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Substrate for NE Box turtle enclosure...


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#1 kitty_tie_my_shoes

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:29 PM

Typically, this should be a simple question...

Except, I am currently living in a zeroscaped town home with no soil.

I just purchased all things necessary to build an out door enclosure for my boxy however, since all we have are a bunch of rocks in the back yard I do not have any soil I trust. Before we moved in the land lord mentioned he sprayed for weeds and bugs with organic sprays. Since, I have asked him not to spray he hasn't. However, since we will also be moving soon, it is pointless to dig up the rock to use the possibly contaminated soil. My friend who helped me get the wood at Lowes, found a "organic" potting soil (http://gro-well.com/) that he said should be fine because it would have all the same natural stuff normal soil would. The issue with this was when I opened the bag it stunk of cow poo. I don't know about anyone else, but the idea of putting my Curby in cow poop does not sound safe...

Does anyone have any suggestions on a substrate that would be good to use? In his indoor enclosure he has been traipsing around in the repto-bark stuff. He has always done well with that. I had been told to try switching him to coconut fiber. However, when I did his eyes swelled up and skin turned red like it was irritated. The vet said a lot of people have issues with coconut fiber, so I can't use that. To buy enough aquarium moss and bark from the pet store would be pretty expensive because I would like to get enough in there so he can burrow a little sometimes...

So as stated before, any suggestions would help... :)

#2 clemmysnut

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:54 PM

I like cypress mulch. You can use any mulch, but pine bark. Can you get some dirt and leaves from a nearby wooded area? You could mix the 3 together.

#3 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:48 AM

Go to a garden center and buy a bag of organic (no chemicals or manure added) topsoil, and a bag of peat moss or sphagnum peat moss (no chemicals or manure added) and a bag of sphagnum moss. Clean the moss. You can mix this all together and also add some Eco-Earth if you wish or some cleaned play sand, or even cypress mulch. On top of it keep some damp sphagnum moss in part of the enclosure under which the turtle can dig and hide. Avoid any potting soils or soils with any added chemicals and manure (manure can contain parasite eggs which your turtle could ingest).

The coconut fiber products by themselves may not be good as they can cause fungal issues on shells/plastrons and tend to stay too wet by themselves. They are best used when added with what I mention above.

#4 center5150

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:12 AM

I use topsoil sphagum moss and coconut mixed together in my boxies table, holds moisture well and easy for them to dig in, the cheapo top soil lowes and home depot both sell is under a dollar a bag, you do need to sift this stuff out well though, with what im pictueing for your yard, i would say whatever you end up with water the tar out of the area to make sure and get rid of any chemicals, you also may want to think about getting earthworms and sllugs/snails to add to the enclosure if your putting in a few inches of substrate.

#5 kitty_tie_my_shoes

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:07 AM

Thank you! Any specific brands of topsoil? I want to get exactly something someone has used. You never know now a days who puts chemicals in what even though the company swears up and down they didn't... Sorry, I am uber paranoid about it! >_<

#6 center5150

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:57 AM

I just got the super cheap stuff, sifted out the trash and put it in the table... Scotts has an organic top soil... Not sure if its fertilized already though which wont matter all that much on an outdoor pen i wouldnt think... You couls use just coconut coir and sand if your really worried about it, maybe add some untreated cyoress mulch




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