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  1. #1
    Registered User glowstone's Avatar
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    Making Bioactive Terrarium, need some guidance.

    I am in the process of making a bioactive terrarium for my 4 year old ball python, But ive run into a bit of a problem. The tank I purchased was secondhand, and its an odd shape that i cant seem to find a lid for (not too big of a problem, I can make my own) but I cant find a proper sized radiant heat panel or lights for the plants I plan to have inside. Id love any advice you have to offer, I dont want to do something wrong and possibly put my snake in danger or spend a large amount of money on something thats completely wrong!

    The dimensions of the tank are 15" wide, 72.5" long, and 18.5" deep, measured from the edges. On the top middle there is a platform (?not sure what to all it) thats presumably used to hold up the lid(s) or lighting fixture.

    My basic plan is hydroballs for drainage, then weed mesh, then mix of topsoil, coconut husk substrate, and forest floor substrate. Plants i plan to use are pthos, ferns, and moss. I plan on having faux vines as well. For CUC, springtails and isopods. Also using grapevine for some decoration/enrichment and I have multiple hides and a large water bowl already. (this is very simplified, im just trying to give a basic idea of what ill have in the tank)

    Ambient temp of the room is 70F, high of 80 on a warm summer day and low of 60-55 on a cold winter day. Whole house is temp controlled so highs and lows are rare.

    Here is some pictures of the tank



    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Registered User wnateg's Avatar
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    If you want to use a RHP, you could cut some plywood to shape and secure the RHP to it, so it can fit as a partial lid, then cover the rest with plexiglass, so you can have lights and venting. I think another option would be to use a screen and use heat lamps. I think attaching an RHP to plexiglass would not work, because plexiglass melts pretty easy in my experience, but I have never done it, so someone else can provide feedback on that. Make sure you have a way to secure the lid in place.
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  3. #3
    Registered User glowstone's Avatar
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    Re: Making Bioactive Terrarium, need some guidance.

    Quote Originally Posted by wnateg View Post
    If you want to use a RHP, you could cut some plywood to shape and secure the RHP to it, so it can fit as a partial lid, then cover the rest with plexiglass, so you can have lights and venting. I think another option would be to use a screen and use heat lamps. I think attaching an RHP to plexiglass would not work, because plexiglass melts pretty easy in my experience, but I have never done it, so someone else can provide feedback on that. Make sure you have a way to secure the lid in place.
    Great idea for the RHP+Plywood! I think I'll do that.
    Anyone else have tips?

  4. #4
    Registered User glowstone's Avatar
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    Re: Making Bioactive Terrarium, need some guidance.

    bumping

  5. #5
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Just throwing this out there, but first it's important to say I have no hands on experience here...

    I've heard of people setting up bioactive enclosures for BPs with varied success. In my experience, BPs are bulldozers. They "redecorate" their enclosures all the time. So for me, personally, I don't think it's worth the time or expense.
    But it certainly can be done, just be sure to choose solid, hearty plants.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Caitlin's Avatar
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    Just a note, though it may save you some expense and some hassle when cleaning the enclosure: you really shouldn't need the hydroball + mesh drainage layer in this tank. Hydroballs/mesh are important when you're setting up an extremely high-humidity environment for (as an example) dart frogs or other amphibians.

    In the case of a ball python, the other substrates you mentioned, with addition of a sufficient cleaning crew, should be fine. You might want to check into Biobedding from Josh's Frogs - or figure out how to make it yourself - as it's specifically made for bioactive enclosures that don't require a drainage layer. I've found the Josh's Frogs folks to be very helpful in answering general questions about bioactive enclosures in general.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Making Bioactive Terrarium, need some guidance.

    I知 actually in this process I知 not going bio active though. I am adding a nice water feature and will be using a homemade wood lid with RHP痴 on it. I understand that all the aesthetics like waterfalls and pools will strictly be for viewing pleasure but I知 ok with that. I was actually playing around with the idea of adding a few guppies to the pond just for some tank interest anyone ever experimented with something like that. The tank is a 75 gallon six foot long tank so there will be plenty of space for it.

  8. #8
    Registered User glowstone's Avatar
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    I'm planning on putting most of the plants in the backdrop+sides I plan on foaming in, with the sturdier one on the floor. Thank you for the tips though, Ill be keeping bulldozing in mind and will make sure to get extra extra sturdy plants.
    And thank you, ill try it without hydroballs then (it just so happened the store I ordered them from was out of stock anyways!) I also already have 2/4 of the things i plan to make the soil with, I'm going to home Depot soon to pick up some clean topsoil and pest moss to mix with my already owned coconut fiber and forest floor substrate for hopefully a naturalistic and humidity retaining soil.
    And also I'm glad I'm not alone in the wood lid + rhp then! I'll do that after the trip to home Depot as well, and wait to work on it until after I order a rhp. What length would be reccomended for this length? Id like to make sure he has a good gradient of heat for self regulation.

    Thanks for the help so far everyone, it really helps!

  9. #9
    Registered User glowstone's Avatar
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    Re: Making Bioactive Terrarium, need some guidance.

    Bumping again for the weekend people

  10. #10
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    Re: Making Bioactive Terrarium, need some guidance.

    I知 also wondering about sizes for rhp. I kno the tank I have is six foot long( 150 gal not 75 like I stated earlier) I haven稚 called pro heat yet but I壇 imagine it will need to be on the larger end of the spectrum. I知 actually wondering if I will need two set to different temps. Or if I知 smart with insulation I could get away with one. My house rarely goes below 70 during the winter. Good luck with your bio active set up!!!! That seems like a really awesome idea but too much for me.

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