Updated: Sep 25
What exactly is a bio-active setup?
The term bioactive essentially refers to the enclosure being biologically active. Through use of a bioactive substrate, clean-up crew such as springtails and isopods and other organic compounds we are able to create a self-sustaining, self-cleaning and living eco system within the enclosure.
The benefits of a bioactive enclosure is becoming more increasingly popular within the reptile community. It eliminates the need for extensive enclosure maintenance such as removing the substrate and doing full cleans as the clean-up crew will take care of most of the faeces and deceased live food etc. As well as the lack of cleaning benefits, a bioactive set-up can help provide a more naturalistic environment allowing them to exercise more of their own natural behaviours and instincts.
Things to note when interested in bioactive set-up
One of the first things to consider when thinking about starting to build a bioactive set-up is the animal that you would like to house in there. This way then we can start looking more into the requirements of this animal - the heating, habitat, humidity levels and diet to be able to determine the best approach for building your enclosure. Once you have grasped the requirements of your animal we can then looking at appropriate enclosure sizes. Glass enclosures (or PVC enclosures) tend to work best for bioactive set-ups as they don't develop moisture damage over time like wood can - however, it is possible to do bioactive set-ups in wooden vivarium's, there may just be more work initially to help protect the wood from water damage things like glass trays or pond liners work very well. Bioactive set-ups work a lot better for higher humidity animals such as Frogs, Crested Geckos and Chameleons and so forth. It is possible to create bioactive enclosures for dry species - we just have to plan out a little bit more for suitable plants and substrates that won't create too much humidity.
Having live plants within your animals enclosure, over having fake plants has a lot of benefits for many reasons. Firstly, having live plants will help improve the overall air quality within the enclosure, providing more hiding spots and perches for your animals as well as retaining more moisture on the leaves and stems that many reptiles can use to drink from. Using live plants also creates a more naturalistic environment for you animal encouraging more naturalistic behaviour.
If you are interested in bioactive set-ups then we are more than happy to discuss this with you - we are open for all and any questions.