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JackAsp   Cphill58   JackAsp   T-platinum   JackAsp  
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 De-Worming a Live Terrarium. Suggestions?

After almost four years, my cane toad has nematodes again. (She was in bad shape when I got her.) I don’t know if there was a trace left over last time that eventually multiplied, or if they’re from a bad bug or a potted plant root-ball or what.

Her weight’s okay, but her appetite’s dropped. Used to be, if I had roaches she’d eat about 5 days a week except before a shed and if I had hornworms she’d eat every single day no matter what, even if she was ready to shed AND had seconds the night before. Now, it takes hornworms just to get her to eat two meals a week. With roaches, she’ll eat maybe once a week.

So, by dumb luck she ate a hornworm last night and then plopped out a big fat dump today, which I noticed just as my western hognose was also dropping out an incredibly foul abomination that I figured MUST be parasitic in nature. So I bagged up both samples and hit the vet.

The snake was clean, but the toad wasn’t. First time in history a hognose snake may have saved a toad.

It’s a simple Panacur treatment for the toad. But she’s in a large naturalistic terrarium with live plants established in it, and if there’s a toad-safe way to kill any parasites that are in the substrate without having to rip out all the plants and start over, I’d like to go that option. I set it up for a minimalist cleaning technique because she does not do well with being handled. Sphagnum substrate for bacterial retardant, food dish to avoid sphagnum ingestion, water dish that she graciously poops in to make cleanup easy, and lots of plants to suck up any ammonmia that sneaks under my radar. What this setup does not have, unfortunately, is worm control.

Can anybody think of a fish medication, for example, that I could pour in that would be a safe method of substrate fumigation? How about even just something that I could treat the plant’s roots with in while I cooked and cooled the sphagnum? I don’t even care really if it kills their aerobic soil bacteria as a side effect, there are easy ways to re-seed that.

Or... I’ve heard of a trick that involves removing the animal, sealing the cage up, and using dry ice to fill the cage with carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide, being a heavy gas as well as a cold one, mostly sinks into the ground, suffocating the worms, but the plants are unharmed by it, then after a couple days you crack a window, open the cage up, and re-seed the root-bacteria. The complete dork in me kind of really wants to use THIS method, just because it sounds so cool. Does anybody have any idea what amount of dry ice would be appropriate for a 48X24X24 terrarium? I don’t want underkill, obviously, but I also don’t want to trigger off an "Ice-Nine" effect and freeze all the plants solid.

Right now Hengo’s still in her normal cage setup. I have one hornworm left, and it’s so huge I can’t believe it hasn’t pupated days ago. When I got home (again) tonight I plopped it into her dish and I’m going to wait a day or three to get this one more good solid meal into her before I start stressing her out with meds and habitat changes. At that point, how much I end up stripping and scrubbing the cage will depend on whether or not I have a viable alternative. I can do it the old-fashioned way if I have to, but since I’m not going to do it right this second anyway I lose nothing by exploring other options.

03/29/11  11:48pm


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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2212113

 De-Worming a Live Terrarium. Suggestions?

Jack...dry ice will freeze plant matter IMO. Just getting the stuff is hard enough. Have you thought about getting a C02 paint ball canister for 20.00 and using that? IDK ...I euthanize rodents often enough and never thought about the yield ....4x2x2 sounds like a huge space to gas.

Here is what I purchased at a paint ball specialty store...not Sportmart or Big 5 ...too pricey

20 0z. canister, can’t recall if they have bigger but my guess is they do.
25.00 + 4.00 for refills. Canister is 19.99 valve is 5.00 , hose free, first fill up free. This C02 is cold and deadly...will it fill a 2x2x4 and do the job ???

Good luck ...

03/31/11  02:25am


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  Message To: Cphill58   In reference to Message Id: 2212309

 De-Worming a Live Terrarium. Suggestions?

If I find a source that can figure out the answer to that question, then I think it would work. I’ve seen some extremely complex formulae for computing carbon dioxide expansion rates, but all I really want to know is whether I’m dealing with, say the 16 square feet that I actually want , or 61 square feet! If it’s 20 instead of 16, I can live with that; I just don’t want to turn the entire ROOM into a gas chamber. There’s only so tightly I can seal the cage, especially if I don’t want anything pressure-damged.

04/02/11  01:14am


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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2212561

 De-Worming a Live Terrarium. Suggestions?

I lay question to this method. If teddy bear nematodes have been taken into dead space and exposed for 3 days to no air, I doubt that co2 will kill them. I dunno, but it sounds kinda fishy to me.

06/09/11  05:00am


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  Message To: T-platinum   In reference to Message Id: 2223683

 De-Worming a Live Terrarium. Suggestions?

I’d be curious to hear more about that experiment, but.. yeah. I ultimately reached pretty much the same conclusion. If it takes three doses of internal medication, one external habitat blast isn’t gonna do it, that’s for sure.
Soaked all the plants, rootballs and all, in a Melafix solution. Even bought and treated a unch of new ones to cover whatever didn’t survive the whole schpiel. Too many plants are not a worry; a big fat cane toad will flatten down whatever it needs to. Meanwhile, I heat-sterilized the sphagnum. Sterilized the cage itself with Betadine.
Took me all day, but she only had to spend one afternoon outside of her acustomed habitat.
More interesting solutions are certainly more interesting... but the animal does not care.

06/29/11  12:12am

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