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Best Bioactive I’ve Ever Built / NanoVivarium Challenge

By Elle's Reptiles on



[Applause] [Music] good morning reptilians welcome and welcome back to the channel this video i am so excited about we have been working on this video for a couple months now we didn't didn't take that long to build this tank but we did want to let everything settle in before the video was posted and as you guys know this is kind of a thing lots of reptile youtubers here are posting the same video at the same time on the same day right meow thank you so much to vision products and josh's frogs for providing the cage and providing all the plants and things to go in the cage i had so much fun building this i haven't built a bio active tank in a while and so i was excited to build this one i don't want this intro to be super long so let's get started


so as i stated earlier was kind enough to send me a whole bunch of stuff to set up this tank with and so i had three or four boxes to unbox of things for this tank including this really cool moss hide that i am in love with and a bunch of stuff to do a background some of the stuff i didn't end up using i thought i was going to use it and i did not end up being able to but we have a whole bunch of bioactive stuff substrates false bottoms substrate barriers and then of course we have the tank this is a vision cage from it is the model 215 the 28 long by 14 deep by 20 inches high model and this model is really cool because it has glass doors and there's a lot of ventilation across the top that you can also use to shine lights through for your plants and then it was just


making the background this is actually the first time that we have ever made our own background in a bioactive tank so we were super excited about it and it was a lot of fun we will have a video in depth on how to make this background and the exact products that were used on wednesday if you're interested in seeing that otherwise everything that we used here will be linked in the description this video was going to be way too long if i tried to go into depth about how to build the background essentially we just have driftwood and cork bark and expanding foam black silicone over the expanding foam and then we use a cocoa core to go over the silicone to make those really cool bioactive backgrounds this was a very long process this was waiting days and days and days for things to dry things to expand things to air out this is a very long process so if you're going to build a background for your tank i highly advise doing it

Tank Setup

weeks in advance vision products was also super cool and they sent this substrate barrier just in case our substrate layer was going to be really thick which mine of course was going to be because i'm going to have a lot of live plants in this tank so installing this was super easy there was a screen protector thing on it to keep it from getting scratched up it was sticky stuff in the bottom and you just stick it in there and that's it and then we're filling up this tank first things first is a false bottom this is from josh's frogs as was most things in this tank i ended up using two bags of this i think i honestly could have used a third bag but i only ordered two so we put two bags in there you have to pre-rinse the false bottom so i just pre-rinse it in the bag that's why it's all wet and then i am putting substrate barrier on top i ordered two of these and ended up using one and a half to fully cover the bottom as you know all this does is prevents your substrate from getting down into your drainage layer it keeps them separate so that your drainage layer can do its job and aerate that soil and drain that soil as for substrate we are using abg mix i absolutely love this stuff this does wonderful to grow plants it is a mixture of multiple different things including moss and charcoal this stuff works really good i ended up using three bags of this it doesn't really come mixed up in the bag so as i pour it into the tank i just kind of use my hands to mix it up to make sure it has a good consistency going on and with the abg mix i like to add a topper because the abg mix does have charcoal in it so any tank where a animal may potentially be eating live bugs i like to put something on top to cover the abg mix so that way the animal doesn't accidentally ingest chunks of charcoal and for that i usually use scott's topsoil which is kind of my go-to and i'm mixing that with expanded eco earth after getting that all pat down nice and solid i am then using this awesome moss hide that i love so much after i put the background in the moss high didn't quite fit i did not account for the background it fit perfectly before the background so luckily this is very bendable there's just wires in it and moss so i was able to kind of bend that front down to make it fit and then i'm just adding plants my subscribers know that i don't have the best track record with plants my plants are doing good now i've definitely gotten a lot better over the years if you look on each of these labels i've taken a sharpie and written notes about it trying to let these plants live and for anyone who may be wondering this is josh's frog's 20 gallon tropical vivarium plant kit and i actually had a really solid outcome with the plants this time i let this tank be set up for a month before i put any animal in it and i only had three plants die off out of the 11 that it came with which i'm very happy about i forgot to show the container but i also added pothos because i am really good at growing those after all the plants are situated we are putting in springtails springtails are one of the essential parts of a bioactive cleanup crew springtails are what is going to eat waste and keep this tank clean on top of those springtails i am just putting in moss this is the chilean sphagnum moss and i've never used this specific one before but it is so much softer than the ones that you get at the store and leaf litter josh's frogs only had these big leaves at the time of ordering so i'm crunching up some of those and then i'm using some of the smaller leaf litter that i already had on hand to kind of fill in the rest after this we are adding iso paws which is another very important part of the cleanup crew they're going to eat dying leaves or dead plants and also waste and they're just going to keep everything nice and tidy while simultaneously rotating the soil to aerate the plant roots after that i'm just giving it a very thorough spray down to basically soak everything so that way the isopods and springtails are happy and the plants are watered and then it was just time to install the glass doors i really like these doors the glass is super thick and they slide very very well plus with the substrate barrier being as high as it is i had absolutely zero issues with the substrate getting down to the tracks which as you know can be an issue and it can make sliding that door a little bit more difficult and for the handles these are just stick-on handles there's the sticky stuff is already on there and you just put it on so this was what we were looking at so far this was supposed to be the final result and i really like how this looks but i realized very quickly that there wasn't a lot of ground cover here the animal that was going in here is very very very very shy so i ended up adding a whole bunch of creeping jenny i made sure that they were completely animal safe and the only complaint that i saw about them is that they tend to over grow the tank but that's kind of what i want here because i want her to feel very secure whenever she's walking around and now it's just time

Mazikeen – Chinese Cave Gecko

to add the animal this is mazzakin my high color chinese cave gekko who actually also originally came from josh's frogs i got her from craigslist with the lady before me got her from josh's frogs mazakin does not like to be held she doesn't like to be touched i tried to take her out of the tank with my hands and she definitely lurched back at me so for both of our sakes we decided that she'd be happier in a deli cup doing this she crawled directly into the deli cup so we were all good you can see she's checking out her tank mazzakeen hides all the time people ask me a lot if i ever see her not really no this is the most active that i've seen her since i very first put her in her old tank and she spent a large amount of time climbing the walls and just exploring which is awesome she didn't really have very much room to climb in her old tank here she can climb and she likes to climb she is a very happy gecko and i am super happy that she's so happy [Music] [Music]


and that is it that is my tank for the nano vivarium challenge from josh's frogs and vision products if you're interested in any of the things you saw here it will all be linked down below so make sure to check out that description thank you again to josh's frogs and vision products for sending me this stuff and allowing me to participate in this challenge as always if you have


not already please feel free to follow me on the social like subscribe and hit that bell for notifications every single time i do video which is every sunday and some wednesdays this week's instagram shout out is for mrs mcnulty for following me on instagram and going through and liking a whole bunch of my stuff and this week's subscriber shout out is for asusfan29 for commenting on last week's video thank you guys both so much you are the bee's knees thank you guys so much for watching and i hope you have a fantastic day bye  

About Elle's Reptiles

We met in 2012, and knew we wanted to do life together, but we never imagined that this is what life would be - and we're so excited about it! We've been very lucky to be able to share our love for animals with our four kids, and now to be able to share it with the world.

Other than the reptile hobby, we also love to hike, play various video games together, go to the gym, read, draw, paint, and animate. We like to stay busy!

- Elle and Den

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