Nephrurus amyae - Biotope Vivarium

jakemyster44

Member
Messages
588
Location
Perrysburg, Ohio
I have begun to slowly put into action my plans for a N. amyae biotope vivarium. This will be a lengthy process, but I didn't want to exclude any of the early stages. Please keep posted for future updates!

To start, here are pictures of my new amyae. These geckos are ~2 months old and unsexed.

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This first gecko is from Trace Hardin, at Hardin Herpetologica.

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This gecko is from Steve Sykes, at Geckos Etc.

The first step in constructing a biotope vivarium is one that I find to be particularly challenging: choosing the plants. Identifying plants native to the same region as N. amyae took a bit of research, but harder yet was finding a place that sells them! I was lucky to find an Australian seller on ebay that sells native seeds. The pricing was excellent as well! I settled on three species:

Soft Spinifex Grass - Triodia pungens
Carpet of Snow - Macgregoria racemigera
Kangaroo Grass - Themeda triandra

All three species have overlapping range with N. amyae. Since I was unable to find any information on growing these species in a vivarium, I figured I would try multiple species and see what happens. Hopefully at least one will tolerate my vivarium conditions.

Two seed packets arrived yesterday, and I immediately began germinating them. Because of Australia's unique fire ecology, many species of plants have a much higher germination rate after they are exposed to a wildfire. More specifically, certain chemicals given off in the smoke of wildfires are used by plants as a signal to germinate because resources are high and competition is low following a fire. To ensure a good germination rate of my own seed, I exposed them to these same "signal" chemicals. Thankfully, there is a very easy way of "smoke treating" seeds that does not involve setting fire to your vivarium, or even smoke, for that matter. Believe it or not, "Liquid Smoke", as sold in your local supermarket's BBQ section is perfect for the job. A bottle costs just a few dollars. A mix of 9 parts water to 1 part liquid smoke is what I found to be recommended online. I soaked the seeds in this overnight:

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I will post an update once things begin to sprout! To be continued....
 
Last edited:

jakemyster44

Member
Messages
588
Location
Perrysburg, Ohio
Quick update:

Seeds were planted in a 50/50 mixture of organic peat moss and Jurassic sand, which was first moistened and microwaved for 5 minutes to kill off any unwanted pests:
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And the main reason for this update... After doing a bit more research on the plants, I discovered that there was an Australian native "weed" growing in my own backyard! Portulaca oleracea, commonly know as purslane or pigweed is an Australian native that now has a nearly global distribution. It is native to much of Australia, including the range of N. amyae. Pretty cool! I do not use any pesticides or herbicides on my lawn, so I know the plant is vivarium safe. I did rinse off all of the topsoil and re-planted it in the same mix I used for the seeds, mainly to avoid any unwanted hitchhikers.

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Portulaca oleracea

To be continued...
 
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