Using a planter box for substrate in a screen cage

Hpurp

New Member
So I recently picked up the 36x18x36 Exo Terra screen cage from my local reptile store in anticipation of owning a new panther chameleon. For this cage though, I want to make it bioactive and have been having a hard time finding what to use to keep the substrate in. I saw that the Biodude used a planter bag, and filled in the unfilled space in the cage he was using with sphagnum moss, but I don't like the way that it looks when you're done, it looks messy to me. I was planning on building or buying a planter box to keep the substrate in, and install a PVC pipe to the drainage layer to drain water. Have anyone does something like this before? I'd appreciate some feedback
 

Shanar808

Avid Member
So I recently picked up the 36x18x36 Exo Terra screen cage from my local reptile store in anticipation of owning a new panther chameleon. For this cage though, I want to make it bioactive and have been having a hard time finding what to use to keep the substrate in. I saw that the Biodude used a planter bag, and filled in the unfilled space in the cage he was using with sphagnum moss, but I don't like the way that it looks when you're done, it looks messy to me. I was planning on building or buying a planter box to keep the substrate in, and install a PVC pipe to the drainage layer to drain water. Have anyone does something like this before? I'd appreciate some feedback
I have a butterfly cage on top of a planter box that I drilled a hole in the side to allow for drainage for my outdoor cage and I have a fabric planter in my indoor cage but that has only been setup a few months, I like it so far but time will tell. I’ll attach a couple pics. You may like some of the suggestions in this thread: https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/root-pouch-experience.181610/
 

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GrayMadder

Chameleon Enthusiast
Im literally doing the same w some of my enclosures and have done a lot of reading...


From what ive found, you can do a false bottom using a drainage layer and the pvc pipe to get the water out. @jamest0o0 has suggested using a fountain pump to help w getting the water out so it would eliminate the need for having to siphon yourself.
Not exactly... but something along the lines of this pic.
Screenshot_20210314-202622_Chrome.jpg


Here is a thread i found to be super informative (this is where i found the pic i attached from)
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/bioactive-drainage-question.168659/

Ive also looked into a bio basin bag from zen habitats, they have a bunch of different size options. Im considering doing this for my corn snake enclosure.

https://www.zenhabitats.com/search?type=everything&q=bio-basin*


Ive used the bidudes root pouch before and wasnt a fan, i agree it looked messy. But there are others on here that have found other root pouchs to work just fine.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
In my reptibreezes I used flower pots with the dimensions of the cage. I put velcro along the bottom so the cage stayed sturdy on top.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh I think I misread your question, but yes the pvc works great. As mentioned above, you could have a fountain pump turn on for a a few seconds a day. That will create a siphon, so even when it turns off it should drain the rest of the water.
 

Hpurp

New Member
Im literally doing the same w some of my enclosures and have done a lot of reading...


From what ive found, you can do a false bottom using a drainage layer and the pvc pipe to get the water out. @jamest0o0 has suggested using a fountain pump to help w getting the water out so it would eliminate the need for having to siphon yourself.
Not exactly... but something along the lines of this pic.
View attachment 296085

Here is a thread i found to be super informative (this is where i found the pic i attached from)
https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/bioactive-drainage-question.168659/

Ive also looked into a bio basin bag from zen habitats, they have a bunch of different size options. Im considering doing this for my corn snake enclosure.

https://www.zenhabitats.com/search?type=everything&q=bio-basin*


Ive used the bidudes root pouch before and wasnt a fan, i agree it looked messy. But there are others on here that have found other root pouchs to work just fine.
I'm most likely going to approach it with this method, I plan on building the planter with my brother sometime next week, and I'll look into lining it with bio basin to keep it from leaking. I'll post some updates with pictures if anyone's interested.
 

Hpurp

New Member
Oh I think I misread your question, but yes the pvc works great. As mentioned above, you could have a fountain pump turn on for a a few seconds a day. That will create a siphon, so even when it turns off it should drain the rest of the water.
This sounds like a great idea! I was not looking forward to having to siphon it every time. I'll look into some small pumps that can be put down into the pvc pipe. Thank you guys so much for the ideas!
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
This sounds like a great idea! I was not looking forward to having to siphon it every time. I'll look into some small pumps that can be put down into the pvc pipe. Thank you guys so much for the ideas!

For sure, I did this with my one enclosure. Everyday the pump turned on for 10 seconds and then off, the siphon kept it going until it emptied.
 

GrayMadder

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm most likely going to approach it with this method, I plan on building the planter with my brother sometime next week, and I'll look into lining it with bio basin to keep it from leaking. I'll post some updates with pictures if anyone's interested.
Would you mind tagging me in any new thread you post with updates?? Very interested!! Im doing these same projects very soon!!
 
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