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Plants for a Bioactive Thick Tailed Gecko Vivarium

Discussion in 'Australian Lizards and Monitors' started by Lukian, Jan 31, 2020.

  1. Lukian

    Lukian New Member

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    Hello everyone, I am in the process of setting up a vivarium for either a pair or a triplet of thick tailed geckos (I haven't decided how many to buy yet). I have a lot of experience with pets, but this will be my first venture into reptiles. I have a 60x35x35 aquarium style tank, and was thinking I might go all out and put some live plants in there. I have been trying to do some research on good plants to use, but I don't really know where to start and have been struggling to find decent information. I have always loved the look of anubias plants in aquariums and the way they sprawl outwards, so was wondering if there is a similar terrestrial plant I could use? If not, I'm just happy with any suggestions for some plants which are relatively low maintenance, but will give the geckos a nice hiding spot and bring some colour and life to the tank. In terms of substrate I was planning of a 1:1 ratio of coir peat and Bunnings play sand, but that is not set in stone and I can change it up for something more suitable. Any help is appreciated, cheers!
     
  2. Shikito123

    Shikito123 Not so new Member

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    go on youtube and watch serpa designs. He is by far the best for anything bioactive (live plants and isopods ect).
    Because you will have geckos, i suggest trying to find hardy plants, bromeliads may be good? But since they are a desert species of gecko, plant selection is thinned out alot... Personally i think the only good plants would be air plants. have a nice piece of driftwood and use gorilla glue to glue the air plants on to parts of the branch/driftwood. Most bioactive set ups are for tropical species. this video might help.
    Succulents are also an option too. I would also suggest that you have the tank up and running for 3-4 weeks before getting any animal to put in there. You want to make sure the plants are settled in and healthy as well as the temperatures are good for the animal.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. Lukian

    Lukian New Member

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    Thanks mate, that helps a lot. I'm buying hatchlings so will have some time for the plants to establish before I move them to the big tank.
     
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  4. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    @Lukian, Anubias-like plants suitable for a terrarium are Athurium aka Flamingo Flower Athurium spp, Pothos aka Devil’s Ivy Epipremun aureum (plain green form) and Heart-leaved Philodendron Philodendron scandens. Fowing are photos for comparison – R to L: Anubias, Anthurium, Pothos and Heart-leaved Philodendron. The first two suggestions are very commonly available in nurseries and other plant outlets, such as Bunnings, supermarkets and the like. Anthuriums are normally sold when in flower but under lower light conditions flowering is reduced, hence the reason for posting a plant out of flower.
    upload_2020-2-18_15-58-51.png
     
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  5. Lukian

    Lukian New Member

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    Thank you so much mate, that is very helpful. They all look great, but Pothos especially looks like exactly what I was after. I'll do some research on a good substrate for it!
     
  6. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    @Lukian, Pothos comes in a variety of colour forms, from dark green to lime to yellow, and different variegated patterns with either white or yellow. It is quite a popular house plant, being attractive yet tough and reliable indoors.
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    I don’t know what you know about growing plants indoors. In terms of keeping them alive, given you will have picked shade tolerant plants, water becomes the critical factor. Water needs of plants can vary from requiring continuous moisture to having to dry out before being watered again. You will need to find out what each plant’s requirements are in this respect, so they can then be grouped together and treated similarly. The substrate at the warm end is going to dry out quicker, so that determines which plants go where in the vivarium.

    How frequently plants needs to be watered depends on how quickly a plant uses/ loses water. This is determined by the type of plant, temperature, light, humidity and air movement. Most of these factors will vary daily and seasonally. So it not possible to predetermine a set watering regime. So you will need to learn to determine when your plants need watering. This is most readily done by digging ones fingers into the substrate to determine how moist it is around the roots. Alternatively, one should be able to use a soil hygrometer (something I have no experience with).

    Substrate needs to supply both moisture and oxygen to the roots. So while the substrate needs to be moisture retentive, it also needs to be free-draining to allow air to enter it. Some mixes break down over time and become sodden and lacking in air spaces. To avoid this, a good portion of inert material such be present. These are things like sand, perlite, vermiculite, expanded clay and coco peat (as well as Styrofoam and plastic beads, neither of which I’d recommend). A mix I have used for potting and feel would be suitable for a vivarium is: 2 parts sandy potting mix, 2 parts coco peat, 1 part (agricultural grade) perlite. Very few potting mixes contain sand these days, due to the weight factor. The sandy stuff I was able to access was a locally produced mix for growing native plants

    If planting direct into the substrate in a sealed base, my recommendation would be to include a drainage layer under the substrate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  7. HoppinOn

    HoppinOn New Member

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    Luke from Beaches Scaley Beasts on YouTube has videos of his bio active set ups for his broad/lead tail geckos.

    I also recommend Tanner from SerpaDesign but Luke is an Aussie so a bit more like what we have access to here.
     
  8. Ajar5

    Ajar5 New Member

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    Google paludariums
     

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