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Old 02-22-18, 10:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb-2018
Location: Tampa Bay Area
Posts: 34
Question Going BioActive

I'm currently getting my ducks in a row to convert my Red Eyed Tree Frog hab (an Exo Terra 18x18x24) to bioactive and I have a question about bugs. Teeny bugs.

Between springtails and isopods: which is better for a tropical, rain forest viv maintained between 70 and 100% humidity? I plan to use Zoo Med ReptiSoil over the drainage layer with cypress mulch on top of it.

Also, I was unable to find the bio drain mesh in an 18x18 size. Can I use several smaller pieces to cover my hydroballs or does it need to be unbroken?

Finally, can I also put the teeny bugs in with my ball python?
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Old 02-23-18, 10:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Sep-2010
Location: Hereford
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Re: Going BioActive

Firstly, I’d go with both springtails and isopods too as they will both get to work quite well and even if the frogs eat the isopods the springs should pick up the slack...

As for the bio drain mesh, personally I use plain old weed liner designed for the garden... far cheaper and does the job just fine. It can be bought in small amounts direct from a garden centre and folded/cut to a sufficient size.. I use that for my 8 cave geckos and they’ve been bio for a couple years now..

Good luck, and don’t forget to update us with how it goes!
Cheers, Jamie.
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Old 03-16-18, 08:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb-2018
Location: Tampa Bay Area
Posts: 34
Re: Going BioActive

So far my bioactive, live planted frog viv project has been a disaster. Nothing has worked right.

It's an 18x18x24 Exo Terra front opening terrarium. Initially, I layered 2 inches of hydroballs, an exo terra bio drain mesh and then 2 inches of reptisoil with damp "terrarium moss" over that. Because my order of terrarium plants got delayed by the seller, I only had two home-rooted pothos plants with which to start planting, but I put my artificial plants back in to fill the bare spots. I added water to the aquifer and once the damp reptisoil wicked up its share of water, I was left with about a half inch of water in the aquifer.

I thought I'd have a more humid viv with the natural aquifer and the soil but that never happened. In fact I had way more trouble keeping any sort of humidity above my household ambient level than I had when I just had cypress mulch as substrate.

So, I increased the duration of misting periods from my monsoon solo. Still no sustainable humidity. So I increased them some more and covered probably 90% of the screen top not covered by the light hood. By earlier today I had a full aquifer, muddy reptisoil and standing water on top of saturated, stinky moss. It was completely saturated all the way to the bottom and still the humidity won't maintain over about 52%.

I added another 2 inches of reptisoil tonight to soak up the extra water and planted the plants that finally arrived. I had seeded springtails and dwarf purple isopods in there but I'm pretty sure they've drowned by now or got tossed out with the moss. I've got plenty more springtails but I'm not sure if my remaining isopod culture reproduced at all.

Misting raises the humidity of course but it doesn't last and, I ended up with a flooded viv. I don't heat the viv, it stays around 74 degrees during the day. It's lit with 2 13w fluorescent UVB bulbs. What am I doing wrong? Why am I not seeing better humidity levels?
0.1 Normal Ball Python - (Nagini), 1.0 Brazilian Rainbow Boa - (Jerkface), Ruby the RETF, 0.4 Cats, 0.3 Dogs, 1.0 Husband, 0.1 Daughter, x.x Nonbinary Kid.

Last edited by phenyx; 03-16-18 at 09:01 PM.. Reason: Clarification & Spelling Errors
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Old 03-17-18, 07:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec-2016
Posts: 701
Re: Going BioActive

You should put in both tropical isopods and spingtails... isopods take quick care of waste, spingtails deal with the finer pieces, including isopod poop.

Your soil choice is important too... ReptiSoil, Cypress, they don't maintain bugs... use topsoil/playsand/bark/sphagnum/leaf litter mixes.
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bioactive, isopods, springtails

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