Bioactive Build: 1 month in!

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi chamily! :D Just wanted to share some pictures of my ExoTerra bioactive build one month in. Some tweaks have been made over the last couple weeks.
  • New plants! Swapped out the creeping thyme for a varigated creeping ficus (bottom left), brass buttons for an unidentified moss groundcover (bottom right), and my n. Spectabilis for a neoregalia gorion (right).
  • New mosses! Had some considerable die off while I was struggling with my lighting (scorched it) and watering schedule, so I've been patching it as the more exposed sections start looking sparse. I'm trying some ZooMed "frog moss" right now (not pictured), so we'll see how that settles in!
  • Raised the lighting! Rigged up a PVC frame to suspend my hlg 65 quantum boards from, because they were generating a lot of light/heat and scorching my canopy - especially the moss.
  • Added the first 2 MistKing nozzles (not pictured)! I'll need to get ~2 more for adequate spread, but it's enough to hydrate Lily. I just need to hand spray a lot of the moss.
  • Added a screen "door"! The whole "no door" thing became an issue during the first 2 weeks while I was still perfecting the lighting, and Lily went on a couple exploration missions. It also helps keeps in flying insects!
I'm very glad I went with a precautionary drainage layer, as I'm filling it up like crazy now that the substrate is saturated. I go through a lot of water trying to keep that moss going! I may have to replace the sections prone to scorching/dieoff with dried/naturally preserved mosses eventually, but for now I'm not ready to give up! I think my next project will be setting up a drip system to water the moss throughout the day, focusing on the sections that the MistKing doesn't reach.

Without further ado: the viv!

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And some pictures of Lily being her adorable little self. I love this girl! :love:

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cloverthechameleon

Avid Member
Wow thats stunning! Im about a month in for 2 bioactives i built as well for my bradys. Everything is thriving except for the ficus pumila which is dying at a rapid pace and i dont know why. Where did you get all the broms from ?
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Wow thats stunning! Im about a month in for 2 bioactives i built as well for my bradys. Everything is thriving except for the ficus pumila which is dying at a rapid pace and i dont know why. Where did you get all the broms from ?

Thank you!! :D I'm really loving this build, even if the moss is making me want to tear my hair out. Why do you hate me, moss?! Im trying so hard to make you happy! :cry:

Hmm - where are your f. Pumila? Mine were very unhappy when I had them outside in lower humidity/higher temps, and seem to want consistently damp feet and leaves with medium light. The solid green one is growing like a weed, after nearly 2 months of minimal growth while I had it outside.

I got super lucky with the broms - my favorite local nursery got a bunch of them in early in the season, and I snapped them up! Neoregalia broms seem ridiculously hard to find in Canada. I should go to the nursery before it closes for the season and check for last minute sales! I'll definitely be keeping offshoots and propagating them as much as I can.
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi chamily! :D Just wanted to share some pictures of my ExoTerra bioactive build one month in. Some tweaks have been made over the last couple weeks.
  • New plants! Swapped out the creeping thyme for a varigated creeping ficus (bottom left), brass buttons for an unidentified moss groundcover (bottom right), and my n. Spectabilis for a neoregalia gorion (right).
  • New mosses! Had some considerable die off while I was struggling with my lighting (scorched it) and watering schedule, so I've been patching it as the more exposed sections start looking sparse. I'm trying some ZooMed "frog moss" right now (not pictured), so we'll see how that settles in!
  • Raised the lighting! Rigged up a PVC frame to suspend my hlg 65 quantum boards from, because they were generating a lot of light/heat and scorching my canopy - especially the moss.
  • Added the first 2 MistKing nozzles (not pictured)! I'll need to get ~2 more for adequate spread, but it's enough to hydrate Lily. I just need to hand spray a lot of the moss.
  • Added a screen "door"! The whole "no door" thing became an issue during the first 2 weeks while I was still perfecting the lighting, and Lily went on a couple exploration missions. It also helps keeps in flying insects!
I'm very glad I went with a precautionary drainage layer, as I'm filling it up like crazy now that the substrate is saturated. I go through a lot of water trying to keep that moss going! I may have to replace the sections prone to scorching/dieoff with dried/naturally preserved mosses eventually, but for now I'm not ready to give up! I think my next project will be setting up a drip system to water the moss throughout the day, focusing on the sections that the MistKing doesn't reach.

Without further ado: the viv!

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View attachment 248335

View attachment 248336

View attachment 248340

View attachment 248341

And some pictures of Lily being her adorable little self. I love this girl! :love:

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Looks awesome, really love how this turned out. Bet you wish you'd have drilled it now though :p.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
Time sure does fly by. Seems like just a week ago we were both posting our finishing pictures.

How has the feeder been working out for you in the back corner?

I've noticed a few of my vines have popped away from being attached with the hot glue. I guess that was from them getting wet from misting.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks awesome, really love how this turned out. Bet you wish you'd have drilled it now though :p.

Thanks Dshuld! You've been a great help with this build, and I really appreciate it!!

...and yes, I should have listened to you and gotten someone to drill a hole for me. Definitely a "siphon twice a week" deal right now, lol! :oops: I didn't anticipate going through so much water! Heck, there's a lot I'd do different in retrospect. Like designing it with a drip system in mind. Oh well. Live and learn! The next one will be much more streamlined.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Time sure does fly by. Seems like just a week ago we were both posting our finishing pictures.

How has the feeder been working out for you in the back corner?

I've noticed a few of my vines have popped away from being attached with the hot glue. I guess that was from them getting wet from misting.

Time sure does fly!

Honestly, I could have done way with the feeder at this point. Lily doesnt like the location very much, and line of sight is partially blocked by the neoregalia 'fireball'. It's also practically inaccessible to me! I cant exactly move it now, though, so it is what it is. It's mostly for show these days; Lily prefers being handfed or cupfed, though I'll throw some in the run if she's nearby and sees me put them there. Poor design choice on my part - I went for aesthetics over function and shot myself in the foot!

I find superglue - particularly gel superglue- does a better job holding things in place. The best way to keep em there permanently while allowing them to flex is to poke a hole in the foam and use Gorilla Glue. Gorilla glue is the same stuff as expanding foam, essentially - it just expands less!
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
How much/often are you spraying? I haven't had any water make it down to my clay balls yet.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
How much/often are you spraying? I haven't had any water make it down to my clay balls yet.

It took almost 3 weeks to saturate the substrate/have water start reaching my drainage layer. Because of the moss, I go through about 2-3 liters of water a day, 2 liters of which is from me handspraying the moss haha! Mistking is only running for about 3-4 minutes accumulated through the day.
 

cloverthechameleon

Avid Member
Thank you!! :D I'm really loving this build, even if the moss is making me want to tear my hair out. Why do you hate me, moss?! Im trying so hard to make you happy! :cry:

Hmm - where are your f. Pumila? Mine were very unhappy when I had them outside in lower humidity/higher temps, and seem to want consistently damp feet and leaves with medium light. The solid green one is growing like a weed, after nearly 2 months of minimal growth while I had it outside.

I got super lucky with the broms - my favorite local nursery got a bunch of them in early in the season, and I snapped them up! Neoregalia broms seem ridiculously hard to find in Canada. I should go to the nursery before it closes for the season and check for last minute sales! I'll definitely be keeping offshoots and propagating them as much as I can.
[/QUOTE
One of the ficus pumila is planted directed into the ground in the bottom corner, the other is planted into a pot mounted into the lower portion of the back wall. Both recieve medium light. It may be underwatering now that i think about it, my vivs are not recieving nearly as much water as yours. Lucky with the broms, i paid an arm and a leg from 2 of the green ones with red dots and theyve both produced pups and one is now producing a second pup. I want more !!
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks Dshuld! You've been a great help with this build, and I really appreciate it!!

...and yes, I should have listened to you and gotten someone to drill a hole for me. Definitely a "siphon twice a week" deal right now, lol! :oops: I didn't anticipate going through so much water! Heck, there's a lot I'd do different in retrospect. Like designing it with a drip system in mind. Oh well. Live and learn! The next one will be much more streamlined.

Meh, we all find things we'd do different as we build and keep building lol. Heck, took me a couple of revisions to settle on the drip lines that I ended up with in Lola's cage lol. It turned out beautiful either way and I'm happy to have helped with it in some way :) .
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
Meh, we all find things we'd do different as we build and keep building lol. Heck, took me a couple of revisions to settle on the drip lines that I ended up with in Lola's cage lol. It turned out beautiful either way and I'm happy to have helped with it in some way :) .
@dshuld, please tell me about these so called drip lines.
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
@dshuld, please tell me about these so called drip lines.
@Tony_S , added more of a description now. Sorry, got busy at work and didn't get part of it in there before.

Here's the muted video.

They are run off the swagelok ss-4mg valve labeled "d" in this pic. A swagelok ss-ss4 could probably be used as well but I don't see the need to pay the higher price that model usually goes for. The Ss-4mg will take the 3 rows down to a drop every 30 sec or so if I wanted. But, I used the clamps made for the distrobution lines to hold the lengths I wanted to plywood that I made marks every inch on. Then I used a push pin at each mark to poke holes in the distrobution line and assembled it with regular ro fittings.

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GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
@cloverthechameleon;
Your creeping figs would probably be happy with some extra watering! Mine are positively thriving with constantly damp leaves, and the new growth has much bigger, happier leaves than the old stuff! The solid one in the back has about an inch and a half/2 inches of fresh growth on it since I introduced it to the viv, and the unhappy varigated is recovering

I hear you on those broms! I'd love an Aztec, or an Aztec x fireball. I need something stripey or speckled! All four of mine are forming pups right now, so I should be able to harvest them in the coming months and mount them in different areas! Maybe we could arrange an offshoot trade sometime? :unsure:
 
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GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks great! Great idea with the screen front!
Green with Envy! THIS IS SO COOL insane inspiration!

Thank you, ladies!! :D It's a lot of fun to look at, and I'd love to find/build a nice stand for it eventually use it as a focal point in a room!

I'm reasonably pleased with how the screen front turned out. I'll probably end up getting some pleather or something and fancying it up a bit at some point, but it's serviceable!
 

Thatwizard420

Avid Member
Wow thats stunning! Im about a month in for 2 bioactives i built as well for my bradys. Everything is thriving except for the ficus pumila which is dying at a rapid pace and i dont know why. Where did you get all the broms from ?
Is the ficus getting enough light? It just needs occasional watering. I got some of its white sap on the skin at the work, I got a rash. Like a bumpy rash. IDK if its the same for chams
 

cloverthechameleon

Avid Member
@cloverthechameleon;
Your creeping figs would probably be happy with some extra watering! Mine are positively thriving with constantly damp leaves, and the new growth has much bigger, happier leaves than the old stuff! The solid one in the back has about an inch and a half/2 inches of fresh growth on it since I introduced it to the viv, and the unhappy varigated is recovering

I hear you on those broms! I'd love an Aztec, or an Aztec x fireball. I need something stripey or speckled! All four of mine are forming pups right now, so I should be able to harvest them in the coming months and mount them in different areas! Maybe we could arrange an offshoot trade sometime? :unsure:
I will try more water. Yes yes down for a trade!!
 
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