Show your bioactive soil and clean up crew

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
After listening to this amazing podcast about Isopods from Chameleon Academy https://chameleonacademy.com/s7-ep33-isopods-for-your-bioactive-enclosure/ I was thinking devoting a thread about it would be really informative and joyful, as more and more members are starting with bioactive setups. It´s worth every second of listening and I didn´t know it could go that detailed and informative.

All my enclosures are bioactive followed by the guidelines of this https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/intro-to-bio-activity.2429/
I´m using a clean up crew as well and especially in my biggest they show their work. They really do their thing quickly, and with their thing I mean eating poop. And yes, a Parson creates some massive ones every few days. The CuC, cleans it up in just maximum 48h, then you won´t see a trace of it, expect the urate part. This dries out completely and pulverises in the soil. I´m using following as CuC:

- Trichorhina tomentosa isopods
- Epringtails,
- Earthworms,
- Thermobia domestica

And.....

Porcellio pruinosus orange

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Porcellio laevis Dairy Cow​

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The Dairy Cows full grown:

D56DBCF0-41B4-4C16-8882-C399E98F8034.jpeg

A14884CD-AE80-4791-A307-33FF8937EBC3.jpeg


And most important the crew at work (max 48h to eat it completely)

poop.jpg


Be free to share whatever you want about your bioactive soil and clean up crew or ask questions about this topic.
 

Morpheo's Mom

Avid Member
I have a question. By the way nice new thread where not only bioactive owners can share, but those who haven't can learn a lot!

My question is, are all the isopods of varying species in the same enclosure? My curiosity has me wondering if there is miniature wars going on under the leaves like ants might do. However, they must cohabitate very well if they are.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
My question is, are all the isopods of varying species in the same enclosure? My curiosity has me wondering if there is miniature wars going on under the leaves like ants might do. However, they must cohabitate very well if they are
So far I haven´t witness any problems, I still spot them everywhere and maybe as long as they have access to food, they cohabitate with each other perfectly. They only eat organic waste, maybe this plays a role as well. In the podcast they also mentioned something about how to startup with CuC. That´s important to set it up almost months before you put in your chameleon (or leave feces inside) or you need throw in a large army to do the trick directly. I did the second option, but removed the feces in the beginning (the first 2 weeks) to let the CuC establish themself.
 

Jpeff

Chameleon Enthusiast
After listening to this amazing podcast about Isopods from Chameleon Academy https://chameleonacademy.com/s7-ep33-isopods-for-your-bioactive-enclosure/ I was thinking devoting a thread about it would be really informative and joyful, as more and more members are starting with bioactive setups. It´s worth every second of listening and I didn´t know it could go that detailed and informative.

All my enclosures are bioactive followed by the guidelines of this https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/intro-to-bio-activity.2429/
I´m using a clean up crew as well and especially in my biggest they show their work. They really do their thing quickly, and with their thing I mean eating poop. And yes, a Parson creates some massive ones every few days. The CuC, cleans it up in just maximum 48h, then you won´t see a trace of it, expect the urate part. This dries out completely and pulverises in the soil. I´m using following as CuC:

- Trichorhina tomentosa isopods
- Epringtails,
- Earthworms,
- Thermobia domestica

And.....

Porcellio pruinosus orange

View attachment 329118

Porcellio laevis Dairy Cow​

View attachment 329119

The Dairy Cows full grown:

View attachment 329120
View attachment 329121

And most important the crew at work (max 48h to eat it completely)

View attachment 329122

Be free to share whatever you want about your bioactive soil and clean up crew or ask questions about this topic.

I was going to mix different types. But I read some where don't remember where. That the ones that reproduce faster will out compete the slower ones over time. Do you see that or they both doing fine. Not meaning they will fight just one will out breed and out eat. I know they'll eat just about everything on bottom.
Mixing bunch of different types of small ones would be cool or big one.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
My question is, are all the isopods of varying species in the same enclosure? My curiosity has me wondering if there is miniature wars going on under the leaves like ants might do. However, they must cohabitate very well if they are.
The first bioactive enclosure I set up (for a leopard gecko) and I naively put in giant canyons, powder orange and zebra isopods all together. After a short time, all that was remaining was the giant canyons. I doubt that they actively caused the demise of the others, but the giant canyons were just more successful.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
I was going to mix different types. But I read some where don't remember where. That the ones that reproduce faster will out compete the slower ones over time. Do you see that or they both doing fine. Not meaning they will fight just one will out breed and out eat. I know they'll eat just about everything on bottom.
Mixing bunch of different types of small ones would be cool or big one.
Excellent question, which is difficult to answer. Both isopod species I notice being active in the enclosure. At the feces mostly the daisy cow’s and at death branch or more plant matters waste the Orange. But, I can’t say which one is established more then the other. One thing I’ve noticed is, in the big and more moist enclosure the Daisy Cow is more prominent and in the free range setups (less moist soil) the Orange is more prominent.
 

Morpheo's Mom

Avid Member
The first bioactive enclosure I set up (for a leopard gecko) and I naively put in giant canyons, powder orange and zebra isopods all together. After a short time, all that was remaining was the giant canyons. I doubt that they actively caused the demise of the others, but the giant canyons were just more successful.
I see. So in the end just choosing 1 type would be best.

I really loved this podcast! It broke down the whole science behind how bioactive works. I'd like to someday try it out myself. Now I know when I am ready, start the substrate and springtails/isopods waay in advance.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is so cool! I hope to have a bioactive enclosure one day! How do you normally start one and do you have to worry about the little workers :p not getting enough food and stuff?
It luckily isn’t that difficult to realize, the outmost important thing is the drainage, that needs to be perfect. Otherwise in the long term it will give troubles. In principal the best way is to start with springtails for 1/2 months, they eat the fungus and such things that will start in the beginning and later expand to isopods and others. Plus a good leaf litter for the CuC is also important for hiding and extra feeding.
 

Jpeff

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've seen people put there repti breeze cages on utility sinks and mop sinks. So they could setup bioactive so they didn't loose any space in cage. But there other ways cheaper. I've learned to put little sand in my dirt mix for better drainage in my parsons cage. But she gets super long misting. I also give a 40 to 60 mist once week. Which she seems to like.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is so cool! I hope to have a bioactive enclosure one day! How do you normally start one and do you have to worry about the little workers :p not getting enough food and stuff?
It really is much easier than it seems. As @Sonny13 said, having proper drainage is essential.The clean up crew will eat leaf litter and other organic matter along with the poo, so keeping a nice layer of leaf litter will keep them fed. I also give the cuc some veggies and a bit of bug burger every 2-3 weeks. Something that I didn’t see mentioned in most places was to provide the cuc some calcium…crushed eggshell or a piece of cuttle bone.
 
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