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Bioactive, self sustain substrate safe?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by Redjunior, Jul 16, 2019.

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    Hey, I posted this in housing forum on this site. But I was hoping for a response sooner, as that part seems to be very quiet. Has anyone used bioactive substrate? Is it effective, if so? I was hoping to get a few new true spiders, a T or 2, and some scorps. I wanted to try something new that could potentially be as beneficial to the animal as it is for me to look at and maintain.

    This site is 1 example, lots more out there. But this one seems to lay it down better as far as information. But I'm a but skeptical. So I came here as always to hear from the experts. Cheers dudes n dudettes.

  2. moricollins

    moricollins Arachnoking Old Timer

    Bio active setups aren't very common in invertebrate keeping, from what I have seen here.
    Generally speaking most bio active setups need high humidity to facilitate the micro fauna parts of the setup. That doesn't tend to reconcile well with how most people keep their tarantulas and scorpions.

    What I think I'm saying is: get the substrate if YOU want it but don't expect it to do anything more for your inverts than any other typical substrate would.
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  3. EtienneN

    EtienneN Arachnonovelist-musician-artist Arachnosupporter

    Look at Tom’s Big Spiders blog and even podcast, he mentions bioactive enclosures at least once if I recall correctly. ;)
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  4. I'll deffs check that podcast out. Listen to it at work. But as far as it being unused, I have communal setup for b.jacksoni in a 20 gallon tank I'll try it out with. Maybe that'll give some ideas what its uses could be. I wouldn't imagine it being useful in small enclosures. So maybe a large one could have some benefit.

    I was just saying on a response in the housing post, in a 20 gallon set up, maybe some live plants would be the best thing to add in addition to the bioactive soil, so as the soil breaks down cricket bodies and such, the plants have an easier time feeding off the nutrients being broken down and the recycling posses could make for a cool setup, self sustained invert tank like you see with shrimp tanks.. Should be interesting. I really really hope I dont condemn my jacksoni as they're my all time fav scorpions (next to deathstalkers) and really hard to come across.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2019
  5. Vanessa

    Vanessa Grammostola Groupie Arachnosupporter

    When knowledgeable people with years of experience, like Tom Moran, do the bioactive setups - they do it for a very limited amount of species. That's because they simply aren't appropriate for more than a small number of species who will also thrive in the type of environment that a bioactive needs.
    If you're newer to keeping tarantulas, or really any type of spider, wouldn't it be more beneficial to concentrate on the spiders for now and not have to worry about also keeping alive plants and all the other fauna in a bioactive?
    Is it worth possibly losing your spiders over?
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  6. moricollins

    moricollins Arachnoking Old Timer

    Vanessa summed it up perfectly. Get years of experience with tarantulas / scorpions / etc. then try bioactive setups.

    The amount of waste that needs broken down in a tarantula or scorpion setup is quite minimal, bioactive setups aren't necessary, nor are plants.

    Why take the risk with your scorpions? Your own statement that you hope you don't condemn them should be all you need to decide NOT to try a bioactive setup.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2019
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  7. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    The only enclosure I've tried to do the whole bioactive set up is with my T.blondi. Well he actually got sent off for breeding but once my little lass is big enough she'll be going in that enclosure.

    It's just got live plants in and springtails to keep the sub healthy and remove any waste, mould spores etcetera.
  8. FrDoc

    FrDoc Gen. 1:24-25 Arachnosupporter

    First, @Redjunior, I really appreciate the link. I have done some cursory reading about bioactive setups, but having limited interest nothing more. The link you provided was an informative “Reader’s Digest” version.

    Second, albeit interesting, and I can see it as an option for tinkerers who keep large specimens, I personally believe it at least a bit too busy for most keepers. Plus, as he was putting the demonstration enclosure together in the video, all I kept seeing were crickets thinking they were placed in insect heaven, hiding and laying eggs with reckless abandon, or dropping a disabled super-worm in there never to be seen again, and not because it was eaten, just hidden. Now he may just have been overzealous in cluttering the enclosure beyond belief to show options that’s one thing, but if that’s all necessary for the setup to function, it’s problematic.

    If I were ever to obtain a Theraphosa species maybe, but I’ll pass.
  9. krbshappy71

    krbshappy71 Arachnosquire

    All my T's except the sling have a small live plant in with them but I don't use clean up crews, I still manually clean the tanks. I read up on it here and I got the impression the clean up crew could go after a molting T so I didn't want to risk it. My geckos are all bio active and have been for years. I don't buy the bio active substrate, though, if you try it I'd be interested in how it turns out. I debated a plant with the scorpion but I think he would trample it, he's pretty active! (by the way I have a very small collection of Ts, especially compared to a lot of people here, I'm sure.)
    P.S. did you see this on their site? It says to mist daily, I don't thank that's advised here on the forums: "Daily misting is not needed for your drier biomes, but if keeping a more humid invertebrate (such as a Goliath Bird Eater) misting daily will be effective to maintain humidity requirements for those species. Daily misting is not needed for your drier biomes, but if keeping a more humid invertebrate (such as a Goliath Bird Eater) misting daily will be effective to maintain humidity requirements for those species. "
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  10. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member


    Humidity does NOT need to be maintained for any t, regardless of how many care sheets say otherwise. No t can get moisture from the air....whats needed is damp sub, period.

    Sub dampened should NEVER be accomplished through misting....misting is for drinking opportunities, and should NEVER be considered as part of husbandry.

    Water poured on the sub is FAR more effective. And watering should be done on an as needed basis, NEVER on a set schedule. There are many variables that change through the year that will dictate how much water is added AND how frequently.

    Many tarantalas may be moisture dependent, but not a single one is dependent on humidity....sooooo many captive ts have perished because of this humidity myth.
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  11. krbshappy71

    krbshappy71 Arachnosquire

    Just to clarify, you know I didn't write that, right? I quoted it from the website that was selling the substrate. I just don't want you to think I was passing it along myself, I know not to do the humidity which is why I thought it was not cool that the website selling that product was promoting humidity. :)
  12. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    its within your quote.
  13. krbshappy71

    krbshappy71 Arachnosquire

    Ah ya I see now, I just knew I wasn't telling people to create humid enclosures, I see now how it happened, it was the slice from the website that I was quoting. I was concerned that others would think I was promoting the humidity. Am not LOL I was irritated the website was.
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