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Thread: Going bioactive

  1. #1
    "First shed In Progress"
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    Going bioactive

    After having my garters for about about 1.5 years I finally began turning the 40 breeder into a bioactive setup. Iíve kept them on newspaper and then aspen. Theyíre in a 20 long on aspen as I let the bioactive setup establish itself for awhile.

    I bought way too many clay pellets/hydroballs and way too much organic topsoil! I probably used 1/3 to 1/4 if each bag. I also filled in the drainage layer before accidentally reading online that you need to wash the clay balls first! Had to remove everything and wash it in small batches in the tub since itís frigid outside here.

    1/ Wash and lay down 2-inch drainage layer of clay balls. (Home Depot carries them in the summer but not in the winter. I had to go to a hydroponic specialty store.)
    2/ Cut window screening to size with a few inches excess all around to keep dirt level from falling into drainage layer.
    3/ Lay out natural stones for hot hide. (Itís very stable.)
    4/ Cut coco fiber mat to fit back and attach with Velcro strips spaced a few inches apart across the top and a few toward the bottom. I didnít want a foam background but I wanted something naturalistic that would allow vines to climb and attach. I also didnít want to commit to gluing anything on the glass.
    5/ Lay out plants, water bowl, cold hide and climbing branch. (Then remove.)
    6/ Sprinkle a thin layer of horticulture charcoal on screen to help filter/clean water as it drains through.
    7/ Mix substrate: 1 part organic topsoil (didnít use potting soil bc I donít like the perlite), 3/4 part play sand, 1 part orchid bark, 2 parts sphagnum moss, a handful of horticultural charcoal. Layer on top of drainage, screen and charcoal layers. I went 2-inches deep in the front and 3-4 inches in the back.
    8/ Unpot and wash plants, and plant in tank.
    9/ Still need to add isopods and springtails.

    It took me several hours over two nights to pull this together. Thatís on top of multiple shopping trips to two stores and two garden centers.

  2. #2
    "First shed In Progress"
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    Re: Going bioactive

    More pics since we can only post 5 at a time

  3. #3
    "First shed In Progress"
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    Re: Going bioactive

    Last pics

  4. #4
    "PM Boots For Custom Title" Jeff B's Avatar
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    Re: Going bioactive

    Looks great. Now you have leftovers you can make another one and get more garters.
    Don't be afraid to use styro and concrete and commit to siliconing to the back of the aquarium you can easily remove down the road if you want to change out, its not really that big of a commitment.

  5. #5
    Hi, I'm New Here!
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    Re: Going bioactive

    And what are the temps inside the hide?

  6. #6
    "First shed In Progress"
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    Re: Going bioactive

    Quote Originally Posted by benmarko View Post
    And what are the temps inside the hide?
    I havenít lifted the hides up to check the temperatures inside, but the surface of the slate on the right is about 85/86 degrees Fahrenheit and the cold side is about 75 measured with a digital temp gun.

    Here are the snakes today:

  7. #7
    Hi, I'm New Here!
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    Re: Going bioactive

    That looks great I’m tryna make something cool in the future like that. Your a awesome parent lol

  8. #8
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    Re: Going bioactive

    Quote Originally Posted by Lamb View Post
    That looks great I’m tryna make something cool in the future like that. Your a awesome parent lol
    Thank you. I appreciate it.

    I definitely recommend going bioactive. A planted tank looks great, and the upkeep is much less work. Garters love to explore and make use of the plants, too.

    Good luck with your two new snakes, and keep us posted on their progress.

  9. #9
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    Re: Going bioactive

    Thanks I will. Come to find out I panicked I did all the cleaning but wasn’t mites it was something else lil blacked winged bugs similar to fruit flies but I still cleaned them washed them changed the bedding went with carefresh but idk if I will stay that route.

  10. #10
    "First shed In Progress"
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    Re: Going bioactive

    Quote Originally Posted by Lamb View Post
    Thanks I will. Come to find out I panicked I did all the cleaning but wasn’t mites it was something else lil blacked winged bugs similar to fruit flies but I still cleaned them washed them changed the bedding went with carefresh but idk if I will stay that route.
    Those could be gnats that live in the soil of potted plants. They’re annoying but harmless.

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