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Newbie Here

Malcspring

New Member
Messages
21
Location
UK
Hello folks,
I am a new tarantula keeper, so please bear with me if I ask any dumb questions.
My tarantula is a Mexican Red Knee. A friend of mine who used to have one recommended it as he said they were probably the best one to get for a newbie like me.
I have got a trivarium all set up with Coco husk substrate and have created a little den where it can hide away, but since it transferred it into the new home I have attached a heater mat on to the back wall of the trivarium, but the spider is hugging the back wall where the heater mat is.
My living room is currently around 22 degrees.
I could do with a thermometer/hydrometer in the actual tank so I can regulate the exact environment.
Can anyone recommend an accurate thermometer (digital preferably) that I could put in the tank?
My heater mat is controlled by a separate control unit and I have the sensor in the trivarium.
Apologies for all the questions, but I want to make sure that my tarantula is as comfortable as possible.
Thanks
Malc
 

mrsoul1974

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
Messages
403
Location
Lodi, NJ USA
Hello, and welcome!

You probably do not need the heat mat as long as the room temperature doesn't get any cooler than 22 degrees C (70 degrees F). The rule of thumb is that if you are comfortable with the temperature in the room, your tarantula proabably is, too. I would leave a water dish inside the enclosure, as well. (if you don't leave a dish or your T keeps flipping it over or burying it, then soak one corner of the enclosure once weekly. Brachypelmas tend to like it dry. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you!
 

Enn49

Moderator
Staff member
1,000+ Post Club
3 Year Member
Tarantula Club Member
Messages
10,859
Location
Malton, UK
Hello and welcome.
My living room rarely gets above 22C and my Ts do fine with no extra heat.
Most of the thermometer/hydrometers for sale aren't very accurate but as long as you keep a water bowl filled and overflow every so often your T will be fine.
 

Malcspring

New Member
Messages
21
Location
UK
Hello, and welcome!

You probably do not need the heat mat as long as the room temperature doesn't get any cooler than 22 degrees C (70 degrees F). The rule of thumb is that if you are comfortable with the temperature in the room, your tarantula proabably is, too. I would leave a water dish inside the enclosure, as well. (if you don't leave a dish or your T keeps flipping it over or burying it, then soak one corner of the enclosure once weekly. Brachypelmas tend to like it dry. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you!
 

Malcspring

New Member
Messages
21
Location
UK
Hi
Thanks for your reply. Really appreciate it. Yes I have a water dish in with it.
I have a batch of live locust too. Since I got it I've tried dropping a couple in, but is isn't interested at the moment, so I took them out. The locust however are munching through the lettuce that I give them lol.
 

m0lsx

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
3 Year Member
Tarantula Club Member
Messages
1,989
Location
Norwich, UK
Welcome to the forum & the hobby.

Our lounge, where we keep our T's had no heating until this past winter & we do not use any extra heating. If anything, a heat mat adds risks, which are best avoided. So if you do choose to get a heat mat NEVER use it under the enclosure, but attach it over part of the back, or to a side, so your T has the ability to move away from the heat source.

A T's natural method of getting away from heat is to burrow. Hence why they are not used below the enclosure.

Your T will be a desert species, so humidity is not an issue, other than when it is molting. Then a little extra humidity is a good thing. I keep my desert species very dry, but overflow my water bowls most feeding days & move the water bowl every couple of weeks, so the substrate becomes moist in different locations & thus the substrate does not become moldy. As any moist substrate, always dries out completely every few weeks.

Deserts become very cold at nights, so T's are more than capable of dealing with variable temperatures. Plus just because it's maybe 100 degrees in the sun, it does not mean it is where T's spend their days.

Imagine you were going to get a pet Alaskan or someone from Arizona. How would you keep them? As if it involved putting them in the normal temperatures of their own states, you would soon lose both of them.
 

Malcspring

New Member
Messages
21
Location
UK
Welcome to the forum & the hobby.

Our lounge, where we keep our T's had no heating until this past winter & we do not use any extra heating. If anything, a heat mat adds risks, which are best avoided. So if you do choose to get a heat mat NEVER use it under the enclosure, but attach it over part of the back, or to a side, so your T has the ability to move away from the heat source.

A T's natural method of getting away from heat is to burrow. Hence why they are not used below the enclosure.

Your T will be a desert species, so humidity is not an issue, other than when it is molting. Then a little extra humidity is a good thing. I keep my desert species very dry, but overflow my water bowls most feeding days & move the water bowl every couple of weeks, so the substrate becomes moist in different locations & thus the substrate does not become moldy. As any moist substrate, always dries out completely every few weeks.

Deserts become very cold at nights, so T's are more than capable of dealing with variable temperatures. Plus just because it's maybe 100 degrees in the sun, it does not mean it is where T's spend their days.

Imagine you were going to get a pet Alaskan or someone from Arizona. How would you keep them? As if it involved putting them in the normal temperatures of their own states, you would soon lose both of them.
Thank you for your very detailed info. I have the heat mat attached to the outside of the rear of the vivarium. Maybe I am just over cautious.
She has been virtually attached to that part of the enclosure, but there is ample space in her new home to move away if she needs to.
 

Stan Schultz

Active Member
3 Year Member
Messages
98
Location
Anywhere in North America.
... Your T will be a desert species,...

Au contraire, mon ami! There are two species of tarantula native to southwestern Mexico that resemble each other so closely that the casual amateur has trouble distinguishing them. In the past they were collectively called Brachypelma smithi (scientific name) or the Mexican redknee tarantula (Common Names of Arachnids, 2003, Amer. Arachnid Soc. ).

Recently, however, it has been determined that there are in fact two different species of Brachypelma using the same name:

Brachypelma hamorii from the Mexican state of Colima.

Brachypelma smithi from the state of Guerrero, Mexico

(Systematic revision of Mexican threatened tarantulas... Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Vol: 8,1. 2020.)

In both cases, the spiders live on a coastal plain between the Pacific Ocean and the mountain ranges to the east. This is NOT desert! As I recall, it's called a deciduous dry forest habitat, in many ways comparable to a similar habitat found along the Pacific Coast of California (as opposed to the deserts found on the other, eastern side of the California mountains.). I am attaching a photo of the habitat from Guerrero (Timothy Burkhardt - with permission).

For the casual hobbyist, however, all this isn't really very important. They still make great pets: large, hardy, long lived, gentle, colorful. Their only detracting quality is that their urticating bristles are rather more potent than those of most other New World species.


Enjoy your not-so-little, fuzzy buddy!
 

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ajh101

New Member
Messages
2
Location
Uk
Hello folks,
I am a new tarantula keeper, so please bear with me if I ask any dumb questions.
My tarantula is a Mexican Red Knee. A friend of mine who used to have one recommended it as he said they were probably the best one to get for a newbie like me.
I have got a trivarium all set up with Coco husk substrate and have created a little den where it can hide away, but since it transferred it into the new home I have attached a heater mat on to the back wall of the trivarium, but the spider is hugging the back wall where the heater mat is.
My living room is currently around 22 degrees.
I could do with a thermometer/hydrometer in the actual tank so I can regulate the exact environment.
Can anyone recommend an accurate thermometer (digital preferably) that I could put in the tank?
My heater mat is controlled by a separate control unit and I have the sensor in the trivarium.
Apologies for all the questions, but I want to make sure that my tarantula is as comfortable as possible.
Thanks
Malc
Check out Tom Moran / Tom's Big Spiders podcast and YouTube videos. Lots of sensible advice. Please ditch the heat mat before the T dehydrates!
 
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