bio active soil question

Madmango

Established Member
I have been doing a lot of research on making soil for a bio active setup. What are your thoughts and experiences with making your own soil. I’m a 100% organic gardener with all of my indoor plants and outdoor garden and like to know what is in my soil.

what have you found works best for you and your Cham?

coco coir or tree firn or a mix of both
Coco chip or orchid bark
From what I have found this is a pretty standard ABG recipe
  1. Sphagnum Moss – 1 part
  2. Tree Fern Fiber – 2 parts
  3. Orchid Bark – 2 parts
  4. Peat Moss – 1 part
  5. Charcoal – 1 part
I would substitute the peat moss for coco coir became coco is a sustainable resource and peat is not. Peat moss is also higher in PH and coco is PH Neutral

Has anyone used this recipe? Have you found that it works well?

Basic Forest Vivarium Substrate Mix​

  • 2 parts partially composted leaves
  • 2 parts medium grade bark/wood chip product
  • 1 part ground coconut husk fiber (coir). https://www.reptilesmagazine.com/natural-vivarium-substrate-artirecipes/

  • Have you use the Partially composed leaves in your mix. It seems like and important part but not a common addition to ABG. At lest from what I have found. I read a great article on here about a bio active setup. They talk about pre made soils only.
 

Andy1987

Member
Wouldn’t make it would just use this. Plant growth has been crazy good, just add springtails and a few wood lice species and your good To go, I’ll add a pic of my bio active that’s been set up just over a month, we have added plants but look at the climbing plants to see the results
 

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Madmango

Established Member
@Andy1987 thanks for your recommendation I will check that soil out. Your setup looks fantastic 👍🏻 Everything comes together so nicely and is very visually appealing.
 

Andy1987

Member
@Andy1987 thanks for your recommendation I will check that soil out. Your setup looks fantastic 👍🏻 Everything comes together so nicely and is very visually appealing.
Awww thanks appreciate that, so far it’s probably cost us £1000 to get it to this point that was complete set up, including the animal and adding plants over the last month, the complete set up
When we purchased was around £600, which included everything g listed in the photo, the animal was £275, we’ve probably and the rest was spent on a mister and extra plants and branches, with every penny, here’s a list of chameleon safe plants etc if you haven’t already seen them
 

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Madmango

Established Member
@Andy1987 Thanks for the plant list. It’s definitely a pricey undertaking but is well worth it. I have three characters to move into bio active. They all really have the plants so I should not have to send any more on plants at lest.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've made some mixes in the past similar, but was mostly just experimenting. I ended up sticking with sunshine mix or foxfarms in many of my builds just because it was east and they worked well.

The recipe you list is pretty much what I do for all of my insect bins though aside from tree fern fiber(no reason, just didn't have it). The bugs have turned many of the bins into some really dark, rich compost.
 

Madmango

Established Member
@jamest0o0 thank for you info. Dose the soil mix you it in your bins break down quickly? Do you think the partially decomposed leaves should be added to the ABG mix or are they unnecessary? My understanding is that they would add the needed micros.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
@jamest0o0 thank for you info. Dose the soil mix you it in your bins break down quickly? Do you think the partially decomposed leaves should be added to the ABG mix or are they unnecessary? My understanding is that they would add the needed micros.

I like adding leaf litter, I imagine it'd only help? As for it breaking down, usually depends what I'm keeping in the bin and how humid it is.
 
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