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The Great Sand Debate

Discussion in 'Substrates/Bedding/Flooring' started by Toadie78, Oct 13, 2004.

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  1. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

    Im trying to get something straigthened out in my head and i know this can be a touchy subject.

    I am planning on getting 2 baby Leo's in the very near future and am trying to finalize what substrate to use that would be the best in looks and safety for the lil ones. I would like everyones input on the different sands and sand like substrates and valid alternatives.
  2. MoLdYpOtAtOe

    MoLdYpOtAtOe Elite Member

    For babies and juvies sand is a definate bad idea. For adults (2 years and up) Washed, and sifted play sand is *O-K* for them. but this is still a risk no matter what sand it is. Reason juvies and babies should never be on sand is because they can become easily impacted with a small tounge of sand being swallowed. Substrates I prefer for babies AND ADULTS are paper towels, reptile carpet, adhesive shelf liner, butcher paper(flatted down), Slate tiles, Soy based news paper, and cork bark sheets.
  3. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    Repticarpet all the way!!
  4. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

    what about non-adhesive shelf liner for a substrate? I mean the rubber like stuff? what if i tape it down using double sided tape?
  5. Jade

    Jade Supporting Member

    i use none adhesive shelf liner for my leo. its a sandy brown color, i looks nice and its easy to just wipe down, and the crickets cant hide in it. i like it
  6. MoLdYpOtAtOe

    MoLdYpOtAtOe Elite Member

    I heard they smell. I would personally want a un scented substrate for my leos to enjoy instead of a smelly one.
  7. KrokadilyanGuy3

    KrokadilyanGuy3 Elite Member

    I'm a big fan of sand and I have never had any trouble using natural sand, however that's just me. There are flaws with every substrate out there, whether it comes down to impactablility to an eye sore. If you are concerned I would avoid it because there are documentations of gut impaction with it as well as nearly all loose substrate including aspen.
    I rarely do anything out of a natural looking state so I will most likely always use sand if that's what the animal is recorded to live on.
    I also like the slate tile.

  8. Jade

    Jade Supporting Member

    i've never noticed a smell with my shelfliner, i use non-adhesive duck brand, the thick rubbery brown kind and the thinner kind with the plam trees on it
  9. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    We use playsand with our adult bearded dragons and adult collared lizards, and have never had a problem. We used to use calci-sand, and again we personally never experienced any problems - we even used it with babies at one point.

    For our baby beardies, collareds and geckos we currently use paper towels - we had repticarpet in with the geckos but they kept getting their claws caught and their teeth kept getting stuck on the carpet when they went to catch crickets, has anyone else experienced this? So, for now, we are keeping them on paper towels.

    There are small risks with many substrates - you need to gather all the facts and listen to all the issues and opinions, and then make up your own mind as to what you want to use. There is no better experience than personal experience, and you need to see what works and what doesn't for you personally.

  10. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

    I been thinkin bout slate or possibly a few other ideas that i have like getting 2 of these:
    Habiscape Wall System

    And there are also shelves n ledges u can get to go along with the walls.

    Since leos do live on rocky outcroppings, and it may work well for other desert species too that live in similar conditions.
  11. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    That looks pretty cool, and I can imagine it would set a vivarium off very nicely. :) What's it made of?, i'm just thinking if it will be easy to wipe-clean?
  12. lola

    lola Elite Member

    i have kept geckos for about 6 years. i have tried a million things for substrate, and i will let you in on my experiences.

    i started out with reptibark. not good, don't use it.

    i went to calci-sand. maybe even worse than reptibark. this is probably one of the most dangerous products for lizards there is out there. the grains of sand are supposed to be completely dissolvable. they are extremely not. also, the individual grains tend to be larger and more rigid, causing them to be more likely to stick inside. not to mention the fact that the dye they put in it to make it red and blue and all those other fancy colors will come off on your lizard, so you have to wonder if that can possibly be good for them...

    playsand...i have used playsand for a substrate. i don't wash it. i take a bucket of it and pour it from a height outside into another bucket so the wind blows most of the dust away, then i bake it in the oven to sterilize it. it works fine, i use it now for my cordylus and my skinks, but the grains are inconsistent and the geckos will eat it.

    i have tried reptisand. it is not bad. finer than calci-sand, and cleaner than playsand. but soooo expensive! besides, regardless if your gecko becomes obviously impacted or not, it WILL ingest the sand...they go around tasting everything all the time with their tongues...and if they don't think they're getting enough calcium they will instinctively eat their substrate.

    which moves us on to repticarpet. it's nice, i admit. i used to use it all the time, and i have a bunch of it cut out and folded up in my lizard supply cabinet. the problems with it are the aforementioned claws and teeth getting caught in it, and bacteria. being a fabric of sorts, when it gets wet whether from water dish or waste, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. and when you clean it, you have to be sure to sterilize it good to kill all that bacteria, then you have to worry about making sure the bleach is rinsed out good, it is a fabric after all. but other than those things, it can be pretty nice, it looks ok, and it's reusable so you don't need to be sinking tons of money into it.

    i have never used shelfliner, but have heard good things about it. butcher paper, paper towels, and other paper products have, i think, the same pro's and con's...affordable, convenient, easy, clean...just not bery attractive by any account. actually, right now on all of my adult geckos i am using a heavy, blue colored paper towel that i think came with a car cleaning kit. it is really great, i love its strength and thickness, and the blue is appealing to the eyes.

    the most natural look and the best overall is probably the slate, though. it is really easy to clean and disinfect, and relatively inexpensive at places like home depot. you could probably even ask and get broken tiles and pieces they can's sell for free or super cheap. the only thing there is to worry about there is if you have them tiled, then there are cracks where the geckos can get their feet and toes caught. that is a problem i have yet to troubleshoot, since i just use paper towel.

    wow, i can be long winded sometimes! :) i like your idea of the habiscape, though. you can also make your own - that kind of thing - but don't ask me how!


  13. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

    Thanks for you long winded input lola its very much appreciated.

    as for the habi-scape idea i think i have it worked out in my head just need to find out if i can cut it down a bit if i have to.

    Bitis: it says easy to clean so i dont know what it is made of probaly some type of sealed foam or something....
  14. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

  15. MIke_Haare

    MIke_Haare Elite Member

    looks like reptile carpet a lil' I personaly like sand more than anything because for me it'seasyier to clean and if you worried about impaction have a 2nd tank for feeding or something but I think sand looks better than anything else I mean you want to show off your reptiles and have towels as bedding (well my mom buys the stuff with all the lil bears and stuff on it :mad: ) I've got 3 geckos on sand (all of them are fine) and I see nothing that leads to impaction (trust me they poop enought to run a car :p )and they eat like horses (except my fat tailed gacko he still adjusting)my two leopards eat everyother day (that's what I heard to do) even the lil baby ate a cricket.
  16. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

    honestly i have been thinkin bout doing that, i do have a seperate "herp haven" container that i got for feeding them. but then again sand isnt the natural substrate for them. IM SO DANG CONFUSED STILL ITS NOT FUNNY.....
  17. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    Being confused is the first step to being knowledgeable.
    I still prefer the carpet but If i were to try to build a natural setting using sand I would definitely feed in a seperate container.
  18. Toadie78

    Toadie78 Elite Member

    i want natural and do have a seperate container so thats not a real issue. but then again im getting baby leos so i dont know if thats a factor
  19. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Don't use sand. The chances that you may end up with a chronic impaction are too real. Since none of us have the ability to "see" if sand is accumulating in the intestinal tract, we can't say for certainty that it isn't.

    People that claim they have used sand without any problems need to insert the word "yet" at the end of that sentence.

    None of us know if the sand is going to cause a problem in the future. Chronic impactions can take years before an impaction occurs or is noticeable.

    Feeding outside of the tank would obviously help deter some ingestion of substrate, but it would not remove it completely. Therefore, your leopard geckos would still be at risk.

    Seeing as you are getting babies, I would stick with paper towels in the beginning. They are inexpensive and are far safer than many other substrates. As the Leos mature, slate would be a good option.
  20. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    I second the slate idea. Its still natural, but its safe too. Plus it resembles their natural habitat a lot more than sand does anyway.
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