How often do I clean/replace substrate?

That_Guy

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Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
7
I've had my Russian Tortoise for about 2 months now. I keep him indoors, and the substrate I use is 50/50 ZooMed Repti-bark and loose coconut fiber.

I spot clean every day, and I've removed and cleaned his substrate once thus far, but that was just a simple rinse with some water followed by some sun-drying.

But now I have a few questions:

-How often should I replace the substrate altogether?

-How often should I remove the substrate and clean it, and what should I clean it with? Is there a recommended cleaning solution or household cleaner I can use?

On the bag for the bark it says that stirring the substrate in water with some of their cage cleaner is good enough to clean it. Is this good practice?

Thanks for all the help.
 

Gillian M

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Aug 28, 2014
Messages
15,021
Location (City and/or State)
Jordan
I've had my Russian Tortoise for about 2 months now. I keep him indoors, and the substrate I use is 50/50 ZooMed Repti-bark and loose coconut fiber.

I spot clean every day, and I've removed and cleaned his substrate once thus far, but that was just a simple rinse with some water followed by some sun-drying.

But now I have a few questions:

-How often should I replace the substrate altogether?

-How often should I remove the substrate and clean it, and what should I clean it with? Is there a recommended cleaning solution or household cleaner I can use?

On the bag for the bark it says that stirring the substrate in water with some of their cage cleaner is good enough to clean it. Is this good practice?

Thanks for all the help.
I change it twice a year.

Please post pics of your tort and give him daily soaks in warm water. :) Read the "Beginners Mistakes" Thread and care sheets, and ask ANY question when in doubt/in need of help. ;)

And a very warm welcome to the forum! :D
 

Wolfen

Member
Joined
May 17, 2018
Messages
83
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
I remove my orchid bark substrate if it's bad and dump it all in a bucket of hot water and leave it like that for a day.
Next day I lay it on the driveway or a flat surface and spray it with garden hose with pressure.

All the sand and liquefied poop washes off and the orchid bark stays
 

AgataP

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Aug 18, 2020
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627
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Seattle, WA
If you soak your tortoise daily chances are that only stuff that is left in the enclosure is some food leftovers.
My tortoise in whole 7 months went to the bathroom in the enclosure total of maybe 5 times. Mostly because I got up later than usual and he was ready to go.

I have not change the whole substrate yet.
I clean it daily and now as sun is out and he spends more time outside I don’t even have the food mess.
I leave a few leaves for a snack and they almost always gone.

So I think it all depends on how big the enclosure is, how often your tortoise eats in it and how often it poops/pees in it.
Hope that helps.

The “used” substrate I dump in the compost pile.
Since I have only one tort I just buy a new brick of coco coir and mix with a old substrate.
 

Wolfen

Member
Joined
May 17, 2018
Messages
83
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
If you soak your tortoise daily chances are that only stuff that is left in the enclosure is some food leftovers.
My tortoise in whole 7 months went to the bathroom in the enclosure total of maybe 5 times. Mostly because I got up later than usual and he was ready to go.

I have not change the whole substrate yet.
I clean it daily and now as sun is out and he spends more time outside I don’t even have the food mess.
I leave a few leaves for a snack and they almost always gone.

So I think it all depends on how big the enclosure is, how often your tortoise eats in it and how often it poops/pees in it.
Hope that helps.

The “used” substrate I dump in the compost pile.
Since I have only one tort I just buy a new brick of coco coir and mix with a old substrate.

What I have is a night box. We open the door in the morning and close it in the evening. My leopard tortoise spends about 6 hours outside mostly grazing. And he pees/poops in the backyard garden but also sometimes does it at night in its box
 
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