps as best as I can.

I can't speak on perlite as I know nothing about it specifically, but I do know I have never used soil with it added.

I use Home depot brands...in some areas its "timberline" (also sold other places)https://www.fleetfarm.com/detail/timberline_soil-0.75_cu._ft._top_soil/0000000218219?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping+search&utm_campaign=google+product search&gslfah&gclid=CIvbgI_tzdMCFQwLaQoditYLsw

Most other places, including what I use, is called Earthgro.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/40-lb-Topsoil-71140180/100355705
 

sasker

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Just another thing: perlite and vermiculite are not one and the same thing. Perlite is used to make soil 'airy' and perlite does not hold water very well. In fact, this material is used to make soil dry out a little bit quicker, which is sometimes necessary for cacti (cactuses? I don't know). Vermiculite is usually used to increase the soil's ability to retain water. I am afraid I don't know if perlite is harmful for spiders, but people usually use vermiculite in their substrates.
 

Venom1080

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top soil... eew.. :vomit:
eco earth mixed with peat mos for me, thanks.
and yes, substrate needs to be tamped down for a solid layer. never used perlite in anything. if youre not sure, do the cricket test. make a small cage with some of the substrate in it, a hide, water, food, and put a few crickets in for a few days. if they survive, its most likely fine.
plain ol topsoil shouldnt cost more than a few dollars, unless youre buying a truckload.
 

EulersK

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@cold blood pretty much covered it, but here's another option.

Peat moss (which is just ground up sphagnum moss) can be used for a substrate and is quite a bit easier to find for some reason. I don't like pure peat moss as substrate for three reasons: 1) If allowed to dry out completely it's a pain to get it to take in moisture again, 2) It's dusty and a bit ugly, and 3) If allowed to dry out, it will actually shrink over time leaving a sizable gap between the substrate and enclosure. Personally, I mix 50/50 peat moss and topsoil. Pure topsoil (when perpetually moist) breeds phorid flies like no other, but something about the peat moss makes it impossible for them to breed. To be clear, fungus gnats can still breed in peat moss, but those are harmless and phorid flies are not.
 

cold blood

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@cold blood pretty much covered it, but here's another option.

Peat moss (which is just ground up sphagnum moss) can be used for a substrate and is quite a bit easier to find for some reason. I don't like pure peat moss as substrate for three reasons: 1) If allowed to dry out completely it's a pain to get it to take in moisture again, 2) It's dusty and a bit ugly, and 3) If allowed to dry out, it will actually shrink over time leaving a sizable gap between the substrate and enclosure. Personally, I mix 50/50 peat moss and topsoil. Pure topsoil (when perpetually moist) breeds phorid flies like no other, but something about the peat moss makes it impossible for them to breed. To be clear, fungus gnats can still breed in peat moss, but those are harmless and phorid flies are not.
Ive literally never seen a phorid fly since I switched to top soil.

All these issues some have with dirt are baffling to me...for me its the sub that causes no problems.
 

frodogecko

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@Venom1080
Where do you guys find your peat moss? The only kind I've found either has perlite or miracle-gro fertilizer in it. I've got two new T's that need to be re-housed asap, one has mites and the other has some kind of bugs I've never seen before. Might be fly larvae, they're little white worms. I hate it when I get home from a pet show with new T's and discover they have mites! :yuck:
 

EulersK

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Ive literally never seen a phorid fly since I switched to top soil.

All these issues some have with dirt are baffling to me...for me its the sub that causes no problems.
Trust me, I miss pure topsoil. Ever since adding in peat moss, I've been battling this strange yellow fungus. Luckily springtails love it, so it was an easy fix. But with topsoil, the worst I ever had was an initial bloom of white fuzzy mold that would die out within a few days. I also much, much prefer the look of pure topsoil.

@Venom1080
Where do you guys find your peat moss? The only kind I've found either has perlite or miracle-gro fertilizer in it. I've got two new T's that need to be re-housed asap, one has mites and the other has some kind of bugs I've never seen before. Might be fly larvae, they're little white worms. I hate it when I get home from a pet show with new T's and discover they have mites! :yuck:
@Venom1080
I'm not quite sure how people struggle with the tagging system :rofl: Just type @ and start typing the person's name. It should pop up automatically, or you can type it out entirely yourself. All you're doing is making a hyperlink directing people to the profile page... which does not alert that person.
 

frodogecko

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Trust me, I miss pure topsoil. Ever since adding in peat moss, I've been battling this strange yellow fungus. Luckily springtails love it, so it was an easy fix. But with topsoil, the worst I ever had was an initial bloom of white fuzzy mold that would die out within a few days. I also much, much prefer the look of pure topsoil.



@Venom1080
I'm not quite sure how people struggle with the tagging system :rofl: Just type @ and start typing the person's name. It should pop up automatically, or you can type it out entirely yourself. All you're doing is making a hyperlink directing people to the profile page... which does not alert that person.
@EulersK
OOOhhh, I was copy and pasting the person's name. I hope I got it right this time.
 

Ungoliant

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Where do you guys find your peat moss? The only kind I've found either has perlite or miracle-gro fertilizer in it.
I get it at Lowes or Home Depot in the garden center. There is often an option that is just plain peat/sphagnum.
 
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