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  1. #1
    Hi, I'm New Here! KRS4771's Avatar
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    Live tree leaves?

    Hello everyone! I am replacing dead sheet moss in my terrarium with dried pre processed leaves. My fiancÚ asked why I can just go pull some leaves off the trees in the yard. Can I do that? Any processing needed? Any advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    "First shed, A Success"
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    Re: Live tree leaves?

    I keep my garters and terrestrial newts in bioactive setups with dried leaf litter only. I've never tried using fresh leaves right off the tree, and my quick research online does not yield any answers as to why that is not common practice.

    However, as someone with two bioactive tanks, a dozen or so houseplants and a very large garden outside in my yard, I think there are many pitfalls to using fresh leaves:

    -They aren't dried so they'll quickly start decomposing in your tank and may be much more waste than your clean-up crew can handle.

    -If there's a layer of fresh leaves they could potentially create a sludge layer as they decompose. This could be bad for your snakes.

    -Dry leaves take longer to break down so they provide food for your clean-up crew for a longer period of time. They also don't get sludgy and gross like fresh leaves.

    -While fungus is not a bad thing in a bioactive setup, a bunch of fresh leaves decomposing could become a nightmare playground for fungus and bacteria.

    -A layer of fresh leaves decomposing also generates heat as it rots, which could be very dangerous to your animals. If you've ever had a compost pile in your backyard you'll see this phenomenon yourself.


    Those are my best guesses as to why fresh, live leaves off a tree are not used. Feel free to collect safe dried leaves from your yard if it doesn't get sprayed. I have allowed fresh leaves from plants inside my bioactive setup to decompose in my tank, but that's like one or two at a time that fall off or that I trim.

    I think it could be enriching to temporarily place a branch with fresh leaves in your tank for your snakes to slither around. I wouldn't leave it in there for several days, and I wouldn't use it as the leaf litter on the bottom of the tank.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Never shed
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    Re: Live tree leaves?

    Yes you can do that. No processing needed. Since you're asking for "any advice"... Paper towel is the #1 bedding. When you spill something on your kitchen counter or dining room table do you wipe it up with sheet moss, leaves, or paper towels? How well can you spot scat on a dark colored substrate vs white paper towels?

  4. #4
    Hi, I'm New Here! KRS4771's Avatar
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    Re: Live tree leaves?

    Manitou,

    It's a bioactive tank. It has soil, plants, and a healthy happy springtail colony.

  5. #5
    "First shed, A Success"
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    Re: Live tree leaves?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manitou View Post
    Yes you can do that. No processing needed. Since you're asking for "any advice"... Paper towel is the #1 bedding. When you spill something on your kitchen counter or dining room table do you wipe it up with sheet moss, leaves, or paper towels? How well can you spot scat on a dark colored substrate vs white paper towels?
    That’s not even a proper analogy.

    I keep two garters in a bioactive enclosure and it’s super clean. Yes, you need to spot clean when you start out and wait for the clean up crew to reproduce, but bioactive is a very clean and safe alternative.

    I keep baby and young garters on paper towels.

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