Coconut Fiber loose VS compressed (brick)

Dosu

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Hello everyone,
My tortoise loves digging and burrowing (or thats what I think) and since I changed the substrate from aspen to reptibark (as suggested by you guys) my tortoise stopped for some reason. He still sleeps/naps in the corner but doesn't burrow. So I want to use another substrate and I found at my pet store some Eco-Earth coconut fiber. There is the loose kind and the compress brick one. The loose one is 12 dollars (8.8 liters) and the compressed brick one is 5 dollars (7-8 liters). Why is there a big price difference between both kinds of substrate? They are almost the same volume so I find this weird. Is the loose one better/less messy since it's more expensive?
Thanks!

(BTW: I can only find coconut fiber substrate at the pet shop. There isn't any hardware stores or plant shops or anything like that where I live :( Also I would try dirt/playsand but my parents are against the whole debacle of keeping dirt in my bedroom.)
 

Yvonne G

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I don't have experience with both kinds, but my guess is that the compressed brick gives you more volume once you hydrate it.
 

Dosu

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I don't have experience with both kinds, but my guess is that the compressed brick gives you more volume once you hydrate it.

Thanks for the reply!
But if that was the case then why would the compressed one be cheaper then. That's what I find really weird. Anyways, the petshop website says that the compressed brick gives 7-8 liters of substrate and the loose gives 8.8 liters of substrate. I'm just wondering if there's any difference/better one.
 

Dosu

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Have you used the brick? It's a pain in the rear to deal with. I.M.O.

:eek: That does seem plausible. Maybe it's cheaper because it's harder to use. Thanks!

EDIT: If you don't mind, could you tell me the problems you had with the bricked version? Is it more messy that the loose version?
 

ZEROPILOT

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:eek: That does seem plausible. Maybe it's cheaper because it's harder to use. Thanks!

EDIT: If you don't mind, could you tell me the problems you had with the bricked version? Is it more messy that the loose version?
To tear off a chunk of it was difficult and it went everywhere. Rehydrating it was no quick affair. Messy with hard and pointed parts.
I am not a fan.
 

Dosu

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To tear off a chunk of it was difficult and it went everywhere. Rehydrating it was no quick affair. Messy with hard and pointed parts.
I am not a fan.

Woah, that seems like a pain to deal with. I think I'll get the loose coconut fiber version and see how that works. I hope it's not as messy or contains any pointy parts like the brick one.
 

Team Gomberg

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I prefer compressed if you are using it indoors. I liked to bake mine in the oven first to kill off any bug eggs (just in case) and the brick form is perfect for that! Put it on a cookie sheet at 250°F for 4-6 hours. Bam no hitchhikers!
Plus you have to dampen it anyway. So even the loose coir needs water.

Here the loose bag is $8 and a set of 3 bricks is $6. That's 3x the amount for 2 bucks cheaper! Win win.
 

Greg T

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The brick is simply cheaper and takes less space in a warehouse/store shelf for the same amount of product. I used the bricks and they are okay but you do have to wet and wait to get the final product. Once hydrated, I usually pick out the longer strands and I'm left with a very nice substrate for the babies.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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I also prefer the bricks, and agree with Greg that it's cheaper as it takes up less storage space for transportation and ...er, storage.
 

Carol S

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Using the brick form is cheaper. You will still have to add water to the expanded form as it is too dry. I just put the whole brick in a pail and add warm water and let it set for a while. I add less water than what the directions say to add because when I followed the directions the coir was too wet. . I order my ZooMed coir from PetMountain.com.
 

Karen Covill

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Just a comment about the coco coir. I've always bought the loose coir, and it seemed to work fine although really dusty and messy. I was finding my tort room, living room and kitchen to be loaded with dust - all over the furniture, the air vents, the floors, and I developed this honky cough a couple of years ago that the doctor put down to "allergies." I couldn't figure out why my three most-used rooms were so dusty, and I tried all kinds of things (including dusting and vacuuming every day). The dust was always brown/red so I decided to change the coir to cedar mulch. It's been in the indoor pen for about two weeks now, and I have almost no dust at all. I did a thorough cleaning of the house and the tort pen and room, and I'm floored at how little dust I have anymore, and the cough went away. Makes me wonder if all that coco coir dust wasn't also affecting the torts lungs as well. the torts are still able to burrow and dig and rearrange their pen with no problems, but there's no more coir in their food/water either. So for me, personally, I would never use the coco coir again.
 

Tom

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Just a comment about the coco coir. I've always bought the loose coir, and it seemed to work fine although really dusty and messy. I was finding my tort room, living room and kitchen to be loaded with dust - all over the furniture, the air vents, the floors, and I developed this honky cough a couple of years ago that the doctor put down to "allergies." I couldn't figure out why my three most-used rooms were so dusty, and I tried all kinds of things (including dusting and vacuuming every day). The dust was always brown/red so I decided to change the coir to cedar mulch. It's been in the indoor pen for about two weeks now, and I have almost no dust at all. I did a thorough cleaning of the house and the tort pen and room, and I'm floored at how little dust I have anymore, and the cough went away. Makes me wonder if all that coco coir dust wasn't also affecting the torts lungs as well. the torts are still able to burrow and dig and rearrange their pen with no problems, but there's no more coir in their food/water either. So for me, personally, I would never use the coco coir again.
You've made two mistakes.

1. Coco coir is never meant to be used dry. When kept properly damp, it creates no dust at all. And tortoises need it to be damp. All species, all ages.
2. Cedar mulch is toxic and could eventually kill your tortoise depending on the level of ventilation. In my pet store days, I saw many a dead critter in the hands of a crying child because a parent bought cedar mulch instead of pine or aspen. We sold it for dog beds as a holistic anti flea measure and it was over in the dog section, not the small animal section. It works in that capacity since the dog isn't in a closed container with it 24/7. Unless you meant cypress mulch...
 

Karen Covill

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Yes, sorry, CYPRESS mulch. Sometimes my fingers work faster than my brain and have their own thoughts. LOL. I had a humidifier in the inside pen, and I sprayed it every evening, but I just could not keep the dust down. You've seen my "girls" - no pyramiding, no dryness, soaked every night, but boy, that coir.
 

Karen Covill

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And in thinking about it, the inside pen is 8' X 8' (a room dedicated to the beasts) - perhaps I just couldn't keep it moist enough because of the size? I used to pour pans of water in it and stir it all around, and the next day, it would be as dry as a bone again. They used to be in a 4' X 4', but as they've grown, I wanted them to have a larger enclosure so I doubled the size. They have a pen that size because here in SC, they cannot always go out if it's too cold (and we do have some pretty cold days and nights), and they always come in at night so I wanted them to have a nice, big area - which they do. The outside pen is 8' X 10'
 

Tom

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And in thinking about it, the inside pen is 8' X 8' (a room dedicated to the beasts) - perhaps I just couldn't keep it moist enough because of the size? I used to pour pans of water in it and stir it all around, and the next day, it would be as dry as a bone again. They used to be in a 4' X 4', but as they've grown, I wanted them to have a larger enclosure so I doubled the size. They have a pen that size because here in SC, they cannot always go out if it's too cold (and we do have some pretty cold days and nights), and they always come in at night so I wanted them to have a nice, big area - which they do. The outside pen is 8' X 10'
Spraying the surface does very little, as you've seen. Dumping water in requires a thick enough layer to hold some of the moisture while considering your room humidity, ventilation and heating strategy.

Coco coir is a good substrate for many tortoise housing situation as long as its used correctly. I hate to see people discouraged from using it because you had a bad experience from using it too dry.
 

Karen Covill

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It is not my intention to discourage people from using it. Just saying that once I made a big pen, it didn't work for me. I couldn't keep it moist enough. I'm sure it works for others.
 
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