Non-bioactive substrate but still soil

Krisuncula

Member
Original Poster
I recently upsized my beardies enclosure. I want to give him loose substrate without going bioactive. Can I do a sand, soil, clay mixture WITHOUT having to add isopods and other cleanup crew? Btw I'd love to add a medium sized fountain/pool in one corner but if humidity becomes an issue I'd most likely have to remove it.
 

smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Smaug
As long as the other aspects of your husbandry like lights and heat are on point, the biggest issue with a nonbioactive loose substrate would be that it harbors bacteria and parasites and such. The cleanup crew in a bioactive substrate will break down the waste and keep the bad microbes in check. If you clean it up right away and take some of the surrounding substrate with it, and change out the substrate entirely on a regular basis you should be fine. Keep a close eye for any signs of illness though, and if he does get one you will probably have to use a different substrate at least during treatment to prevent reinfection.
 

Krisuncula

Member
Original Poster
As long as the other aspects of your husbandry like lights and heat are on point, the biggest issue with a nonbioactive loose substrate would be that it harbors bacteria and parasites and such. The cleanup crew in a bioactive substrate will break down the waste and keep the bad microbes in check. If you clean it up right away and take some of the surrounding substrate with it, and change out the substrate entirely on a regular basis you should be fine. Keep a close eye for any signs of illness though, and if he does get one you will probably have to use a different substrate at least during treatment to prevent reinfection.
He just upgraded to a 4x2x2 for his 1st birthday. He wont poop in his enclosure-which I'm fine with. So I wouldn't need to worry about that factor but I imagine I would need to replace the substrate every so often.

Is it common to use soil mix without going bioactive?
 

Krisuncula

Member
Original Poster
Also what would be a good mixture? I was thinking of excavator clay and some soil. Would excavator clay alone be too hard for him to dig in? I want it to hold its shape but still be crumbly enough for him to dig.
 

smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Smaug
I've never used it to be honest, but I've heard different things about just the clay. Some people like it and some don't, the main issues I've heard being that it is hard to clean and a pain to replace completely. If your guy doesn't poop on it then that's a moot point, but with how heavy it is removing and cleaning and then completely redoing it would seem difficult. I've also heard that once it's dried and set it doesn't really allow for digging.

It's fairly common to use a loose nonbioactive substrate, although I see it more often as a dig box or just in a section of the enclosure and not the entire thing. One mix I've thought about using but haven't yet mainly because mine does poop in his tank is 50% fine play sand, 30% organic topsoil and 20% excavator clay.
 

Krisuncula

Member
Original Poster
I've never used it to be honest, but I've heard different things about just the clay. Some people like it and some don't, the main issues I've heard being that it is hard to clean and a pain to replace completely. If your guy doesn't poop on it then that's a moot point, but with how heavy it is removing and cleaning and then completely redoing it would seem difficult. I've also heard that once it's dried and set it doesn't really allow for digging.

It's fairly common to use a loose nonbioactive substrate, although I see it more often as a dig box or just in a section of the enclosure and not the entire thing. One mix I've thought about using but haven't yet mainly because mine does poop in his tank is 50% fine play sand, 30% organic topsoil and 20% excavator clay.
Thank you I will definitely use this
 

FatalTrip

Member
Beardie name(s)
Julian
I've never used it to be honest, but I've heard different things about just the clay. Some people like it and some don't, the main issues I've heard being that it is hard to clean and a pain to replace completely. If your guy doesn't poop on it then that's a moot point, but with how heavy it is removing and cleaning and then completely redoing it would seem difficult. I've also heard that once it's dried and set it doesn't really allow for digging.

It's fairly common to use a loose nonbioactive substrate, although I see it more often as a dig box or just in a section of the enclosure and not the entire thing. One mix I've thought about using but haven't yet mainly because mine does poop in his tank is 50% fine play sand, 30% organic topsoil and 20% excavator clay.
Can you link examples of the play sand the topsoil and clay? or is that topsoil you linked from home depot ok instead of mixing it
 

smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
Beardie name(s)
Smaug
The soil I linked is good for the soil portion of the mix. You can do 50/50 topsoil and playsand, the clay is optional and just helps to hold a burrow better. The sand helps keep it aerated and easier to dig in, and makes it a little closer to their native soil. I'll link some sand and the clay.


 

xp29

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby & Snicker Doodle
I just removed the excavator clay from both of my habitats that had it.
It dries rock hard so they can't dig.
It soaks up poop and as such bacteria and parasites such as cocidia. It was nearly Impossible to spot clean and to truly sanitize it you would need to bake it. All in all it is a pain.
But it does have some pros.
Dragons get really good traction on it
It looks good
It can be molded to some degree, but it cracks pretty bad when it dries.
I think used to make decor or as a filler it would be great, but i personally won't use it as a substrate again
Just my opinion
I switched to tile btw
 

xp29

Sub-Adult Member
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby & Snicker Doodle
I have used the clay. If you don't add water its pretty dusty, jf you do add water it hardens and cracks. Once it drys after water its definitely to hard for the to dig in. And forget cleaning it, its a cocidia infection waiting to happen. I use tile and shelf liner now.
I've never used it to be honest, but I've heard different things about just the clay. Some people like it and some don't, the main issues I've heard being that it is hard to clean and a pain to replace completely. If your guy doesn't poop on it then that's a moot point, but with how heavy it is removing and cleaning and then completely redoing it would seem difficult. I've also heard that once it's dried and set it doesn't really allow for digging.

It's fairly common to use a loose nonbioactive substrate, although I see it more often as a dig box or just in a section of the enclosure and not the entire thing. One mix I've thought about using but haven't yet mainly because mine does poop in his tank is 50% fine play sand, 30% organic topsoil and 20% excavator clay.
 

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