Theraphosa - Dry vs. damp sub

Geoff Armentrout

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Was reading a sad post today http://arachnoboards.com/threads/t-stirmi-died.286423/ and saw some informative replies which made me ask myself a few questions as I recently (20 days ago) acquired 2 T. blondi slings one of which molted into 2.5"+ dls. I did not want to hijack the post so I thought I would start a new one and get peoples opinions/preferences/experiences.

I gave my T. blondi slings a terrarium setup minus live plants. 1" drainage layer and 2" of peat/coco mix sub (it's a bit less then I wanted I intend to change this very soon they haven't done much excavating and do good pet rock impersonations.) I have each with their own exo terra hygrometers which generally read between 87%-90% humidity. I do not mist (it tends to agitate T's in my experience plus evaporates quickly) instead I over flow their bowls so the only damp sub is 1/3rd to 1/2 of the enclosure. I have cross ventilation I even built a DIY air pump humidifier I haven't used yet (have a utrasonic room one I have run at 50% without the humidity in the room is a measly 30%.) Now for the topic at hand.

Dry substrate versus Damp substrate - I have noticed my T. blondi's seem to prefer damp substrate over dry. Which is not easy to maintain without flooding the sub and having a drainage layer with an overflow check to let out excessive water before coming in contact with the substrate. Also the smaller blondi really has a distaste for the intrusion of water hitting the substrate it strikes at it XD.

So what are your opinions/experiences/preferences with keeping Theraphosa species, damp or dry sub?

Thanks,
Geoff
 
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Venom1080

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dont bother with the hydrometers. dont worry about humidity numbers. Theraphosas should be kept on damp substrate, dry will kill them.o_O
honestly dont really know what you mean by drainage layer. i keep my stirmi on very moist peat moss substrate with lots of cross vent. my favorite way to dampen sub is to just dump water on it, or overflowing the dish. you can also use a pipette, push it into the sub and push the water out. doesnt disturb the spider much.
 
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Chris LXXIX

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My opinion is: inches of moist substrate with a cork bark and a nice sized water dish. Not dry (green light for death) not damp. Don't rely on hygrometers, nor to those numbers.
 

Oroborus

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The drainage layer is a good idea. I wish I would have set on up when I set up my stirmi enclosure. My enclosure has 5 inches of eco earth substrate which I periodically pour water on with occasional misting. The drainage layer would keep the humidity and saturation levels much more even. T stirmi is much more tolerant of humidity variation but still requires high humidity generally. T blondi, if that is in fact what you have, is notoriously sensitive to humidity levels and you will have to monitor them closely. Cheers.
 

Geoff Armentrout

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ditch the hydrometers. dont worry about humidity numbers. Theraphosas should be kept on damp substrate, dry will kill them.o_O
honestly dont really know what you mean by drainage layer. i keep my stirmi on very moist peat moss substrate with lots of cross vent. my favorite way to dampen sub is to just dump water on it, or overflowing the dish. you can also use a pipette, push it into the sub and push the water out. doesnt disturb the spider much.
Drainage layer is just a layer of usually gravel, clay balls, perlite separated from the actual substrate with mesh screening to allow excessive water to drain out of the substrate so it's not over-saturated. It also helps with humidity.
 

Geoff Armentrout

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The drainage layer is a good idea. I wish I would have set on up when I set up my stirmi enclosure. My enclosure has 5 inches of eco earth substrate which I periodically pour water on with occasional misting. The drainage layer would keep the humidity and saturation levels much more even. T stirmi is much more tolerant of humidity variation but still requires high humidity generally. T blondi, if that is in fact what you have, is notoriously sensitive to humidity levels and you will have to monitor them closely. Cheers.
They are indeed T. blondi unless there is a new Theraphosa species that do not have pink telotarsus like blondi's. Yeah the drainage layer is nice might have to add some egg crate on top of the mesh so when they do start digging more they can't pull up on the mesh.

Geoff
 

REEFSPIDER

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My stirmi has a good 2" of vermiculite on the bottom and 6-8 Eco earth above that. Keeps the enclosure nice and MOIST:cat::cat::cat: I never thought about making a drainage layer for her either but that is a very good idea. I plan on building an even better enclosure for her eventually and will probably incorporate the technique.:alien
 

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Geoff Armentrout

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dont bother with the hydrometers. dont worry about humidity numbers. Theraphosas should be kept on damp substrate, dry will kill them.o_O
honestly dont really know what you mean by drainage layer. i keep my stirmi on very moist peat moss substrate with lots of cross vent. my favorite way to dampen sub is to just dump water on it, or overflowing the dish. you can also use a pipette, push it into the sub and push the water out. doesnt disturb the spider much.
My opinion is: inches of moist substrate with a cork bark and a nice sized water dish. Not dry (green light for death) not damp. Don't rely on hygrometers, nor to those numbers.
Just curious why the "hate" for hygrometers? I got them due to my habit of requiring numerical readouts or color charts to maintain the proper water quality from my reef tank days. Are digital devices for herps (also arachnids) not effective?

Geoff
 

Chris LXXIX

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Just curious why the "hate" for hygrometers? I got them due to my habit of requiring numerical readouts or color charts to maintain the proper water quality from my reef tank days. Are digital devices for herps (also arachnids) not effective?

Geoff
Geoff my man IMO they are completely useless when it comes to Arachnids. A lot of people end with those because they are a classic of LPS (they need to sell stuff, after all) combine this with online care sheets (where notably, when it comes to "humidity" those numbers always differs from site to site, and talking about the same T's) and the fact that those items, aren't exactly accurate.
Finally, add a keeper trying to follow and match (even in good faith) the numbers he/she read on the Internet with what's written in those hygrometers = Arachnids living in a pool, literally.

I've personally witnessed that in real life (here in Italy) more than once :-s
 

G. pulchra

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In the wild these tarantula's live in burrows located in swamps. Yes, they need deep substrate with high humidity...
 

Venom1080

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@Geoff Armentrout sounds neat, would be hell for asian burrowers i imagine! they'd rip it all up and make a mess with it all.

hydrometers are unneeded with tarantulas. i use them for reptiles, fish but not with arachnids. same with temp gauges, Ts are comfortable at room temp. they dont have special heating requirements. ive heard stories of people practically keeping their ts in ponds because their hydrometer was wrong and they thought the T was not happy. chasing magic numbers on a hydrometer is a waste of time and can be detrimental to the T.
 

Ran

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I used hygrometers for awhile...till it one died and my larger Theraphosa kept knocking them off the sides. There is no other reason I don't have them. I now go by how much condensation they have inside their hides and by pinching substrate to see if it clumps easily with a bit of moisture present. I have screen lids but, I cover them almost completely with computer paper...it helps with humidity but also breathes. I also build up coco coir from 8-9" on one side gradually down to 3" at the base. Their hides are at the highest point and I pour water once a week over the hides (cut in half plastic plant pots). In their natural habitat most Theraphosa take over (or dig) burrows that were built up and into hillsides to prevent flooding. This system does work as I have had success breeding both blondi and stirmi. I am sure there are other ways that will work just as well.
 

Geoff Armentrout

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Geoff my man IMO they are completely useless when it comes to Arachnids. A lot of people end with those because they are a classic of LPS (they need to sell stuff, after all) combine this with online care sheets (where notably, when it comes to "humidity" those numbers always differs from site to site) and the fact that those, aren't exactly accurate. Add a keeper trying to follow and match (even in good faith) the numbers he/she read with what's written in those hygrometers = Arachnids living in a pool, literally.

I've personally witness that in real life (here in Italy) more than once :-s
Luckily I am not that foolish rofl! I'm saving the pool for the adults can't leave the children unattended with a pool HA!

Geoff

EDIT - Hope no one takes me serious :hurting:
 

Chris LXXIX

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I tell you this :)

A man (which I don't even know personally) bought three T's once in a expo here in Italy without having a clue (he wasn't aware of what a molt is, go figure) basing his decisions only about the T's aesthetics he liked: he bought a female B.vagans, a female M.robustum, and a 'supposed' female C.fimbriatus (an advanced NW and a potent venom, high strung OW, aren't exactly the best T's for start as we know).

After not even three months, his Lady started to went mad, and basically asked him to "choose". By pure luck, he's a customer of my Bro's Bar, ah ah :angelic: and he asked to him if he knew someone who was into T's. Within three days my Bro took those T's (with the enclosures) at my home. He gave those T's to my Brother for free.

Out of those three females only two were, and I traded the C.fimbriatus, turned after a year into a MM, with a breeder here.

Point is the female M.robustum: while caring for her, in those three months, he followed strictly the Internet average humidity numbers, using those Exo hygrometers for that. That poor beast was living in the "sea", so wet to the point that I wasn't even able to figure out which kind, exactly, of substrate he even used.

I re-housed her that very day. Since that day there's one more happy M.robustum :-s
 

JumpingSpiderLady

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@Geoff Armentrout sounds neat, would be hell for asian burrowers i imagine! they'd rip it all up and make a mess with it all.

hydrometers are unneeded with tarantulas. i use them for reptiles, fish but not with arachnids. same with temp gauges, Ts are comfortable at room temp. they dont have special heating requirements. ive heard stories of people practically keeping their ts in ponds because their hydrometer was wrong and they thought the T was not happy. chasing magic numbers on a hydrometer is a waste of time and can be detrimental to the T.
You use hydrometers with fish?
 

Geoff Armentrout

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You use hydrometers with fish?
There is some miscommunication/language barrier happening here, I didn't want to correct it because I knew what Venom1080 was saying. There is Hygrometers for measuring humidity and Hydrometers for measuring the specific gravity aka salinity of water. So yes you use hydrometers with fish (brackish/saltwater).

Geoff
 

JumpingSpiderLady

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There is some miscommunication/language barrier happening here, I didn't want to correct it because I knew what Venom1080 was saying. There is Hygrometers for measuring humidity and Hydrometers for measuring the specific gravity aka salinity of water. So yes you use hydrometers with fish (brackish/saltwater).

Geoff
Oh! I only keep freshwater fish. ;) Hope that wasn't offensive. It was not meant to be.
 
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