Your Views on This 'New' Substrate, Please?

Humbug & Maz

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Hi guys. On the advice of this forum I need to change my substrate in my 2 year old Hermann tortoise's indoor home and I know orchid bark and coco coir is recommended but I have just seen this "new" substrate offered for sale at the place I bought my tortoise-friendly indoor plants from and wondered what you think as it contains 50% coir and 50% "tortoise friendly" top soil. I know many advise against top soil but wondered what you think of this? https://www.tortoisehut.co.uk/product-page/coir-soil-mix
Thank you!
 

Tom

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Hi guys. On the advice of this forum I need to change my substrate in my 2 year old Hermann tortoise's indoor home and I know orchid bark and coco coir is recommended but I have just seen this "new" substrate offered for sale at the place I bought my tortoise-friendly indoor plants from and wondered what you think as it contains 50% coir and 50% "tortoise friendly" top soil. I know many advise against top soil but wondered what you think of this? https://www.tortoisehut.co.uk/product-page/coir-soil-mix
Thank you!
The problem with soil is that its made with composted yard waste, and there is no way to know what is in it. Could be something toxic. Or not. No way to know.

That mixture also looks like it has sand in it.

I would not use it.
 

wellington

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The problem with soil is that its made with composted yard waste, and there is no way to know what is in it. Could be something toxic. Or not. No way to know.

That mixture also looks like it has sand in it.

I would not use it.
It does say for tortoises/tortoise safe. I wouldn't think it would be so specific if it was toxic.
 

Humbug & Maz

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This place supplies tortoise-friendly plants which I have been very happy with, got 3 mini ones for the enclosure. I will message them to ask more but they are away this week. I am also growing seeds for tortoise food supplied by them. This appears to be a totally new substrate so will get more details and report back. Thanks guys.
 

TammyJ

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LOL. Well, if the people selling it are 100% honest and the information on it is 100% honest, then you seem to be OK to go ahead and use it!!!
 

Tom

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It does say for tortoises/tortoise safe. I wouldn't think it would be so specific if it was toxic.
So does that "Pets-at Home" stuff sold in the UK, and so does every bag of "reptile sand" sold here. Every cfl UV build is said to be "safe" for reptiles too. We know better.

The people selling that stuff do NOT know what that soil is made of and therefore cannot know that it is safe. And all this is if there is no sand in it, which the picture looks like there is.
 

TammyJ

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The plot thickens. I do not trust what people say, either, especially when it comes to the health and safety of animals in my charge! I would go with the old tried and trusted materials, if it was me, and that's the truth. So help me sod.
 

TammyJ

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Humbug & Maz

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Thanks Wellington - going to think it all out and get back in touch with the Tortoise Hut to ask some more questions about how they "know" their new substrate is tortoise friendly
 

Humbug & Maz

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The response from the lady at The Tortoise Hut: "The topsoil is a sterilised and graded soil that is one of “the” recommended safe soils to use with tortoises along with coir and it is premixed by myself"
 

Tom

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I do appreciate all your advice. Everything else is perfect right now for my little one, it is just the substrate I need to get right and thank you all for your input. So THIS is ok together with some orchid bark? https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004WY128O/?tag=
I wouldn't use that. It has weird additives in it. You don't need that. Just use plain fine grade orchid bark. Or stick with plain coco coir or cypress mulch. No need for a mixture of anything.
 

Tom

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The response from the lady at The Tortoise Hut: "The topsoil is a sterilised and graded soil that is one of “the” recommended safe soils to use with tortoises along with coir and it is premixed by myself"
You will not get good advice from a pet shop. This is true the world over.

The problem with soil is not whether or not its been sterilized, and it is not with the particle size. The problem is that you don't know and can't know what it is. Sterilizing kills off bacteria and fungi. Grading simply filters out the particles of the wrong size.

When you hold those particles in your hand, what is it? Is it composted oleander and azaleas? Is it grass clippings that were sprayed with toxic chemicals shortly before being tossed into the yard waste bin? Leftover farming waste sprayed with pesticides? Sterilizing and grading doesn't change the composition of the material, and it is the unknown composition that is the problem. Its a gamble. Might be something safe, or could be something deadly toxic. The pet store doesn't know, and the people who sold it to them don't know either.
 
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Hi guys. On the advice of this forum I need to change my substrate in my 2 year old Hermann tortoise's indoor home and I know orchid bark and coco coir is recommended but I have just seen this "new" substrate offered for sale at the place I bought my tortoise-friendly indoor plants from and wondered what you think as it contains 50% coir and 50% "tortoise friendly" top soil. I know many advise against top soil but wondered what you think of this? https://www.tortoisehut.co.uk/product-page/coir-soil-mix
Thank you!
Looks fine to me. Some dirt and coir. Coir by itself can be very dusty, and this probably retains humidity better too. Give it a good rinse of you are overly concerned.

My experience so far has only been with Aldabras and redfoots but they seem to use the substrate exclusively for digging in when well fed. Never noticed them munching on it.
 

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