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Substate troubles

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosure Substrate' started by Tortoise76, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. Tortoise76

    Tortoise76 New Member

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    Well. On top of every other issue i have as a beginner like enclosure set up an size and annoying mold i have another. I know tortoises are messy but this is ry getting out of hand. My substrate is coco coir from the bag, i don't wet it ( am i supposed to?). I dont have any other substrate mixed in it ( should i?) Anyway the issue is my tortoise gets in his water, goes and burrows and then back into his water covered in substrate. His water is left complety contaminated with substrate and he gets super covered all over his body. I cant keep cleaning his water and im not home most of the time to do that anyway. How can i fix this? What am i doing wrong? I guess it wont hurt to change everything complety considering i have to do that with most of the stuff any way.
  2. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

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    The coco coir should be moistened. Dump water in and mix it with your hands. It should be done through the whole enclosure. As it packs down, it will not be as bad, but, you have to keep it moist with the top layer drying out a bit. Yes, it can get messy, just a torts life.
  3. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Pat the coir down once moistened. Then you can also put some flat rocks around the water bowl to help keep it clean. A once a day water dish clean is enough. If you think about it, in the wild they are drinking out of puddles and mud holes.
    My torts are adults living outside in their shed. They have three water dishes and they get every single one dirty and filled with their substrate. I give clean water and dish once daily.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    What species and size tortoise are we talking about?

    Coco coir need to be kept damp. Then you need a thick layer and you need to hand pack it down. It settles after a week or two and becomes less messy. I don't use it for most species because of this.

    I don't like mixing substrates.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2018
  5. Tortoise76

    Tortoise76 New Member

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    Ok thanks so basically get it damp and pack it down and it would be less of a mess. For the substrate thats already in there is it fine to take like a squirt bottle and pack it.
  6. Tortoise76

    Tortoise76 New Member

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    Alright so i got it damp and packed it down but it still is super messy (super messy as in the coco coir absorbing all his water basically making a "mud" type of thing). Should i be using less substrate or use a smaller water bowl so only his feet get wet not a little up his shell? I feel like one of those has to be it i don't know what else i could be doing wrong in this situation.
  7. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    No, a squirt bottle won't hack it. Pour a pitcher of water over the substrate then mix itt up with your hand until you have it uniformly wet. THEN pat/pack it own with your hand.

    I tried coco coir a while ago and got rid of it for the very reason you're talking about. I now use fine grade orchid bark.
  8. DARKFIRE007

    DARKFIRE007 Active Member

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    I have a thread by the EXACT same title. I can not find a substrate for the Russian that someone does not bash as being fatal or having no thermal benefits. People here seem to love coco coir, but today I found yet another bash, and from a well known source. http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/substrates.html

    I am currently using coco coir, but with the 60x20 enclosure I have built...it may take two or three $20 dollar bails of the big bulk bricks to fill it. I am highly considering just going to straight top soil that has no additives. Cheaper and safer.

    As for them ingesting it and making a mess, do what I do...I have a separate area I feed them in that has no substrate. Don't sweat the water, 98% of the time they are not drinking from it anyway, it is more for soaking and they love to leave turds in it. Once a day change is fine.

    I am still waiting for someone to name a substrate for a Russian that is not a gut impaction risk, eye irritant, fatal fumes, too dry, has thermal benefits, and does not cost a fortune. EVERY good option I get winds up being shot down as you see above. They gave up on my thread lol..
  9. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    If it helps any, I mix coco coir and orchid bark together because it’s cheaper. I think you can find coco coir online for super cheap, but if you can find cheap fine grade orchid bark, that’s your best bet :)
    SherrySue likes this.
  10. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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Tortoise Enclosure Substrate Substrate troubles Jan 11, 2018

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