Reptile and Amphibian Bioactive Enclosure Setup

Updated on October 22, 2017
ArachnoBecca profile image

I own several species of reptiles ranging from bearded dragons to Argentine black and white tegu.

Creating a Bioactive Setup

Bioactive enclosures are made up of living plants and invertebrates which act as a self-cleaning waste disposal. Bioactive enclosures are increasing in popularity among the reptile and amphibian-keeping community due to the convenience it provides.

This is a step-by-step guide to help start up a bioactive enclosure.

Drainage Layer

The first step of creating a bioactive enclosure is creating the drainage layer.

This layer provides a space between the bottom of the enclosure and the substrate. The need for a drainage layer depends on the species going into the enclosure.
For instance, a species from a drier environment, such as a bearded dragon, would not need much of a drainage layer if any at all. However, if the enclosure were to be set up for a water dragon or crocodile skinks, species that require high humidity levels, the layer would be important. Without a drainage layer, the substrate within the setup would become waterlogged.

Some materials that can be used as drainage layer substrate:

  • hydro-balls/expanded clay balls
  • lava rock
  • gravel (not as effective as the first two, but cheaper in price)

Substrate

There are several substrates that can be used within a bioactive enclosure. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit and experiment based on the needs of the species you are housing.

Organic topsoil, play sand, excavator clay, coco coir, and peat moss, are all good substrates depending on the species of animal being housed. Since the increased popularity of bioactive enclosures, there are also stores that provide pre-made mixtures specifically for bioactive setups.

Plants

One of the best aspects of a bioactive set up are the plants!

Plants play an important role in replicating the natural environment of an animal and, not to mention, the addition of plants adds to the visually pleasing effects that bioactive enclosures provide. Be sure to choose safe plants only, and if possible, ones that have not been treated with pesticides and other chemicals.

Cleaner Crews

Cleaner crews are what makes your life a lot easier when it comes to cleaning the enclosure. When adding cleaner crew insects/invertebrates, be sure to spread them around the entire enclosure. Make sure you provide several hiding spots-this can be attained by adding some leaf litter to the enclosure and will minimize the chance of your animal consuming the cleaner crew bugs.

Some insects that can be used for cleaner crews:

  • Springtails
  • Isopods
  • Mealworms
  • Dubia Roaches
  • Earthworms
  • Lesser Mealworms
  • Dermestid Beetles

Conclusion

Creating a bioactive enclosure isn’t as simple as throwing together everything and forgetting about it. It can take a few weeks to a few months for the cleaner crew to establish itself, so be sure to spot clean the enclosure as and when needed.
To help feed the cleaner crew, you can sprinkle a little bit of fish food, any type will do—they really enjoy it and it's a great staple for them.

In conclusion, if done correctly, bioactive enclosures will not only benefit the animal by providing a naturalistic environment, but it will also give the owner the convenience of not having to constantly clean the enclosure.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2017 Becca

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)