Bio active for Leo?

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I picked up a 36x18x18 exo Terra super cheap and have been thinking over things to do with it for one of my leopard geckos. I’ve been playing around with the idea of using foam and stuff to create a multi level landscape to provide more living space. Not sure how well my ideas would work with keeping the tank clean though.
Then I thought maybe bio active would be nice and provide a more natural environment. In my search for setting up bio active for leos, I found it seems much different than is done for chams. There’s no drainage level with the clay balls, screen and drainage pvc access. It’s pretty much throw everything in and that’s it. Is that correct? I only want to do this once and would like to avoid a stagnant mess. Is a drainage layer not needed as they don’t get the misting/dripping that chams do?
Also, with bio active for a Leo, how do I place the heat mat? Bio dude says place on the tank side rather than the bottom, but they need their bellies warmed for digestion.
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Depends on what you're putting in the enclosure of you need a drainage layer or not. Some plants need a lot of water. And if that's the case a drainage layer will be needed. Leo's are a desert species so humidity should be low 20-40% I'd recommend just getting a deep heat projector from Arcadia if you're going bio. It's not that they need the heat on their belly to digest. They just need heat period.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’d be aiming to keep humidity towards their natural habitat. I haven’t researched plants or anything else yet, but most likely I’d be using succulents. Still have a lot of researching and planning to do on it, but thought is best to start with finding out about drainage first.
Many thanks for the input. :)
 

Hashtag ChamLife

Avid Member
I picked up a 36x18x18 exo Terra super cheap and have been thinking over things to do with it for one of my leopard geckos. I’ve been playing around with the idea of using foam and stuff to create a multi level landscape to provide more living space. Not sure how well my ideas would work with keeping the tank clean though.
Then I thought maybe bio active would be nice and provide a more natural environment. In my search for setting up bio active for leos, I found it seems much different than is done for chams. There’s no drainage level with the clay balls, screen and drainage pvc access. It’s pretty much throw everything in and that’s it. Is that correct? I only want to do this once and would like to avoid a stagnant mess. Is a drainage layer not needed as they don’t get the misting/dripping that chams do?
Also, with bio active for a Leo, how do I place the heat mat? Bio dude says place on the tank side rather than the bottom, but they need their bellies warmed for digestion.
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This is my gargoyle gecko bioactive. And this is how it's setup:

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Red - this is my clay ball layer

Light gray - screen or mesh

Dark gray - charcoal layer

Green - substrate (my personal mix)

Yellow - this is left over tubing from where I set up my mistking. It runs down to the clay ball area and has an air stone attached to prevent sucking up any debris. I haven't needed to drain it yet, but I plan to use a "monsoon" mister to pump it out. [I have like 3 of them laying about, but really any kind of pump will do. Even for a birdbath or fairy fountain]

Then I stuck in red wigglers,springtails and a few dairy cow isopods. Threw a few pieces of cork and let it stew for a few days. Then added the moss, again let it stew. Then I decorated. To be fair, I wasn't expecting a gecko until mid-life January when my blue guy comes (excited!!), but my wife is good to me...

All that said, you CAN drill a hole through glass with a proper drill and bit. I've done it a few times, just go super slow and start at an angle! Then you'll have to seal all that up though.

It's been about 3 weeks since I started misting 2-3x daily and I havent gotten a drip in my drainage layer as of yet. Also, I'm not sure the requirements for Leo's.

Best wishes!!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Hashtag ChamLife Your gecko enclosure is beautiful! I think gargoyles need a more humid environment than leos. The more I look into doing this, the more questions arise. I was thinking of doing this to get comfortable and some experience with bioactive with the idea to change my chams over to bioactive. Starting to think I’ve got it backwards and the chams would be a better start. Lol
 

Hashtag ChamLife

Avid Member
@Hashtag ChamLife Your gecko enclosure is beautiful! I think gargoyles need a more humid environment than leos. The more I look into doing this, the more questions arise. I was thinking of doing this to get comfortable and some experience with bioactive with the idea to change my chams over to bioactive. Starting to think I’ve got it backwards and the chams would be a better start. Lol
Well, they make "aird" springtails (for dry climates) and I know both powder orange and orange scabers are OK with dry areas - as are clowns and Montenegro isos, but they're kinda pricey!

You've been around long enough... take the leap. You can always do what I did and just make an enclosure to try it out. I started with a bin that I made bioactive. Then I used a smaller 12×12×18 exoterra with some moss and a little tree. Then I made the gecko cage knowing I was eventually going to get one. Now I'll have 2 geckos, hehe!

My point here is to show you mine so you can see the parts you like, and generally how easy it is! It can be intimidating at first, but really it's just as easy as making a "box dinner". Throw everything together and let it bake! It will really sort itself out if everything is done "ok". Take a leap of faith!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Well, they make "aird" springtails (for dry climates) and I know both powder orange and orange scabers are OK with dry areas - as are clowns and Montenegro isos, but they're kinda pricey!

You've been around long enough... take the leap. You can always do what I did and just make an enclosure to try it out. I started with a bin that I made bioactive. Then I used a smaller 12×12×18 exoterra with some moss and a little tree. Then I made the gecko cage knowing I was eventually going to get one. Now I'll have 2 geckos, hehe!

My point here is to show you mine so you can see the parts you like, and generally how easy it is! It can be intimidating at first, but really it's just as easy as making a "box dinner". Throw everything together and let it bake! It will really sort itself out if everything is done "ok". Take a leap of faith!
Yes, I think I’m just going to do it and address any problems if/as they arise. Found my male Leo under his paper towel floor cover last night. Poor guy wants to burrow. If all goes well, I’ll have to make another set up for the girl. Fingers crossed.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I picked up a 36x18x18 exo Terra super cheap and have been thinking over things to do with it for one of my leopard geckos. I’ve been playing around with the idea of using foam and stuff to create a multi level landscape to provide more living space. Not sure how well my ideas would work with keeping the tank clean though.
Then I thought maybe bio active would be nice and provide a more natural environment. In my search for setting up bio active for leos, I found it seems much different than is done for chams. There’s no drainage level with the clay balls, screen and drainage pvc access. It’s pretty much throw everything in and that’s it. Is that correct? I only want to do this once and would like to avoid a stagnant mess. Is a drainage layer not needed as they don’t get the misting/dripping that chams do?
Also, with bio active for a Leo, how do I place the heat mat? Bio dude says place on the tank side rather than the bottom, but they need their bellies warmed for digestion.
The Leo's do well in a more arrid climate so you dont have the water issues you would with a cham cage. I planned to set up a leo at some point and did a lot of designing of what I wanted their cage to look like. My plan was a hilly, somewhat rocky terrain with lots of hides and a drought side as well as a slightly more moist side with plants/grasses.

My plan was to use PVC pipes to build an underground tunnel/hide area where they could safely dig or hide without worry of collapse. Throw some soil in there and a little moss/leaf litter and they can dig around and make it homey. Then on top of that I was going to make a mix where the drier side of the cage had a bit more rock (for warmth and belly heat), and the moist side would have levels of soil... a clay-like soil (excavator clay), then a layer of soil that was firm but soft enough for digging. Then more clay for shaping the landscape and hill. The CUC would be able to run around under both sides and self regulate. You'd only have to occasionally mist the moist side. No need to clean up other than maybe food area if you leave water/calcium bowls out.

If I can find an inspiration pic I might make more sense... lol ... let me see what I can find.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
This was along the lines of my inspiration (minus the river, of course)... the canyon like setup on the dry half that transitioned into a greener, hilly / hide filled side on the other side.

Bioactiveis so easy to do, you should totally go for it. You can always add a thin layer of clay pebbles at the bottom if you are concerned, but in that type of setup there isn't a lot of excess moisture, and your plant roots will be pretty shallow because of it. So it seems unnecessary.
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
This was along the lines of my inspiration (minus the river, of course)... the canyon like setup on the dry half that transitioned into a greener, hilly / hide filled side on the other side.

Bioactiveis so easy to do, you should totally go for it. You can always add a thin layer of clay pebbles at the bottom if you are concerned, but in that type of setup there isn't a lot of excess moisture, and your plant roots will be pretty shallow because of it. So it seems unnecessary.
Yes! I want to make it interesting both for him to explore and for aesthetics. I’d still like to foam in some ledges along the lines of being like a hillside. For ease I’ll probably order the terra Sahara base kit and arid cuc from bio dude. Do you still have all of that beautiful cork for sale?
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes! I want to make it interesting both for him to explore and for aesthetics. I’d still like to foam in some ledges along the lines of being like a hillside. For ease I’ll probably order the terra Sahara base kit and arid cuc from bio dude. Do you still have all of that beautiful cork for sale?
I do have cork still, just picked up some more actually for the greenhouse!

I do like BioDude’s soils. They are expensive but a quality mix. Giant Canyons will do well, and probably most armidillidium varieties, as they seem to like it on drier side. The moist hides for the leos will also be popular with the isos. I have some isos if you are looking for cork.

Pencil cactus/succulents have some varieites that look grass like, but are succulents.

Can i live vicariously through your build!?
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I do have cork still, just picked up some more actually for the greenhouse!

I do like BioDude’s soils. They are expensive but a quality mix. Giant Canyons will do well, and probably most armidillidium varieties, as they seem to like it on drier side. The moist hides for the leos will also be popular with the isos. I have some isos if you are looking for cork.

Pencil cactus/succulents have some varieites that look grass like, but are succulents.

Can i live vicariously through your build!?
Of course! :D I’ll try to remember to take pics to post, although my garage is a holy mess for a background. Tiny house = garage being clutter dumping ground. A couple of the cork pieces I got from you will be awesome hides, but I’d like a couple of smaller half round pieces...maybe around 8” long or so. Have you got anything like that you’d sell me? PM me.:)
I’ll be hunting to see what kind of succulents and cuc I can find.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Seriously, look at RABS on facebook. They have directions on how to do it and thousands of members that have made extravagant arid set ups. The tricky part is that even with a humid spot, many CuC can't flourish enough to clean up the poop. Doesn't mean it's not doable, many have, just need to tweak it more than the classic rainforest bio. I had Leo's for years and years, but that was before the time I got into bio. I'd be worried about having voracious isopods possibly nibbling on them(porcellio species generally). Probably not likely, but some of them can get pretty crazy in large numbers.
 
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snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
My armadillidium seem to prefer it pretty dry, and only retreat to the moist area if I let it dry out too much. I think with a moist hide and real soil they’ll do ok. You could still mist the cage 1x a week lightly - just avoid the succulents.

Well dangit now I need a leo again.
 
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