Im currently at a loss at what substrate to use for my ball python. She is on reptichip but it gets so stinky and nasty so fast its irritating her. What is a good alternative that wont mold? I am currently trying out reptisoil but I have no idea how well it will stop the smells. I am not sure about bioactive but want whats best for her of course.
A little more info on how she’s set up might help. How often are you changing the chip out? Spot cleaning? About how big she is, cage size and maybe how often she eats. What the general weather is like maybe? Humid climate or whatever
Offhand, reptichip and reptisoil blended makes a fairly nice mix. It helps keep the humidity a bit better for mine than just one or the other since it’s so dry where I am. It can be tough with hatchlings because of how often they sometimes potty but works well for my older snakes with regular spot checks.
Bioactive can be great for smaller bodies snakes or arboreal design terrariums, but with ball pythons you have two things to contend with. They’re heavy bodies so they pack the bedding down / smash plants and they tend to hold it so they can poop in large amounts. You’re still going to need to be there to clean out the large chunks and urates and stir things up so you don’t overwhelm the bioactive setup, especially if it’s on the smaller side. If reptichip is already giving you trouble, I don’t think bioactive will help much given it’s not meant to have constant bedding changes.
I’ve found a mix of ~ 45% eco-earth coconut husk, 45% either prococo coconut husk chips or repti chip and 10% sphagnum moss works perfectly for me for both maintaining humidity and ease of spot cleaning.
I use aspen for my bps but it may not be right for you. However the substrates that @armiyana & @chesterhf suggested sound really good. I also agree with @armiyana that while bio may work for smaller snakes, I would not recommend it for larger snakes that produce big “poops”! Lol!
Good luck to you @jmunson9797! Hopefully you will be able to address your problems!
Thanks for the questions 4x2x2 pvc enclosure with radiant heat panel and automated humidifier using reverse osmosis water only. She is also about 3.5 ft long at 830 grams. I spot clean as soon as i see a mess, but with changing out substrate all of my colubrids even my high humidity ones its every 3 months if I keep up on the spot cleaning or sooner if i notice any smell or anything weird. For the ball python however I have noticed even with immediate mess clean up she is getting this horrible smell on her substrate right around week 2 and i end up changing it then. Any questions/advice is definitely helpful. Thank you.
The only smell I get from it, is when it it wet. I do spot clean and it last a long time. You mentioned you have a humidifier. I would try and remove it to test. (at least in your BP cage). It will be ok with low humidity for a few weeks, as long as it is not burning a shed period. 50% is suitable for BP. Lower for a short time (for testing) won’t be an issue.
If you just want to use something different, then paper towels will also work. You just need to change it more often. You could try this just for a test as well.