Live/Bioactive substrate?

Raella

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Is this something I could do for my Tiger Salamander? I currently use something I need to add water to that I buy at Petco that seems to work well, but I like the idea of his/her waste being absorbed by the system rather than just accumulating over time.

Is there anything I should read up on before trying this? Not sure what I’m doing really as I’m new to terrariums.
 

Otterwoman

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I'm not really sure what you're asking. You could try adding small animals that eat waste?
 

Raella

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That’s basically what I’m talking about. What animals would that be?
 

Nativenewt

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You could have a substrate with leaves and aquatic isopods which the salamander will eat and they will act as a cleaner crew.
 

michael

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If you mean bioactive substrate for a terrestrial substrate just add isopods and maybe some springtails.
 

Holdenon5

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Springtails and isopods are good for eating decaying matter and controlling mold growth in the terrarium. I personally use springtails in with my giant centipedes and never have mold issues
 

sheweldz

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Can I put isopods I find in the yard in my tiger salamander tank or is it best to buy them.
 

JM29

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Hello,


From my experience and some of my friends' :


- for terrestrial big-sized caudates (tiger salamander for example) : you may regularly add some dead leaves (preferably oak) above the substrate. The targeted effect is maintainig a high Carbon/Nitrogen ratio. Isopods and springtails can help to get rid of waste but they need a Carbon source, just like bacteria.


- for terrestrial small-sized caudates (small Plethodon species for example) : the substrate must provide some of the food for the caudates. One good solution is a mix 3/4 oak / 1/4 maple, in which springtails and isopods thrive well. One may take a stock of maple leaves in autumn because maple leaves disappear very fast in nature.


In these two cases, the first little animals (worms, springtails, isopods...) can be added with a rich substrate (garden compost for example) in the bottom of the tank.



- for aquatic caudates : adding some dead oak leaves in the water help managing nitrate levels (adding a Carbon source once again).


Of course, avoid surpopulating the tank.
 
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