View Full Version : About those "no additive potting soils", can they be trusted?

28th June 2012, 19:38
The A. Macrodactylum I discussed on an earlier thread has now fully morphed and virtually overnight decided he doesn't like water anymore.

I am preparing a traditional mole salamander setup for a juvenile but I'm having my doubts about what kind of substrates to use. I was mostly thinking of the coconut fiber and potting soil combo with a piece of cork to hide under, but I am terrified of using one that has something in it that will poison it.

I hear people talk about non additive top soils but I'd like to hear specifically what brand/type people have had success with.

If anyone could give a recipe for their soil mix that would certainly help as well.

And actually if anyone uses the unbleached paper towel approach what kind do you trust?

28th June 2012, 20:33
Potting soils are different to regular topsoil. Potting soil implies it's for potting plants and will usually be formulated for feeding pot plants. I generally avoid anything with the word potting in the name just to be safe. Here in the UK you can buy bags of screened and sterelized organic topsoil. This is just soil, similar to that which you would find in a garden border rather than a formulated compost.

If you can't find topsoil rehydrated coco fibre will be fine. Some keepers mix topsoil and coco fibre 50/50 to give it better consistancy/drainage properties.

Brian M
29th June 2012, 01:04
I think the tree fern mixed with coco fiber works really well.....though the tree fern can be a little pricey. Also if you plan on using part of the tank as a pond area you'll need to soak the tree fern and coco fiber. The tannins leach really bad so use a old bucket and rinse several times before introducing to your setup.

29th June 2012, 10:37
You might find this article helpful:
Caudata Culture Articles - Vivarium Substrates (http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/substrate2.shtml)

I have been using forest soil and leaf litter mixed with coco fibre for my marbled salamanders. I also get different mosses from the same forest.