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Cork bark mold?

swimbait

Active Member
3 Year Member
I have read many times in different places that cork bark is what you should use because it is less likely to mold, but in my experience it seems mold will begin to grow pretty easily on it if in contact with even semi-moist substrate. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had white mold start to grow at the base of the wood. The last time I had this probably I knew it was because the substrate was too moist, but this time around in my new slings cages I used substrate that was not nearly as moist. I use eco earth and if you picked up an handful you wouldn't even be able to ring any water out, but it still is the dark brown color and not the dry light brown. In a couple of my slings enclosures I am seeing the same mold, not a lot my any means but there is a little fuzz at the base. I already pulled out one of the pieces and scraped it off, is this mold harmful to Ts? Obviously in a large amount any mold would be bad but should I be worried about this little fuzz? I know it dies off as the substrate dries, which again this substrate isn't even really wet. I'd rather not have to redo all their enclosures because they are just begging to settle and the majority have all burrowed under the cork bark. I have only seen it in a couple enclosures so far.

So I guess my questions are;
Have you guys experienced this white mold before on cork bark?

Is it harmful to Ts in small amounts?
 

MatthewM1

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
No a little mold is no harm. But what I would be concerned about is making sure you have enough ventilation.
 

Denny Dee

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
3 Year Member
I have never seen mold on cork bark. It is one of life's true mysteries to me. But I agree with Matthew that you may have a bigger problem as it seems it would take a large colony of mold to overtake cork bark.

In addition to propper maintenance (removal of dead "stuff" and proper humidity) you may want to consider adding isopods. Nature's tank cleaners. They really do help keep the yucky stuff off and they don't bother the T's and generally the T's don't bother them. Of course some people think the isopods are the "yucky stuff" so not for everyone.
 

swimbait

Active Member
3 Year Member
Right now they are in deli cups, each cup has atleast 30 holes drilled around the the top. There is plenty of cross ventilation, although all the holes are drilled around the rim I don't have any towards the bottom. Maybe that would help? Also I never baked this cork bark could that have anything to do with it?
 

Denny Dee

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
3 Year Member
Right now they are in deli cups, each cup has atleast 30 holes drilled around the the top. There is plenty of cross ventilation, although all the holes are drilled around the rim I don't have any towards the bottom. Maybe that would help? Also I never baked this cork bark could that have anything to do with it?
Baking should not be necessary. What substrate are you using?
 

swimbait

Active Member
3 Year Member
I had the same problem years ago when I first got into the hobby, I don't think I did anything particular at the time but I also don't remember if that was cork bark. I also had the same problem about a month ago, I set up my OBTS enclosure not realizing how moist the substrate was, not sure how I missed that. Luckily he positioned himself between the bark and the wall and I was able to scoop out 75% of the wet substrate and replace it with dry substrate without having to remove the spider that was just settling in. The mold has since left, although it is possible below the dirt there where there is still some moisture on the "burrow side" that there may be a little mold... You can see that moisture here, but you can also see the rest of the substrate is bone dry. I will also attach pics of my general sling cages and a close up of the ventilation holes that surround the rim
20150103_104401 (1).jpg 20150103_104419 (1).jpg 20150103_104616 (1).jpg 20150103_104627 (1).jpg
20150103_104701 (1).jpg
 

swimbait

Active Member
3 Year Member
Here is a close up of the mold, its hard to focus on it. This is about the most I see at a time. I had a piece of cork bark leaning up against the wall and there was mold forming on it in a place that isn't even touching substrate. It was about a half inch above the substrate and the little white mold is growing towards the substrate.
20150103_151521.jpg
 

swimbait

Active Member
3 Year Member
This cork bark came out of my old Niles cage, I am wondering if possible it is dirty and has maybe remnants of the food he had eaten. Mice, chicks, fish and such, maybe there is something else on this cork bark that is molding and its not the bark itself? I took the rest of the spare pieces and boiled them and am now baking them, I will replace any cork bark I feel necessary and see if it makes a difference. I don't want to disturb the slings too much because they are just now settling in.
 

MatthewM1

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
If there are still bits of the actual wood on the underside of the bark it will mold pretty quickly, it usually dies down after a bit though, isopods help
 

swimbait

Active Member
3 Year Member
Yes every time I have seen this mold it never continues to grow, but still with slings you can't help but worry. I replaced the cork bark in a few enclosures that I saw the mold in anyways. Except for one piece but the sling has completely burrowed around it so id rather not destroy all his hard work! As the substrate dries more it should go away I'm hoping. I will definitely look into isopods, any huge thing to worry about if you use WC isopods opposed to CB?
 

MatthewM1

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
Potential parasites and chemical exposure. I like to use dwarf white isopods. Cheap, small, reproduce quickly.
 

MatthewM1

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
Yeah theres quite a few sites that have em. I sell them as well but I don't do winter shipping. Too cold up here in NY.
 

Poec54

Active Member
3 Year Member
I've used a lot of cork for decades in spider cages and never had mold. If you have mold odds are your substrate is too moist and/or the ventilation is inadequate. I'd use a stiff brush to clean off your cork and let it dry. It's pointless to bake substrate, as it quickly becomes contaminated when you put a spider and crickets on it.
 

swimbait

Active Member
3 Year Member
You couldn't even ring anything out of this substrate, can that still be too moist? The deli cups they are in all have over 30 holes each in them, maybe I need to add holes near the bottom? It formed in some cages and not the other, they are all set up the same with the same substrate, which is what made me wonder if it was something that was on the cork molding rather than the cork itself. Like I said earlier it came out of my nile monitors cage and he was a messy eater so Idk if there was maybe something on these select pieces or not.
 

Poec54

Active Member
3 Year Member
You couldn't even ring anything out of this substrate, can that still be too moist? The deli cups they are in all have over 30 holes each in them, maybe I need to add holes near the bottom? It formed in some cages and not the other, they are all set up the same with the same substrate, which is what made me wonder if it was something that was on the cork molding rather than the cork itself. Like I said earlier it came out of my nile monitors cage and he was a messy eater so Idk if there was maybe something on these select pieces or not.

Could be a difference in ventilation: where the cages are placed in the room relative to vents, doors, fans, and air movement.
 

swimbait

Active Member
3 Year Member
Could be a difference in ventilation: where the cages are placed in the room relative to vents, doors, fans, and air movement.

Well I have never thought about that, my reptile/spider room has no ventilation. Besides me going in the room multiple times a day and the door sometimes being left open, but overall there isn't that much fresh air. I have never had a problem with snakes but I don't use eco earth and cork bark for them. Maybe it would be a good idea for me to start running a small fan in the room
 

Poec54

Active Member
3 Year Member
Well I have never thought about that, my reptile/spider room has no ventilation. Besides me going in the room multiple times a day and the door sometimes being left open, but overall there isn't that much fresh air. I have never had a problem with snakes but I don't use eco earth and cork bark for them. Maybe it would be a good idea for me to start running a small fan in the room

I have 2 ceiling fans in my main spider room, running most days, and many nights. Besides circulating air, it also equalizes temps so that in the winter the ones close to the floor and outside walls don't get too cold.
 

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