Tarantula terrarium – What you need to know?

Admittedly, spiders are not everyone’s creature and many people, especially women, are afraid of a spider gets too close, but they are extremely interesting creatures.

Their appearance alone is exciting and fascinating for lovers, so it is almost no wonder that more and more fans are deciding to keep a spider as a pet.

Above all, the many different species of tarantulas are enjoying increasing popularity and are therefore the most widely kept spiders for a reason.

However, in order to enable the animals to be kept in a species-appropriate manner, in which the spiders feel comfortable, are healthy and can grow old, a number of things must be observed.

In this article, we report on the appropriate keeping of tarantulas in a terrarium and what to consider with this.

What to know Before you choose the spider

Please do not just go out and buy the next best tarantula and a new terrarium.

It is always very important to find out about the animal in advance.

Getting to know the needs, studying the feeding behaviour and also the natural habitat should definitely be examined more closely in order to create such an environment for the animals.

Furthermore, of course, everything for the animal must be set up and purchased in advance in order to enable the perfect start into life together.

Which type of terrarium is right for a tarantula?

There are many different ways to keep the spiders in a terrarium.

For example, many take advantage of the opportunity to convert an aquarium, which is especially ideal for spiders who like to dig.

Incidentally, these include many spiders from Africa and Asia.

In addition, there are two other types of terrarium that are popular for keeping tarantulas.

On the one hand, there are models with so-called drop discs.

To open these versions, the front window is pushed up.

These have the advantage that they are really easy to use and do not impair the view of the terrarium.

They also make removing the spider and cleaning the terrarium really easy.

However, the disadvantage is that they are not suitable if the terrarium is to be on a shelf. So there must be a lot of space at the top.

There is also the model with a split front window, which can now be pushed open to the side.

These are also suitable for shelves if you want to place several terrariums next to each other.

These models are a bit more expensive to buy but also offer many advantages.

What size should the tarantula terrarium be?

Most spiders stay in a cave or in the immediate vicinity for their entire life, which means that a particularly large terrarium is not required.

On the contrary, small terrariums are advantageous for keeping tarantulas.

Tarantulas are so-called lurker hunters, which at their entrance of the cave waiting for the prey and then grab it.

This property should of course be observed by them.

You not only have to provide for a cave in the terrarium, but also for suitable prey.

We report in a separate article which diet is right for tarantulas.

The humidity is also very important and should always be checked.

If you put the tarantula in a particularly large terrarium to give it space to move around, you are doing it a disservice.

Here it could, unfortunately, happen that the animals starve to death, as the prey simply does not come near the cave and does not spin and does not go hunting, but would simply wait in front of the cave the whole time.

What terrarium sizes are best for arboreal spiders?

As the name suggests, the tree-dwelling spider species live mainly at lofty heights.

These are animals that are not quite as demanding as the soil types and are therefore easier to keep.

While a base of 25 x 25 cm is completely sufficient for the small tarantulas, you should use a terrarium with a base of 30 x 30 for a slightly larger animal.

The height of the animal also depends on the size of the animal.

However, the height should be between 30 cm and 50 cm.

As a rule of thumb, you can always use double the leg span in cm.

What terrarium size for the ground-dwelling spiders?

With the spiders that live on the ground, there is not much to consider when it comes to terrarium size.

As already written, spiders prefer things smaller.

Here, too, there is a rule of thumb that should simplify the purchase of a terrarium.

For the terrarium depth and the terrarium width, you should again orient yourself on the spider legs and choose one and a half times as much.

Of course, adding more space doesn’t hurt, but don’t overdo it.

Five or even ten times the leg span would definitely be too much of a good thing.

The exceptions

Of course, there are exceptions here too, which you should consider.

If you want to buy a young animal, for example, you don’t need to buy a smaller terrarium and change it at a later date.

Put the young animal in a terrarium from the beginning, the size of which is adapted to the final size of the animal, otherwise you have to move the spider after moulting, which would of course be associated with a lot of stress for the animal.

With small species of spiders, you can be a little more generous in terms of terrarium size.

Small spiders are usually much more lively than the larger species.

Terrarium height when keeping tarantulas?

The height of the terrarium plays a very important role, especially when it comes to safety.

The ground-dwelling tarantulas can also get the idea to climb.

In contrast to the animals that live in trees, the ground dwellers do not have such a distinctive hair cushion.

The hair pad is used to hold on smooth walls. So it can happen that the animal loses its grip on smooth areas and falls.

Even at a low height, it can happen that the animal is injured, such as breaking a leg.

In the event of such an injury, body fluid, the so-called hemolymph, escapes.

This is a life-threatening injury.

Furthermore, in the worst case, it can happen that the animal injures itself in the abdomen.

Unfortunately, in most cases, such an injury ends fatally for your darling.

For this reason, please make sure that the terrarium height is never greater than the leg span of the ground-dwelling spider.

You now have to add the substrate to this height.

However, it must be considered how the spider’s digging behaviour behaves.

There are species that dig a lot, but also spiders that dig less.

The substrate should therefore have a height between 3 – 5 cm.

For animals that bury themselves completely, the substrate should be 10 cm high.

With animals that even create entire cave systems, you should, as already mentioned above, use an aquarium.

Plants for the tarantula terrarium?

Plants have important tasks to fulfil in a terrarium and thus play a particularly important role in keeping tarantulas in a species-appropriate manner.

Of course, a terrarium that is equipped with beautiful plants is also much nicer to look at. Since tarantulas are, of course, rather shy animals, ground-dwelling species also like to use the plants as hiding places, while the tree-dwelling animals also like to integrate the plants into the construction of their home.

Plants have the task of regulating the humidity in the terrarium.

When the plants are watered, droppings, leftover food and other dirt are washed into the ground, which is then taken up again as fertilizer by the plant roots.

The roots also have the property of keeping the substrate nice and loose, which means that the substrate is prevented from settling and the subsequent rotting.

With the right plants, you can ensure that the substrate remains healthy for several years.

In order for the plants to fulfil their tasks, of course, you should not forget to care for them.

Above all, this means that the plants must be watered regularly.

In addition, depending on the type of plant, these have to be cut back every six months.

In a terrarium without plants, you would instead have to completely replace the substrate every six months, which would again be very stressful for the animals.

When buying plants, you should make sure that they are small-stature species that can easily withstand temperatures between 15 and 35 degrees and have no problems with a humidity of 45 – 99 per cent.

Since spiders like to completely transform a plant landscape into chaos within a few days, you should gradually use the plants in the terrarium.

So never put the tarantula in a completely planted terrarium, but always give the animal a certain period of time to get used to, after which you add a new plant.

Which plants are particularly suitable?

There are different types of plants that are particularly suitable for a terrarium with tarantulas.

In the case of small to medium-sized tarantula species, these are, for example, climbing ficus, the well-known hull claw or Fittonia or bromeliad.

Many owners also choose the climbing philodendron, for example.

For medium-sized to large species, plants such as wonder shrub, bow hemp or purple tute are often used. Efeutute and basket marants are also very suitable for a tarantula terrarium.

Of course, it can happen that there are always problems, for example, that plants perish or the spiders keep digging them up.

In such cases, you can of course also use artificial planting, which is of course not as beautiful in terms of appearance as real plants.

However, the tarantula itself does not care whether it is the wrong plant or not.

Of course, such a terrarium is easier to care for, but in contrast to this, you have to pay much more attention to the humidity and the formation of mould on the floor should never be left out of your sight, as the tasks of natural plants are now no longer necessary.

What substrate to use for the tarantula terrarium?

Finding the right substrate is easier than with many other terrarium inhabitants.

So normal potting soil is suitable for the spider.

However, this must not be fertilized under any circumstances.

Please never use normal garden or compost soil.

Bark mulch is also very popular with animals.

For tarantula species that dig heavily, palm soil that has a high proportion of sand and clay is very useful.

Vermiculite is also very suitable, which is otherwise mainly used in nurseries for growing different seeds.

This has the property of retaining moisture very well.

However, it is not suitable for burrowing spiders, only building-dwelling species.

Unfortunately, mould formation on the substrate in terrariums is a big problem that not only beginners have to deal with, but also professionals.

The fungal growth of the ground occurs due to the high humidity and warmth.

For this reason, it is important to choose the right substrate right from the start.

As soon as the floor shows slight mould formation, even in the smallest spot, the entire terrarium must be cleaned and the entire substrate must be replaced.

What light to use in tarantula terrarium?

Of course, the lighting in the terrarium is also very important.

Suitable fluorescent tubes are particularly suitable for this.

The normal daylight tubes, on the other hand, have never proven themselves, especially for the plants, because growth is so disturbed.

It is best to use special plant tubes.

These also have the property that they often give off enough heat for the ideal temperatures in the terrarium.

In addition, 20 W halogen spots can be used, with which the terrarium could be heated.

what Temperature should I keep in a tarantula terrarium?

Depending on which species of tarantula you have chosen, the temperatures can of course vary.

The average temperatures during the day are between 22 and 26 degrees, which can of course be achieved with special heat lamps.

These are attached above the terrarium and are therefore not a danger to the animals.

Please never attach them under the terrarium.

In the evening, the temperature must now be lowered and should be between 16 and 18 degrees.

These temperatures can be reached by simply turning off the heat lamps.


The species-appropriate keeping of tarantulas is particularly exciting, but only feasible if you deal with the animals and their individual needs in advance.

With the right terrarium, the right equipment and optimal nutrition, of course, nothing can go wrong and you will enjoy your rather unusual pet for a long time.

It is of course always important to adapt to the animal and respond to the individual requirements.