Details on Tarantula Housing, Water, and Food
Housing | Home Furnishings & Substrate | Water Dishes | Food

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Housing:
As mentioned, housing for tarantulas is easily acquired or made.  Unlike most other pets, the actual animal is usually the primary expenditure. The options are numerous and could range from a small plastic storage box with holes drilled in it to an elaborate configuration of screen and glass and wood. All costs are approximations in US dollars.
Pre-Made Plastic Containers
Advantages: Lightweight, well-ventilated, have easy access doors
Disadvantages: Too ventilated for tropical species;
lid is noisy
Cost: $5 for smaller ones, $9 for a "shoebox" size, up to $16 for larger ones
I have used these for species that enjoy a drier climate.  If you find you need to raise the humidity, the vents can be covered with clear packing tape (sticky side out).
Glass Aquarium
Advantages: Well-sealed, easy to clean, very clear
Disadvantages: Expensive lid must be purchased or constructed.  Not easily drilled to regulate humidity.  Heavy and unsafe compared to plastic.  Most are too tall for non-burrowing terrestrials.  Too costly for large collections. Screen lids are traps for a tarantula's claws.
Cost:  $10 for a 10 gallon; $9 for a pre-made lid
I don't use these anymore.
Plastic Storage Container
Advantages: Cheap, easily drilled, quieter opening and closing than brittle plastic, retains humidity, available in a wide variety of sizes.
Disadvantages: Some are hard to see through
Cost: $2-4 for a "sweater box"
I use these for burrowers and terrestrials. I buy tall, clear "file boxes" for burrowers and shallow ones (pictured) for non-burrowers.
Plastic Jar for Arboreals
Advantages: Cheap, easily drilled, very clear
Disadvantages: Lid screws on from the top, where the tarantula may set up home.  Difficult to clean and change the water.
Cost: $3
I don't use these anymore
Plexiglass Container:
Advantages: Light, very clear, easily cleaned, 
easily drilled; the design is up to the user.
Disadvantages: Construction is time consuming
Cost: A $17 sheet of .100" thick plexiglass will make one and a half 10x14" enclosures
I primarily use these for arboreals

The sliding door of the plexiglass container is secured with a pin

The corners are screwed together for easy deconstruction

The door slides out, and only a very minimal amount of silicone is used on the bottom panel

 
House Furnishings:
There are many substrates and decorations that can be used.   From left to right:
Sphagnum moss ($3 a bag), clay pot ($0.40), fake plants ($2), topsoil ($3 a bag), cork bark ($8/pound), and peat moss ($3 a bag).  Ensure that there are NO pesticides and fertilizers in anything you use.  Also, avoid plain sand, bark chips, gravel, cedar shavings, and other mammal/reptile beddings.
Water:

This lid off of a peanut butter jar makes a handy water dish.


All of these screw on caps will make good water dishes.  For smaller spiders, there are plastic lids on milk caps and Gatorade jars.
This arboreal's water dish is situated off the ground in a notch cut in the cork bark.  It is refilled via a straw inserted through a hole in the top. 

This sprayer bottle can be adjusted to mist lightly or squirt a steady stream.  It was $1.39, but an empty window cleaner bottle could be used if it were VERY THOROUGHLY rinsed. 

Food:
Tarantulas do need a variation in their diet, but if a multitude of small prey items is not available, variating the diet of what is on hand will suffice.  It is quite possible that spiders need carbohydrates, and cholesterol actually supplies a precursor necessary for growth (Amalin 695).  To ensure that your tarantulas are getting adequate nourishment, it is a good idea to feed crickets table scraps a few hours or the day before introducing them to a spider.
These crickets are enjoying a last meal of banana, tomato, and cantaloupe.  Note how their food is kept off the substrate and the substrate itself is completely dry.  This prevents the crickets from laying eggs and retards fungus growths or undesirable pests such as mites. The brown tube protruding from this cricket's rear is called an "ovipositor" and indicates that it is a female.  She will stick this tube into moist soil and lay eggs the first chance she gets.  I used to snip the ovipositors off at the base with scissors before presenting crickets to my tarantulas in hopes that the enclosure wouldn't soon be filled with baby crickets that pester the spider.  As it turns out, I've observed the female crickets laying eggs despite the absence of the ovipositor; the act of cutting them off was simply useless torture.

The larvae of the beetle Zophobas morio, otherwise known as "superworms," are a good source of protein.  Like crickets, they can be fed fresh vegetables prior to introducing them to your spider.  However, these will attempt to burrow into the substrate as soon as they hit it, so it is best to put a few in a dish such as a peanut butter jar lid so that the tarantula may have easy access.


 

 
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