1. Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

Substrate troubles

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosure Substrate' started by DARKFIRE007, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Eduardo Hernandez

    Eduardo Hernandez Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    114
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Orange County, California
    If you only need one bag for the whole enclosure, then its way too small. If you post pics of your enclosure we could help you a lot more.
    TechnoCheese likes this.
  2. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    483
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Youngstown, Ohio
    If the substrate is to dry it can still be an issue even if you are soaking. You will not have enough humidity in the tank and this causes the tort to dry out. Just what I have learned from the forum.
    TechnoCheese likes this.
  3. zovick

    zovick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    663
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Don't use Aspen shavings! I have had tortoises die from intestinal impactions from eating those shavings back in my early days (even though I never saw a tortoise eating them, it was proven by necropsy). Stick with the cypress mulch or orchid bark. FWIW, I have been using cypress mulch for years now with no problems (since Eucalyptus mulch became unavailable in my area). If you are close to the FL border, you could buy my all-time favorite bedding, Eucalyptus mulch, there. For some reason it is no longer sold anywhere except FL. The Bronx Zoo used this mulch for almost all their reptile exhibits for many years while I was affiliated with them. Here are links to what I am recommending:

    https://www.scotts.com/en-us/products/mulch-soil-garden/scotts-florida-selecttm-eucalyptus-mulch

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Timberline-2-cu-ft-Eucalyptus-Mulch-52058774/100598763
  4. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    483
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Youngstown, Ohio
    I would think eucalyptus could be harmful due to its smell. I never heard of using it. But I don’t know. I would be Leary of it.
  5. zovick

    zovick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    663
    Trophy Points:
    93
    The odor is not harmful to the animals in any way, and the odor actually is a completely natural way to repel insects. I used Eucalyptus mulch for 35 plus years with no troubles at all. Also, did you read where I said that the Bronx Zoo used it in all their reptile exhibits for the 30 years I worked with them (and probably for more years both before and after that)?
    Cheryl Hills and TechnoCheese like this.
  6. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    483
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Youngstown, Ohio
  7. Ray--Opo

    Ray--Opo Active Member Platinum Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2017
    Messages:
    263
    Likes Received:
    246
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Palm Bay Fl
    I use cypress mulch for my sulcata. Just bought some organic soil to mix with the mulch. When I got home I noticed it has natural fertilizer in it. Should I look for another organic soil?
  8. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    483
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location (City and/or State):
    Youngstown, Ohio
    YES, fertilizer can kill him
  9. DARKFIRE007

    DARKFIRE007 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    166
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Birmingham Alabama
    No need, at night when I sleep I put him in a tank (20 or 30 gallon, don't remember). Otherwise he is in a custom 60x20 daytime "roaming" area box/enclosure.

    The tank is only suitable for night since it is not a large one, and it is a must since it has a screened lid I can secure. Insures he does not escape while I am not around to keep an eye out, and will keep the occasional rodent at bay. Even with it only being for night, I want to get the substrate right.

    I just tried Eco Earth, and despite feeling like I am playing in a bucket of diarrhea...stuff seems fairly nice once rung out to be a proper moistness inside the tank. One brick is borderline not enough, I need to mix it with something.
  10. DARKFIRE007

    DARKFIRE007 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    166
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Birmingham Alabama
    I would have a conversation with site admin if I were you. This seems to be info worthy of a pinned/highlighted thread or whatever it is called. Ask if they will let you write one. Anyone looking for their first few substrate options will be assaulted with Aspen just as I was.
    TechnoCheese likes this.
  11. Rusky

    Rusky Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2017
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location (City and/or State):
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    For my Russian I mix forest floor with Exo Terra's Plantation Soil (the same as Eco Earth), and I like it very much. While Russians are a species that cannot be kept in high humidity conditions, obviously some humidity is good even for adults. I honestly can't imagine cypress mulch piercing his skin, but if you want to be safe, you could probably mix it with coconut husk or chips. I would mix because it helps keep it less messy/clingy and provides some support so they don't sink in with every step.
  12. DARKFIRE007

    DARKFIRE007 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    166
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location (City and/or State):
    Birmingham Alabama
    So I feel the need to do a follow up on this thread and give it a solid ending since it got a LOT of attention. After basing decisions on poor or simply incorrect information, I took the advice here and tried coco coir with great success. The stuff is absolutely nasty to expand, I always feel like I am playing in a bucket of diarrhea. And it LOVES to get dry and dusty if you do not water it religiously. With that said, it works well as a stand alone substrate and they don't "sink" if you compress it down by hand. It is also digestible...which was not a concern for me as I feed mine away from the substrate to be safe.

    I have since seen a video on Cypress mulch that made me rethink my worries with splinters...my 2 months with the stuff I was handling it bare handed, and never got a splinter, so it stands to reason they won't either. I just panicked when I saw a poor Sulcata with a BAD splinter. Come to think of it, I don't even think it was said Cypress was the culprit.

    I will swap back to it for now because it was SO much easier to maintain and FAR less mess. After seeing a substrate properties photo I know it has everything they need, the only thing not mentioned is if it has thermal benefits...and that really does not matter indoors.

    This subject gave me FITS...thanks to all who replied.
    katieandiggy likes this.
  13. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Messages:
    1,662
    Likes Received:
    1,038
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location (City and/or State):
    Jamaica
    You could mix the coco coir with peat moss. I like the peat moss.
Similar Threads: Substrate troubles
Forum Title Date
Tortoise Enclosure Substrate Substrate depth Oct 8, 2018
Tortoise Enclosure Substrate Baby Sulcatas substrate Oct 4, 2018
Tortoise Enclosure Substrate Help please (question about substrate) Sep 17, 2018
Tortoise Enclosure Substrate russain tortoise substrate query's Sep 8, 2018
Tortoise Enclosure Substrate Bedding/Substrate Query Aug 30, 2018

Share This Page