Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

This is where you discuss the conditions of your crabitat -- temperature, humidity, substrate, decorating, etc.
Post Reply

Topic author
TXcrabby022
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:05 pm

Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by TXcrabby022 » Wed May 24, 2017 12:28 pm

I have some left over from gardening projects. This is the brand and website:

http://blackgold.bz/tag/black-gold-just-coir/

It seems to be fine, but wanted to check with y'all first...

TIA! :)


Brian_T
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:26 am

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by Brian_T » Wed May 24, 2017 12:38 pm

I would say no.

Looks like they have other stuff mixed in. Things like "organic fertilizer" can mean a lot of things.

Edit: I see now there is one that is just coir. Since its not made for animal habitats, I personally wouldn't risk it.

User avatar

Hermias_mom
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:08 pm
Location: Alabama, USA

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by Hermias_mom » Wed May 24, 2017 1:01 pm

If I were wanting to use the coir product, I'd contact the manufacturer directly and ask what kinds of anti-fungals, pesticides, fertilizers, anti-clumping agents it might have. Many of these can be toxic or not recommended for crabs or other animals. Something as simple as diatomaceous earth could kill crabs (I think - it destroys the exoskeleton of insects, and crabs have an exoskeleton, so I assume they'd be affected). I'd be looking for things included in the products that might hurt insects, especially things that are not on the label, including things present in small amounts.

It's cool that they washed all the salt out of it. But since it's a gardening product instead of something for animals or created for people to eat, I wonder what's in the product that's not listed on the label, and in what percentage.
4PPs and tons of FUN in a 29 gallon!
Hermia(F), Helena(F), Branch(M), and Tiger (M)
RIP Athena


Topic author
TXcrabby022
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by TXcrabby022 » Wed May 24, 2017 1:45 pm

Thanks guys! I called the manufacturer and they confirmed that it is just coconut coir, with nothing added to promote shelf life or prevent insect infestation, etc. Still feeling a bit iffy, though, so I think I'll go buy another brick of the pet store stuff.

User avatar

wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 9007
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by wodesorel » Wed May 24, 2017 9:09 pm

When it comes to hermits, I'm too paranoid to go cheap. With my reptiles, sure - the coir sold for plants is usually perfectly okay for them. Arthropods are so sensitive to fertilizers and pesticides I don't feel it's worth the risk to try out things that aren't known to be safe. The company might not be adding anything to the already made coir and there is always the chance that it is the same exact stuff as the pet quality kind, but there's also a chance that they were using chemicals on the coconuts while they were growing. I believe that the coir is a byproduct of the edible coconut industry. (Not the hard brown shells that we're used to seeing, but the shredded outer green coatings they remove before shipping them out.) It's sort of like a smoothie maker saying we don't use pesticides in our drinks, when the strawberries in the smoothie had been treated in the fields. Not a lie, just a slight omission.


Topic author
TXcrabby022
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by TXcrabby022 » Thu May 25, 2017 12:19 pm

Thanks, Wodesorel. I am of the same mind. I bought bricks of Eco Earth compressed coconut fiber, which are labeled "Eco Friendly", though there's no indication that they would meet organic standards or be completely (added) chemical free. Same is true of the foods I've seen in stores. So now I'm wondering if there are there any brands that are certified organically grown...

User avatar

GotButterflies
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 6293
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by GotButterflies » Thu May 25, 2017 9:38 pm

TXcrabby022 wrote:Thanks, Wodesorel. I am of the same mind. I bought bricks of Eco Earth compressed coconut fiber, which are labeled "Eco Friendly", though there's no indication that they would meet organic standards or be completely (added) chemical free. Same is true of the foods I've seen in stores. So now I'm wondering if there are there any brands that are certified organically grown...

There are several Certified Organic foods available. You just have to look for them :) Health food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's carry have a lot. :) Amazon has stuff too :)
Truly blessed to have incredible creatures, wonderful friends and my amazing family in my life!! I'm very thankful & grateful for all of them! www.thehealthyhermit.com


Topic author
TXcrabby022
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by TXcrabby022 » Fri May 26, 2017 12:54 pm

Thanks, GotButterfiles! Good to know that Whole Foods and Trader Joe's carry organically grown hermit crab food--I had no idea! We try to stick to organic and locally grown for the produce and other groceries we buy, and we're lucky to have lots of options in the Austin area.

User avatar

wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 9007
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by wodesorel » Fri May 26, 2017 2:31 pm

You can find a decent selection even at Wal-Mart these days. Just have to check labels, and the prices aren't much more, especially if you portion it up and freeze it for future use. One organic apple can feed a few crabs for a year when used with a balanced diet.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk


Topic author
TXcrabby022
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by TXcrabby022 » Fri May 26, 2017 4:58 pm

Sorry, I thought GotButterflies meant that Whole Foods and TJ's had organically grown prepared hermit crab food, because that's what I meant when I said it was difficult/impossible to find products labeled organically grown. As I said, we eat organic and localy produced foods as much as possible. So I am an avid reader of labels (much to my son's annoyance), and had noticed that none of the products listed or mentioned as safe for crabs had any kind of certification or labeling indicating they come from organically grown sources or are free of added chemicals. Since we were talking about the importance of determining this about horticultural coconut coir, I brought up the point that even the stuff sold for animals does not appear to meet organic standards, or at least is not labeled as such. The Zoo Med Eco Earth coconut blocks, for instance, are "eco-friendly", but that doesn't tell me whether the coconuts from which they came were grown or processed with the use of additional chemicals. Nor if they were fairly harvested and sold. So I am interested in knowing if there are any commercially available sources of food or fiber that ARE labeled more explicitly or are certified organic/without added chemicals/fair trade, etc. Make sense? Sorry about the confusion! :-/

User avatar

LadyJinglyJones
Senior Moderator
Senior Moderator
Posts: 2130
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:01 pm
Location: The 6ix, Ontario, Canada

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by LadyJinglyJones » Mon May 29, 2017 2:46 pm

Hermias_mom wrote:Something as simple as diatomaceous earth could kill crabs (I think - it destroys the exoskeleton of insects, and crabs have an exoskeleton, so I assume they'd be affected).
Not to hijack, but the mechanism by which diatomaceous earth messes up insects in interesting.

At a teeny tiny level, the particles of diatomaceous earth are jagged. They abbrade the waxy layer that comprises the surface of an insect's cuticle - the outside of the exoskeleton. This waxy layer is important for moisture retention & as it becomes degraded the animal begins to dehydrate. (I once read that the particles clogged the breathing holes in an insect's body, but this appears to be incorrect.)

Crabs don't have a wax layer on the surface of their exoskeletons (Edney 1960, Terrestrial Adaptations in The Physiology of Crustacea), which is presumably partly the reason they've been less successful at colonizing land habitats than insects - they don't have that added resistance to dessication.

That said, they have hairs that serve sensory functions, & I wouldn't trust diatomaceous earth with their gills. Also, they don't need their exo scratched at a micro level, if that's a risk, so the warning still stands, I think.
"Gaze upon the rolling deep..."
Quince the fat tailed gecko; Amazonian minnows; and now Harry & Luis, Bede & Aster, Chandra & Jace, Pax, & Piccolo, my adopted PPs.
RIP Vegita :(

User avatar

wodesorel
Tech Support
Tech Support
Posts: 9007
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:49 am
Location: Leetonia, Ohio
Contact:

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by wodesorel » Mon May 29, 2017 3:52 pm

I've never seen commercial foods for small animals that were organically produced. There are some dog and cat foods, but nothing for pocket pets or lower, I don't think.

There are small businesses who sell their own mixes that are organic. Most of the stuff I sell is either organically grown by myself or was purchased as human-grade ingredients that were certified. Others have started doing the same.

Keep in mind that fair trade says nothing how a food is grown and produced, just that the laborers are being paid a fair wage for the work they put in. It's become a buzzword lately but doesn't have anything to do with being organic or being grow without chemicals. Some things cannot be legally be certified organic either, like seafood.

LJJ - my worry with diatomaceous earth has also been with their gills, and mostly with their leg joints. Those are soft and can be cut easily, and constant irritation could be painful and could potentially lead to infections.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk


Topic author
TXcrabby022
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:05 pm

Re: Horticultural coconut coir ok to use in substrate?

Post by TXcrabby022 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:46 am

Thanks, LJJ and Wodesorel, for fascinating and helpful information. I am very happy with the amazing assortment I recently purchased from Wodesorel and am inspired to make some of my own mixes. Thanks for thinking and writing about this, I really appreciate it! I might have to get my hands on Edney 1960...

Post Reply