Pascal's New Bioactive Home!

hiddenflaws

Established Member
So it's getting pretty close to that time. ;) This thread will be used for me to get advice, ask questions, and post progress pictures. I will need as much help as possible since I am very new to bioactive and I don't want to mess this up. So, without further ado, let's get this started!

First off, Pascal is a male veiled chameleon and I am assuming he is about 4-5 months old. I will be moving him into a Exo Terra 36"x18"x36 Glass Terrarium.
I will also be adding the mist king starter system. Both of these have already been ordered and I am hoping to have both of these in 2-3 weeks. I will post pictures on here as soon as they arrive.

My main question is about lighting for my buddy and plants. I have to be pretty cheap with this and hopefully I won't have to get rid of what I have. Especially since the UVB bar and light cost me around $52 and the exo terra was EXPENSIVE. My bank hates me. :oops: So, this is what I currently have for his lighting:
- A Daytime Blue Heat Bulb at 100 Watts
- A Zoo Med Reptisun T5-Ho Terrarium Hood, 24" ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQU8F2O/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_1?smid=A2Z97RC3GHC1Y&psc=1 )

As for my substrate, this is currently a WIP. I have already made my own and it is currently being hidden so sunlight doesn't hit it and it kills whatever currently plants are growing. I will give more information on this when I get in touch with James again and get his approval. This could change which is why I am not listening it. I am adding hydroballs for a drainage layer. Not sure how many bags (2.5 lb) I will have to order for this so please let me know if you can figure it out! ❤

Plants I Wish to Add (Incomplete)
- Bromeliad
- Ficus
- Hibiscus
- Schefflera
- Golden Pothos
- Codiaeum variegatum
- african violet
- sweet alyssum
- dracaena fragrans

As for everything else, I will update as I go! This thread might be pretty quiet for the first two weeks at first, but hopefully it'll be active once the exo terra comes in. I am planning on getting some things this weekend so I'll post pictures of what all is being used/picked up. ❤
 

hiddenflaws

Established Member
So I got Pascal’s new terrarium today and I’m super exited! I also have the MK misting system which is inside. I have a few things coming in this week and next week and hoping to pick up some plants Friday. Hopefully I can get enough for the enclosure. Still haven’t found a cheap, reliable foam to use. I also haven’t decided whether I want to keep the background or not. I kind of like it though!
C617D04F-6457-4622-B658-D1AF13FC5AB7.jpeg
6A4B8829-B888-4B7F-93E3-3A43E873FB58.jpeg
 

hiddenflaws

Established Member
Started foaming a little bit today! This will be where the fogger will do it’s thing. Had to get super creative with this, but loving how it looks so far. Still not done carving it’s shape. Picking up plants tomorrow from Home Depot! Any suggestions on what I should get? I’m getting a bromeliad for sure.
 

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Your going to have trouble with the hibiscus, as that needs full sun all day every day. Rest of the plants should work, african violets don't handle frequent touching by animals well though.

As for lighting, your going to want a daylight bulb, rather than the blue light.

A mistking system as well.

I shall let the experts take it from there.
 

Dbash44

Avid Member
So it's getting pretty close to that time. ;) This thread will be used for me to get advice, ask questions, and post progress pictures. I will need as much help as possible since I am very new to bioactive and I don't want to mess this up. So, without further ado, let's get this started!

First off, Pascal is a male veiled chameleon and I am assuming he is about 4-5 months old. I will be moving him into a Exo Terra 36"x18"x36 Glass Terrarium.
I will also be adding the mist king starter system. Both of these have already been ordered and I am hoping to have both of these in 2-3 weeks. I will post pictures on here as soon as they arrive.

My main question is about lighting for my buddy and plants. I have to be pretty cheap with this and hopefully I won't have to get rid of what I have. Especially since the UVB bar and light cost me around $52 and the exo terra was EXPENSIVE. My bank hates me. :oops: So, this is what I currently have for his lighting:
- A Daytime Blue Heat Bulb at 100 Watts
- A Zoo Med Reptisun T5-Ho Terrarium Hood, 24" ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AQU8F2O/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_1?smid=A2Z97RC3GHC1Y&psc=1 )

As for my substrate, this is currently a WIP. I have already made my own and it is currently being hidden so sunlight doesn't hit it and it kills whatever currently plants are growing. I will give more information on this when I get in touch with James again and get his approval. This could change which is why I am not listening it. I am adding hydroballs for a drainage layer. Not sure how many bags (2.5 lb) I will have to order for this so please let me know if you can figure it out! ❤

Plants I Wish to Add (Incomplete)
- Bromeliad
- Ficus
- Hibiscus
- Schefflera
- Golden Pothos
- Codiaeum variegatum
- african violet
- sweet alyssum
- dracaena fragrans

As for everything else, I will update as I go! This thread might be pretty quiet for the first two weeks at first, but hopefully it'll be active once the exo terra comes in. I am planning on getting some things this weekend so I'll post pictures of what all is being used/picked up. ❤

I would do some research before getting all your plants. As another member said, hibiscus has very particular conditions. One of the conditions is soil with a particular pH that may differ from the other plants. My hibiscus at work gets mad at me when I over water it which might be a problem in a constantly moist environment. You might find a way that works for you, that's just my experience.

I found that a lot of my plants died in my live planted enclosures because the lighting/conditions weren't correct. I would suggest to tropical species of plants (typically referred to as house plants). Basically anything that loves humidity and doesn't mind moist soil consistently. I love the way live moss looks and have seen others succeed with keeping it. I'm currently propagating some to incorporate into my bioactive build when it's time.

If you want some awesome lights, I highly suggest using the forum search tab to look up some lighting threads. I upgraded to a quad t5 fixture with 6500k lights for my cham cages and my plants are SUPER happy. It provides sufficient light that's bright reaches the bottom of a four foot tall enclosure. Here's a link, just find the size you need. It's expensive, but I promise it'll be worth your money. This one was suggested by another member because of the fact it has different reflectors for each lamp and a good ballast (what powers the light essentially).
Here's the link I found the info on for your reference:

https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/basic-lighting.172733/#post-1536881

Here's the light link:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JQBQZQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Something I took into consideration when applying the substrate over the silicone is using/not using wood chips. A lot of videos for setups for other types of reptiles use this. I personally found that it could be hazardous. If a cham wants to get a feeder off a wall and gets a loose wood chip it could impact him/her. That's just my opinion, though.

Essentially, my suggestion to you when watching videos and reading forums is to use all that you know and have learned about chams and ask yourself, "Is this method/product going to harm my cham?" If you're skeptical about something, come back here and ask us about it. Just my two cents.

I've attached a few links to inspire you :)
Most of the videos go over plants that are used. Some of them go over builds to kind of give you an idea of what you might want to incorporate in yours.

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-Care-For-Beginners/Reptile-Enclosures-and-Set-Ups/Expert-Tips-on-Planting-a-Lush-Vivarium/

http://www.joshsfrogs.com/catalog/blog/2012/11/how-to-plant-epiphytes-in-a-vivarium/







https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9boLmfRivc&t=554s



EDIT: Forgot to mention you can use your UVB bulb in the lighting fixture I linked. Saves some space on top of the enclosure. It's also the right size to fit the Arcadia and Zoo Med bulbs. Just take into account you might need a stronger bulb than a 6%/5.0 due to light degradation. I'm no expert on that topic, I just know from other members who are knowledgable on the subject that all those lights next to eachother conflict with each other's light output. For my panther enclosure, I have my arcadia 12% UVB in the quad fixture raised above the enclosure 3.5" and the UVB basking branch 4" down inside the enclosure. I get 3-3.5 UVI. It is said that for Veiled and Panther's 3 UVI is sufficient to support the needs of the animal. So, do the math and estimate what will work best for you.

I use a solar meter to get my readings. You might consider getting one. They're extraordinarily useful and will pay for themselves over time.
 
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Dbash44

Avid Member
Started foaming a little bit today! This will be where the fogger will do it’s thing. Had to get super creative with this, but loving how it looks so far. Still not done carving it’s shape. Picking up plants tomorrow from Home Depot! Any suggestions on what I should get? I’m getting a bromeliad for sure.
Whenever I've used these backgrounds in the past I found that feeders can hide behind them. Once they died it started to smell funky. The way around that I use is to cover the openings on the bottom/top. I forget if said openings are at the top or bottom, but I make sure that they are at the bottom when I install the background. I them use some sort of artificial plant to stuff the openings with. I found that some swatches of astroturf (artificial grass) worked well. You can use your foam to cover the top and bottom of it to eliminate the issue. It's totally up to you, just telling you my experience with it. You're not "wrong" for using it.
 

hiddenflaws

Established Member
Whenever I've used these backgrounds in the past I found that feeders can hide behind them. Once they died it started to smell funky. The way around that I use is to cover the openings on the bottom/top. I forget if said openings are at the top or bottom, but I make sure that they are at the bottom when I install the background. I them use some sort of artificial plant to stuff the openings with. I found that some swatches of astroturf (artificial grass) worked well. You can use your foam to cover the top and bottom of it to eliminate the issue. It's totally up to you, just telling you my experience with it. You're not "wrong" for using it.
That is definitely something that I needed to know! I'll figure out something to do with it then. Thank you! ((( :
 

hiddenflaws

Established Member
I would do some research before getting all your plants. As another member said, hibiscus has very particular conditions. One of the conditions is soil with a particular pH that may differ from the other plants. My hibiscus at work gets mad at me when I over water it which might be a problem in a constantly moist environment. You might find a way that works for you, that's just my experience.

I found that a lot of my plants died in my live planted enclosures because the lighting/conditions weren't correct. I would suggest to tropical species of plants (typically referred to as house plants). Basically anything that loves humidity and doesn't mind moist soil consistently. I love the way live moss looks and have seen others succeed with keeping it. I'm currently propagating some to incorporate into my bioactive build when it's time.

If you want some awesome lights, I highly suggest using the forum search tab to look up some lighting threads. I upgraded to a quad t5 fixture with 6500k lights for my cham cages and my plants are SUPER happy. It provides sufficient light that's bright reaches the bottom of a four foot tall enclosure. Here's a link, just find the size you need. It's expensive, but I promise it'll be worth your money. This one was suggested by another member because of the fact it has different reflectors for each lamp and a good ballast (what powers the light essentially).
Here's the link I found the info on for your reference:

https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/basic-lighting.172733/#post-1536881

Here's the light link:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002JQBQZQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Something I took into consideration when applying the substrate over the silicone is using/not using wood chips. A lot of videos for setups for other types of reptiles use this. I personally found that it could be hazardous. If a cham wants to get a feeder off a wall and gets a loose wood chip it could impact him/her. That's just my opinion, though.

Essentially, my suggestion to you when watching videos and reading forums is to use all that you know and have learned about chams and ask yourself, "Is this method/product going to harm my cham?" If you're skeptical about something, come back here and ask us about it. Just my two cents.

I've attached a few links to inspire you :)
Most of the videos go over plants that are used. Some of them go over builds to kind of give you an idea of what you might want to incorporate in yours.

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-Care-For-Beginners/Reptile-Enclosures-and-Set-Ups/Expert-Tips-on-Planting-a-Lush-Vivarium/

http://www.joshsfrogs.com/catalog/blog/2012/11/how-to-plant-epiphytes-in-a-vivarium/







https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9boLmfRivc&t=554s



EDIT: Forgot to mention you can use your UVB bulb in the lighting fixture I linked. Saves some space on top of the enclosure. It's also the right size to fit the Arcadia and Zoo Med bulbs. Just take into account you might need a stronger bulb than a 6%/5.0 due to light degradation. I'm no expert on that topic, I just know from other members who are knowledgable on the subject that all those lights next to eachother conflict with each other's light output. For my panther enclosure, I have my arcadia 12% UVB in the quad fixture raised above the enclosure 3.5" and the UVB basking branch 4" down inside the enclosure. I get 3-3.5 UVI. It is said that for Veiled and Panther's 3 UVI is sufficient to support the needs of the animal. So, do the math and estimate what will work best for you.

I use a solar meter to get my readings. You might consider getting one. They're extraordinarily useful and will pay for themselves over time.
I did do some research on the plants. Hibiscus was just something I would like to add in there; nothing fur sure and since that list was made, I have changed my mind. Thank you so much for the tips though! I will definitely go through these links you suggested!
I'm very new with bioactive and everything else so this is all something I'm learning. I have actually watched a couple of the videos you have suggested. ((( :
 

Dbash44

Avid Member
I did do some research on the plants. Hibiscus was just something I would like to add in there; nothing fur sure and since that list was made, I have changed my mind. Thank you so much for the tips though! I will definitely go through these links you suggested!
I'm very new with bioactive and everything else so this is all something I'm learning. I have actually watched a couple of the videos you have suggested. ((( :
No problem. I'm new to bioactive setups as well. A lot of what I learned from my years gardening and cultivating plants as a hobby is what I've applied to my live planted enclosures and part of what I'm applying to this. I know it's all different, but it's somewhere to start. I know I don't know exactly how things will turn out for bioactive, but I can shed light on some sources so you can get your own take on the info. So please don't take my word on everything as canon. I'm sure there's plenty of people will say there's another way to do things that differs from mine, so please don't get confused. That's why I state everything from a standpoint of "my experience" or "I suggest." I'm getting close to finishing my bioactive so we are in this together!
 

hiddenflaws

Established Member
No problem. I'm new to bioactive setups as well. A lot of what I learned from my years gardening and cultivating plants as a hobby is what I've applied to my live planted enclosures and part of what I'm applying to this. I know it's all different, but it's somewhere to start. I know I don't know exactly how things will turn out for bioactive, but I can shed light on some sources so you can get your own take on the info. So please don't take my word on everything as canon. I'm sure there's plenty of people will say there's another way to do things that differs from mine, so please don't get confused. That's why I state everything from a standpoint of "my experience" or "I suggest." I'm getting close to finishing my bioactive so we are in this together!
I'm definitely nervous and excited for the journey! I'm terrified that I'll mess something up. Do you have a thread for your bioactive setup? I would lover to see you're progress!
 

rlschwer

New Member
Hey, plant enthusiast here! Feel free to ignore, this is long.

Lights: Any 6500k (referring to color temperature') light will provide 'a decent range of plant-available light; 5000k can as well, it just won't be as much. Both LEDs and florescent bulbs/tubes will work, but LEDs tend to have a more continuous spectrum (good) and use less electricity, so I'd tend to go for those. For high-light plants, you'll need upwards of 2000 lumens/square foot to maintain healthy growth and prevent etoliation. If you're growing things like hibiscus indoors, you'll want a bit less, but still a large amount. You can get around this by simply growing plants that do well in medium-low light instead, though. Be sure to account for the fact that plants lower in your enclosure receive less light, even without other plants blocking them.

Plants: Schleffera are great, but you may want it in a pot in coarser soil in your cage; they need to dry out completely between waterings, or they're prone to rot. If you want other plants, Maranta, calathea, and fittonia all do very well in humid, med-low light environments. Ostrich fern does well when substrate always retains moisture, but other ferns can do well if allowed to dry out some. I'm fond of live oak, as it's a species that doesn't require a dormancy period and can tolerate damp sites well, plus is easy to keep pruned to a manageable size. If you are planting things in your backgrounds, epiphytic plants like schlumbera or rhipsalis cacti (no spikes) and transcadentia tricolor (pink and green)), transcadentia zebrina (purple/silver), and transcadentia fluminensis (green, small leaves) are very easy to grow hanging vines, and sturdy enough that my 130g panther can climb them. The only catch is that these also need to dry out occasionally, but need little soul, so would be easy to mount in a handful or so of dirt in a background pocket. They'll do better with more light, but can definitely handle med-low light environments.
 

hiddenflaws

Established Member
Plants I ended up getting this morning: 2 bromeliads, 1 corn plant, 1 golden Pothos, 1 dracaena. Also picked up a daylight heat bulb as recommended above instead of using a blue heat light. I also have another plant that will be added into the enclosure that has been in his current one. Can’t remember the name. 🥺 Also, as suggested by @Dbash44 , I sealed the bottom and sides of the background so feeders won’t get stuck behind there! Thank you so much for letting me know that. 😂

Soil: Picked up some eco earth soil and mixed that with a little bit of Sphagnum moss and bark. I will be adding some twigs as well!
 

Dbash44

Avid Member
Now just waiting for the foam to dry before carving.
Used foam at the bottom in order to cover the cracks as suggested by @Dbash44 . Don’t want bugs dying behind the background and smelling up my terrarium. 😤 Will be foaming more tonight since I am adding a pot in the top right side. I’m so nervous for this project.
Hey! Looking good!

I feel bad and need to apologize for giving advice that I should have thought through a little more. I didn’t consider that there will be layers of soil and such in the bottom which will make it hard for feeders to get to the gaps. So I guess I should have included that it might not be necessary to use the foam as long as the gaps are at the bottom. Better be safe than sorry, though. I would have done the same thing you did either way. Plus more support for it to stay in place. 😅

So I ended up using aquarium tubing as drainage tubes under my hanging planters. Should have done it at the foam step as is was hard to do so after. I’m afraid over overwatering my plants which is why I did that. I don’t know if it was a necessity if you’re confident you won’t over water. There’s probably other ways to fix accidentally overwatering. Just throwing some ideas at ya.

What’s the pipe on the right side for
 

hiddenflaws

Established Member
Hey! Looking good!

I feel bad and need to apologize for giving advice that I should have thought through a little more. I didn’t consider that there will be layers of soil and such in the bottom which will make it hard for feeders to get to the gaps. So I guess I should have included that it might not be necessary to use the foam as long as the gaps are at the bottom. Better be safe than sorry, though. I would have done the same thing you did either way. Plus more support for it to stay in place. 😅

So I ended up using aquarium tubing as drainage tubes under my hanging planters. Should have done it at the foam step as is was hard to do so after. I’m afraid over overwatering my plants which is why I did that. I don’t know if it was a necessity if you’re confident you won’t over water. There’s probably other ways to fix accidentally overwatering. Just throwing some ideas at ya.

What’s the pipe on the right side for
Definitely glad I did it either way! I did think of that before I added the foam, but I also thought it’d be a good idea to go ahead and do that. The pipe on the right side is for the fogger to go through. I’ll be adding a piece of mesh on the end so feeders won’t crawl inside and get stuck and will cover it more with some moss. ((:)
 

AmandaS

Avid Member
Why did you decide to put the fogger hose so low? Are you going to add branches or just the natural plants youll be adding?
It looks very cool! Cant wait to see the finished product.
 
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