The neverending substrate debate.

mekkababble

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
22
Though this is a noob question, it's been niggling my mind for months...

I've heard all sorts of substrate to use for tarantulas- peat, vermiculite, a combination of the two and so on (I've been using the Bed-a-Beast substrate they sell at pet stores). What I'm wondering is what's the problem with sand or stones?

Some of the desert dwellers live in sand as is so why not emulate their natural habitat?
 

P. Novak

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 12, 2005
Messages
6,234
I heard sand can get into their book lungs and cause them to sufficate/die, but I've seen people use sand successfully, and I have used it a couple times too with no drawbacks. Only use it on the species that come from sandy areas though. Right now for all my "desert" species I use a mix of bed-a-beast, peat, and sand. For my "humid" species I use bed-a-beast and peat mixed. Rocks/gravel/stone aren't use as 100% substrate because it's not very comfy for the T to rest on, especially gravid ones or fat ones that drag their abdomens. It can get scraped up, tore, etc.
 

dtknow

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 18, 2004
Messages
2,242
I've not been to actual desert tarantula habitat, but tarantulas in my area usually are on silty or kind of clayey soil, not sand.
 

P. Novak

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 12, 2005
Messages
6,234
I've not been to actual desert tarantula habitat, but tarantulas in my area usually are on silty or kind of clayey soil, not sand.
I'm pretty sure there aren't many, maybe only a handful of tarantulas, that actually live on 100% sand.
 

jen650s

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
May 29, 2007
Messages
333
One of the problems with the sand that is available in the pet trade is that it is much finer than natural desert sand, it is usually finer than beach sand for that matter. Another problem is that artificial sand usually has very sharp edges to it if looked at under a microscope and natural sand is more like little tiny boulders with most of the rough edges weathered off. Because of this Ts (and possibly other inverts) kept on it tend to get wear patches on their exoskeletons that might (or might not) contribute to health issues as well as the afore mentioned possibility of them breathing in small sharp particles. A course natural sand would probably work well, but you would have to worry about contaminants so...
 

P. Novak

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 12, 2005
Messages
6,234
One of the problems with the sand that is available in the pet trade is that it is much finer than natural desert sand, it is usually finer than beach sand for that matter. Another problem is that artificial sand usually has very sharp edges to it if looked at under a microscope and natural sand is more like little tiny boulders with most of the rough edges weathered off. Because of this Ts (and possibly other inverts) kept on it tend to get wear patches on their exoskeletons that might (or might not) contribute to health issues as well as the afore mentioned possibility of them breathing in small sharp particles. A course natural sand would probably work well, but you would have to worry about contaminants so...
Nope just pop it into the oven for awhile and you're good to go. All of the sand I use is play sand that you can buy from Home Depot. None of it is fine, but it may be sharp. I've been using it for awhile with no ill effects.
 

skooma_addict

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Messages
105
A stone or sand mixture would be fine but I would avoid 100% of either. Stones would be uncomfortable and store bought sands can either chalky or downright abrasive.
 

skooma_addict

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Messages
105
Just my opinion, could be wrong. Who knows.
Guess I wasn't very helpful after all.:8o
 

mwh9

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 25, 2007
Messages
211
I had wanted to ask the question about sand, but assumed there was a good reason for not using it. I don't have any T's that are from a desert area, so have not used it. I thought that it would make it difficult for them to burrow in.
 

Moltar

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 11, 2007
Messages
5,450
I add a little sand to my burrowers' substrate to add some weight. The end product is about 70% peat, 15% vermiculite and 15% sand. I was using sand marketed for planting but now maybe i'll try purifying natural sand because of the abrasiveness. I also throw a very small amount (1%?) of crushed horticultural charcoal in there to control mold, bacteria, etc.
 

Texas Blonde

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Messages
841
I live in an area with very sandy soil, and the Ts do fine on it. I actually keep the ones I collect from around here on soil from near their burrow site. Ive never had a problem. Im awaiting a soil composition report from my aunt the geologist, but I believe that most of our top soil is made up of sand and clay mix.
 

ballpython2

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 28, 2007
Messages
1,671
Has anyone tried to use that new substrate they have? I think petco has it , its the clay type stuff
 

zimbu

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 26, 2006
Messages
141
Has anyone tried to use that new substrate they have? I think petco has it , its the clay type stuff
There's a thread about this stuff in the not so spineless wonders forum I think, might be worth taking a look at if you haven't already.
 

Venom

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 21, 2002
Messages
1,709
A dry sand/ peatmoss mixture is just fine for any of the webby scrubland/ desert species, like Pterinochilus, Chromatopelma, Eucratoscelus, etc. They want it bone dry, and will silk over whatever substrate you give them anyway. In the Chromatopelma's case, they silk down their retreat area because of the sand--they use it to get traction when catching prey. I'm using a 60 / 40 sand-to-peatmoss substrate for my C.cyano right now, and she is perfectly content with it.
 
Top