Loose substrate questions — preparation for Leo’s new enclosure & Boxing Day sales

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Leo
Hello,

Leo’s new 120 gallon enclosure will be arriving any day now, and with Boxing Day sales already here I want to get everything sorted before it goes back to its normal prices.

First question, the ideal mix is sand and topsoil/reptisoil right? The soil won’t increase the humidity too much? The basking bulb will be inside the tank, so that’ll dry it up a bit.

Second question, how should I go about maintaining loose substrate? Should I add a few superworms and isopods as a cleanup crew to break down leftover stool residue?

Third question, if I added excavator clay to the mix would that be able to hold burrows? I think it’s be nice for Leo to be able to give that a try if he’d like. Thanks,

- Jackdaw
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
A few things I've noticed.
Sand/soil mix is dusty. You'll need to monitor your uvb to keep the dust off the bulb. It blocks some uvb (i remember that from someone else checking with a meter) but I've started cleaning mine periodically since.
Your beardie will probably have nasty nostrils all the time. (Ruby does).
Excavator clay can get rock hard on it's own, I'm not sure in a mixture though.
I'm doubt a clean up crew will live in that mixture. I think they need more moisture than it will have.
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
A few things I've noticed.
Sand/soil mix is dusty. You'll need to monitor your uvb to keep the dust off the bulb. It blocks some uvb (i remember that from someone else checking with a meter) but I've started cleaning mine periodically since.
Your beardie will probably have nasty nostrils all the time. (Ruby does).
Excavator clay can get rock hard on it's own, I'm not sure in a mixture though.
I'm doubt a clean up crew will live in that mixture. I think they need more moisture than it will have.
Alright, so is there any mix that you’d suggest over that I’ve listed already?
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Alright, so is there any mix that you’d suggest over that I’ve listed already?
The mix is fine, wasn't trying to discourage you, just some stuff to watch out for. 🙂 I use the 50/50 sand and reptisoil in Rubys habitat. She loves to dig.
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
The mix is fine, wasn't trying to discourage you, just some stuff to watch out for. 🙂 I use the 50/50 sand and reptisoil in Rubys habitat. She loves to dig.
Sounds great, and don’t worry! I’m just trying to figure everything out before I have to pay full price, because damn can stuff get expensive nowadays.
 

xp29

BD.org Addict
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Sounds great, and don’t worry! I’m just trying to figure everything out before I have to pay full price, because damn can stuff get expensive nowadays.
That's no joke. Basking bulbs are stupid high lately, so is everything else
 

NickAVD

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Foxy
A few things I've noticed.
Sand/soil mix is dusty. You'll need to monitor your uvb to keep the dust off the bulb. It blocks some uvb (i remember that from someone else checking with a meter) but I've started cleaning mine periodically since.
Your beardie will probably have nasty nostrils all the time. (Ruby does).
Excavator clay can get rock hard on it's own, I'm not sure in a mixture though.
I'm doubt a clean up crew will live in that mixture. I think they need more moisture than it will have.
I am the person who checked this, I agree with @xp29 , if you use a dusty substrate, then do not forget to wipe the UV lamp from dust
 

NickAVD

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Foxy
Sounds great, and don’t worry! I’m just trying to figure everything out before I have to pay full price, because damn can stuff get expensive nowadays.
You touched on an interesting and useful topic. Please update it, I'm very interested to know the result. It is difficult for me to understand how a wet substrate gets along in the desert environment of a terrarium.
 

Chris.

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Luis and Lilith
The mix will dry out and stay dry as long as you don't put any water in there. Took about two weeks for me to dry out initinally.

The sand/soil mix will be loose and enables Leo to dig but will not hold burrows what so ever. With Luis I put a piece of bark down into the substrate and leaning against a back wall, so he could dig out under the bark to build a little cave. He did and slept there for two weeks in brumation.
That being said, the always liked the sand/clay mix better.

Without supplying anything to eat and a wet corner or something, I don't think your isos will like the hot and dry tank. I do spot clean every day and go through the tank with a good disinfectant once a week. There are really good ones that decompose completely when dryed out.
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
The mix will dry out and stay dry as long as you don't put any water in there. Took about two weeks for me to dry out initinally.

The sand/soil mix will be loose and enables Leo to dig but will not hold burrows what so ever. With Luis I put a piece of bark down into the substrate and leaning against a back wall, so he could dig out under the bark to build a little cave. He did and slept there for two weeks in brumation.
That being said, the always liked the sand/clay mix better.

Without supplying anything to eat and a wet corner or something, I don't think your isos will like the hot and dry tank. I do spot clean every day and go through the tank with a good disinfectant once a week. There are really good ones that decompose completely when dryed out.
Would you suggest a clay/sand, soil/sand, or soil/sand/clay mix? I don’t plan on keeping a water dish in his enclosure, for the sake of humidity so cleanup crews are out of the picture for now.

In terms of disinfectants, do you spritz the entire enclosure or just the walls/decor? Also, how often do I replace loose substrate? Thanks so much for your help, I appreciate it.
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
You touched on an interesting and useful topic. Please update it, I'm very interested to know the result. It is difficult for me to understand how a wet substrate gets along in the desert environment of a terrarium.
I’ll keep it updated for sure, his enclosure hasn’t arrived just yet and I haven’t gone to the stores I plan on going to yet so I currently have nothing to go by so far.

From what I hear, the sand and soil (possibly clay as well) mix isn’t very wet and should dry out in a week or two if it is. I don’t want to risk mold or fugus so I’ll keep it dry.
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
That's no joke. Basking bulbs are stupid high lately, so is everything else
Yeah, and it’s a pain because so many of them blow out in no time at all. Luckily, I’ve found a brand that doesn’t die as quickly. The worst of all Id say is decor, a small 15” or so long stick is $35 here. It’s ridiculous.
 

Chris.

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Luis and Lilith
Would you suggest a clay/sand, soil/sand, or soil/sand/clay mix? I don’t plan on keeping a water dish in his enclosure, for the sake of humidity so cleanup crews are out of the picture for now.

In terms of disinfectants, do you spritz the entire enclosure or just the walls/decor? Also, how often do I replace loose substrate? Thanks so much for your help, I appreciate it.
This depends on your and Leos preferences. With Luis I started with sand/clay (its more of a red dessert-mix) because here in Germany that is what 99% of people use.
Then I went for the soil/playsand mix because I like the dark color better but Luis didn't like it too much and his nostils ended up collecting all the playsand.
Now I have kind of everything and I'm still deciding: 🤣
IMG_20231218_161812.jpg

For the cleaning, I just spray the whole thing down lightly on the surface, I don't even take too much stuff out of the tank to be honest. If there is poop, you take it out and spray that spot once. Takes a couple minutes to dry and then you can put your dragon back in.

Normally you would change the whole substrate every year. Maybe twice if you have a messy dragon but Luis for example does a quite long slowdown period and doesn't like to poop inside his viv. He prefers to poop on the carped or his favourite blanked 🤦‍♂️
 

J4ckdaw-

Sub-Adult Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Leo
This depends on your and Leos preferences. With Luis I started with sand/clay (its more of a red dessert-mix) because here in Germany that is what 99% of people use.
Then I went for the soil/playsand mix because I like the dark color better but Luis didn't like it too much and his nostils ended up collecting all the playsand.
Now I have kind of everything and I'm still deciding: 🤣
View attachment 86231
For the cleaning, I just spray the whole thing down lightly on the surface, I don't even take too much stuff out of the tank to be honest. If there is poop, you take it out and spray that spot once. Takes a couple minutes to dry and then you can put your dragon back in.

Normally you would change the whole substrate every year. Maybe twice if you have a messy dragon but Luis for example does a quite long slowdown period and doesn't like to poop inside his viv. He prefers to poop on the carped or his favourite blanked 🤦‍♂️
Perfect! This was very helpful, I think I’ll try the sand and clay mix for now. I have the red desert sand blend as well, so I’ll pick up some excavator clay and hope for the best. I’ll take your advice and see what he likes, I have a friend who uses the sand and clay mix without issue so I’ll try taking some information from him as well.

I use Wipeout disinfectant right now, should that work with the substrate?
 

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