Newb going bio in UK - plus misting water?

Hi everyone,

after everyones advice about my bark substrate I've decided that next payday I'm going bio active. you all have some amazing threads on here about doing it, lots of mini blogs about your own vivs, also what items to use, so please excuse me creating another thread to ask the questions, I presume you'll be happy to humour me to make sure Little Aloy the Cham has a good transition to bio :)

the reason for my questions is this, I live in the UK and it seems most of the stuff people say to use is not available in the UK.

So am I right in thinking I'll need some 1/2" pipe with a hole in the bottom to drain from via a siphon?

I can not for the life of me find organic soil here, at all, the best thing I can find is seeding compost? no minerals etc because seeds have their own. would this be ok?

I've been told to use clay beads for the lowest level, a sheet above that, some standard charcoal, another sheet layer and then the seed compost.

people say to use Tropical Grey woodlice and spring tails, but how many is too many? they seem to come in large amounts of bugs. also what leaves should I use to feed the clean up crew? do they always need feeding or will they just eat the chameleon poop?

also told to use moss but the only moss i can find in the UK comes dried and it says to add water? is that any good?

also cleaning of the internals, i've been told to wipe everything down with pet disinfectant every 2 to 3 weeks. is that safe? should I be doing that.

also i run my dripper 24/7 should this just run during the day? can i take this out if i have a misting system? also is it ok to directly spray the chameleon to make her drink? I'm concerned about doing this before lights on?

also I've found a misting system on amazon uk, i cant for the life of me find RO water here? what would be an alternative?

thank you everyone.

critters:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01AUOKK9Q/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_1?smid=A1F19X2Y3VVY1U&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01AUOKHGM/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_2?smid=A1F19X2Y3VVY1U&psc=1

clay balls and moss:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001B5DKN2/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_3?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00OHQDSAM/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_4?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1

misting:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01M1BLK2F/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_6?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
@jamest0o0 , myself and a couple others are all bio active so feel free to ask all the questions you want. Theoretically, outside of moving the soil every once in awhile to aerate, cleaning should be done by your CUC (clean up crew). I started with about 1000 springtails and and 25 powder blue isopods. I have since introduced some cubaris murina and super worm beetles. When you grab a clump of substrate you should see a good number of springtails.

These are a great place to start. Bill Strand has a wonderful podcast for cham keepers that goes over all things chameleon.

https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/podcast/bio-active-part-1/

https://www.chameleonbreeder.com/po...ronments-pt-2-with-john-courteney-smith-mrsb/
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
I do not keep a drainage layer on bio active set ups. If you have the watering down correctly and the right substrate you dont necessarily need one. You can use one however, just make sure you have a way of preventing roots from going into the drainage layer and rotting.
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
The dripper system is purely up to your cham. If they drink fine without it, get rid of it, if they dont keep it. It will cause a water flow to the bottom of the enclosure that will cause leakeage. Its all about balance.
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry lol, a lot of posts. As for the RO water, I cant find any near where Im at other than buying large gallons for $$ at the grocery store. I use dustilled water for my pumps, and then I'll add in vitamins and minerals every once inawhile through a hand mister to provide my plants with that natural nutrition that distilled takes out.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there! For drainage - you don't necessarily need it, but I erred on the side of caution as this is my first bio and I'm not familiar with drainage rates for the soil I used. I used 1" diameter PVC pipe, drilled a few holes in the bottom, and placed it about an inch off of the glass so that it essentially disappears. I'm an aesthetics freak, haha!

Some pictures:

245801


245802


245803


I didnt take a picture of it, but I cut some fiberglass screen to size to place over the clay pebbles. I feel like a charcoal layer above that is redundant, as activated charcoal loses its purifying effects within a month of use anyway.

Soil wise, I'd just check the ingredient list for additives and go with a well draining mix. I ended up using primarily ProMix HD (the Canadian version of Sunshine Mix #4, lol!) with some added worm casings and some leftover tropical soil mix from my houseplants.

Cant really have too many CuC; they're essentially limited in population based on food availability. As long as they have lots of leaf litter, you don't really need to feed them much/often. In a fresh build, I'd feed them at least weekly to help the population out. Arcadia Custodian Fuel and Repashy Morning Wood are excellent CuC foods, though carrots and cucumber have been readily devoured by my colonies. A source of calcium for the isopods (I.e. in the form of a cuttlebone) is also beneficial.

Where are you planning on putting the moss? On top of your soil? No real harm in that, though I'd cover the moss with leaf litter. The leaf litter is for the CuC more than anything!

Honestly, I rarely wipe my enclosures down. If you feel the need, you can wipe down surfaces with a reptile safe cleaner such as Wipe Out. Won't harm anything! To clean the glass of water droplets/etc, I've just been using a microfiber cloth with a touch of 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Regarding the dripper, you wont need to run it overnight. I dont run a dripper at all, personally! I rely entirely on misting. I have a MistKing kicking around, but still havent hooked it up, lol! If you don't have RO water available, I'd use distilled like @KobaOregonherper said. If your tap water is very low on minerals, you might be able to get away with it... but you may also clog up your misting heads!

I give the enclosures a light spray before lights on, just enough for everything to be covered in dew (30s - 1min). I dont directl spray my girl; I aim away from her so that the very edge of the spray touches her and I sort of spray around her for 2 mins or so. Occasionally she walks directly into the spray to clean her eyes and drink. Other times, she mosies off to do her own thing and I keep spraying around. As long as your cham's urates are mostly (~3/4) white - cream, you're good to go! Many chams are shy drinkers, and wont drink while you're watching.

I think I covered most of your questions. Please let me know if I missed anything, or if you want clarification! (y)
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there! For drainage - you don't necessarily need it, but I erred on the side of caution as this is my first bio and I'm not familiar with drainage rates for the soil I used. I used 1" diameter PVC pipe, drilled a few holes in the bottom, and placed it about an inch off of the glass so that it essentially disappears. I'm an aesthetics freak, haha!

Some pictures:

View attachment 245801

View attachment 245802

View attachment 245803

I didnt take a picture of it, but I cut some fiberglass screen to size to place over the clay pebbles. I feel like a charcoal layer above that is redundant, as activated charcoal loses its purifying effects within a month of use anyway.

Soil wise, I'd just check the ingredient list for additives and go with a well draining mix. I ended up using primarily ProMix HD (the Canadian version of Sunshine Mix #4, lol!) with some added worm casings and some leftover tropical soil mix from my houseplants.

Cant really have too many CuC; they're essentially limited in population based on food availability. As long as they have lots of leaf litter, you don't really need to feed them much/often. In a fresh build, I'd feed them at least weekly to help the population out. Arcadia Custodian Fuel and Repashy Morning Wood are excellent CuC foods, though carrots and cucumber have been readily devoured by my colonies. A source of calcium for the isopods (I.e. in the form of a cuttlebone) is also beneficial.

Where are you planning on putting the moss? On top of your soil? No real harm in that, though I'd cover the moss with leaf litter. The leaf litter is for the CuC more than anything!

Honestly, I rarely wipe my enclosures down. If you feel the need, you can wipe down surfaces with a reptile safe cleaner such as Wipe Out. Won't harm anything! To clean the glass of water droplets/etc, I've just been using a microfiber cloth with a touch of 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Regarding the dripper, you wont need to run it overnight. I dont run a dripper at all, personally! I rely entirely on misting. I have a MistKing kicking around, but still havent hooked it up, lol! If you don't have RO water available, I'd use distilled like @KobaOregonherper said. If your tap water is very low on minerals, you might be able to get away with it... but you may also clog up your misting heads!

I give the enclosures a light spray before lights on, just enough for everything to be covered in dew (30s - 1min). I dont directl spray my girl; I aim away from her so that the very edge of the spray touches her and I sort of spray around her for 2 mins or so. Occasionally she walks directly into the spray to clean her eyes and drink. Other times, she mosies off to do her own thing and I keep spraying around. As long as your cham's urates are mostly (~3/4) white - cream, you're good to go! Many chams are shy drinkers, and wont drink while you're watching.

I think I covered most of your questions. Please let me know if I missed anything, or if you want clarification! (y)
Perfect.
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Too late, my dude! I've been thoroughly corrupted, and have even officially joined a locally based plant swap community! :ROFLMAO: There's an orchid based meet next month. Goodbye money!
Oh god... lol. @AlwaysHungry this is what you have to look forward to if you go bio active. On the bright side your chameleon will live a more naturalistic and as close to wild life it can have in captivity. They may even hiss at you less, maybe.
 

SharpShooter

Avid Member
All the above is good. I have a thought on your dripper though. I made a pumped system but it will work with gravity fed as well.

I positioned the end of the dripper tube, made from a hospital type drip so that you can finely control drip flow, above a pothos. It drips down the leaves and I collect it at the bottom of the drop in a small funnel, made from cut down cheap plastic watering can. This is held by zip tying to the sticks and branches. Pop in some stones large enough to prevent any accidents into the funnel. I then have a tube from the funnel to a waste water collecting device, or commonly known as a bucket, below.

Both my chams use the dripper and my male uses it for 99% of his drinking. As the pothos grows, you just tweak the leaves to keep the drips falling where the funnel is mounted.

This has worked great for me and even though I've got the pipe in the drainage layer, it's very rare to have to remove any excess water at all.

I also add Arcadia Bio Revitaliser to the soil mix and occasionally feed the CUC with Arcadia Custodian Fuel.20190912_104447.jpg
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
I also put the pvc pipe down into the bottom of the substrate layer. But after misting for several days, the water hasn't even made it to the lower layer of the soil yet.

So it is a nice safety net in case something goes wrong, which I hope it never does, but I agree it's probably not necessary.

I also have mine hid behind a piece of cork bark.
 
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