Need some urgent substrate help

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Leo
Hi there, haven’t been here in a while. So far, loose substrate has been amazing but only recently it’s been causing… issues, to say the least. I am currently using a sand/coco finer mixture, but with drying weather coming around it’s getting more and more dusty.

And that dust is a problem. It’s got to the point where all of Leo’s hides as well as himself have a coat of dust. Not only that, when I clean the substrate I have to wear a full on construction mask. That’s only become clear to me today, which is why I reach out now instead of earlier.

I need options. I’m seriously considering going back to solid substrate, because god! I can’t keep up with the maintenance anymore. Are there any not dusty (or at least less dusty) loose substrate options available? Or would solid substrate be my best bet?

Also, how can I keep Leo safe in the meantime while I still have the (extremely) dusty substrate up right now? I don’t want to cause like, respiratory problems, or something. Is that a risk?
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Hi there, haven’t been here in a while. So far, loose substrate has been amazing but only recently it’s been causing… issues, to say the least. I am currently using a sand/coco finer mixture, but with drying weather coming around it’s getting more and more dusty.

And that dust is a problem. It’s got to the point where all of Leo’s hides as well as himself have a coat of dust. Not only that, when I clean the substrate I have to wear a full on construction mask. That’s only become clear to me today, which is why I reach out now instead of earlier.

I need options. I’m seriously considering going back to solid substrate, because god! I can’t keep up with the maintenance anymore. Are there any not dusty (or at least less dusty) loose substrate options available? Or would solid substrate be my best bet?

Also, how can I keep Leo safe in the meantime while I still have the (extremely) dusty substrate up right now? I don’t want to cause like, respiratory problems, or something. Is that a risk?
Mist the bejebbers outta it. I had the same issue with plain sand. I had to do away with it. Another issue the dust causes is it coats the uvb and blocks it
 

ChileanTaco

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
What you currently have, this for sure has to change. It's not good for your dragon.
You could try some "solid substrate", like tiles. Or you could change out the sand to a mixture of playsand, organic soil without fertilizer, plus some burrowing clay Excavator® Clay Burrowing Substrate | Zoo Med Laboratories, Inc. (What I have is real desert sand as I'm living in a town in the Atacama desert, but you likely won't have such available.) Put that in, and mist it about once a week lightly with a spray bottle. (It's clear that the spray bottle should never ever have been used with something else than plain water. If you ever used your plant spray bottle with fertilizer, pesticides or such, you need a separate one.)
This is not to make the sand permanently wet, but it dries quickly and hardens. I compare it to "like on a trail".
Given what you have you might try misting it, or adding some burrowing clay first and then misting it.

I have this setup now close to a year. No dust wherever, my dragon is clean (I wear black clothes, my dragon regularly climbs around on me and I would recognize it if there would come some dust off from him), the glass is clean, and also I don't get dirty when I have to do something inside the enclosure (also no dust on lamps or such). So none of the problems you describe. What I also like is that poo/urate can be removed easily - I remove that part of the sand, and it's gone, no scrubbing of things like tiles.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Cocofiber is going to be causing the most dust, I wouldn't use it.

The playsand will cause dust as it gets old as the fine particles end up getting worked to the top while the heavier particle sink. You can sift your playsand outside so that you get rid of all the super fines that really contribute to the dust. Otherwise, the dust is just something you need to deal with and take care of during routine cleaning of the enclosure.

-Brandon
 

Chris.

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Luis and Lilith
As Brandon mentioned the cocofibre is good because it is anti-bacterial but more intended towards tropical setups and will cause some dust.
I'm a big fan of the loose substrates that get hard as they dry out. They don't dust too much but still allow for digging and building burrows.
 

ChileanTaco

Juvie Member
Beardie name(s)
Taco
I'm a big fan of the loose substrates that get hard as they dry out. They don't dust too much but still allow for digging and building burrows.
I agree on that. I don't have any dust in the enclosure.
The coconut fiber, I had used it before but only, as you mention, for a tropical setup (land hermit crabs, frogs). No idea how it behaves in a desert-like one.
I'm a big fan of the loose substrates that get hard as they dry out. They don't dust too much but still allow for digging and building burrows.

Yes, that's what my dragon does :)
 

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