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 Starting Out: A Beginners Diary

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ScorpTrek
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PostSubject: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/17/2012, 5:53 pm

Hi, hopefully some of you recall my thead Here where I asked some questions about getting into the hobby, within which I said I would start a diary, creating a catalogue of my first steps into Scorpion husbandry.

The reason I have taken so long to do this is being busy in real life with other matters [job, fiance etc] and I have set the tank up.

Well here it is! My diary thread. I intend on keeping this updated, hopefully showing many the up's and down's and accuracies and mistakes I will experience in starting out. I hope you enjoy it and It will allow many of you to give me tips and advice on what to do [and highlight any mistakes Im making].

So without further waffling...

Diary Entry #1

My Terrarium has arrived, the Exo Terra 45x45x45.



It looks fantastic and I couldn't wait to get it set up and looking how I wanted. Callum, from my original thread, had suggested using my own decorations and this is a philosophy we definitely share. A few hours wandering around the woods [and raiding my log store] I had a nice selection of bark, branches and a few other things.

I knew I'd throw away most of what I had collected but I felt it was best to have a large variety to choose from when I was building the tank.

Everything I found was washed & put in the over for 20 minutes to make sure everything was clean and safe for the set-up. Then came the moment I was REALLY dreading: playing with the sand and excavator clay. I used a ration of 5:1 [S : E.C] and began molding the wet substrate into the tank, higher at the back and sloping downwards towards the doors.

I also used an inflated bag to create a 'cave' [a trick I'd read elsewhere: I was out of balloons and had to use a bag!] and I created a second cave deeper into the substrate, using the centre of a kitchen roll tube. The clumps of sand/excavator clay have molded over it quite well and Im hoping after a week of drying out that the tunnels will hold to some extent.

So, I present to you my finished tank. Bare in mind this is my first ever try at this: hope you guys and gals like it:



A side view. You can see the inflated bag [hopefully allowing me to see the scorpion if s/he uses that tunnel]



Front view, note the Sabertooth tiger skull I just HAD to use for dramatic effect. Laughing



Front view, with the heat lamp activated [note the nice red glow].


I used some sand with a far lower mix ratio with the excavator clay to make a thin line of sand just below the doors: partially because I had used up all of my clay and partially to add a contrast in colour, as I fully expect the scorp to burrow in the back of the tank where the substrate is a good 6 inches deep.

I must admit im quite happy with the way my tank looks. Though I wish I'd had a little more excavator clay. The two pieces of bark contain the inflated bag [on the left] and the cardboard tube [on the right] which will both be removed ofcourse once everything dries.

I also tried to place the Thermometer and Hygrometer in the most 'central' part of the tank I could, they are on the left wall of the tank opposite the heat lamp [I dont think they are in my pictures].

Forgive the poor pictures as my proper camera is being charged and I took these with my phone [amateurish I know: forgive me].

My only concern I have so far is heat. Obviously, the Hygrometer is saying the tank is VERY humid due to the wet sand/clay. Thats fine, it will dry out. However the thermometer says the temp is 21 degrees...which is about 6-9 degrees lower than it should be. Im using the 50w IR bulb and I have been covering the roof with towels to try and keep heat in. Is this normal? Is the humidity simply cooling the tank?

I hope you have all enjoyed reading my first diary entry. I will make many more in the coming weeks and hopefully you will all enjoy the ride.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/18/2012, 11:44 am

I have a good read. Thanks for posting this up Smile

As for the posted pictures. It will be good if it is readily displayed in your diaries.
Ideal resolution is 800 x 600 pixel for optimal web viewing.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/18/2012, 12:12 pm

That's a great way to make a start in the hobby. This should be an interesting thread, you'll learn alot along the way although you seem to have it pretty sussed out already.

Good set-up, I may have missed something but this is for a Hadrrurus arizonensis right? Just make sure it's dry as a bone before adding the scorp. The burrows will usually hold really well once the moist, compacted sand dries right out.

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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/18/2012, 12:29 pm

Is the temps still at 21? I use 35 watt bulbs and that keeps the temps on a cold day between 28 and 32. The humidity shouldnt really play a factor in the temps as the bulb will dry out the surrounding air.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/18/2012, 2:19 pm

GS wrote:
I have a good read. Thanks for posting this up Smile

As for the posted pictures. It will be good if it is readily displayed in your diaries.
Ideal resolution is 800 x 600 pixel for optimal web viewing.

The next photo's I take will be with my camera and they will be of much better size, infact I will have to downsize them so as to not stretch the page. Im glad you are enjoying reading it!

Jamie Lawrence wrote:
That's a great way to make a start in the hobby. This should be an interesting thread, you'll learn alot along the way although you seem to have it pretty sussed out already.

Good set-up, I may have missed something but this is for a Hadrrurus arizonensis right? Just make sure it's dry as a bone before adding the scorp. The burrows will usually hold really well once the moist, compacted sand dries right out.

Its for a Sminigerus Mesaensis. I hope the burrows hold as well as you say, that way it will have a choice of 2. Im glad you are enjoying my wee thread and thanks for the vote of confidence.

shadowfoot wrote:
Is the temps still at 21? I use 35 watt bulbs and that keeps the temps on a cold day between 28 and 32. The humidity shouldnt really play a factor in the temps as the bulb will dry out the surrounding air.

This is my biggest worry and its really making me antsy now. I have had the bulb on since 7 a.m this morning, its now 7 p.m and the temperature on the thermometer says 22. Inside the tank it feels barely above room temperature. Something is certainly wrong but I haven't a clue as to what. The lamp sits atop the tank on the mesh, the bulb is a 50w IR spot bulb. Hmm.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/18/2012, 3:34 pm

Ah right, I have 3 S. mesaensis, great little scorps, one of my favourites. You wont be disappointed.

That place is going to be a mansion for it! Very Happy Be prepared to not see it for quite a while, they love to dig. I've been keeping mine in enclosures half that size still with plenty of room for burrowing, roaming etc. but obviously bigger the better for the scorp, I just have to maximise space.

That's strange, I have a couple of exo terras with 50w infra red bulbs sitting on the mesh and they get up to temp pretty fast, maybe try a 75w.

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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/18/2012, 5:25 pm

Try what Jamie said with the 75 watt or are you sure that your thermometer is working correctly? My exoterra analogue thermometer sometimes says its 40 when my digital says its 30.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/18/2012, 5:31 pm

JamieLawrence wrote:
Ah right, I have 3 S. mesaensis, great little scorps, one of my favourites. You wont be disappointed.

That place is going to be a mansion for it! Very Happy Be prepared to not see it for quite a while, they love to dig. I've been keeping mine in enclosures half that size still with plenty of room for burrowing, roaming etc. but obviously bigger the better for the scorp, I just have to maximise space.

That's strange, I have a couple of exo terras with 50w infra red bulbs sitting on the mesh and they get up to temp pretty fast, maybe try a 75w.

I read your post to my dad: he laughed at your mansion comment as did I. I want it to have a nice roomy home. Its great that you have the scorpion I have wanted for ages though you have made me even more excited to get one! Smile

I have my first big rookie mistake confession to make....

Diary #2

I misread the thermometer. Ahem. Embarassed

Now my problem isn't solved but its not as bad as I first thought. The temp ISN'T at 21 degrees. Its actually at 24, which is still too low but not as bad as I had feared. I am using one thermometer and [I will post pics] it is in the middle of the tank [so things should be warmer at the bulb and cooler further away]. I hadn't quite noticed the thermometer only had 5 notches between 20 + 30 instead of ten.

I think the temp has risen a wee bit and I have noticed, interestingly, that the hygrometer is noting a tiny decrease in humidty [its still wet in there]. Im going to leave the bulb on for a full 24 hours and see what effect that has on things. If none, I may upgrade to a 60w bulb.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/18/2012, 5:42 pm

Glad to hear it has risen a bit. Try to get a digital thermometer as well as they are MUCH more accurate. I tossed all my analogue ones and I'm only using digital at the moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/22/2012, 3:51 pm

Diary #3

The temp wont seem to rise over 24. To remedy this, I have ordered a 60w bulb [I will use the 50w for night-time] and have moved the tank from its temporary home in the kitchen to my bedroom where it is warmer.

The visible condensation on the walls of the tank are fading and fading and the humidity is dropping daily. Soon, im hoping the tank will be ready and closer to 'arid' on the scale.

I have my digital camera charged and ready and will post some high quality pictures of the tank soon.

I have also been doing some extra reading on S. mesaensis and it sounds like an awesome species. I cant wait to have one and I'll keep this going, documenting its progress etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/23/2012, 4:01 am

That was a good read. I definitely like your approach to get a start in the hobby. Seems like you are doing the proper amount of research too before you make anything.

As for the scorpion you've chosen, all I can say is that you've got good taste!
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/23/2012, 3:27 pm

ScorpTrek wrote:

Diary #2

I misread the thermometer. Ahem. Embarassed

Now my problem isn't solved but its not as bad as I first thought. The temp ISN'T at 21 degrees. Its actually at 24, which is still too low but not as bad as I had feared. I am using one thermometer and [I will post pics] it is in the middle of the tank [so things should be warmer at the bulb and cooler further away]. I hadn't quite noticed the thermometer only had 5 notches between 20 + 30 instead of ten.

I think the temp has risen a wee bit and I have noticed, interestingly, that the hygrometer is noting a tiny decrease in humidty [its still wet in there]. Im going to leave the bulb on for a full 24 hours and see what effect that has on things. If none, I may upgrade to a 60w bulb.

Don't worry mate, everyone makes mistakes. Laughing

I also agree that it's worth investing in a decent digtal thermometer, you could find it is getting up to temp.

As for the drying out. Sometimes you can see through the side of the glass, the line where the sand changes to a darker colour, where it's wet. I wait until that completely goes.

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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/26/2012, 3:05 pm

Diary #4: Things Get Interesting

First off, I replaced the 50W bulb with a 60W bulb which even FEELS alot warmer. It doesn't quite screw in properly to my lamp [though it can handle 60w], so its a bit squint but other than it lights no bother. The temperature has increased and the tank is up at 26 which im happy with [and higher when im in my room thanks to radiotors/heaters being on in the room]. Im afraid at some points my scorp may have to accept that when im out, on a Scottish day, the temp may fall to 23-24. Which IS a bit chilly for it however the lamp seems to average 26 nicely and Scotland is quite cold so im comfortable with this for now. If it becomes an issue, I will however upgrade. [the tank, behind me, is currently at 28]

We have pictures! Oh yes indeedy. Huge big pictures so you guys can see in detail what my set up looks like and what im actually talking about.

Click here to view:
 

Here you can see both hides, the depth, and my sneaky hidey hole in hide 1.


Click here to view:
 

My temps, looking MUCH better.

Click here to view:
 

The new bulb, at work, fixing the heat issue

Click here to view:
 

Hide 2, with its cardboard tube still buried deep into the substrate.

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Hide 1, which has had a bit of a disaster. The bag I inflated has lost all of its air and has thus deflated. Im still confident though that the scorp may reopen the section that has collapsed.


At this point, the substrate feels far dryer and is no longer cold and certainly isn't damp. So im wondering, could this week be the week to actually order the scorpion?


Last edited by GS on 6/27/2012, 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added spoiler tag for large images)
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/27/2012, 2:19 am

ScorpTrek wrote:
At this point, the substrate feels far dryer and is no longer cold and certainly isn't damp. So im wondering, could this week be the week to actually order the scorpion?

I would wait maybe one more week. You can clearly see in the pictures that there is still moisture in the lower layers (the darker areas) The top sand may be dry, but as the bottom dries up, it will affect the air humidity.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/27/2012, 5:54 am

DolbyR wrote:
ScorpTrek wrote:
At this point, the substrate feels far dryer and is no longer cold and certainly isn't damp. So im wondering, could this week be the week to actually order the scorpion?

I would wait maybe one more week. You can clearly see in the pictures that there is still moisture in the lower layers (the darker areas) The top sand may be dry, but as the bottom dries up, it will affect the air humidity.

Yeah maybe I was being a bit ambitious, I was thinking perhaps at the weekend. One thing to note though, the colour change in the substrate is because the lighter area at the top is pure sand and the darker area is the sand/excavator mix. At the very base of the tank I can see a handful of tiny water droplets still.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   6/27/2012, 8:58 am

DolbyR wrote:
ScorpTrek wrote:
At this point, the substrate feels far dryer and is no longer cold and certainly isn't damp. So im wondering, could this week be the week to actually order the scorpion?

I would wait maybe one more week. You can clearly see in the pictures that there is still moisture in the lower layers (the darker areas) The top sand may be dry, but as the bottom dries up, it will affect the air humidity.
+1

Your enclosure looks great man, very natural look which is always a good thing.
I am very sure the scorps will love it in there.
I wouldnt worry about the temps too much, there can always be a bit of a play in the centigrades.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   7/14/2012, 1:52 pm

Diary #5

So I have vanished for a week+ and things have been slow and im impatient for the tank to dry.

As of now, the tank is FAR better. The Hydrometer is now pointing at 0 and slightly to the 'dry' section. I can see no more water around the edges of the tank and the sand feels dry. We must be getting close to ordering the inhabitant now...

I have been up to something much more fun for the last 2/3 weeks that I didn't tell you all about. I went out, and bought some crickets. Yup, no scorpion..I just bought them for a practice. Seeing as I have never kept anyting like that before, I thought it would benefit my scorpion if I had a little practice on keeping these kritters alive and well before I bought the fellow they'd be fed to.

Its now 3 weeks later. They are '4th Black crickets' though they must be 5th now as I watched lots of them break out of their old shells [looking all white and fragile in the process]. Its fascinating keeping them. I have no heat lamp for them, so I placed their tank in a dry, mild [its Scotland, im not going to claim 'warm' Laughing ] place. I provided a hide [on top of the egg cardboard holder...stuff...they came with] and I have been...experimenting with feeding them.

Obviously my research has provided me with a list of things they will eat but I seem to get on well withf resh green lettuce. I soak it with water, throw it in and the next day it is demolished. I have also been throwing in a scrunched up bit of paper towel thats drenched with water to ensure they have water [without showing me how good they are at drowning as you all say!].

Overall, im very pleased my black crickets are still alive 3 weeks later. I am thus feeling a lot better about making sure my scorp is well fed.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   7/18/2012, 2:48 pm

I am now seriously tempted to order the scorpion either tonight or tomorrow. The Humidity seems to be at 50%. Any opinions?
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   7/18/2012, 2:51 pm

Sound pretty good.
Go for it! scorpion
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   7/24/2012, 2:14 pm

Diary #6

Its came! Its came!

My first ever scorpion arrived today and it looks awesome. Though s/he is hiding under the sabertooth tiger skull. The two tunnels I made have turned out very well so Im curious to see which one it migrates to.

I will post pictures soon. My only concern is the scorp certainly isn't the 3-4 inches i thought it would be. Its quite small.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   7/24/2012, 4:39 pm

Congrats! I think we all are looking forward to seeing some pics of the lucky scorpion!
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   7/26/2012, 11:49 am

Diary #7

I'll post pictures....the next time I see him! The scorp initially hid under the skull then decided to do a few laps of the enclosure, stopping for a while to try and claim the 'background' decoration. It then walked back down to the front, where I got a lovely look at it as it stood, for a few seconds, on the big stone thats in there [I grabbed my camera but was too late].

He then descovered the 2nd burrow, the one created with a kitchen roll tube and wandered down it. Almost 42 hours later and he hasn't been seen since! Very Happy

When he does reappear I will take some more pictures. I did take a couple but im unsure if they are that good. Im thinking when he emerges, I may try putting in the first cricket.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   8/3/2012, 1:46 pm

Diary #8


So, I have had him a week and I have no real photo's im happy to post! What fascinating creatures they are. He has tried climbing the background and recently in the past few days he has dug a burrow underneath the sabertooth skull, right against the glass so I have been able to peep in and see him.

I am facing the newbie paranoia that I used to laugh at when I was doing my research. I now have a mix of black crickets and smaller brown ones as I am concerned perhaps the black ones are too big.

So far, I have tried feeding him twice. The first cricket vanished. I cant find it nor can I find anything to clean up. The second cricket, I can see laying dead at the bottom of the left side tunnel. I will remove it soon.

Is he eating? Is he not? Should I stop worrying?

I also plan on buying a nice 30cm long pair of tweezers for tank maintanence.

I promise I will take pictures of him soon [when he decides to come out...he has been elusive recently] and put them up: its a gorgeous looking scorpion.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   8/3/2012, 1:57 pm

Can't believe I missed this. Congrats on your addition.

ScorpTrek wrote:

Should I stop worrying?
Yes. Smile

Quote :
I also plan on buying a nice 30cm long pair of tweezers for tank maintanence.
Sounds good, probably the most useful tool for any invert keeper to have.

Quote :
I promise I will take pictures of him soon [when he decides to come out...he has been elusive recently] and put them up: its a gorgeous looking scorpion.
Please do.

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PostSubject: Re: Starting Out: A Beginners Diary   8/13/2012, 1:56 pm

Diary #9




Here is my scorp! I thought I'd post the one decent pic I have of him. Its an amazing looking animal.

Keeping him however, is one of the weirdest pet experiences ever, and I have working dogs! He still hasn't ate...thoug he is out and about every night quite happily climbing about. I have bought some new brown crickets [I prefer blacks as they seem to climb less and are way less jumpy] and I plan on feeding him again tonight as I've been away on holiday for a few days.

I also bought a pair of 25cm, steel, feeding tongs. However im having some issues reaching a dead cricket in the 2nd burrown even with them.
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