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Old 10-28-13, 06:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Why do you Natural Viv it?

Out of curiosity, why did you decide to use a natural vivarium? Why do you keep using one?

I started with my son's beardie, actually. He wasn't as thorough about cleaning what we call Beardie Bombs as he needed to be, and I thought bioactive substrate might solve some problems and give her some interesting stimulation. He eventually went to a slate tile substrate because he didn't like taking care of the bioactive substrate.

I pretty much fell in love with seeing her sunning herself on a limb, surrounded by dirt and sansavaria. I got a sense of peace from it that I don't get from the usual sort, so when I decided to get Spike (milk snake), it was naturally going to be a natural viv. For a while, I had him in aspen shavings. There was a bug problem that I freaked out about, before I started trolling the net about natural vivs and learned a few things. 'Cuz, sheeeesh. After his next shed in aspen, I went straight back to a natural viv and that's the way it will stay. He's healthier and seems much more content. He likes to sleep in the substrate, and he keeps a regular schedule. He exhibits hunting behavior like clockwork, and investigates the plants. Aside from his time in the aspen, his sheds have been smooth and his scales are bright and healthy. In the aspen, which became repti-carpet, he needed to be soaked in water on occasion, which he did not like. It was a booger to keep the humidity in his comfort zone and it showed. Now? He's bright eyed and shiny tailed. The pothos (Fredriguez the Conquerer) grows fast enough to vary his home. He has a water dish, but he really prefers to drink water from the leaves of plants whenever they've got puddles. I'm thinking of getting him a bromeliad for this purpose.

So, I keep him in a natural viv because I like and he seems to like it a lot better, as well. If he'd seemed better off in a different substrate, I would have been less happy, but he would have been in his different substrate. Plants can go in pots on the outside of a viv just as easily as they can grow in the substrate inside a viv.
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Old 10-28-13, 06:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

So do you use bio active substrate with a screen top? I'd like to do it but my enclosures are front opening with a solid top, I'd imagine the humidity would be close to 100%.
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Old 10-28-13, 07:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

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Originally Posted by Mikoh4792 View Post
So do you use bio active substrate with a screen top? I'd like to do it but my enclosures are front opening with a solid top, I'd imagine the humidity would be close to 100%.
I've got Spike in an exo-terra front opening with a screen top. Half of the viv is covered in the day light fixture and I have a blue-light lamp for heat over the screen portion. There's a plenty of space for evaporation. Keeping the soil at the proper moisture level was a challenge to figure out, but not a problem once I did. Of course, then we moved and I have to figure it out all over again.

The humidity is usually in the same range as the house humidity, even after I water his cage. The water in his drinking bowl evaporates at about the same rate as a similar sized bowl outside of the cage under a desk lamp.
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Old 03-03-14, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

My uromastyx has a natural setup and loves it. He can get to a humid hide so that he doesn't loose so much moisture to the air. Something people neglect these guys in my opinion. I go with natural vivs because thats how they evolved. If they were to do better on paper towels they would have adapted because obviously that isn't available
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Old 03-10-14, 03:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

It's a shame how many uro's I've seen in a little tiny tank with newspaper of paper towels.
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Old 04-16-14, 09:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

I gave up thinking about $ and breeding and gave up animals altogether. then i came back to them and just enjoy looking at them. I tend not to enjoy looking at too artificial an environment when trying to relax, so natural or nothing for me now. Caring for the plants in the tank is kind of relaxing in its own way. I could see it being great for people with no land/garden.
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Old 04-16-14, 10:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

I have a very hard time keeping plants alive, but I try to have planted enclosures for my guys! Lol They love rubbing on the plants, and making dens under/around them. Except Manny... he goes all "RAWR, Godzilla!" and just smashes everything (:
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Old 04-16-14, 10:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

I never ever been able to keep any plant alive in a retic enclosure besides grass n weeds in spots they did not settle down in often.,.. They love to go 'RAWR, Godzilla" On any living thing, or make some seemingly impossible move to squish it.
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Old 04-16-14, 10:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

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I never ever been able to keep any plant alive in a retic enclosure besides grass n weeds in spots they did not settle down in often.,.. They love to go 'RAWR, Godzilla" On any living thing, or make some seemingly impossible move to squish it.
Lol yes! He moved his giant brick basking spot that I had nicely leveled in the substrate in order to smash my favourite pothos! When I redid his enclosure, I included a few hides (and no plants) and he shoved those to the far end and ignores them. So FINE.. Sit on plain dirt and look awesome then! Lol
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Old 04-16-14, 10:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

I used to have a few nice silk plants! Rather expensive but it did work, also.. once spilled birdseed into the bedding (Dropped bag on top of a ventilation grid, idiot) Tried to scoop it out and just mixed the rest in with the cocohusk. That sprouted weeds throughout the entire tub, that was amazing to see! Only the spots that snake often cruised over remained plain dirt. I'm going to try that again with a seed mix. Can't hurt to try.
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Old 04-16-14, 11:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

Oooh I like that idea!! I might test that out!
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Old 04-16-14, 11:34 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

Yeah can't relate on that, I've had a lot of snakes and Monitors but never did any bio active terrariums, monitors tear everything up and burms and retics are just to big and heavy to do that with, never did it with any of the smaller snakes I've have either, who knows maybe I'll look into it one day
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Old 04-16-14, 05:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

I am thinking about going bio for a few of mine that already have plants.. I figure, Why not try that extra step? Lol. And, I like bugs
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Old 06-19-14, 02:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Why do you Natural Viv it?

All our reptiles are in bioactive setups with the exception of my kingsnake Ra, and I'm about to start building one for him. My biggest success has been with Scratch, my rescued "Scratch and Dent" leo. We acquired him as an adult; he had been returned to as local specialist reptile store as an unwanted (and obviously neglected) pet, and he came to us with a regrown tail and missing all of his claws and most of his toes. We initially kept him on paper towels while we treated him for a very high parasitic load. He had terrible sheds - I always had to bathe him afterwards to remove the stuck shed around his remaining toes. He also had real issues with shed stuck in and around his vent, and looked like he was in danger of suffering an inversion, so I had to clean his vent area every few days which he obviously found distressing. I wanted to move him to a bioactive tank but had real concerns whether to increased humidity might cause him respiratory problems. After doing a ton of research online we created a planted bioactive setup in a front opening 36" wide (34 gallon) Exoterra terrarium about a year ago. Since then Scratch has had perfect sheds every time, has become much more active, and has a much better appetite. I am in no doubt that the new tank provides him with a more enriching environment - beforehand he spent almost all his time hanging out in one of his hides, but now he explores his tank every night - (we hear him rustling about in the leaf litter) and is even managing to climb up on top of the logs despite his lack of claws. He isn't able to burrow, but he does manage to create shallow scrapes in the substrate especially when he is about to shed. All-in-all, he seems to be a much happier little guy, and his tank is much nicer to look at too.

Here is one of the best resources I found online - Bio-active Substrate | Gecko Time
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