Live Plan?

iDontCare

New Member
Messages
1
Location
Canada- Calgary, AB
Hello! I've owned my Leopard Gecko, Diego for two years as of April turning three in august. (FYI Diego is a girl but I'm not about changing the name.) :D

Anyhow,
I've been wanting to to have a live planted tank. Not just for aesthetics (I hate plastic plants) but just the concept of living things balancing out my tank is something I like to play around with. I do have questions though.

Can I still use my existing substrate? (Eco earth) If no, then what are the recommendations? If yes, would I need to use a second brick? I see a lot of people pulling off a 'level' sort of look for the bugs to be able to burro successfully.

What are the recommended plants for people who are trying this for the first time?
What are the recommend insects for people who are trying this for the first time?
How often do you change the substrate?
How many insects/species should I have in an Exo Terra 24x18x12?
Would a 2-5% UVB light work for the plants?
What kind of UVB do you use?
How can I keep the humidity between 10-20%?
How can I avoid hard water stains when I spray the side in the morning to let him drink?
If I do get the stains, is there a way to remove them?

And lastly- what I want to know most, when changing the substrate how do you do so? I just dump my substrate into a bag and throw it away, how do you manage the insects? Do you just add in new substrate and wait for the rest to break down?

Got any personal experiences that ended well or in tragedy in caring for your LG in general? Let me know! I'm open to listen to those.
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
Messages
11,364
Location
Somerville, MA
Welcome to GF! The really cool thing about a bioactive setup is that you never (!) have to change the substrate as far as I'm concerned. The whole point is to have an ecosystem set up that is largely self maintaining. There's another person on here that has done bioactive setups for leopard geckos and hopefully she'll respond. She wrote an article about it for Gecko Time here: http://www.geckotime.com/creating-a-bioactive-leopard-gecko-setup/

I have other geckos (fat tail and E. hardwickii) that need bottom heat where I wanted plants as well. I've finally decided that the best bet is to get succulents and put them in pots in the enclosure (I do ceramics, so I make the pots) as opposed to planting them.

Here are answers to a few of your other questions:


What are the recommend insects for people who are trying this for the first time?
Most people who do high humidity planted enclosures use isopods and springtails but the leo environment won't be humid enough for that. I have used dermastid beetles which look like tiny versions of mealworm beetles. They do tend to multiply quickly and then I end up with larva in the water dish, but they get the job done.

How many insects/species should I have in an Exo Terra 24x18x12?
Start with a few dermastid beetles and you'll have a whole lot, sooner than you can believe. Also check out "blue feigning death beetles (yes, really)"

Would a 2-5% UVB light work for the plants?
I just get a grow light from the hydroponics store and don't worry about UVB

How can I keep the humidity between 10-20%?
Use succulents in pots, take them out to water (succulents are supposed to be allowed to get pretty dry and then drenched), and don't worry if the humidity goes up some.

How can I avoid hard water stains when I spray the side in the morning to let him drink?
Use water from a britta filter and you won't get stains. It's better in general not to spray the sides and just give him a water bowl, especially since he'll probably be sleeping, not drinking, in the morning.


Aliza
 
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