Substrate Question

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Substrate Question

Postby SydneyGaia » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:14 pm

Hey all! I have an 11 month old beardie (Sydney) who is currently 18 inches long. Up to a few days ago, I used ceramic tile for my substrate. I got him a new enclosure (Zen Habitats - LOVE it, 4'2x2'x2' front access and solid, bamboo sides). I ended up switching out from tile to sani chips (please save the horror stories and screaming to switch.... I'm well aware) - which I plan to switch out of because I have noticed that, while smelling/tasting his new habitat, he keeps accidentally eating little pieces of it. I also cancelled my Amazon order of Desert Snow. However, I REALLY do not want to go back to tile for a few reasons.

3 problems with tile:

1. Sydney LOVES to dig. I can't tell you how many times I caught him trying to "dig" on the tile, thus filing his nails down.

2. His nails - I want him to have nails. It is so much easier taking him outside when he has nails and can hang off your shirt or sit on your shoulder (I have had beardies in the past).

3. Odor - the tile just bakes in the lights and they are horrible at covering up any odor (I have 2 basking spots and 3 lights in the new enclosure, so the smell is a concern).

4. Prey/Feeders hiding - this can be fixed with grout (making it quite heavy!) or by putting sand in the small openings where tiles connect, though.

I HATE reptile carpet and also do not want to use paper towels, news paper, or non-adhesive shelf line.

A particulate substrate would be wonderful for my little guy, but being so curious and tasting/accidentally eating substrate makes it a bit scary (I got this guy after my 11 y/o passed, to help get over her passing, and REALLY don't want to risk losing this guy - he's an absolutely gorgeous morph. hypo, sandfire with lavander back stripes and very loosely leatherback - He does not look leatherback, but he does have smaller spikes on his back. One parent was a Lback).

Are there any forms of tile that I could get that would not file his nails down? Having functional, pointy nails is important to me.

Thanks!


tl;dr: Are there any forms of tile that I could get that would not file my beardie's nails down? Having functional, pointy nails is important to me.
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby Terry15 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:40 pm

I switched from reptile carpet to non adhesive shelf liner, so cheap, easy to clean & bugs can’t hide under it. My Beardie does not poop the tank. He’s got his spot on the kitchen linoleum floor. 10$ a roll or less, depending where you get it.
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby MarlowAndMe » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:09 pm

I use linoleum ( just have to make sure it’s not the self adhesive kind as the glue isn’t safe) and it’s easy to cut with just a ruler and a craft knife. It’s easy to clean - think of soils on a kitchen floor.
I do not silicone mine in because then it’s easy to take out to clean and it’s easy to easy to switch it out if I want a new piece down the line.
I add pieces of slate for decor so he wears his nails down on that as the lino doesn’t wear them down - which for you will be great since you want the nails not worn down
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby SydneyGaia » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:12 pm

Thanks. I guess another big thing is 1) looks and 2) digging. Sudney LOVES to dig. He was sooo happy with the sani chips bc he could dig and run around - BUT, I just cleaned 20 lbs of them out of his cage in his sleep (shhh)
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby MarlowAndMe » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:16 pm

I can’t help with the digging but the Lino looks great in my opinion
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

I chose one with a sand look to it which is more obvious in this pic
[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby SydneyGaia » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:26 pm

Wow, that does look pretty nice (other than the glossy look close up). Maybe I will create a large dig box of sand and soil for him to go with that...?
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby SydneyGaia » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:27 pm

Although, my viv is 2 ft wide. Can you overlap pieces without bugs hiding under it?
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby MarlowAndMe » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:34 pm

Mines 2ft wide also. Just buy the type that’s on a roll. Over here we have Bunnings ( which I think I heard others say is similar to your Lowe’s?) and they sell it per foot or per metre and cut it of the roll for you. I think from memory it was 5ft wide so I brought 4ft of it to get a piece 4ft x5ft and I just cut out of that 2x pieces of 4ft x 2ft. I’m using one now and I have one put away for down the track.
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby AHBD » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:39 am

I've used both sand as well as sand/soil mix. Never had a single dragon with impaction or eye problem. Dragons like to dig and this keeps them stimulated + burns up energy. You can make at least half his tank a large " dig box " and he'll have a blast.
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby SydneyGaia » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:40 am

AHBD wrote:I've used both sand as well as sand/soil mix. Never had a single dragon with impaction or eye problem. Dragons like to dig and this keeps them stimulated + burns up energy. You can make at least half his tank a large " dig box " and he'll have a blast.

If I do a sand/soil mix, do I need to change that out fairly regularly? I'm not looking to do that every week
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby AHBD » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:57 am

You will get used to your dragons pooing habits and see when + where they usually go. You can keep a child's play shovel or garden trowel [ even a kitchen ladel ] so if the sand gets soiled you scoop that + everything around it. I kept a 5 gallon bucket with extra substrate to add every few weeks if needed and just clean the areas once every few months if it needs it.
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby SydneyGaia » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:31 am

I went ahead and bought some nonadhesive from Lowes today. It didn't quite come wide enough (20" vs 24") and I cut it about 2 inches too short, but it is worth testing out for only $5. See the image below of the enclosure (typically, he has a log in the middle which gives another basking spot, but I am currently fostering a second beardie for a little bit who is borrowing the log). Sydney (beardie below) is 11 months old:

[Click image to enlarge]


[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby SydneyGaia » Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:08 pm

I gotta say, I will give this liner a few days to see if things change, but I have never seen him as active as he was on the sani chips. He was running around, digging EVERYWHERE. I really think he enjoyed having a loose substrate and do not want to take away what makes him happy.
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby HippieLizards » Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:20 pm

Well I honestly love my tile, But if your dragon likes to dig you could use something like Linoleum or Paper towels, And then if he still misses digging, Add a small Dig box for him so he can still dig in part of the tank, When I used a dig box for my Beardie I used Coconut fiber substrate and it worked well for them to dig in. So that way he could still dig but with less of a chance of Health problems.
Slave to three Beardies, one Crested gecko, a Ball Python, and a Cat. (R.I.P Thor & Cisco, You two will always be in our hearts).[Click image to enlarge]
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Re: Substrate Question

Postby SydneyGaia » Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:29 pm

HippieLizards wrote:Well I honestly love my tile, But if your dragon likes to dig you could use something like Linoleum or Paper towels, And then if he still misses digging, Add a small Dig box for him so he can still dig in part of the tank, When I used a dig box for my Beardie I used Coconut fiber substrate and it worked well for them to dig in. So that way he could still dig but with less of a chance of Health problems.

My last beardie liked tile, my current one doesn't. He is 18+ inches and growing - a dig box is going to take up half of his enclosure! (4'x2'x2') Lol
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