Testing substrate.

Arachnomaniac19

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So I'm going to get some top soil later today and I'm planning to put some crickets in a deli cup with a few inches of substrate. My question is how long should I leave the crickets in to determine if it is safe, and what amount of crickets should I put in? Also, what amount of dead crickets would determine if it is unsafe?
 

Nightstalker47

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So I'm going to get some top soil later today and I'm planning to put some crickets in a deli cup with a few inches of substrate. My question is how long should I leave the crickets in to determine if it is safe, and what amount of crickets should I put in? Also, what amount of dead crickets would determine if it is unsafe?
I doubt the cricket test will prove all that useful. As long as your top soil doesn't have any additives like pesticides you shouldn't have an issue, your buying organic right?
 

Arachnomaniac19

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I doubt the cricket test will prove all that useful. As long as your top soil doesn't have any additives like pesticides you shouldn't have an issue, your buying organic right?
I don't know if it has been in contact with pesticides, hence why I'm testing it. I don't know what I'm buying.
 

Arachnomaniac19

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In that case I wouldn't risk it, if you don't know what your buying...
Literally everything in a garden centre (where I buy substrate) could have been in contact with pesticides. Even if it is organic, that's no guarentee that no pesticides are on it.
 

The Grym Reaper

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You want plain topsoil (not organic, that could still have all kinds of crap in it) for filling in holes, it'll literally be the cheapest stuff you can get.
 

edesign

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ZooMed cococoir bricks. Just add water. Problem solved :)

Chances are its fine. Unless someone opened the bag and mixed a contaminant in them resealed it...but that's unrealistic. I've never heard of anyone buying proper substrate that's marketed as being additive free and then having the inhabitants die off.
 

Vezon

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ZooMed cococoir bricks. Just add water. Problem solved :)

Chances are its fine. Unless someone opened the bag and mixed a contaminant in them resealed it...but that's unrealistic. I've never heard of anyone buying proper substrate that's marketed as being additive free and then having the inhabitants die off.

That coco coir is great and all until you have to wait 5 years for it to dry and have to eat ramen for a month to be able to afford it long term.
 

The Grym Reaper

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That coco coir is great and all until you have to wait 5 years for it to dry and have to eat ramen for a month to be able to afford it long term.
Lol, I'm not a fan of it on its own personally, I usually mix about half a brick into a 5L bag of peat.
 

edesign

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Don't over-moisten it ;) Can be a bit of trial and error but it's not hard to avoid making it swampy. And I can dry it out relatively quickly. I've learned to give it the initial soaking a day or two ahead of time so it can be broken down and then it's easy to add more moisture to it, if necessary, the day of rehousing. Easy to add more, hard to take out :)

Some random guy (ha) named Michael Jacobi recommends 32oz exactly per brick. I haven't tried that yet. I just eyeball it based on experience. Probably is similar.

It's $8-10 for a three pack where I live. Those three bricks go a long way unless you're filling a large, deep terrarium. I hardly see how that'll cause you to eat ramen for a month unless you're stretching an already thin budget. In that case one probably shouldn't be buying tarantulas in the first place.

The substrate lasts forever and unless your collection is comprised of mostly many larger adult, terrestrial or fossorial specimens requiring deep substrate in large tanks I don't see where rehousing requires more than 1/10 to one brick.

I have close to 100 tarantulas from 20 genera or so, plus a few trues and some scorpions, I'm intimately familiar with these bricks and rehousing. Certainly not the cheapest option but it has advantages. It does kinda suck when they dry out and become hydrophobic but it's not too bad. I find misting the surface tends to help it absorb quicker or getting the water to run to the bottom first by making a hole along an edge.
 

edesign

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Lol, I'm not a fan of it on its own personally, I usually mix about half a brick into a 5L bag of peat.
See, I hate peat lol. Molds on me at the drop of a hat, it's FAR more hydrophobic once dry than cococoir, and it's not environmentally friendly to mine.
 

Arachnomaniac19

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Don't over-moisten it ;) Can be a bit of trial and error but it's not hard to avoid making it swampy. And I can dry it out relatively quickly. I've learned to give it the initial soaking a day or two ahead of time so it can be broken down and then it's easy to add more moisture to it, if necessary, the day of rehousing. Easy to add more, hard to take out :)

Some random guy (ha) named Michael Jacobi recommends 32oz exactly per brick. I haven't tried that yet. I just eyeball it based on experience. Probably is similar.

It's $8-10 for a three pack where I live. Those three bricks go a long way unless you're filling a large, deep terrarium. I hardly see how that'll cause you to eat ramen for a month unless you're stretching an already thin budget. In that case one probably shouldn't be buying tarantulas in the first place.

The substrate lasts forever and unless your collection is comprised of mostly many larger adult, terrestrial or fossorial specimens requiring deep substrate in large tanks I don't see where rehousing requires more than 1/10 to one brick.

I have close to 100 tarantulas from 20 genera or so, plus a few trues and some scorpions, I'm intimately familiar with these bricks and rehousing. Certainly not the cheapest option but it has advantages. It does kinda suck when they dry out and become hydrophobic but it's not too bad. I find misting the surface tends to help it absorb quicker or getting the water to run to the bottom first by making a hole along an edge.
Well, I'm using it to rehouse a Ceratogyrus darlingi, Ephebopus rufescens, Haplocosmia nepalensis, H. himalayana, Pelinobius muticus, and a few terrestrial and arboreal species. I'm going to be needing A LOT of soil! I just used three bricks to rehouse my 4" Chilobrachys sp. Penang last night.
 

The Grym Reaper

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See, I hate peat lol. Molds on me at the drop of a hat, it's FAR more hydrophobic once dry than cococoir, and it's not environmentally friendly to mine.
I find that the peat stops the coco fibre from moulding like crazy while the coco fibre holds the moisture, win/win, plus straight coco fibre looks terrible.
 

The Grym Reaper

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So peat moss is okay? I was under the impression that they didn't like the feel of it.
I'm assuming peat moss is what we call sedge peat here. I house all my Tarantulas on a sedge peat/coco fibre mix and I've had no issues with it whatsoever, they don't like it when you cover the surface of the substrate with long fibred sphagnum moss (or similar) because that stuff shifts beneath their feet.
 

edesign

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I find that the peat stops the coco fibre from moulding like crazy while the coco fibre holds the moisture, win/win, plus straight coco fibre looks terrible.
Looks terrible? That's the first time I've ever heard that comment. Looks fine to me. Sometimes I pull out extra long or coarse fibers but that's about it.
 

D Sherlod

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I keep a large Rubbermaid container. I mix up the coco fibre with water in a bucket squeeze water out and throw in Rubbermaid box. Spread it out and leave lid off. Drys within a couple of days. I always have at least o e block made up in advance.. mix with top soil.
works great and $3 block plus $1 top soil substrate for dozens of enclosures.
 

Arachnomaniac19

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Just picked up a cubic metre of normal peat moss (no additives). So just to clarify, there's no need to test it?
 
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