Substrate!

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devsharkey

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I know oyster shell is great, but I was just curious and had a few questions.

I owned a Uromastyx a few years ago, and I had him on a bed of organic bird seed so he could eat it freely whenever he chose to. I wasn't sure, but would bird seed be an option for Egyptians? Or no, due to impacting or some other problem? Would it be a healthy alternative?

What about aspen? Opinions?

Any other alternatives that would be good besides oyster shells?
 

GBtortoises

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I use crushed oyster shell as a substrate for my Egyptians primarily because of it's desicating properties. It also has the advantage of being firm for good footing. Although it does act as a desicate that does not mean that their enclosure should be kept extremely dry with low humidity. I spray them twice daily and the ambient humdity within their enclosure is about 45-50% during the daytime and rises to 65-70% at night with the help of an humidifier. I have never seen an issue with impaction from using oyster shell. I've also never seen them eating the substrate. I feed them in clay saucers designed for plant pot bases not on the substrate or a tile. The food stays in saucers better with much less of it getting mixed in with the substrate.

I have never used aspen bedding and don't know it's properties. The only thing that has always concerned me with using wood chips of any kind is their propensity to mold without adequate air exchange if wet. This would become a concern with constant sprayings.

I have never heard of using birdseed. I do know that it also molds very easily when the slightest bit of moisture is trapped within it. That would concern me.

Organic potting soil might be an option but for this species you'd want it to dry out quite a bit before using it in their entire enclosure. It tends to be very wet out of the bag.

Some Egyptian keepers use organic soil in a small section of their enclosure to give the tortoises options for humid retreats. I used to and found that none of them really ever went into that area. Instead I just spray them more often and keep the ambient humidity up.
 

GBtortoises

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billskleins said:
I am currently using a blend of coconut coir and oystershell.
Hi Bill-I'm interested in the substrate you use. What percentage of it is the coconut coir? Do you spray the entire substrate and if so how often and how moist do you allow it to get?
 

tortadise

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I use decomposed granite for all my Egyptians and arid type tortoises. I also spray ounce in the morning, but the relative humidity where they are is medium to low high percentage during summer. During winter is different, I will also use a humidifier. I had an issue with oyster shells years back. But I seem to be of the small percentage that got negative results from impaction with it. I really think perhaps it may of been a too coarse or large shelled batch.
 
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