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Old 05-08-17, 12:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

Hi all.

I still haven't gotten my children's python yet. (I know, it has been months since I first started asking.) I was recently given a 40gal so I think I should be getting it within the month. However, I recently became interested in bioactive enclosures.

I will be using a mix of sand and soil. I know which plants and pieces of wood I will be using. However, I do not know which bugs to use. Is it possible to go bioactive with substrate that is pretty much 100% dry? If so, which detrivores should I be using?
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Old 05-08-17, 12:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

I don't know much about children's pythons. Do they require a very dry setup? I tried a dry bioactive setup once, and I know people do them. But, frankly, I don't think they work well.

But, assuming they don't need bone dry, just make the substrate deep. Add a pipe or two that goes underneath to the bottom of the tank. Add water through the pipes, so you're never soaking the top layer. You're essentially providing the water from underneath. Then, turn any waste under the soil so that it can be taken care of by the micro fauna. You can occasionally water the top of the dirt if you decide it's too dry.

As far as bugs, the vast majority of the work in a bioactive tank is done at the microscopic level by bacteria and whatnot in the soil. Throw in some earthworms, springtails, and isopods for good measure, but they're really just helpers.
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Old 05-08-17, 01:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

The following is from a zoologist I know who has all the Antaresia sp. in response to a similar question on a group I'm a member:

'This all depends on which species of antaresia you're referring to. The care requirements of all of them is quite similar however they still differ somewhat. I've found maculosa and stimsoni to be relatively active but childreni not quite so much and perthensis even less so. But none are really overly active in all honesty; most pythons aren't.
Childreni and perthensis are from slightly more arid areas of Australia so hot spot of 35c seems to do them good; you could up it to 45 as that has been recorded in their native range but I would only do this if the enclosure size was good enough to allow an area to cool to around 24; this is difficult in small enclosures. A dry substrate. I don't spray them ever. They have waterbowls large enough to bathe in but they never do.
Maculosa are from more forested areas and have a very wide range. You could keep them in a dry forest setup with a sandy soil and bark as a substrate with branches. Temp wise i dont keep them above 32. Again I never spray them but it probably wouldn't hurt to if you did. I find the whole idea of specifying an exact humidity % stupid anyway as nowhere has exact continuous levels of humidity. And people don't seem to realise that common household humidity is 50 to 60%
You could probably keep maculosa with 70% humidity but to do this I'd just move the water bowl nearer the heat source. That brings it up enough.
As for UV, like a 5.0 on for 12 hours will probably be enough.
I feed them all on mice; maculosa will take chicks. The others won't as chicks are too big.
I can talk more about their natural history and any other questions fire away but need to stop rambling now as I'm on the train and need to get off '

Hope this is of some help...
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Old 05-08-17, 01:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

Note also there is a subtle difference between bioactive and naturalistic. Some snakes, due to their requirements make bioactive difficult - particularly those who prefer a more arid environment.

Don't forget the bugs and grubs need something to eat in between a snake defecating and that can be more challenging to provide in desert set ups. Not impossible just more difficult.

For example I'm not sure I'll move my L olivaceus to full bio rather keep them in a naturalistic set up I can and spot clean / deep clean.

In essence don't get too hung up on the bioactive aspect at the expense of realism if this makes sense.
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Old 05-08-17, 01:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

Haha Danny! That was a response to my thread on the facebook group! (I am Patrick M.) I've been messaging back and forth with Tom about a proper setup. I'm seeing differing opinions on which bugs are needed and/or will even survive arid conditions. Thus, posting here as well.

Thanks for the advice both of you. I'm thinking I will stick with a "naturalisic" setup as opposed to bioactive. I'll experiment with various bugs and maybe something will work out.
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Old 05-08-17, 02:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

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Originally Posted by Skipper7 View Post
Haha Danny! That was a response to my thread on the facebook group! (I am Patrick M.) I've been messaging back and forth with Tom about a proper setup. I'm seeing differing opinions on which bugs are needed and/or will even survive arid conditions. Thus, posting here as well.

Thanks for the advice both of you. I'm thinking I will stick with a "naturalisic" setup as opposed to bioactive. I'll experiment with various bugs and maybe something will work out.
Small world! Yeah you're not going to get much better advice than from Tom (it was me that tagged him for you in your op!). He's somewhat of a python expert (He's a ling way to achieving his goal of having all 40+ species of python in his collection).

Nice kid too - I meet him every so often ast the main expo here I the uk.

The latest issue of the main reptile magazine here has an article this month on arid bioactive setups. Once I've got round to reading it I'll post anything of note
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Old 05-08-17, 04:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

A small world it is! Thanks for tagging him. He has been a huge help. Please do post anything you learn. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on arid bioactive. And I would prefer not to buy a bunch of bugs and have them die on me over and over. All of the species native to my area are temperate and would die as well.

Is there a good way to get plants growing without a bioactive setup? Is there a safe fertilizer? The local garden shop has the plants, but lacks knowledge on what ferts are safe. Can't blame them though lol!

And eminart. Thanks for the suggestion. It is something to try. However, the gentleman I spoke to made it clear that the childreni species is found in the vary arid areas so I am unsure if I have the space to provide the wet soil and keep the enclosure dry. I am wary of trying this with a species I am largely new to. However, is is certainly a possibility for my beardie!! I am building a bigger cage this summer and will add some extra vertical space and try it out.
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Old 05-08-17, 04:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

The more extreme desert setups do better as just a thin soil/sand mix, no reason for a drainage layer since you don't wet much, and beetles. Mealworms being easiest to get. They can live in totally dry substrate if you throw in a piece of moisture like potato chunks or keep a damp spot and the beetles will roam far into the dry and hot to eat waste or anything else they find. It's not quite as stripped clean and broken down into final basically compost as a damper tank but it doesn't need to be because the dryness leading to that lack of bacteria and rot leads to a lack of bacteria and rot lol That negates many health issues and anything that doesn't stay clean enough can often be given a rough scrub with plain water to remove waste or prey goo if something goes uneaten too long or squishes wrong and then left to dry again.
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Old 05-08-17, 05:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

I wasn't aware they were from such an arid climate. But, admittedly, I don't know much about them. Good luck with whatever you try.
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Old 05-08-17, 08:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

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Originally Posted by eminart View Post
I wasn't aware they were from such an arid climate. But, admittedly, I don't know much about them. Good luck with whatever you try.
And, admittedly, I didnt make that clear! Your suggestion is still a neat idea that I am keen to try elsewhere.

Akane- Thank you! I will try that! Should I buy mealworms or the dark lying Beatles themselves? Will superworms work as well?
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Old 05-10-17, 09:45 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Bioactive Antaresia Enclosure

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Originally Posted by dannybgoode View Post
Note also there is a subtle difference between bioactive and naturalistic. Some snakes, due to their requirements make bioactive difficult - particularly those who prefer a more arid environment.

Don't forget the bugs and grubs need something to eat in between a snake defecating and that can be more challenging to provide in desert set ups. Not impossible just more difficult.

For example I'm not sure I'll move my L olivaceus to full bio rather keep them in a naturalistic set up I can and spot clean / deep clean.

In essence don't get too hung up on the bioactive aspect at the expense of realism if this makes sense.
If I was going to do an arid bioactive setup I would probably search out help from the monitor people. They seem to have some unique methods for their arid species.
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