Bioactive substrate - thoughts?

Hey everyone,

One quick question regarding some bioactive substrate that I’m going to be trying (potentially) for a new enclosure I’m going to be building in the next few months. I ordered some components of an ABG type substrate from pangea.

I’ve got the following: Tree fern fiber, Peat Moss, Orchid Bark, and Charcoal.

I’ve used this for one of my powder orange isopod set ups and it seems to work great. I just worry that its all too large of chunks for plant growth, the substrate seems very airy and I worry that roots won’t take well in it. Am I overthinking it? or should I add in some topsoil to the mix to help with that problem?


I have heard that aeration is actually good for a bioactive environment but I don’t know how it works with plants roots…….

Again your go to person is @ghoulishcresties……. :blush:


I know that some plants really adore chunkier soils, like monsteras, some philodendron, orchids (although those aren’t suitable for animals I don’t think?), and some alocasia. So depending on the plant, you could have great success, although if you are choosing plants that need compact soil obviously it won’t work as well!
I’d say if you have plants in mind, tailor the soil to them, but since you have the soil ready, you could choose the plants that would do best in it


Coco fibre is the main thing we use, then add some orchid back, spag moss, leaf litter.

Plants do amazing, but you need decent lights too or plants won’t do well at all…


I’ve got lights; and I’ve been playing with my other enclosure to see what plants work. My next one is going to be one I do a full custom background for, and was just wondering about the substrate. I’ve got some Ecoearth I can easily throw into the mix with it, that wouldn’t be a problem. I may do that then.