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  1. #1
    Registered User WrongPython's Avatar
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    Planning a bioactive enclosure for an adult BP

    First non-intro post! Forgive me for if this isnít the right sub-forum to post this in and for slamming yíall with a wall of text.

    I plan on bringing home my first ball python in a few months and Iím in the process of planning out their permanent enclosure. Given my plans to bring home an older BP, Iím making plans for a 48Ē x 24Ē x 24Ē bioactive enclosure. There are still a few specifics I havenít been able to narrow down yet. I was hoping that people could chime in with their experiences in terms of specific products and bioactive enclosures in general before I start flooding the inboxes of my chosen suppliers.

    I plan on using an AP T12 with a raised lip to accommodate the deeper substrate layer, sliding glass doors, and a lock. Heating-wise, Iím waffling between using a ProProducts RHP or an Arcadia Deep Heat Projector. While the RHP will take up less space and distribute heat across a greater across a greater area of the enclosure, the (purported) higher bioavailability of the infrared given off by the DHP is very attractive. Either way, the heating unit will be controlled by a Herpstat and positioned over some stones, slate, or rocks to provide both flank and belly heat.

    Lighting-wise, Iím not quite sure what LEDs Iíd like to use for my plants. I plan on using an appropriate Arcadia UV-B light* on the warm side of the enclosure and plant LEDs on the cool side. Iíve heard great things about the Jungle Dawn LEDs, but it seems as though Iíd need quite a few and Iím not sure how Iíd mount them inside an AP enclosure. All lights will be protected by lamp guards to prevent my BP from pulling them down or getting burned. For the record, I plan growing tough plants like Sansevieria in the substrate while growing more delicate and trailing plants in planters mounted to the walls of the enclosure.

    Thanks for sticking with me! Go nuts, and feel free to tear my plans apart! I much rather correct any mistakes now rather than later.

    * I know UV-B isnít necessary for BPs, but I would like to supplement it and see if it provides any health benefits for my BP. There seem to be some anecdotal reports of BPs enjoying and slightly benefiting from appropriate UV-B supplementation, so Iíd like to try this out.

  2. #2
    Registered User Moose84's Avatar
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    Re: Planning a bioactive enclosure for an adult BP

    Sounds like you have a good plan in place! The only thing I would choose to comment on would be "its going to be an adult BP..." My question to you would be how was this snaked being housed before? I tried to do something similar to what you did with a sub-adult and despite perfect conditions the snake refused to eat. Put him back into a comparable enclosure and 7 days later he was right back on food. If for some reason this snake is coming from a much smaller enclosure you might have some feeding issues.. If he is already in a larger enclosure similar in size to what you are working on you should be just fine.

    Good luck!

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    It sounds like you've got a pretty solid plan in place, I do have to agree with Moose as far as potentially needing to start the snake out in a similar enclosure to what it was housed in previously.
    Some snakes, and particularly BPs, can be extremely finicky eaters. And mimicking their previous setup is sometimes the best way to get them eating.

    Another thing to consider: and I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but BPs can be serious bulldozers in their enclosures. They'll move substrate, rocks, hides, decor, etc... etc...all around their enclosure.
    So it may prove difficult to maintain plants and stuff in a bioactive enclosure.
    You'll have to make sure you choose extremely sturdy plants, and even then they may be destroyed.
    ...life is beautiful...

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  6. #4
    Registered User WrongPython's Avatar
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    Re: Planning a bioactive enclosure for an adult BP

    Thanks for the feedback, Moose and Craiga!

    Iím planning on quarantining my BP before putting them into their permanent enclosure - I plan on getting my BP from either an expo or a rescue, so mites are a serious concern. Iíll be sure to talk to their previous owner and emulate their previous enclosure in quarantine as best I can. Perhaps keeping the BP in a slightly larger tub/tank with some clutter for a few months would help them transition to the larger enclosure?

    Iíve heard that BP can be bulldozers. I was hoping that elevating the more delicate plants out of their way and only leaving very tough plants on the floor would work, but I'm willing to stand corrected.

    It also dawned on me since my initial that I may have a bit of moving to do over the next few years. Is starting a bioactive terrarium Ė particularly one of this size Ė even a good idea in this case? If itís not, I may have the T12 outfitted for bioactive as planned (ie. raised lip), but hold off going full bioactive for now. In the interim, I could build a naturalistic enclosure with a deeper, coir-based substrate layer, a few potted plants, and some leaf litter. This would hopefully provide an enriching enclosure (while telling me how much of a bulldozer my BP is).

  7. #5
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    I can't really weigh in any more than I already have. I don't have any bioactive setups, so I can't really speak on the questions you asked.

    I wasn't trying to discourage you, just sharing the little I know on the topic as well as my experience with BPs being bulldozers.

    I hope someone else chimes in and helps you further.

    Good luck! Keep us posted.
    ...life is beautiful...

    0.1 Bredli Python - Fernie
    1.0 Vanilla het Pied BP - Tyson
    1.0 Pastel Fader BP - Dembe
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    1.0 Western Hognose - Cosmo
    1.0 Borneo Short Tail Python - Juice
    1.0 Anery Kenyan Sando Boa - Willow
    2.2 Ferrets - Baloo, Johnny & June and Chloe
    0.2 Cats - Simba & Nala

  8. #6
    Registered User WrongPython's Avatar
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    Re: Planning a bioactive enclosure for an adult BP

    No worries! A lot of that last post was just me thinking out loud. Thanks for the help!

  9. #7
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    UV for your snake are not necessary they are nocturnal animals what you need however for your plants are full spectrum grow light, this is what I use in my bioactive setups https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (they are not bioactive setups for BP but Geckos), my plant are thriving and are growing better than the one I have on my deck, granted they also benefit from a misting system that spray for 35 seconds 3 times a day.

    Your other options are bulb like those https://www.amazon.com/Pack-BlueX-10...-garden&sr=1-3

    Now as far as plant if your BP is fairly young they will be ok but once your BP is up to adult size they will likely be crushed, so when it comes to that I would recommend pothos they are hardy and you can easily root and plant with those.
    Deborah Stewart

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