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Thread: Soil experts what is this?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Soil experts what is this?

    I've found this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB0a7...eature=related which shows a guys terrariums and I am really impressed with the dry, cracked desert type substrate he has in most of the tanks (starting with tank #2/P. murinus onward)

    Anyone know what that substrate is? I'm supposing a clay of some sort.


    I'm softening a sample from a sack of all natural kitty litter (bentonite clay) in water overnight to experiment with sculpting & drying in hopes of getting close to this guys work. I know it's supposed to sculpt and grow moss well in frog tanks but it also cracks when it dries, which is exactly what I want in a desert tank and can't achieve with dry peat or coir. Anyone else done a kitty litter tank yet, moist tropical or dry desert? Any hints to working with it? Can I rapidly dry "layers" of clay strata in my oven at low temp?

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    mass's Avatar
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    Vogelspinnen is one of the world's foremost leading tarantula experts. The substrate he uses is actual earth.. Clay isn't good because it's too hard for the T to be able to dig and burrow, or even move. His use of the actual elements each T is from and found in, is what makes his setups so spectacular. I'm sure he washes and uses the cleanest elements possible though. Oven baking your substrate, and branches, and what not is the best way to achieve cleanliness and sterilization.

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    This stuff looks very similar to that substrate
    http://www.zoomed.com/db/products/En...JzdHJhdGVzIjt9

    I have used this stuff in my Uromastyx ( same reptiles on the package). Great stuff for creating caves and over hangs. I loved it even though it's a little pricey to use in a 60 gal. tank. Should be perfect for some spider cages. My reptiles can dig in it after it has harden, but I doubt the t's will be able too. You can let then dig it out before it hardens. You basicly wet the substrate and mold it into the shapes you want. When it dries it hardens. I'll have to post some pic's of my setup here in the next couple of days.
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    swords's Avatar
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    Vogelspinnen is German for "tarantula" or "bird-eating spider" this guys name is Michael. Though I have seen an online version of a German tarantula magazine of that title. All showing excellent tanks with live plants, etc.

    I've contacted this Michael fellow on what the substrate is in these tanks but have yet to hear back from him.

    Excavator sounds neat (and looks probably expensive sold in 5 lb bags) but it still looks kinda... "peaty". Do you have any images of what you did with it? Maybe it's just their photos that make it look granular. How does it look when molded to a solid shape? Does the package say what the actual ingredients are? I've done a bit of research on Excavator and people say it turns rock hard which might be as bad for burrowing as the pure bentonite clay. I'm going to try a 3 to 1 ratio of washed playsand to the bentonite clay (since I already have a bag of each) when I play with my sample tomorrow night and see if it allows shaping and burrowing when dry/slightly moist.

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    looks alot like the soil in my backyard......high clay loam in my backyard which if i remember correctly runs about ~30% organic and ~70% clay......

    if you have bentonite and mix it with some sand and a lil peat you should get similar to what your looking for.....
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    There is a German collector that goes by the username "Vogelspinnen". Thought that video was his judging by the title. Guess I'm just dumb..

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    OK, here are some pic's. You can see the lizards and the whole cages here:
    http://cpforums.org/gallery/v/Frilleon/Lizards/

    all burrows and over hangs


    old substrate


    fixed wood with substrate


    burrow with uyro


    uyro cage


    Yeah the stuff can get expensive for large cages. Small cages it should not be so bad I would think. The stuff kinda turns into a dusty sand when my lizard excavates it. It's not really peaty at all. More like a sandy clay. once you wet it it gets very clay like. Let me know if you want to see any thing else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rattler View Post
    looks alot like the soil in my backyard......high clay loam in my backyard which if i remember correctly runs about ~30% organic and ~70% clay......

    if you have bentonite and mix it with some sand and a lil peat you should get similar to what your looking for.....
    Bentonite is like Nickelodeon slime when it gets wet. Just a different color. I honestly think bentonite is nickelodeon slime with green colorants.

    Its a volcanic clay that's very different than any other natural material you're familiar with. Unless you're familiar with bentonite!

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