As long as you are spot cleaning regularly, I would recommend a full change every 2-3 months.
If you are able to, you can buy larger substrate orders, say a years worth, and that will really help to bring the costs down. for example, instead of spending $32-33 dollars a block you can get it for $28-29 if you buy a ten pack of ReptiChips or CocoBlox. Sure it is more upfront, but it should last around a year and will save you about $40.
It will not cause a fire but I have never heard of anyone doing this. I would say to not do it, but I am going to wait for others to give their input first.
I feel like you’re changing substrate way more frequently than needed if a 10 pack of that only lasts a year. That stuff is compressed and expands wildly when you use it. I can’t imagine someone with 2 snakes going through 10 blocks a year, I have upwards of 20, and I go through 1-2 blocks a year at most.
I guess it is coming from me having a skink where you want as deep of a layer as possible. A block will fill a 4x2x2 about 4 inches. I like having deep substrate for all my animals as it helps with humidity for humid species and allows for burrowing opportunities for them even if their species isn’t known for digging.
As others have said, if you spot clean regularly you can go a long time between full substrate replacements. Keep it clean to reduce bacteria growth. The drier you keep the substrate the less bacteria will proliferate, but dry substrate is contrary to boosting humidity to a good BP range for most keepers. It’s a balance between enough moisture for decent humidity and not so much to grow bacteria/mold/fungus. Luckily coco husk seems to be resilient to mold/fungus growth. Spot clean vigilantly and you can go months between full substrate replacements.
I would not recommend baking coco husk to kill bacteria/mold/fungus with the intent to reuse it. That’s not going to get rid of trace amounts of poo and pee. Just toss it and use fresh.
I have a friend who bakes his coco husk prior to using to kill bugs (probably isopods or other creepy crawlies that don’t harm snakes) that he claims sometimes come with brand new coco husk blocks. It’s worked for him so far, so good for him. Some people “claim” that their collection caught snake mites from coco husk blocks. I’m pretty skeptical this is happening; if one person was able to prove it, that would be a huge reputation destroyer. There are MANY avenues to getting infected with snake mites (other than infected coco husk blocks) that people don’t think about. You have to be very vigilant to avoid getting snake mites. I would think baking coco husk would kill snake mites and eggs. Probably freezing coco husk would kill then too. I personally would not bother baking or freezing coco husk to get rid of bugs, seems like a big hassle and there might not even be bugs in there to begin with. Now if I experienced the bugs, I might change my tune.
Even if it’s just a myth…there was a reason I wouldn’t buy bedding from a local pet store years ago. And that was every snake in the store having mites.
They can travel quite a distance from snake cages and if they’re selling bedding nearby it’s easy to pick up a hitchhiker.
Yeah, I would not buy anything organic from there for that reason. But if you’re buying substrate from Amazon, Wal-mart, Target (places that don’t sell snakes) it should be snake mite free.
Now, Freedom Breeder breeds snakes and manufacturers CocoBlox. Hopefully they don’t have snake mites. Or hopefully the snakes and CocoBlox manufacturing sites are separate physical locations and none of the workers go from one site to the other. I gotta believe huge breeders take the correct precautions to not have snake mites to begin with. Or am I being naive?
Have to agree agree with @nswilkerson1. Spot cleaning for 2 snakes, one block should last you a year. This stuff is easy for spot cleaning, it does not mold very easily, or brake down. Now that you have large tanks (depending on how thick you use it), you might need 2 per year, but that is still not bad. Since it expands, a thin layer then moisturizing it should be enough. To thick, then you are fighting a heat pressure problem and just wasting it.
We use to do a thick base. But then found that they would push it aside and not use it. So we only do a thin layer. If your base surface is at correct temps with a thick layer, and they push it away, then it could be too hot for them. Just watch temps and behavior.
If you use that much, it should last you a long time with just spot cleaning. You could go 1/2 year before needing a complete change. But you will have them real messy times that can force a complete change sooner then expected.