Is coconut fiber a suitable substrate for hatchling Hermann's?

Franco F

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I recently purchased Zoo Med's Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber substrate and I was wondering if this is recommended for a hatchling Hermann's tortoise. I've read some positive reviews about its ability to retain moisture and I figured that it would help sustain a good humidity level for my tortoise. If anyone can offer advice on how to properly use the substrate, thank you in advance!
 

Yvonne G

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I think it boils down to personal choice. I don't like it, but others swear by it.
 

Souptugo

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That's all I've ever had for my Hermann's. Only downside I find is that costs go up once enclosure size gets bigger (I buy big bags.. used to do bricks but got too messy).

I feel it's clean and holds moisture well. It's soft and lighter brown in colour than soil so you can tell where poop is when you are cleaning up.

Because it's loose your Tort could accidentally eat some and be perfectly ok. Can never tell where the soil you buy is coming from and what additives are in there so I trust the coco coir more. I find when my guy burrows in it for 16 hours straight, he comes it looking fresh still (no red eyes or stuff stuck on his face).

Plants grow in this substrate as well. I've had carexes and other grasses still going strong a year and some with just watering.
 

Franco F

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That's all I've ever had for my Hermann's. Only downside I find is that costs go up once enclosure size gets bigger (I buy big bags.. used to do bricks but got too messy).

I feel it's clean and holds moisture well. It's soft and lighter brown in colour than soil so you can tell where poop is when you are cleaning up.

Because it's loose your Tort could accidentally eat some and be perfectly ok. Can never tell where the soil you buy is coming from and what additives are in there so I trust the coco coir more. I find when my guy burrows in it for 16 hours straight, he comes it looking fresh still (no red eyes or stuff stuck on his face).

Plants grow in this substrate as well. I've had carexes and other grasses still going strong a year and some with just watering.

That's really helpful. Thank you. How often do you change out the substrate? And, do you water or mist it down before you put it in the enclosure?
 

Souptugo

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That's really helpful. Thank you. How often do you change out the substrate? And, do you water or mist it down before you put it in the enclosure?
I think it depends if you spot clean daily. I spot clean twice a day (which means I use a roll of toilet paper and rip some off and pick up poop/pee where I see it). You can buy a black light from Amazon for cheap if you are really wanting to clean properly. I spot clean so my substrate gets changed every 3 months or so. I'm sure you could keep it in there a long time, however I'm just worried about bacteria in the moist substrate over time.

So a lot of people recommend this on the forum. You don't want to mist only. It doesn't do much. You want to literally pour a lot of water into the substrate and mix things up with your hands. I bought a pair of rubber gloves and I use it to mix the substrate up and stir everything around and pat it down once I'm done. Trust me, it gets under your fingernails and looks nasty so use rubber gloves. You will get it significantly moist and also you will stir up any debris/poop/pee and incorporate it into the substrate for turnover. Coco coir has some good properties in it and resist mold quite well apparently. I then use a big pressure pump mister to mist once daily to keep the top wet.
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Coco coir works great for me.
Pour water into it, mix in by hand and pack down firmly to avoid some of the mess.
I change it once a year,just in case, but it still seems fine then,
 
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