Tarantula bits #8

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Mature female Psalmopoeus cambridgei “Cami”

There comes a “first time” for stuff in every hobby. Breeding is one of these things in the exotic pet side of things. While it is not for every hobbyist, once the itch needs to be scratched, it’s only a matter of time.

That time, for me, came on this past Sunday.

One of my hobbyist friends mentioned online that she had two female Psalmopoeus cambridgei tarantulas that were being snooty toward her male, refusing to have anything to do with it other than as a potential snack.

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Fish Stuff and such

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So here is the freshwater dirt-planted 40 gallon breeder tank approaching the end of the first year in operation. I couldn’t be happier…well if the fish would quit eating all the plants, that’d be great. But other than that. 😀

This type of setup is known as a “Walstad method tank” as it uses a dirt substrate capped with gravel rather than a complex system of filtration. In this method, all of the filtration is done with the plants absorbing the stuff that the fish leave off, giving back oxygen into the water.
In the “pure” method, that is all that is done other than water top offs for evaporation.

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Tarantula bits #7

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Avicularia sp. guyana

So in this episode of “bits”, I present the way I house (and rehouse) the gentle fluffball that is the Avicularia genus. These spiders are among the most docile creatures in the tarantula kingdom, as well as stunningly beautiful.

That said, spiders of this genus CAN be skittish and they WILL jump from time to time. So new keepers be aware, as this can be an issue with handling.  For instance, in the main photo above, right after I took the picture, the T jumped from there on my arm right onto the camera….then to the desk, and then back onto my other arm, coming to a stop on the back of my hand. I LOVE it when they do this, but the first time this happens can be…unnerving. Heh.

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Tarantula bits #4

Sometimes there is no rhyme nor reason to a tarantula sling dying. I lost my Tapinauchenius violaceus the other day. It was eating well, kept in a good enclosure and seemed to be thriving. However…it molted. The next day it high dived off of the cork bark onto the floor of its home and this is where I found it:

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I can see nothing wrong with it, other than it is in a death curl. At first I thought it might be getting ready to molt, but it JUST DID that the day before.

In this hobby, raising tarantulas from slings is more economical from the cost standpoint, but you run a much higher risk of mortality. Beginning keepers sometimes lose slings from improper care. Even us “older-hands” will sometimes have losses that can be explained (such as my last Avicularia). The annoying thing is that there are times the little derps will kick the bucket without a good visible reason.

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Tarantula bits #3

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Aphonopelma anax “Tango” hard at work on the new house.

So in the last few days I’ve had a death in the family. One of my Avicularia tarantulas succumbed. The first one of these I had also died from the same issue. (What that issue is…I don’t really know.) The local reptile shop replaced the failed T with this one, and it lasted longer, but eventually expired the same way. Best guess is that both were infested with some sort of parasite or infection as they were from the same source, and were probably wild caught. It is sad, but when dealing with exotic animals such as these the Keeper needs to understand going in that there will be failures. Sometimes for no apparent reason.

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Observing a tiny little mind do big things

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Observations. Obvious: Tarantulas sit still a lot between motion.

Not as obvious:

Watching them build things, I’m of the opinion that they are working around the small limitations of their brains. As a former IT guy, I understand what caching of data and swapping is, and when a cpu is memory constrained, pauses will occur to swap stuff from active to storage memory and back again depending on the data needing to be operated on.

As I watch my T’s, I cannot shake the idea that this is what is occurring with them.

My arboreals will slowly move through a new enclosure, pausing for minutes, even hours at a time, and then continue the pattern until it appears they have mapped out the living quarters. Then the building of things begins. I’m using an arboreal as an example, but terrestrial and fossorial species exhibit the same pause/work/pause/change up things patterns.

In this case, my P. cambridgei spent the entire evening waltzing about, pausing and moving to the limits of the enclosure.

Then it sat in the den for a bit.

When it came out, it began building a roof, tearing open the den, and moving substrate all over the place, radically changing the layout. Between each section of creation, it will just stop for a period of time before continuing on with the next steps.

Any time someone says “automaton” when speaking about whether or not a tarantula has any intelligence, I just laugh.

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P. cambridgei building a roof for the newly widened jungle room

 

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A little reef life

 

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Aquarium update!

The 20 long tank is maturing and becoming much easier to maintenance. (Meaning other than weekly water changes and checking water parameters once a month, the tank has fully stabilized and can accommodate more demanding species .)

The biggest change to the tank has been the upgrade to a COB led lighting system. COB= Chip on Board. This is a newer technology combining a lot of small LEDs onto a single plate with reflectors and lenses to increase the light’s efficiency and spread.  I’m really REALLY happy with this, as it allows me to control the light via wifi, and set up a “ramping” schedule which mimics morning-day-evening-night unattended.

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The 10 gallon pico is also maturing. I’m dealing with a couple spots of cyanobacteria (red slime) due to a flow issue (meaning that the water flow is missing a couple of areas which then become stagnant, allowing organic material to let the bacteria colonize.) Easily managed, and all part of the hobby at one point or other.

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In the gallery, other than one photo-bomb, this is specifically a coral update. Fish and such will get their own post shortly. 🙂

This gallery updates and gives a glimpse into the aquatic world that sits on the other side of my arachnid world.

To view, just click the first picture in the gallery and…

Enjoy!

 

Enclosures are for keeping things inside.

A.seemanni colors

Aponophelma seemanni (Costa Rican Zebra)

Just a quick update on the Tarantula side of the zoo, as well as a walk through of the types of enclosures that I use.

I’m going to be building a custom arboreal (tree spider) enclosure based on the first attempt that I built for my Avicularia avicularia (no I did not stutter…that is the name for the Guyana pinktoe.  🙂  )

For now another gallery post with several of the species as well as the enclosure types that I prefer.

Just click on the first picture to enter the gallery and see the captioned information on each set up. Enjoy!

A roach in a coach is still…food

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Roach coaches. Dubia to the right, lateralis on the left. Top coach is a “nymph house” for smaller lats. Bottom left is the main house where the bigger meals go.

Recent discussions I’ve had over what to feed exotics (specifically in my case, tarantulas) led to this post.

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Typical feeder crickets

At first, almost every exotic pet animal owner (keeper) starts out with crickets. They are the ubiquitous “feeder” insect for everything from lizards to some snakes, tarantulas, scorpions and on and on.

[They ARE ubiquitous at this point because vendors were selling and raising them first. Go to any full service pet store/supplier, and you will see boxes of crickets for sale. Many species of exotics will only take crickets for the most part. We won’t even get started on worms/superworms/etc. heh.]

Almost every keeper comes to loathe the little evil bastards at least a little. Many of us more than a little. Crickets are smelly, noisy, short-lived, hoppy, annoying creatures. To top all of that off, they aren’t even the best food for animals that need insects for food.

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