Substrate

RoxyA

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Fort Scott
Hi I'm new to this forum, I have a baby sulcata, his/her enclosure is temperature and humidity correct. It eats, drinks, poops, etc all of that is fine. I was using sphagnum moss but was told to switch to coconut coir which I did, zoo med brand. Now the Tortoise looks discolored especially around the eyes and seems thinner, like it's a little dehydrated. The color around the eyes is now the same color as the coconut coir. Should i take it out and use something different? Or what should I do? I've ordered Cyprus mulch also to have in case I should need to use that. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks
 

Tom

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Hi I'm new to this forum, I have a baby sulcata, his/her enclosure is temperature and humidity correct. It eats, drinks, poops, etc all of that is fine. I was using sphagnum moss but was told to switch to coconut coir which I did, zoo med brand. Now the Tortoise looks discolored especially around the eyes and seems thinner, like it's a little dehydrated. The color around the eyes is now the same color as the coconut coir. Should i take it out and use something different? Or what should I do? I've ordered Cyprus mulch also to have in case I should need to use that. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks
The best substrate for them is fine grade orchid bark. Coco coir can work, but it must be kept damp and hand packed. Cypress mulch would be my least favorite, but it will also work.

Read this for the correct care and housing info. Most of what you find will be wrong.
 

RoxyA

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Joined
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Fort Scott
Yes that is what I read to set up my tortoise enclosure and the advice was golden! It's just when I switched to the coconut substrate he took on a reddish color. It hasn't affected his behavior any, but I also thought it might be dehydrating him since he looked a little more wrinkled after a couple of days w that. The discoloration is mostly around his eyes for some reason, maybe because he doesn't soak his head so it sticks to it? I was just worried it might be causing a health problem
 

RoxyA

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Jun 16, 2021
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Fort Scott
I will order some orchid bark and use that. Should I put it on top of the coconut or should I just completely take the coconut out and start over with just the orchid bark
 

Tortuug

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May 6, 2021
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El Cajon
A good tip is to definitely shop at hardware stores. I bought every bag of orchid bark off the shelves at my local hardware store and it was a third the price. Coco coir too, not all the coco coir though, a single brick makes a massive amount of coir. I've seen many other people talk about using the coir under the orchid bark to help keep humidity high. I somewhat do the same but put more coir on the higher humidity side of the enclosure and mixed the coir into the bark a little more. Also, before I put the orchid bark in the enclosure, I poured it all out on a trash bag in a thin layer in my backyard and let it sit in the sun for a day. This got rid of any bugs/pests that came with the bark.

Also, welcome to the forum!
 

RoxyA

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Fort Scott
A good tip is to definitely shop at hardware stores. I bought every bag of orchid bark off the shelves at my local hardware store and it was a third the price. Coco coir too, not all the coco coir though, a single brick makes a massive amount of coir. I've seen many other people talk about using the coir under the orchid bark to help keep humidity high. I somewhat do the same but put more coir on the higher humidity side of the enclosure and mixed the coir into the bark a little more. Also, before I put the orchid bark in the enclosure, I poured it all out on a trash bag in a thin layer in my backyard and let it sit in the sun for a day. This got rid of any bugs/pests that came with the bark.

Also, welcome to the forum!
Thank you so much for the help!!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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Jan 9, 2010
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54,116
Location (City and/or State)
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I will order some orchid bark and use that. Should I put it on top of the coconut or should I just completely take the coconut out and start over with just the orchid bark
I prefer orchid bark. It works the best.
 
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