Terrarium/Vivarium Safe Soil?

Ben Do

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Jul 3, 2018
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I currently keep my T's on coco fiber but I want create my own mix for all my enclosures.

I plan on having a bioactive set up for my whites tree frogs (and eventually Pacman frogs when the time comes), but I was wondering what brands of soil are best for live plants AND isopods/animals in a vivarium. I currently have Dr. Earth's Organic All Purpose Potting Soil for my houseplants, it says its organic and natural but better to be safe than sorry.

The ingredients are: aged fir bark, perlite, peat moss, composted green waste, sawdust, alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, fish meal, potassium sulfate, humid acid, kelp meal, ends and echo mycorrhizae, beneficial soil microbes, kelp flour, dolomite lime, gypsum and wetting agent.

If any of those aren't safe, let me know which brands you use. Obviously there's soil made for reptiles/amphibians but if I can get the same much cheaper than all the better.
 

LizardStudent

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Aug 16, 2020
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My bioactive mix is usually sphagnum moss, organic peat moss, and coco fibre when I'm doing a setup with plants and animals. I usually mix in bits of leaflitter/organic topsoil with wood bits/ calcium for the isopods to munch on. If a soil is organic, it should be free of additives and dyes, etc, and should be safe. I always double check anyway as well

Also for the coco fibre, it is usually very salty, and so if I'm using it in a mix with plants once I soak it I squeeze it out real good to rid some of that excess salt from the mix. It'll make your plants happier in the long run and also not lead to those big white crusty spots, depending on the water level in your setup
 

RoachCoach

Arachnobaron
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Sep 2, 2019
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Ignore everything you may have seen online for frog enclosures. Hit Josh's Frogs for care (they literally have an amphibian specialist) and he for sure knows his stuff. Second is TCS Reptiles. beautiful enclosures, but mainly for dendro frogs.
 

Tarantuland

Arachnobaron
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The ingredients are: aged fir bark, perlite, peat moss, composted green waste, sawdust, alfalfa meal, fish bone meal, fish meal, potassium sulfate, humid acid, kelp meal, ends and echo mycorrhizae, beneficial soil microbes, kelp flour, dolomite lime, gypsum and wetting agent.
There's no real benefit to the spider for keeping it bioactive- but fish bone meal, fish meal, potassium sulfate, humic acid- act as fertilizers. There can potentially kill your T. Check out biodude substrate. Josh's frogs is good too though. You need to find plants that can thrive with very little nutrients and without fertilizer. Pothos is common. Whatever you use has to be free of fertilizers and pesticides-even organic fertilizers or pesticides can be a death sentence.
 

Sterls

Arachnobaron
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Jan 1, 2018
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367
Some "organic" fertilizers in potting soil can harm animals supposedly. I'd rather play it safer than sorry.

Mixing your own with known safe substrates or buying ready made substrate specifically for bioactive seems like the best bet.

You could mix topsoil (the dirt cheap stuff, like $2. that cheap and it's unlikely they added anything) with organic food waste or leaf compost. Reptisoil or BioDude is supposed to be ready for plants as is.

Whenever I get a new bag of topsoil I throw some dubias/crickets in there for a couple days to see if they randomly die, just to safety check each bag.
 

LizardStudent

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Aug 16, 2020
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Does anyone know exactly which organic fertilizing elements are harmful to inverts? It would be useful to know exactly which compounds people should avoid, rather than just ruling out many different substrates that may well be perfectly fine and inexpensive to use in setups
 

Frogdaddy

Arachnobaron
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Nov 13, 2019
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My bioactive mix is usually sphagnum moss, organic peat moss, and coco fibre when I'm doing a setup with plants and animals. I usually mix in bits of leaflitter/organic topsoil with wood bits/ calcium for the isopods to munch on. If a soil is organic, it should be free of additives and dyes, etc, and should be safe. I always double check anyway as well

Also for the coco fibre, it is usually very salty, and so if I'm using it in a mix with plants once I soak it I squeeze it out real good to rid some of that excess salt from the mix. It'll make your plants happier in the long run and also not lead to those big white crusty spots, depending on the water level in your setup
I'm interested in this. How long has this enclosure been up and running?
 

LizardStudent

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I'm interested in this. How long has this enclosure been up and running?
One of my tanks with this mix has been used for the better part of two years and the plants are thriving to the point where they're almost out of control, although really I attribute that to frequent misting and good grow lights. I make sure to use a false bottom too, to help prevent rot and boost relative humidity
 

Matt Man

Arachnoprince
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Jul 4, 2017
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1,138
Ignore everything you may have seen online for frog enclosures. Hit Josh's Frogs for care (they literally have an amphibian specialist) and he for sure knows his stuff. Second is TCS Reptiles. beautiful enclosures, but mainly for dendro frogs.
they are super nice, super cook folks as well. Have hung out with them at some of the shows,
 

Matts inverts

Arachnobaron
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Jan 17, 2021
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567
Raptiliatus just mixes reptibark with jungle mix and adds leaves. You can also mix rotten wood and sphagnum moss
 
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