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 Desert Substrate

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robert44
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PostSubject: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 12:38 am

What is your favorite desert scorp substrate and why? I have noticed at the pet store that there are several choices of sand available. One type of sand comes from calcium corbonate and another comes from ground quartz. I wonder if it makes any difference which is used? I also noticed a "desert blend" which is ground walnut shells. It is cheaper probably because it is lighter to ship.

Also I think some people keep desert scorps on dry coco fiber, or a mix of sand and dry coco fiber (I have been doing that). It seems to me that anytime you add any hydroscopic (moisture retaining) substance such as dry coco fiber to the substrate you might be increasing the moisture at the scorp's level even if you don't mist it much. Any organic substance will absorb some moisture from the air which might be good for smaller instar scorps but maybe not desirable for grown scorps (because it might promote mycosis).

Regarding coco fiber, I have noticed in tropical enclosures that it seems to grow mold faster than most other tropical substates (such as cypress mulch). I wonder even if it is kept dry if it might promote mold more than other organic matter (such as the ground walnut hulls) if one wants to add a bit of hydoscopic matter in the mix.

Anyway, I was interested to see what you all use. Also, do you use a different substate for young vs mature scorps? Thanks!
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Yames
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 3:28 am

I've bought all my scorpion sand at a store and I've been buying zoo med repti-sand I've tried Mojave and hated it. It's their orange color. I found it's too fluffy and makes a crazy amount of dust. The dust smells kinda sweet to me too. Like it's part icing sugar. And before you tell me it has no sugar in it. I know it's just my impression. The purple-ish one Gobi is ok but the yellow Sahara is my favorite so far. It's a nice color and it doesn't have too much dust. It's soft and natural unlike the black sand they have too which is made of volcanic rock so it's very sharp feeling. Just in working with it I had little bits stuck in my fingers like splinters.

I've heard tell play sand bough from your local home depot or what ever your equivalent is would be the best choice for economy. And since it's intended for little kids it can't have anything crazy harmful in it.
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shadowfoot
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 5:09 am

I use building sand for all my scorpions. Its not the best looking substrate but I use it for it burrow-holding ability, it becomes rock hard if compacted enough.
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robert44
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 9:54 am

Thanks! Do you all use 100% sand for all you desert scorps? Or do you add a bit of coco or some other organic matter with it?
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shadowfoot
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 9:58 am

I use a ratio of 70% sand to 30% peat. I use a bit more peat if Im making a very deep substrate layer so that the whole thing holds well for deep burrowing.
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**GS**
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 10:17 am

robert44 wrote:
It seems to me that anytime you add any hydroscopic (moisture retaining) substance such as dry coco fiber to the substrate you might be increasing the moisture at the scorp's level even if you don't mist it much. Any organic substance will absorb some moisture from the air which might be good for smaller instar scorps but maybe not desirable for grown scorps (because it might promote mycosis).

Whenever possible, I'll go for the easiest and most effective mixture and use the same substrate for all my desert species, regardless if they are juveniles or adults.

Substrate mixture: 70% play sand + 30% dry coco fibre

For juvenile, 30% of the substrate's surface is misted lightly once a week or every 10 days (estimated)
For sub-adults, apart from the above, a shallow bottle cap filled with pebbles may be offered

For adults, usually they are only offered a shallow bottle cap filled with pebbles once every 7-10days. For gravid specimen, allow the water to overflow alittle during replenishing of water dish.

For mycosis prone adult specimens, leaving the 70/30 sand/coco fibre substrate dry would be fine. Even if the hydroscopic (moisture retaining) substance did absorb moisture from the air, it should be negligible and insufficient to trigger mycosis just because of it. Ample air ventilation is one of the key to prevention.

So far throughout my breeding projects, none of the above has failed me. If the results differs, i believe it might be due to other husbandry factor.
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robert44
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 10:48 am

Thanks GS. I do about the same as you but I'm not really sure I understand the reason for adding any coco to the mix. I was thinking (but not sure) that most of these critters may not live on 100% pure sand and some mix or sand and organic matter may be more natural. However, why do you add coco as opposed to just using pure sand?

I wonder if there is some substtrate that may have a bit of natural anti fungal property to it?

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**GS**
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 11:02 am

In fact, the main reason why I added coco fibre in is for that extra capability to retain moisture for those specimens that require it Smile


Last edited by GS on 11/25/2012, 11:17 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)
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robert44
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   11/25/2012, 11:08 am

That's what I thought. Thanks again.

Has anyone tried the crushed walnut hulls "Desert Blend?"
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Bayss
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   1/30/2013, 6:26 am

I really like the sand/excavator clay/coco fiber mix. It looks good in an enclosure.

This is my H. Spadix mansion.

I'm getting some more clay to mix with glow-in-the-dark sand and coco fiber for a pair of P. Boreus soon. This species requires some moisture, whereas the H. Spadix needs it dry. The small amount of coco fiber should help hold the moisture a bit longer (as GS stated) than just sand and clay. Either way, the mix of the three substrates hold burrows when packed down. Plus you can dry it out or mist it some depending on the scorpion's needs. And I like how it looks. cyclops scorpion
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Tongue Flicker
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PostSubject: Re: Desert Substrate   1/30/2013, 2:04 pm

i use white sand or pale yellow sand mixed with either wood chips or sphagnum moss Very Happy
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