Gecko substrates...
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:54 PM   #1
erik000
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Gecko substrates...


As this is a planted tank forum, I was curious - has anyone tried organic soil in a dry-ish reptile setting? Maybe sift some of the larger pieces out? I've had dirt in my fat-tailed gecko's tank since April of this year... No issues thus far. I also sprinkled a tiny bit of food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) in the soil and let it sit for a week before using, just to get rid of any microscopic critters. I use DE in my house for fleas and bedbugs, and on my dog (it's edible for humans, too). Has anyone tried DE with reptiles? I'm talking like a few small pinches over the substrate, as a preparation for the soil.

I've had my African fat-tailed gecko for the last six years, and my dirted fish tanks are among my most successful ever... amazing plants and no fish deaths in 18 months. I wonder if dirt would work for geckos, beardeds, tortoises?
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:47 PM   #2
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A veterinarian I work with told me that diatemaceous earth can cause lung cancer if inhaled unintentionally, so that may be a concern. I have not used the soil, so I can't comment on that.
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:03 PM   #3
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I think it's working out pretty well so far... healthy appetite, active, clear eyes.. I clean the tank every weekend too, so any DE is probably miniscule at this point. The misting also keeps the dust level down. I was really using it as a soil conditioner before the gecko went in.

I guess coco fiber is the best for most herps?
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:38 PM   #4
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Personally I prefer paper towels, slate, tile, non adhesive shelf liner, ect. Nothing small enough for the reptile to swallow.
For dessert and other high temp animals, I like slate and tile, for tropical ones like my crested gecko, paper towels.

No fear of anyone swallowing anything and becoming impacted, and easy to see if something is off in their poop.

Granted I have seen some amazing living vivs done for several different kinds of animals, I don't have a problem there as long as its an adult animal who could handle accidentally eating a bit of the substrate better then a wee baby. Most people who do living vivis that I have seen feed any live feeders out side of the tank as well to help keep down the risk of substrate eating on accident. .
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:36 AM   #5
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That might be a good idea to feed him outside the tank, although he is hand-fed for the most part.
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Old 09-13-2013, 02:44 AM   #6
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I just decided to start my first planted aquarium this week after years of planted vivariums for various species of dart frogs and day geckos. I'm in San Diego also. The vivariums using different soil mixes were very successful for the frogs, day geckos, and plants but I now keep a group of acid stripe leopard geckos and think they definitely thrive on shelf paper, tile, slate, etc as stated above.

My initial plan for the Leo's was an amazing realistic tank w sand soil and real plants, but after talking to many long term breeders and keepers they strongly advised again a natural substrate other than rock and I now agree. I quickly observed how clumsily they eat, they dont see well at times and they'll ingest anything within inches of their prey. The frogs and day geckos on the other hand are stealthy hunters that hit their target. The Leo's also produce a tremendous amount of waste into the substrate compared to the frogs and day geckos which only fertilized the soil w their waste in a humid vs dry environment. That said, if you are diligent w the soil and could use a slate/rock area as a feeding station, I'm sure you could make it work if you know the risks and don't mind added maintenance.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:03 AM   #7
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i use dried out coco fiber. the kind that comes in bricks. Ill hydrate it to make the brick expand and break apart and then dry it outside in the sun and turn it once a day.
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:01 AM   #8
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I personally prefer the jungle mix that zilla makes. It's less likely to mold and stink than eco-earth is.
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDerivan View Post
I personally prefer the jungle mix that zilla makes. It's less likely to mold and stink than eco-earth is.

I use eco-earth and I agree as far as if you have herps that need daily misting (I have panther geckos) the eco-earth molds and stinks but I use it because assumed all substrates more or less the same but going to try jungle mix.

I love the eco-earth for snakes but it is not the best for herps that need misting.


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Old 01-04-2014, 02:41 AM   #10
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We started carrying it where I work and I thought I'd give it a try. I was glad I did. I'm sure you will like it as much as I did. It also seems to take longer to dry out.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TDerivan View Post
We started carrying it where I work and I thought I'd give it a try. I was glad I did. I'm sure you will like it as much as I did. It also seems to take longer to dry out.

I just 'turned over" their substrate today and I LOVE it for dry snakes but your right about the mold and odor if it gets humid this want to try it for my panthers , their caves get mold , though I clean it twice a week but rather try something else.

Going to pick up enough for a 40 long.

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Old 01-04-2014, 03:41 AM   #12
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Nice tank. I bet your babies are very happy in there. I love panther geckos. The only time we ever ordered one at work it came in sooo tiny. Unfortunately the little guy didn't make it
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