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Dirt Vs Sand

tortoisenoob42

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Okay so im building an indoor Russian tortoise table and I am having a hard time figuring out which type of substrate to use. I have heard that you can use dirt from your yard, but no sand cause that can cause impaction. My main question is what is the difference between the sand and the dirt i can take from my backyard?
 

lismar79

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I would think it has something to do with how the particles break down when ingested. Sand doesn't dissolve and would just keep building up. My guess anyway. For indoor I like firbark. It holds humidity and is not messy. Good for digging in too.
 

ascott

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Okay so im building an indoor Russian tortoise table and I am having a hard time figuring out which type of substrate to use. I have heard that you can use dirt from your yard, but no sand cause that can cause impaction. My main question is what is the difference between the sand and the dirt i can take from my backyard?

I would use earth type substrate and not wood chip type material...also part of the problem with sand is that when the tortoise consumes the food laid in the enclosure they tend to move the food about and off of the feeding spot...and if the substrate is sand, then the tort will ingest the sand...and as mentioned previously--sand settles in the gut and will begin to add up and cause a blockage--especially if the tort should become dehydrated any....
 

ZEROPILOT

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I use potting soil. Plain potting soil. Nothing added-like fertilizers.
It's like $2.00 for a big bag at the retail hardware store. (Not top soil. It's cheaper and has more sand)
Potting soil has more broken down matter..soil and less sand.
It also holds humidity and sand really isn't meant to do so.
 

tortoisenoob42

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I use potting soil. Plain potting soil. Nothing added-like fertilizers.
It's like $2.00 for a big bag at the retail hardware store. (Not top soil. It's cheaper and has more sand)
Potting soil has more broken down matter..soil and less sand.
It also holds humidity and sand really isn't meant to do so.
So what are your results for using potting soil. i have heard that it contains impurities that can hurt your tort. also does it matter what brand your using?
 

Tom

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The best substrate for russians is orchid bark, in my experience. You can get a giant bag at the hardware store for around $5.
 

Tom

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is there a specific brand ?
No. I've used all sorts of them. Just be sure to get the fine grade and not the big honkin' chunks.

I've been using one called "Pathway Bark" from Lowes for a few years now and it works great.
 

tortoisenoob42

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No. I've used all sorts of them. Just be sure to get the fine grade and not the big honkin' chunks.

I've been using one called "Pathway Bark" from Lowes for a few years now and it works great.
so how can you tell what grade the chunks are?
 

teresaf

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soil is made of biodegradable stuff like trees, plants, animals. digestable. Sand is made of little itty bitty rocks. Remember building sand castles at the beach? It stuck together because it was wet. Imagine what that feels like in your belly. We don't let our dogs eat rocks so don't let your tortoise.
 

johnsonnboswell

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Sand isn't a good substrate for Russians. Coconut coir is a very good substrate. You may want to mix it with a bit of dirt, too. Depending on the composition of your soil, you might be better off using potting soil or compost with no additives.
 

avfarrar

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No. I've used all sorts of them. Just be sure to get the fine grade and not the big honkin' chunks.

I've been using one called "Pathway Bark" from Lowes for a few years now and it works great.
I know that this was thread was from several years ago so I wanted to ask if Lowes still sells that orchid bark? I am looking it up online and it isn't coming up. This brand you are talking about is ALOT cheaper than what I may have to get:
http://www.tropicalplantproducts.com/products/417-orchid-bark.aspx
http://grabngrowsoil.com/product/1-4-minus-fir-bark-mulch/

The newer orchid bark brand it looks like you're using now (GreenAll Micro Bark) doesn't seem to be able to be shipped and like you said before isn't sold in chain stores--which is a problem because those are the only kinds of stores near me (the other ones don't have it on their online catalog).
Let me know if you have any ideas, because I am going to try to get this mulch ordered as soon as possible to switch out my bad substrate. Thank you.
 

Tom

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I know that this was thread was from several years ago so I wanted to ask if Lowes still sells that orchid bark?
I haven't checked there since I found this new type. Sorry.
 
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