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Making Your Own Substrate

Discussion in 'Substrates/Bedding/Flooring' started by katie41586, Mar 27, 2009.

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  1. katie41586

    katie41586 Elite Member

    I have always wanted to mix a substrate for Mali`s to dig out of.

    Well I started off using just play sand, organic potting soil, and decomposed leaves. (I read these are the ingredients for what "Reptile" magazine calls a desert substrate mix.

    But lo and behold (is that actually the phrase?) they dug up a pipe outside my house and I had access to the clay/loam that I couldn't of dug up before.

    I added it to my previous mix, the question I have now is, should I be worry about what could be in the loam,clay, getting in my Mali`s cage? Aren't there bugs and bacteria? I want to use it but it scares me a little. I know in the wild it would be the same situation but I would feel horrible if something I put in there got them sick.

    So, how has it worked for everyone else?
  2. fire2225ems

    fire2225ems Subscribed User Premium Member

    I want to say that you should be able to bake the whole mix for a couple of hours at 250. That should be enough to kill any bugs in it.
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    JUst be prepared for the smell! It will stink up the house for days!
  4. wgnelson

    wgnelson Elite Member

    Also, if you are baking clay, you might end up with a chunk of something you could use for a door stop!;)
  5. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I wouldn't worry too much. Bugs in the dirt is a good thing. They will help break down waste.
    I've been using outside dirt for years and years. Bugs and parasites and the like are pretty species specific and anything living down in the dirt would have no interest in your Mali's.
  6. katie41586

    katie41586 Elite Member

    Ok I am glad to hear that because for the amount I am using baking would take days.
  7. kiraturmc

    kiraturmc Elite Member

    OK all - would the same hold true for leopard geckos? I'm trying to stick with where they come from, and I think that really is rocks and harder soil, based on responses here, and from where they are indiginous to. But, I'm wondering if under the rocks I should use something like what you all have mentioned here.

    Thoughts? Thanks much!!

  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    You can just use paper or shelf liner under the rock. There are some nice tan colors in the shelf liner. You might even be able to find some the same color as your rocks to make it very realistic looking.
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