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Need Some Advice On Housing C. versicolor

Discussion in 'Tarantula Enclosures' started by Tortoise Tom, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

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    It seems tarantula husbandry has evolved and improved over the years. I'm trying to catch up and keep up. I've learned recently that we don't need those stupid sponges and rocks in the water dishes and that humidity and substrate dampness doesn't seem to matter in most cases as long as there is a water dish. But with over 900+ species encompassing arboreal, fossorial and terrestrial species, surely there must be some differences in how they are housed as far as humidity requirements, right? I understand the taller cages with stuff to climb on for tree dwellers, and thick substrate for burrowers to dig in, but I need some clarification on this humidity thing.

    I recently had a chameleon breeder at a reptile show explain to me that panther chameleons need high humidity, but they also need very good ventilation, so screen cages were essential. This guy was from South Florida and I am in the California desert. I explained that if I house the cham in a screen enclosure, all the air circulating into the cham's enclosure will have humidity in the single digits and it will also be too cool as my room temp is fairly cool most of the year in my house. I asked him: "How do I maintain high humidity if I have super dry air circulating through a screen enclosure?" It was a loaded question and I already knew the answer, but I wanted to see what he'd say. I have great success with chameleons, and tortoises too, when I keep them in closed chambers where the cool dry air can't get into their enclosures and desiccate them. When raising "arid" species of reptile, I always give them a humid hide, and it is shocking how much they use it and what an improvement in health and vigor I see. He didn't have an answer, but man you could see the wheels turning. He'd been selling baby chams and screen cages to people who live in a desert basin all day long and this never occurred to him. I wondered as I walked away if he'd keep telling people the same things.

    This brings me to my dilemma: I know internet care sheets are often wrong and often say the same wrong thing, but do C. versicolor need high humidity and good ventilation, or does it not matter? If I make high ventilation, there will be very low humidity. Do I want humidity, or do I want ventilation. Can't have both where I live. I've drilled lots of holes in the tops, and the substrate is damp, but now I'm worried about lack of ventilation.

    Here is the little guy:
    IMG_5812.JPG

    Here is the dram vial I have him in with a size reference:
    IMG_5813.JPG


    And here is the top showing the holes I drilled:
    IMG_5814.JPG


    I have my Psalmopoeus pulcher and irminia housed the same way and have the same concerns for them. I lightly spritz water onto the plant and sides of their enclosures daily, but is this going to make it too wet or keep it too wet?

    In the past I successfully raised pink toe tarantulas from tiny little babies, in those clear plastic "amac" boxes with only two tiny little holes drilled near the top. I din't use a water dish and I didn't spray the enclosure back then, but the substrate was damp. This is the only personal experience I have to draw from for arboreal species.

    Please share your wisdom and experience with me on this subject. I don't want to learn the hard way at the expense of my spiders.
    Dave Jay likes this.
  2. Enn49

    Enn49 Moderator Staff Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Avics and Caribena need lots of cross ventilation. Where they live it may be humid at ground level but they live up high in the trees where the breezes disperse all the moisture in the air. You need a row of air holes just above the substrate and another row just below the lid. If you can't fit a water bowl in the vial just trickle some water down the side every 2-3 days.
  3. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! I will make the changes ASAP!
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  4. Whitelightning777

    Whitelightning777 Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    When they get big enough, an ExoTerra nano 8x8x12 is an excellent choice for an adult.
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  5. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

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    That's exactly what I was planning! Its odd, but the 8x8x8 Nano can be bought online relatively easily and cheaply. For some odd reason the price triples for the tall. I've got a friend who is a pet store manager. I'm going to see if he can get one in for me at a reasonable price.

    In the past I've had large Grammostola pick their way through some surprisingly sturdy and seemingly heavy metal window screening. They can't get through the 1/4" hardware cloth though. Can I ask if this might be an issue with the C versicolor or other arboreals? I've seen YouTube videos of people replacing the screens with drilled plexi.
    Dave Jay likes this.
  6. Whitelightning777

    Whitelightning777 Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    People replace the screens because they think that the feet and claws might get stuck in the screens. This is much more common with terrestrial ones that somehow get upside down on the underside of the screen.

    I know if no case where a new world arboreal tarantula considered a good beginner species chewed it's way through a screen.
    Dave Jay likes this.
  7. Arachnoclown

    Arachnoclown Well-Known Member

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    I maybe a little late but the pill bottle style/ vile enclosure your using is what I use with my sling arboreal tarantulas. I just use a soldering iron and put some holes in to get some cross ventilation.
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  8. Arachnoclown

    Arachnoclown Well-Known Member

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    I've never had a arboreal get stuck in a screen enclosure top...just terrestrials. I have had arboreal tarantulas rip through the screens though...
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  9. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

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    Well I'll be your first case. :D I had a partitioned three tarantula glass enclosure with three metal screened sliding tops. As my G. aureostriata (pulchripes now…) got bigger, two of them start pulling the screens in. I thought it was mice at first, but then I caught them actually doing it. They were doing it with their feet. I gave them away and tried to house my G. pulchra in the one chamber that still had an intact screen, within a week, she tore it up worse than the other ones did. They were all slowly but surely puling the screen apart and in. This was years ago before cell phones had cameras. I wish I had taken a picture. I didn't have internet back then, and I never imagined a forum like this where I'd want to share this experience.
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  10. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

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    This tiny little sling is becoming a favorite in my collection. He so active and always hanging around in his "tree". He took a tiny B. lateralis tonight and for some reason I enjoy watching him even more than the others. My other two arboreals, P pulcher and P. irminia are also very fun to watch, but they've made little web nests at the bottoms of their enclosures and seem ti hide a lot. My little blue guy here is always perched out in the open somewhere I can see him.

    I ordered a bunch of different sized Amac boxes today. I think I'll switch these guys into the the smaller boxes, so I can see them better.
    Dave Jay likes this.
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