I have been thinking of transferring my crested gecko to a bioactive enclosure. He is about 20 grams and looks healthy. I have been doing research on this topic, but is there anything I should know? Is it just a bad idea in the first place?
Bioactive is never a bad choice! All of my tropical animals are kept bioactive so I’m not cleaning mold off of things everyday. Tbh I don’t get keeping tropical animals non bioactive unless they’re special needs or fresh out of the egg.
Cork bark and sphagnum moss are your friends with bioactive. They’re more mold resistant than other woods/dead mosses.
If you use silicone, make sure it is free of mold inhibitors. The ingredients in mold inhibitors are poisonous to animals. I have never found GE silicone 1 without mold inhibitors and have used aquarium specific silicone, but supposedly it can be found at Ace Hardware. Cyanoacrylate superglue is also your friend, it’s animal safe and cures faster when exposed to water (Gorilla glue Gel is an example of this)!
Pothos is a fairly bullet proof live plant for a bioactive, the cryptanthus genus also has some good ones. Ficus pumila is good, I personally recommend the oakleaf creeping fig variety. Make sure you thoroughly wash any live plants to remove any pests/pesticides that maybe on them.
Springtails are a must. I also recommend powder orange isopods as part of the clean up crew. Make sure you let the vivarium sit for a while, as it may explode with mold and you’ll also want the springtails and isopods to have large enough populations to deal with your crested gecko’s desire to eat them. I’ve seen many people’s clean up crews disappear overnight from hungry geckos.
You can either buy what’s called an ABG mix or make your own out of sanitized, fertilizer-free, organic topsoil, sand, and sphagnum moss. You can also mix in orchid bark or coco chips. Have a layer of sanitized leaf litter for the clean up crew to munch on. By sanitized I mean baked in the oven for about 30mins, generally around 300°F is what I’ve heard. Boiling will also sanitize and I recommend it for the leaf litter and any sticks you’d like to add. Fertilizers can be poisonous to your animal, and if it’s manure fertilizer, unsanitary.
I include a false bottom with all of my tropical vivariums, but some say it’s unnecessary unless you’re housing dart frogs. I use dry clay balls called leca and a screen, non-metallic mesh to keep the substrate from falling in. A layer of charcoal will go over the mesh. Some ABG mixes come with the charcoal already mixed in. Incase of any false bottom flooding, have a way of draining it. For my vivs (especially my dart frog viv) I use some spare tubing from my mistking setup and a turkey baster to act as the pump. I didn’t drill into my glass to make a drain for the false bottom because I had no way of knowing whether the glass was safe to drill or not, so when draining my dart viv I dig a small hole in the substrate, move the mesh out of the way and put the tube in the false bottom to drain it.
I feel like it’s more unlikely with an arboreal species, but make sure your crested gecko is pooping after being in it’s new bioactive and not impacted from ingesting soil. Not all animals are dirt munchers, but you never know.
Thanks! I just have two more questions…
- Do you need leaf litter?
- Somebody (not someone I particularly trust) said that bacteria will build up in the enclosure. They also said that if something goes wrong it could kill the gecko. Is this possible?
Yeah I’d say leaf litter is a must. The clean up crew will greatly appreciate it.
Bacteria can build up, but this occurs when your false bottom and substrate floods, hence needing to drain it. And while the clean up crew will eat the gecko’s poop, they won’t eat the urate from what I’ve seen so you’ll have to clean those up. Eventually substrate will have to be changed but that takes a very long time with bioactives.
thanks a lot!