Mold can be a terrifying sight inside a tarantula enclosure. This is especially true for new tarantula keepers and those who have never seen mold inside a tarantula enclosure before. Preventing mold is the best way to deal with it but removing it isn’t tricky.
Prevent enclosure mold by regularly removing waste from the enclosure and monitoring the humidity levels. Removing mold means rehousing the tarantula and disinfecting the enclosure to remove mold spores. Springtails will also eat mold in the enclosure to prevent growth.
Preventing mold is the best way to deal with the problem, and doing this is critical. Knowing how to deal with mold in a tarantula enclosure ahead of time will help keep your stress levels in check when it finally appears.
How to Prevent Tarantula Enclosure Mold
The enclosure must be well ventilated to control the humidity levels to prevent mould. The enclosure must be cleaned regularly to reduce mold growth in dirty areas. Adding springtails to the enclosure will help clean the enclosure and prevent mold growth. Sterilizing accessories will also reduce mold outbreaks.
Mold will grow in very humid places, so increasing the enclosure ventilation will make it harder for the mold to grow. While tarantulas need some humidity, if the enclosure is growing mold then it’s most likely too humid for them. Ventilation allows the humidity to escape and helps to limit mold growth.
While deep cleaning is rarely needed for tarantula enclosures, “spot cleaning” is necessary. This means doing a small amount of cleaning to remove mess such as the meal remains, any unwanted food and tarantula poop. Cleaning these things up as soon as possible reduces mould growth in those areas. Active spot cleaning allows you to stay on top of the cleanliness without taking too much time.
Springtails are a fantastic addition to a tarantula enclosure and are necessary for a bioactive enclosure. Springtails are omnivores that will also eat mold and mold spores as part of their regular diet. They will not hurt your tarantula and eat some of the waste produced by your tarantula inside the enclosure. Including springtails is a good idea for mold prevention and to help with the hygiene of the enclosure.
While controversial, sterilizing some enclosure accessories will help reduce the chance of a mold outbreak. This will not completely stop mold growth, but if the accessories have some direct from nature, it’s a good idea to do this anyway. Sterilizing accessories will also kill any harmful microbes and unwanted animals that might have hitchhiked on the item.
What Causes Tarantula Enclosure Mold?
If a tarantula enclosure has mold, this means it is very humid and most likely does not have good ventilation. A dirty enclosure with old food increases the chance of mold growth. Some enclosure accessories are more likely to mold than others.
Mold thrives in conditions that are damp, humid and wet. A humid tarantula enclosure without good ventilation is perfect for mold to grow. All environments have mold spores, and when the conditions are right, the mold will start to grow out of control. Tarantula enclosure mold is not that different to mold that can grow in houses (https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm).
It’s natural for mold to grow on decaying plants or animal matter. Too much waste in the tarantula enclosure will increase the chance of mold growth. Leftover food and poop can lead to mold growth because mold plays a significant role in decomposition. molds are critical for decomposition and breaking down organic waste into something more beneficial for the environment, such as carbon.
Particular wood and accessories are more likely to mold than others. Those items are exposed to more mold spores than commercial products. Taking things from nature and directly placing them in the enclosure increases the chance of mold. It’s possible to kill most mold spores by sterilizing the items.
How to Kill Tarantula Enclosure Mold
If there is a small amount of mold in the enclosure, it can be scooped out and removed from the enclosure. Adding springtails to the enclosure will help control the mold levels. It’s impossible to stop a severe mold outbreak while the tarantula is still inside. The tarantula must be moved to a new enclosure for a severe outbreak.
Killing tarantula enclosure mold is possible, but it shouldn’t be done while the tarantula is still inside. It’s best to remove the tarantula and house them in a new enclosure while dealing with the mold outbreak.
The safest way to kill enclosure mold is to sterilize the areas with mold. Sterilizing the enclosure will kill the mold and mold spores, but this is often unnecessary. There are other ways to remove mold from a tarantula enclosure.
Springtails will eat mold and help to kill any mold outbreak in the enclosure. This takes time but introducing them to a bioactive enclosure is also an ideal way to help prevent mold inside the enclosure.
Do I need to kill Tarantula Enclosure Mold?
Killing tarantula enclosure mold is not always helpful. Addressing the environmental conditions inside the enclosure should naturally kill the mold and prevent further growth. Explosive mold growth is a sign that the conditions inside the enclosure are not right.
It’s not possible to kill all mold and mold spores permanently. Killing any mold inside the enclosure can help slow an explosive growth period, but this is a temporary solution. The key is to prevent mold growth by ensuring the conditions in the enclosure are right for your tarantula but not right for the mold to grow.
How to Sterilize Tarantula Enclosure Accessories
Non-organic items like a water dish can be cleaned with animal-safe soap and water. Using bleach or other chemicals may be dangerous to your tarantula. Organic accessories like wood and cork bark hides can be boiled to kill any bacteria or mold. The substrate can be baked in the oven.
Sterilizing the substrate will kill any mold spores, bacteria, and small animals inside it, such as springtail. Living soils are good for the health of the enclosure, and the tiny animals in them will help keep it clean. Springtails and soil mites will help eat the waste produced by your tarantula for good hygiene.
The substrate should be spread out evenly across a baking sheet and placed into the oven. The timing and heat can vary depending on how much substrate needs to be sterilized, but a higher temperature works well. Any substrate can be baked at 250 Degrees Celsius ( Gas Mark 9) for around 30 minutes to 1 hour.
If organic items have been taken from outside for the enclosure, sterilizing them is a good idea. For wood and cork bark, they can be sterilized by rinsing them with hot water before baking in the oven. The items must be baked while still damp to prevent them from being damaged by the oven, making them useless. The wood and cork bark should be baked at 150 Degrees Celsius (Gas Mark 2) for 1 – 2 hours.
Is White Mold Dangerous to my Tarantula?
Fuzzy white mold is harmless to tarantulas. There’s no need to be extremely concerned about white mold since this will not hurt your living tarantula. Mold feeds from decaying organic matter, which means it’s almost always harmless.
White mold cannot infect your tarantula or hurt them. This is called saprophytic mold (https://www.rhs.org.uk/biodiversity/saprophytic-fungi), and it cannot enter living cells. Mold of this type cannot harm a healthy tarantula. There are a few opportunistic parasites within this group that may attack a tarantula, but only if a poor environment weakens them.
There are also entomopathogenic fungus (https://sustain.round.glass/photo-story/zombie-fungus/) that use arachnids as a host, such as the Cordyceps fungus. This type of dangerous fungus is very rare but difficult to detect. Entomopathogens are silent killers, and there are few visible symptoms if the tarantula is infected. The parasitic fungus will only break through the exoskeleton of a tarantula once the animal is already dead. Only wild-caught tarantulas are likely to catch one of these.
Do I need to Rehouse my Adult Tarantula if the Enclosure has Mold?
If there is a small amount of mold inside the enclosure, it is not necessary to rehouse the tarantula unless the environmental conditions are very poor. Mold is normal in humid environments and can be controlled through proper care. Adding ventilation and regular spot cleaning should prevent mold growth.
An adult tarantula will not be bothered by mold unless it has grown out of control. If there is a lot of mold growth inside the enclosure, this means the conditions are wrong, and you must fix this. Not all tarantulas come from regions with very high humidity levels, so ensure the enclosure is suitable for that species.
Should I Rehouse Tarantula Slings if there is Enclosure Mold?
Rehousing a tarantula spiderling if mold inside the enclosure is not needed unless there is an extreme amount of mold. Rehousing a spiderling due to a severe mold outbreak is the last resort.
Tarantula slings will not be bothered by some mold, but this can signify a bigger problem. If the enclosure can grow lots of mold, the environmental conditions aren’t right. Too much humidity can be dangerous for a tarantula, especially a spiderling. It’s best to monitor the situation and address the environmental problems to bring the mold growth under control.
Can Springtails Prevent mold in a Tarantula Enclosure?
While there is no way to completely prevent mold inside a tarantula enclosure, adding springtails can help prevent a severe mold outbreak. Springtails will eat mold and help keep the enclosure clean for your tarantula.
Springtails are a crucial part of a bioactive enclosure and help control mold levels inside any enclosure. Mold will not grow in a dry enclosure unless there’s food waste left unremoved for a long time. While most springtails sold are native to humid environments, some are native to arid regions. Springtails may only be needed for enclosures with a more humid environment.
Will more Ventilation Prevent Mold?
Humid Tarantula enclosures and humid enclosures must be well ventilated to reduce the risk of explosive mold growth. As mold will grow in high humid environments, adding more ventilation will make it harder for the mold to grow. It may not prevent mold growth, but this will prevent a severe mold outbreak.
Increasing the number of ventilation holes in the enclosure will help control the humidity levels, which better manages the mold level. With enough ventilation, mold will not grow inside the enclosure and will naturally die. In humid regions adding more ventilation might not help with mold growth depending on the conditions in the room where the tarantula enclosure is.
How Often Should I clean the Tarantula Enclosure to Prevent Mold?
To prevent tarantula enclosure mold, the enclosure should be cleaned regularly. The spot cleaning method ensures any food leftovers are removed within 24 hours after the tarantula eats. Molts should also be removed. Doing this will prevent and limit mold growth.
Ensuring good hygiene levels will prevent mold from growing out of control inside the tank. Deep cleans are not needed and will stress the tarantula. Spot cleaning to remove obvious waste will drastically reduce the chance of mold growth.
We have a more detailed article about cleaning tarantula tanks here [INSERT LINK TO FUTURE ARTICLE FROM THIS BATCH]
Mold can seem scary, but it’s often not as bad as it initially seems. Most mold inside a tarantula enclosure will not harm the arachnid, and dangerous molds are extremely rare. Deadly parasitic molds may infect wild-caught tarantulas and other arachnids before being sold as pets. Captive-bred animals will carry no risk of hazardous molds or parasites.
Preventing mold is easy as long as the enclosure is well ventilated and does not contain anything taken from nature. Any accessories from outside should be sterilized before it enters the tarantula enclosure. Springtails can also help to clean the enclosure and prevent mold growth. Mold spores are everywhere, so it’s impossible to stop mold outbreaks permanently, but it is possible to prevent and limit the growth.