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Lost 2 Ts in moults - convinced I'm doing something wrong but don't know what.

Steph1304

Member
Messages
57
Location
UK
Thanks Octanejunkie :)

The new substrate is already on order! - I usually have it much deeper but after developing a sudden case of white mould in one tank on Sunday I had to make do with what was in the other tank and divide it. When the new bag comes I'll half fill both tanks .
 

Trainwreck

Member
Messages
20
Location
arizona
I wonder if you’re just overthinking this a bit. Taking care of tarantulas is really simple, especially the terrestrials. Mostly they just want to be left alone, so that’s my suggestion. Leave them alone. Don’t mist them or rearrange/add to their enclosures for awhile. Check the water once a week or so, when you can offer a cricket as well. If the cricket is still there 24hrs later, remove it. Try not to worry so much and I bet you’ll find your groove
 

octanejunkie

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I wonder if you’re just overthinking this a bit. Taking care of tarantulas is really simple, especially the terrestrials. Mostly they just want to be left alone, so that’s my suggestion. Leave them alone. Don’t mist them or rearrange/add to their enclosures for awhile. Check the water once a week or so, when you can offer a cricket as well. If the cricket is still there 24hrs later, remove it. Try not to worry so much and I bet you’ll find your groove
Overthinking is not uncommon of new keepers. The truth of the matter is once you get the husbandry 80% correct, the thing pretty much takes care of itself - we tend to overcomplicate things, part of the human condition. Unless you have a very moisture dependent species, forget about missing, the air currents startle tarantulas and find missed evaporates very quickly providing very little benefit.

Nature is not perfect, tarantulas are pretty darn adaptable, and can some species can tolerate less than ideal conditions for quite some time, whereas some species are a lot more fragile and cannot. Hence the distinction between beginner and not beginner species, notwithstanding medically significant venom or overly defensive species.

Best advice, do your research, get your husbandry right, pour yourself a tall drink, and sip it while watching your tarantulas literally do nothing.
 

Steph1304

Member
Messages
57
Location
UK
You're absolutely right I am over thinking it! But having lost 2 spiders I'm worried that it was due to failure in my husbandry and I'm trying to make sure I've got it spot on so I don't lose any/many more.

I spent years advising customers at work and contributing on a forum, similar to this, when people lost their fish. Usually there was a reason why too - such as washing their filters under the tap, scented candles or fly spray in the room etc. I guess I'm so used to knowing why something has died that not knowing has left me feeling really anxious and I'm second and third guessing myself. I kept fish as a child and as an adult I've kept them for 26 years, so I can't expect to know as much about Ts, but when they die I feel responsible.

Most of the time I do leave the spids in peace honest! :) But while I'm getting advice such as smaller tank, more ventilation etc I need to act on that too. You guys have the collective experience I'm missing which is why I appreciate your advice - including the advice to pour myself a long drink and relax ;) :)
 

Lentulus

Active Member
Messages
103
Location
SoCal
If you feel confident in regards to keeping fish, then you’re already a PHD for most species of tarantula. They are one of the most hands off pet keeping experiences I’ve ever dealt with—minus setup/rehouse. Probably why folks end up with so many.

Cheers!
:beer::T::beer::T:
 

octanejunkie

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You're absolutely right I am over thinking it! But having lost 2 spiders I'm worried that it was due to failure in my husbandry and I'm trying to make sure I've got it spot on so I don't lose any/many more.

I spent years advising customers at work and contributing on a forum, similar to this, when people lost their fish. Usually there was a reason why too - such as washing their filters under the tap, scented candles or fly spray in the room etc. I guess I'm so used to knowing why something has died that not knowing has left me feeling really anxious and I'm second and third guessing myself. I kept fish as a child and as an adult I've kept them for 26 years, so I can't expect to know as much about Ts, but when they die I feel responsible.

Most of the time I do leave the spids in peace honest! :) But while I'm getting advice such as smaller tank, more ventilation etc I need to act on that too. You guys have the collective experience I'm missing which is why I appreciate your advice - including the advice to pour myself a long drink and relax ;) :)
I too kept and keep fish, tarantulas are easier lol but I can appreciate your concern and self-doubt - what we don't know that we don't know; you know?

Truthfully, sometimes Ts die. I mentioned hydration right away because molt failure is usually if not often related to hydration. Raising humidity won't help directly. Making sure your Ts have access to clean water at all times does. Underfeeding vs overfeeding helps. Lower temps vs higher helps, too. (If you are comfortable in a t-shirt, chances are your tarantula will be comfortable too)

These things don't need as much work and attention as tanks do. Keep it simple. Enjoy
 

DustyD

Well-Known Member
Tarantula Club Member
Messages
898
Location
Maine
Oops, i apparently did not post this after i wrote it this morning

Hard to tell what Ts are doing sometimes. They can contort themselves into crazy positions. It could be an adjustment period for both. Just keep an eye on them as you are.

You seem to be making a lot of headway. Sometimes it is just a waiting game.
 

Casey K.

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I've experimented with this quite often and have found that if you soak the substrate and fill the water dish, the humidity helps in the removal of the exoskeleton and I will tell you why. There is a layer of fluid that tarantulas have between the old exoskeleton and new exoskeleton to assist with molting, however, sometimes, if the air is too dry it will dry this fluid out faster and sometimes this is how a tarantula gets stuck in a molt. With the higher humidity levels, this fluid will not dry out and this helps with the removal of the old exoskeleton. This is based on 16 years of experience and husbandry.


Hope this helps! :)
 

setsunadiava

Member
Messages
71
Location
Japan
I've experimented with this quite often and have found that if you soak the substrate and fill the water dish, the humidity helps in the removal of the exoskeleton and I will tell you why. There is a layer of fluid that tarantulas have between the old exoskeleton and new exoskeleton to assist with molting, however, sometimes, if the air is too dry it will dry this fluid out faster and sometimes this is how a tarantula gets stuck in a molt. With the higher humidity levels, this fluid will not dry out and this helps with the removal of the old exoskeleton. This is based on 16 years of experience and husbandry.


Hope this helps! :)
I am squirreling this bit of knowledge away for future use!
 

tabitha8122

Member
Messages
84
Location
US
Hi, apologies inadvance but this is a long post. (TLDR why have I lost 2 Ts in moult?)

I'm also aware I may get slated for some of my actions, but they were done with the best of intentions and I'm hoping to get some helpful advice rather than a telling off - trust me I doubt I could feel worse than I already do about it.

In January I got my first Ts: a juvenile B Smithii (5cm) and a C Versicolor (5 cm). Both were kept in cylindrical tarantula tanks which I purchased from the shop. The versicolor worried me as she didn't eat for a month, but then succesfully moulted. The smithii ate well from the start but then died in what appeared to be an upright moult approx 1 month ago (I posted on here at the time). Both had substrate also recommended by the shop and a waterbowl each which I checked and filled regularly.

When the smithii died I was convinced I'd done something wrong, but was advised that sometimes these things happen, so I took the plunge and bought an albopilosum (approx 12cm) and a Brazilian White Knee (5cm).

I had issues with the tank for the versicolor (also mentioned on here previously), so I bought a new tank with front opening doors so I could top up her waterbowl, remove unwanted food, monitor how damp the substrate was etc without damaging her web or having to leave my bare arm within inches of where she was lurking. I glued 2 water bowls to the cork bark and put in the plastic plants from her previous setup as she liked to chill in the orchid flowers (these were thoroughly washed before I used them). After I put her in the new set up she didn't want to eat again, even if I offered her meal worms on the edge of her web, but she had a good sized abdomen so I left it for a week and just kept an eye on her waterbowls. The following week she still didn't want food but still looked well fed, so again I left her to it thinking she may be due another moult -I was right, she was. I checked on her one evening about 13 days ago and saw that her carapace and abdomen had moulted and that she was moulting into adult colouration. The following morning she was still in the same boat, legs and underneath her body still in the old skin. I gave the tank a quick spray (avoiding spraying her) and monitored her throughout the day, but she wasn't getting any further and I was worrying about the old shell hardening. I called the vets, but no surprise they don't do Ts, so I took to the internet and found several posts and Youtube vids on rescuing stuck moults. In the end, after 48 hours from start of moult, I took the plunge and took her out and painted the old skin gently with a wet soft paintbrush to try and soften it further I did this every couple of hours for another 24 hours. When that failed too and she could only move her fangs I very carefully cut away the old skin. I managed to remove underneath and around her stomach ok, if anything she seemed relieved (kind of like taking a too tight bra off after a long day), and she started wriggling a bit more and her body literally seemed to expand, so I put her in an icu (tupperware tub lined with tissue and with air holes, a quick mist before she went in and a small waterbowl in the corner).

I got up every hour to check on her but by 4am there was still no difference and above her legs, she was starting to swell so one by one I very carefully cut away the old skin from her legs using a magnifying glass with built in light, tiny nail scissors and pointy tweezers.

I would work on her for an hour, dampen off the legs which were still encased and then leave her to recuperate for another hour before carrying on.

In total I worked on her for 48 hours. 4 legs refilled quite quickly and had some movement, 1 leg was withered to nothing and didn't refill, so I amputated it at the 1st joint and used vaseline on the cut as I know spiders cannot clot. The other 3 legs filled but seemed unresponsive. In the end all that was left in the old skin were her pedipalps but I had no idea how to remove the skin from them. I checked her and there was no sign of bleeding but I knew she was very weak so I decided to leave her for 4 hours to recuperate.

When I went back to her again to see what I could do with the pedipalps she was no longer responsive. I knew the chances of saving that small a spider stuck in such a moult were almost zero, but I had to at least try. I was still devastated though because after clearing her stomach area she had really started putting in more effort and I was really hoping she would pull through.

The problem I have now is I'm terrified of losing my other 2 in moults. Everything they do I'm analysing - my albo is sitting on the side of the tank (pictures below), does that mean she doesn't like the substrate? It isn't wet, it came out of the bag damp when I set it up 3 or 4 weeks ago, but I've read I should let it dry out before slightly overwatering the water bowl. I change the water twice a week using dechlorinated water (1 drop per 500ml) using a dechlorinator I also bought from the shop. Our water here is really hard (GH 16, pH 8.2), could this have an impact on the moulting process too?

Everytime I change the water my albo drops a bit of substrate in it and I have no idea why! She has also made a little bit of a mat on the ground with her silk - is this a sign of an upcoming moult?

She is still eating well and still doing her 'happy dance' each time she gets her food but I'm worrying constantly. The white knee also likes to sit on the side of the tank, just above the substrate - again she eats well but I'm worrying about her too :(

I've put up pics of my 2 remaining spiders and the set up I had the versicolor in (sorry about the quality). It has taken me a week to pluck up courage to write this post and to be able to do so without sobbing (too much) over my phone.

I feel ashamed and responsible for the loss of 2 lovely Ts, but I really want to make sure it doesn't happen again. Any constructive advice would therefore be gratefully appreciated.
As someone who doesn't like the taste of city water and has studied our water reports, I give my family and my pets reverse-osmosis filtered water or distilled water. I'm sure lots of people use tap water and do fine. Also, every city is different. However, the chemicals found in the water here are unbelievable. The discrepancy between legal levels and recommended levels is an embarrassment. It's just something to take into consideration. I'm sure you will get enough information here to feel more confident with your husbandry. Best wishes to you!
 

Steph1304

Member
Messages
57
Location
UK
As someone who doesn't like the taste of city water and has studied our water reports, I give my family and my pets reverse-osmosis filtered water or distilled water. I'm sure lots of people use tap water and do fine. Also, every city is different. However, the chemicals found in the water here are unbelievable. The discrepancy between legal levels and recommended levels is an embarrassment. It's just something to take into consideration. I'm sure you will get enough information here to feel more confident with your husbandry. Best wishes to you!
I use a dechlorinator in the tap water for the fish and the spoods because our water isn't ideal either :(
 
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