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Posted by bazmonkey on February 18, 2003 at 15:32:57:
In Reply to: hello ,,new here ,,need some help posted by Wa$ted on February 14, 2003 at 04:41:22:
If you search through the forum, you'll no doubt find a lot of posts about thaimin deficiency from goldfish...
I've had 4 garters for years on soley goldfish, and it's been fine.
If you've never had snakes, you don't know how nice it is to be able to feed mice. If you have the patience to wean a garter to eating mice, I suspect you'll prefer it. You can by them bulk, frozen, they aren't gooey, etc. Besides nutritional benefits, mice are just easier to deal with. If you're cool with feeding fish, go for it.
As for frogs, it's your call. Goldfish, thaimin-deficient or not, aren't the best choice for constant food. It's a good staple, but going to a pet store and buying a little frog every couple months couldn't hurt. If you decide to try and get it to eat mice, then it's not as beneficial; mice are a good staple diet.
Substrate: Astroturf is fine if you clean it very well. It can harbor bacteria and mold and what not, so it needs to be cleaned regularly, preferably in bleach solution, and dried fully.
Aspen is cheap. Just don't use pine, cedar, or sand. Your biggest concern with some sort of bedding as opposed to paper towels or turf is the snake ingesting pieces of substrate stuck to its food. Goldfish, in their gooey wetness attract substrate like a magnet. If you're liking turf, I'd buy enough to cover the tank twice, so you can clean one at your leisure while the other one is being used, so that you're more inclined to really clean the heck out of it.
One more idea: while the thamnophis aficionados here might not agree, you might want to look into a cornsnake as a first snake. It's really up to you, and having started on garters myself I can safely say that they are both excellent beginner snakes. The only difference is their size (corns are a little more substantial in size), and their eating (corns are almost always fed mice in captivity). Apart from coloration and whatnot, you may like the habits of corns better. Thay are both friendly, but in my experience corns aren't as "flighty".
It all comes down to your preference. Garters are about twice as cheap (though at $30, a corn isn't that much either), and they are more dirunal. Either way, have fun, and good luck!