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Eco Earth

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosure Substrate' started by Destben, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    Hi I recently switched my substrate to eco earth. I heard it’s digestible but I’m a little worried that my tort is eating it on the regular. I have only had the new substrate for 3 days and my tort is eating less food and I catch her eating it sometimes. I also switched her enclosure so that may be why she’s eating less too. But I wanted to get your thoughts. Should I switch back to reptisoil?
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    What are you feeding her? I wouldn't want her to continue eating a lot of it. Maybe she is lacking something within her diet.
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  3. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    I feed her a mix of Endive and Escarole topped with 2 soaked Mazuri Pellets (not the LS), Dried Dandelion Leaves and Herbal Tortoise Hay dried mix which has flowers, and weeds mixed in. She usually loves what I give her.
  4. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    IMG_6666.jpg
    That’s her usual reaction to her food
  5. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Does she have a cuttle bone? I use the eco earth/coconut coir all the time and never had a problem or had them eat it. Maybe she was just checking it out. If she continues to eat it I think I would put the old stuff back in. You could put it right on top of the coir. Give her a cuttle bone if she doesn't have one and see if that helps
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  6. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    My husband is about to go to the pet store so I will have him grab one thanks
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Are you using any colored bulbs for heat, like "infrared" or blue at night?

    What bulb type are you using for UV?

    The best substrate for these guys is fine grade orchid bark. Its called "Repti-bark" in the pet shops and they charge a lot for a small amount. You can get it cheaply in bulk at gardens centers. @wellington informed me that some Home Depot stores carry it around the country, but not here where I am. Id they have OSH near you, they carry it. I always find it at nurseries and garden centers. About $10 for a 2.0 cubic foot bag. Here is one type that I've been using:
    Orchid Bark.JPG
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  8. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    Thank you I will look into it. And you actually set me straight with my lights a couple months back I have a white/normal basking lamp and two ceramic heat lamps and I have a UVB strip light fixture I use.
  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Gotcha. Sounds like you've got it right.

    Here are the scenarios in which I typically see tortoises eating their substrate. See if we can eliminate all or most of them:
    1. Low fiber diet of mostly grocery store greens.
    2. Not enough calcium supplementation.
    3. Too much calcium supplementation which causes mineral imbalance.
    4. Colored bulbs over head.
    5. CFL bulbs for UV.
    6. Food spills or smells on the substrate.
    7. Some diseases can cause this some of the time.
  10. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    It’s probably calcium I try and give it to her twice a week but she won’t eat it much. She does eat her mazuri daily though and that has it in it I believe. I’m having my husband pick up a cuddle bone to see if it will help. I really do appreciate your advice! I don’t think my tort would have survived with out it.
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  11. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    When you do use the calcium, make it a tiny pinch and then spritz some water on it and mix things up. Most don't like it so you have to get tricky and only give a very small amount.
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  12. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    She wouldn’t eat the powder so I have been using the spray is that ok?
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  13. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Yes, that's okay.
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  14. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    So far so good
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  15. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    Well Torterra has yet to actually pull any pieces or make grooves in the cuttlebone. I will be trying to make my own calcium blocks from this thread https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-make-home-made-calcium-blocks-for-tortoises-recipe.102895/ I have uped the days she gets calcium on her food to 3 times a week in the mean time, but she still refuses to eat it on her veggies or eats very little.
    On a side note should her jaws be stronger? She can eat her normal food but has issues biting into things like cactus. shes 4 months old today if that helps.
  16. Destben

    Destben Well-Known Member

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    Update:
    During her soak today she went number 2 and it was the same brown as the Eco Earth. So my brain went “nope that’s the last straw” and I changed the substrate back to Reptisoil and as soon as she was done soaking she went and ate a bunch of her food that she had hardly touched. I’m still going to make my own calcium blocks, but I think I’m good when it comes to using eco earth lol.
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