Vinegaroon setup advice (mites and mold after only a week)

Alexw

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
16
Hello, I'm new to the invert hobby and would like some advice on housing a Vinegaroon. I've had it for a week and already have mold and mites. The Vinegaroon was purchased from a local reptile shop and was field collected in Texas, so I am guessing it is Mastigoproctus giganteus.



I've got it in a 5 gallon tank with 3.5 inches of eco earth coconut fiber. I knew that the Vinegaroon likes damp environments so I didn't dry the eco earth after expanding it in water, just put it in damp. I tried to compact it down so any burrows it dug wouldn't collapse. I dug a burrow to start it off and placed a piece of cork bark on top (The bark came with the Vinegaroon). A Gatorade bottle cap serves as the water dish. I also have some plastic plants, a piece of Mopani wood, and a trilobite fossil for decoration and climbing. I've been feeding it small crickets from the same reptile shop about once a day, but I skipped a day or two. I've never seen any remnants from the crickets, but it has always taken the prey back down into it's burrow and I've scraped out the inside a few times get anything left behind. I mist it about once a day and occasionally use a microfiber cloth to cover some of the ventilation to increase humidity. I've tried to keep it over 70% and it has on occasion been over 90%. I live in Arizona and usually humidity should be low in the house and temps shouldn't get under 70F.



A few days ago I noticed what looked like fuzz between the wood and the substrate. I then noticed some green spots of mold on the wood. I took out the wood and cleaned it and then sanded the bad spots. I used a spoon the scrape off the top layer of eco earth that was touching the wood. I left the wood out to dry while considering other options. Today I noticed a few small flies buzzing around the enclosure the enclosure for my crickets (crickets are kept in a medium critter keeper with a small layer of dry coco fiber and some apple chunks for food and moisture, which is changed every few days.) I killed the flies, but then noticed some very small white mites near the Vinegaroon's burrow. After looking very carefully and scraping out the top layer of substrate from the burrow and around it, I could only find 4 mites. I managed to get a picture of one with the macro focus option on my digital camera:



Anything I should to worried about? I can't see any mites on my Vinegaroon. I read here that they may be benign, but I'd rather not have an enclosure with mites in it in the room where I sleep. I feel like I am itching all over from the thought :sour:. I read an option to deal with them is the let the substrate completely dry out. Is that a good idea with a Vinegaroon? I don't want to harm it.

Anyone have any advice for a newbie dealing with mold and mites?

I am looking forward to getting involved in the community here and I have plans to get more inverts! I probably won't get any more for a while but a tarantula, a tailless whipscorpion, a scorpion, and a solpugid are all on my wishlist. Now that I also have mites, I guess I would be well on my way to having most Arachnid orders.
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,082
Get yourself some springtails. They'll clean up any cricket remains and keep the substrate free from mold.
 

Alexw

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
16
Get yourself some springtails. They'll clean up any cricket remains and keep the substrate free from mold.
Sounds great! Should I change out the substrate before putting them in since I have already seen mites?
 

Stugy

Arachnolord
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
648
3.5 inches of eco earth coconut fiber. I knew that the Vinegaroon likes damp environments so I didn't dry the eco earth after expanding it in water, just put it in damp
I use coconut fiber (eco earth too!) and it always starts growing the white fuzz. I just mist it down and it disappears! It'll grow back though. I'm getting some springtails in a day or two to kill off the mold :p I've never had any problems with mites (yet and hopefully not any time soon) so I can't really say anything about that.
 

Venom1080

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Sep 24, 2015
Messages
4,584
thats why i dont use pure eco earth in my humid cages. the stuff molds like crazy, try mixing it with peat moss and not using real wood. stopped all my mold issues.
 
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