More bioactive questions

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry to keep asking questions, but I want to make sure I’m going to be doing this right.
Hoping to get started on setting up the soil for a bioactive and have even more questions. I’m using Bio Dudes bags, which are something like 16“ deep.
- do I need a drainage layer of hydroballs with the bag?
- does anyone know if these bags ‘leak’ excess drainage?
- how deep do I need the soil layer to be?
- any particular isopod better than others?
- How many isopods are needed to start with?
- scavenged oak branches with leaves from neighbor’s cut down tree. Aside from drying/baking in hot sun, do I need to do anything special to use the leaves?
As always, I appreciate any and all help. :)
 
I just finished setting up my bioactive enclosure. It’s in a glass cage so I don’t know much about the bags.

You will want isopods and springtails. From what I’ve heard, the best isopods for this tank are dwarf white isopods and the best springtails are the temperate ones. I got a springtails culture and 25 dwarf white isopods for $25 on joshs frogs
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
- do I need a drainage layer of hydroballs with the bag?
I would. Inch or two.

- does anyone know if these bags ‘leak’ excess drainage?
I'm not postive, I dont think they are supposed to though. However I have never used them, so no promises.

- how deep do I need the soil layer to be?
As deep as you want.
for a female, I would use a good 13 inches of soil, 2 of drainage and a top coat of sphag and leaf litter (1 inch).
for a male, I would fold the bag in half for 2 inch drainage 5 of soil and Sphag/Leaf Litter top.

However you could use either for either, those are just personal suggestions, there really is no hard and fast rules.

- any particular isopod better than others?
Not really "better" just better at different things. I would use Dwarf White or Purple, for soil health.

Then for Poo Eaters, you want a big species. Orange are good, fast breeding edible, ect. However if you do not mist much, then you may be better suited with Giant Canyons that can handle the drier leaf litter. However thats really just Temperate vs Arid, there is many types, with many differences. Mostly looks, and breeding speed and price of course lol.


- How many isopods are needed to start with?
As many as you can get. They sell colony starters, of like 25 usually, but those are more ideally for starting a colony in a small container, in a large area, they will have a harder time breeding, so the more you can get the better. Obviously this gets very expensive very fast, so just get as many as you feasibly can. I would try for at least 50 Dwarf and 50 Large. Get springs too if you can.

- scavenged oak branches with leaves from neighbor’s cut down tree. Aside from drying/baking in hot sun, do I need to do anything special to use the leaves?
As always, I appreciate any and all help. :)
Nope, as long as they dont spray pesticides. You can bake them or boil them, if you want to sterilize but you dont have to. Usually when you buy leaves from like Joshs Frogs those are not treated either.

However baking and boiling do give some other benefits as well. If you bake them, they will break down faster, if you boil them they will breakdown slower, if that matters to you, either way. If you wanted to mix some into the soil for iso food, bake those, and for the top layer boil. However still not necessary.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry to keep asking questions, but I want to make sure I’m going to be doing this right.
Hoping to get started on setting up the soil for a bioactive and have even more questions. I’m using Bio Dudes bags, which are something like 16“ deep.
- do I need a drainage layer of hydroballs with the bag?
- does anyone know if these bags ‘leak’ excess drainage?
- how deep do I need the soil layer to be?
- any particular isopod better than others?
- How many isopods are needed to start with?
- scavenged oak branches with leaves from neighbor’s cut down tree. Aside from drying/baking in hot sun, do I need to do anything special to use the leaves?
As always, I appreciate any and all help. :)
Can't answer anything on biodude because I'm not a fan and do not use his products, but I'll help with the others...

-A drainage layer would be beneficial for any set up.
-Soil should be as deep as you need it to be for your plants. I've had an inch deep and 2 feet deep, both worked.
-giant canyons are the best isopod IMO if you're really looking for cleaning with larger reptiles. I'm sure some other water humidity tolerant porcellio species would be fine as well, but the canyons reproduce the fastest, get pretty large, and can clean up poop/shed/etc within hours. They also seem to keep the soil nicely aerated.
-how many isopods depends on species, canyons will reproduce at a much faster rate than something like zebras. You could seed a cage with a dozen or 2 and have plenty within a month or two.
-if the leaves are away from chemicals they're probably good to just go in. Some boil or bake them. I'd only do this to clean off possible pesticide residue or dangerous insects in your area. If you're sure there's neither then you should be good to go. Up in PA I only really have yard chemicals to worry about.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yup agree with @cyberlocc on everything, he beat me to it. Only thing I'd pick out is that canyons do tolerate humid/wet conditions perfectly. They are nice because they live well in dry and wet conditions just as well, while other porcellio will die quickly with excess moisture.

I also think you'd be surprised how fast 2 dozen can establish an entire enclosure.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would. Inch or two.



I'm not postive, I dont think they are supposed to though. However I have never used them, so no promises.



As deep as you want. If its for a female, I would use a good 13 inches of soil, 2 of drainage and a top coat of sphag and leaf litter (1 inch). If for a male, I would fold the bag in half for 2 inch drainage 5 of soil and Sphag/Leaf Litter top. However you could use either for either.



Not really "better" just better at different things. I would use Dwarf White or Purple, for soil health.

Then for Poo Eaters, you want a big species. Orange are good, fast breeding edible, ect. However if you do not mist much, then you may be better suited with Giant Canyons that can handle the drier leaf litter. However thats really just Temperate vs Arid, there is many types, with many differences. Mostly looks, and breeding speed and price of course lol.




As many as you can get. They sell colony starters, of like 25 usually, but those are more ideally for starting a colony in a small container, in a large area, they will have a harder time breeding, so the more you can get the better. Obviously this gets very expensive very fast, so just get as many as you feasibly can. I would try for at least 50 Dwarf and 50 Large. Get springs too if you can.



Nope, as long as they dont spray pesticides. You can bake them or boil them, if you want to sterilize but you dont have to. Usually when you buy leaves from like Joshs Frogs those are not treated either.

However baking and boiling do give some other benefits as well. If you bake them, they will break down faster, if you boil them they will breakdown slower, if that matters to you, either way. If you wanted to mix some into the soil for iso food, bake those, and for the top layer boil. However still not necessary.
Thanks so much! Btw, absolutely love that you did your blog!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yup agree with @cyberlocc on everything, he beat me to it. Only thing I'd pick out is that canyons do tolerate humid/wet conditions perfectly. They are nice because they live well in dry and wet conditions just as well, while other porcellio will die quickly with excess moisture.

I also think you'd be surprised how fast 2 dozen can establish an entire enclosure.
Thanks James! You don’t by chance sell isopods?
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yup agree with @cyberlocc on everything, he beat me to it. Only thing I'd pick out is that canyons do tolerate humid/wet conditions perfectly. They are nice because they live well in dry and wet conditions just as well, while other porcellio will die quickly with excess moisture.

I also think you'd be surprised how fast 2 dozen can establish an entire enclosure.
I have only kept them dry with a wet spot, but ya they should be able to handle Cham Humdiity thats why I said them :).

P. scaber (Giant Orange) can take humidity, they are mostly used for dart tanks, they can live in constantly soaked substrate.

Those GC isos though man, they can take a dang beating! Lathis gave me some years ago, and I lost the container and forgot all about them, found it like a year later, the soil was bone dry, I had not added any food, or anything. Dang things were STILL ALIVE, and BREEDING!
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also, IME the canyons out competed the purples and dwarf whites. They were a waste for me. The canyon babies inhabit similar areas as dwarf whites, but are more voracious eaters.
Hmm, I never tried them as CUC only as feeders. The babies go deep into the soil like Dwarfs? How deep have you found them? Dwarfs are super hard to seed vivs with lol, but I have never had isos go as deep as they do.
 

CasqueAbove

Avid Member
I am just guessing, but I watched his set up, an one, he did not do drainage layer. But I agree with others it is beneficial to have.
As far a leaks , I think it is just stop rip nylon, so it will leak.
 

Highway61

Avid Member
Yeah I do have a handful of species, the canyons I have plenty of adults that will be breeding right off the bat.
Last year I purchased a combo of mixed springtails and "purple microdot" isopods (25). The springtails multiplied like rabbits and the iso never to be seen again. :(
 
I bought my dwarf white isopods recently, and I thought they were dead when I opened the container, but when I picked them up they moved a bit. I put them in but should I be worried?
 
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