Does anyone on here know any nice-looking desert substrate for Cali kings?
It depends on your definition of “nice-looking” but I keep my California Kingsnakes on aspen or Sani-Chips and have never had any issue. I don’t mind the look of it in a setup either.
im thinking of a substrate that really brings out the desert in the tank, like this
Seconded. I’ve found sani-chips to be ideal for many desert species. It’s the main substrate in all of my sand boa enclosures
My desert media recipe is as follows:
Make an equal parts by volume mix of high quality garden soil (NO FERTILIZER!!) || wood pellets || milled leaf litter. This is my standard base mix
Then make equal parts by volume base mix || aquatic plant soil || washed builder’s sand
You can then add sand or APS to a somewhat higher portion to colour shift the look (more sand for tan, more APS for red)
I usually add the media and sculpt the general features and setup to how I like and then use a garden sprayer to settle everything. I let it dry and repeat the process three of four time to really get a feel for where the fines and the coarses will end up and then I will go back in with straight sand or APS (again, colour-dependent) and fill in the highlight locations