Been gone a long while, bioactive terrarium questions


New Member
United States
Hi all. I haven't been here in a long time so I thought I would say hi. I still have 9 leopard geckos and 3 mourning geckos. I got 3 leopard geckos as "pets" about a year ago. They where supposed to be adults but in 9 months they doubled their weight (almost) and are growing by leaps and bounds. I dont think this is normal. They are by no means fat. Should I just keep up their regular routine and see what happens? Growing is good right?

About 2 weeks ago I got my mourning geckos. Before I set up the bioactive terrarium I just had regular fake palnts and I didn't seal up the vents in my terrarium (I looked but I didn't see any gaps).. Well very quickly I went from 4 mourning geckos to 1 in the enclosure. I took it down and did a much better job in looking for holes. I found out that they where excaping at the back where the hoses came into the enclosuar. So I closed them up (I hope) tight enough to keep them inside. You wont believe it but that day I found one of my mourning geckos hiding in my light dome. I was able to catch it :) :) Then, lo and behold, a few hours later a mourning gecko just walked onto my computer station. So I caught 2 in about 2 hours 3-4 days after they escaped. Isn't that wild? I have never caught 2 excapees so close togeather when I was sure they where in the wind. So I put the two I caught into deli cups and decided since I had two already caught I might as well make it into a bioactive terrarium now instead of later. I have a drainage layer. I had some clay balls but they only went up about 3/4". I figured I needed a bigger drainage layer so I went to a local store and they said parilite would work, so I got it and put it into my enclosure. Will the parilite be ok as a drainage layer? I have never seen anyone else using it. I put my abg soil mix down and put some moss down. Then I put a boston fern, an asperagus fern and a lipstick plant (vine) In. I ordered some leaf litter the same time I ordered everything else, but I have had the tank up (without the leaf litter) for a little over a week, and I have not gotten the leaf litter yet :(. I decided not to get my clean up crew yet because I had not put my leaf litter down. It seems like my plants are growing great guns. I can't believe it because I have never been able to grown anything. My asperagus fern had a stem coming up from the top of the plant and it was (no joke) growing a inch or two a DAY. I cut it off today as it had hit the top of the terrarium. My boston fern has new growth on 6 of it's leaves. NOTHING is dead (yet). My question is do I have to worry about fertlizer for my plants because I do not have a clean up crew? All my plants are doing so well I would really love it if they stayed healthy. I mean I REALLY have a BLACK thumb so growing things scare me ;) and I don't know what to do for them.

Tell me what you think of my terrarium.

Before making it into a bioactive terrarium

terrarium2.jpg terrariumbostonfern.jpg terrarium2lipstickplant.jpg terrarium2asperagusfern.jpg


Staff member
Somerville, MA
Nice looking terrarium. The geckos' poop will fertilize the plants. Don't worry about it. Be aware that sometimes plants get really tall and scraggly because they're trying to reach the light. Keep experimenting and see how it goes. You won't have only 3 mourning geckos for long, you'll probably have more before you know it.
I once had my electric blue day gecko (3"long) and my leachie (12" long) escape the same week. I was terrified that the leachie would find and eat the day gecko, but everyone was found safely.


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