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Substrate

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosure Substrate' started by Linford, Aug 16, 2014.

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  1. Linford

    Linford New Member

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    What is the best substrate for my Russians??? I keep finding too many different answers.
  2. Carol S

    Carol S Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    I use moist coir for my hatchlings and 1 year olds. I use moist cypress mulch for my older ones which are 5 years old and 2 years old that I do not hibernate and spend the Winter inside.
  3. lismar79

    lismar79 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Everyone has their own preference. Mine is in about 4 inches of coir and another two to four inches of fir ( reptibark) on top of it.
  4. Shakudo

    Shakudo Active Member

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    I believe the general consensus here on the forum is that coco coir/fiber is one of the best substrates to go with.
    It is easy to come by and digestible. Sand for instance can cause impaction in the stomach an other problems.

    I use a mix of fine coco coir with a bit of rougher coco fiber as a top layer and it works fine for me.
    I added a photo so you can see what it looks like.
    I believe Ikea or a Home Depot sell compressed coco fiber blocks (that's the stuff) they are fairly inexpensive and expand to about 5 liters of fiber.

    Give a nice thick layer so your Russians can dig and bury themselves. They love that.
    Mine makes a sort of crater and buries down to the more moist part.

    One of the features of the substrate is that it retains moisture very good.
    Ideal for young tortoises that require more humid conditions as a counter measure for pyramiding.
    For adults I would recommend a humid hide, and keep the rest of the coir dry.
    That way your tortoise can choose where it wants to be, (micro climates).

    In the arid conditions Russians live in, in Nature, they sometimes bury themselves and burrow down when they need a more humid environement. This way, you can mimic that in a captive environment.


    Joey

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  5. Yellow Turtle01

    Yellow Turtle01 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    CocoCoir! Yay! lol...
    It holds moisture very nicely, and is digestible (it happens!) You can also use organic topsoil to, and people like orchid bark (fir bark-repti bark)
  6. Russiantortylady

    Russiantortylady Member Tortoise Club

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    There was a member on here that mentioned that you can use a mulch from Home Depot and I am interested in finding out which one that is because the REPTI-BARK is very expensive!! I am all about saving money and having them be very healthy as well. Has anyone else bought any mulch from Home Depot and if so what kind? TIA
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Coco coir for babies and then fine grade orchid bark once they hit about 3.5 inches.

    No soil. No sand. No peat moss. No hay.
  8. Russiantortylady

    Russiantortylady Member Tortoise Club

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    Thank you!!
  9. Mumsmad123

    Mumsmad123 New Member Tortoise Club

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    Not sure about navigating this forum but hopefully someone will read this and tell me if I am doing it right. My Hermann tortoise is 16 mths old. I am about to clean her table and change the substrate. It has the top soil and sand mix on it at the moment and I was going to change it for the same mix. Some people say that the cypress mulch is better. Can I use the top soil sand mix on the bottom and the cypress mulch on top? What is the best depth for the substrate? Thanks
  10. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    One thing you want to stay away from is sand. Clean top soil, cypress mulch, coco coir, orchid bark all work well. Just get rid of the sand (causes impaction when it’s digested over time).
  11. Mumsmad123

    Mumsmad123 New Member Tortoise Club

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    Ok, I have just bought a 2tkg bag of the topsoil and mix but I think it needs to join the dirt in my front garden cznt risk the health of my tortoise. I will order a bag of cypress mulch. The ks for your input.
  12. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Your local garden centre might have orchid bark or cypress mulch cheaper than ordering. Regardless, just make sure there are no additives (fertilizers or weed preventers) mixed in. No little white bits of perlite either. Best of luck
  13. Russiantortylady

    Russiantortylady Member Tortoise Club

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    Thank you guys for all of your help, I appreciate it.
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