Tarantula Colonies

grayhound

Arachnosquire
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
65
Hi Everyone. I'm new to arachnoboards and still learning how to navigate / use it. Also i'm trying to find out information on starting a tarantula colony. I am the proud owner of 9 t's already, and want to try out a colony because i found a 200 gallon oceanic terrarium for dirt cheap!! From the research that i've done so far, I think I want to try Avicularia Avicularias. They seem to be a good species to colonize. I cannot however find any info on HOW to start the colony. Do I just buy a mature male and female from different dealers, let them mate, then colonize? or...... Can I buy 4 - 6 or maybe even 8 spiders ranging from adults to juveniles and just put them in together? Please any information on this would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
 

Chris_Skeleton

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
1,310
Avicularia avicularia are NOT communal. If you are going to do a colony then you need to do one with TRUE communal species such as Holothele incei. Since you are new, it is a bad idea to do a colony with anything other than a communal species. A. avicularia are more tolerant than some species, but once that tolerance runs out, they will eat each other. You should research communal species and communal setups before you do anything. Start up a true setup, get some experience, then if you want to experiment with other species that aren't communal, such as A. avic, you will be better prepared. Good luck.
 

AbraxasComplex

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
1,138
With that size of tank you have a lot of options. Before you do decide on a species (though I do not recommend Avics), I suggest setting up a fake background. You will find a lot of techniques and styles on dart frog forums if you'd like to check it out. The background will add a professional feel to your terrarium and increase the potential surface area for terrestrial (depending on the slope) and arboreal species to utilize as webbing areas.

Set up can take a week to several weeks depending on the style which will allow you time to search out and purchase the species you desire.


As for the species I have done social tanks with many different tarantulas. Arboreal species like Avicularia spp. tend to be tolerant of one another for periods of time. In a tank like yours though they will establish their own territories and rarely interact. You should have success, even with females and egg sacs. Intruding tarantulas would have enough space to escape a territorial individual. But if you are looking for an actual colony with positive interaction and a sustainable, renewing population that will share burrows and such you may consider the following:


Holothele incei/Holothele incei "gold". This species gets about 1.5-3 inches full grown, though they mature much earlier at the 1'' mark. If you start with spiderlings you will have a breeding population within a year. They tend to make web tunnels across the tank which multiple generations will use at once. There are two colour varieties which allows for the feeling of having two species, but please do not sell or give away any offspring if you decide to mix those morphs. This will preserve and keep the genetics of the two lines within the tarantula hobby. I currently have a 40 gallon tank for the wild type morph with 4 generations going strong. This tank has over 100 H.incei inside. Your 200 gallon could support thousands if you continue to meet the demand for food. Try not to though, as this will keep the population stable and weed out weak individuals. Holothele sp. Colombia, a similar, more stunning species, works in this setting as well, but do not mix with Holothele incei.


Heterothele villosella. This species gets about 1-1.5 inches full grown. The behavior is nearly the same as H.incei, but I have witnessed less cannibalism and more maternal behavior with females feeding the young more often. They also do not make as thick of a web which stays closer to the ground. This results in easier viewing and the ability to use live stemmed plants. H.incei tend to web over everything including large plants. Heterothele villosella tends not to web over plants that are 6'' or higher above the ground. Colony capacity stays low as they are not heavy eaters or breeders and their sacs tend to be smaller with less of a survival rate than H.incei. The young are not overly zealous to kill and eat larger items where as an H.incei spiderling will attack and kill a cricket nearly double its size.

Heterothele gabonensis is arboreal and much like H.villosella. Though H.gabonensis does not have much maternal behavior. Try this species if your tank is quite tall and you make the background, but expect the ground area to be ignored as they prefer to make their webs on tree trunks and high rock outcroppings.


If dwarf species do not appeal to you that size of tank could house a group of Hysterocrates gigas, Monocentropus balfouri, or Pamphobeteus sp. Chicken Spider. Both Hysterocrates gigas and Monocentropus balfouri may need to be sack mates if you do not want to risk losing any. You may have to write off the Monocentropus balfouri as an option due to their cost though. H.gigas is quite interesting since it is found in many different habitats. It burrows, but has been known to be found in trees though it is not "built" for arboreal behavior. They even have the ability to swim in bodies of slow moving or stagnant water. As for the Pamphobeteus sp. CS, they are incredibly communal, but are not available on the market as of yet. I just paired up two females and hope to get this species onto the market soon.
 

grayhound

Arachnosquire
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
65
thanks for input

Thanks eveyone for the input on this thread. I have learned a LOT over the last 24 hours by researching. Abrax - Complex...... Thank you espicially for all of the helpful info. I do by the way set up backgrounds for most of my T enclosures before moving them in. I have actually taken a VERY FOND liking to making custom backdrops and have made all of mine and a few for some friends.

I think that the Trinidad Olive or Holothele incei would be the best first time colony species, and will be my first attempt at a colony, however, I don't think that my new HUGE Terrarium would be appropriate. It seems like i've bitten off more than i'm prepared to chew right now. Even though a T colony would be a REALLY COOL addition to my T room, I don't think it's going to happen any time soon. I really think my new Terrarium is just too big ( i couldn't pass it up for $100.... included tank, stand, hood, lights, deco, vines, water dishes, etc....... Oceanic!! ). I think I'm going to make acrylic dividers, a new divided lid, and turn it into 3 or 4 new enclosures for some new pokies...... or maybe get some frogs....... or maybe i'll just resell it.

Anyway..... thanks again for eveyones input!
P.S. - Can anyone tell me how to appropriately post pictures of my T's and enclosures? I'm still having some trouble navigating this webpage and don't want to mispost anything. I have a LOT of pictures to share!! Thanks!

Grayhound
 

Chris_Skeleton

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
1,310
I suggest you research divided tanks. Not many good outcomes with those if not done properly.
 

grayhound

Arachnosquire
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
65
divided enclosure

Thanks for the advise Chris_Skelton. As I always do with all of my T's and enclosures..... I will research it extensively before I do anything ( now that i'm on arachnoboards, it will be much easier! ). This thing is so big and so nice looking, I don't think I really want to modify it anyway. I have now been researching snakes, frogs, and lizards for it. If I can't find a perfect pet for it the way it is, I'll probably just sell it at the next reptile show here in town or to the local pet store owner that i frequent. Really not sure yet!! Open for suggestions!! Thanks!!

Grayhound
 
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