What is Bioactive

A bioactive setup refers to a type of enclosure or habitat designed to replicate a natural environment for animals, such as reptiles or amphibians, in captivity. It involves creating a self-sustaining ecosystem within the enclosure, which includes live plants, beneficial microorganisms, and a variety of other elements to support the overall health and well-being of the animals.

The benefits of a bioactive setup are numerous. Firstly, it provides a more enriching and stimulating environment for the animals, closely resembling their natural habitat. This can lead to increased mental and physical stimulation, promoting natural behaviors and reducing stress levels.

Furthermore, a bioactive setup helps to maintain cleaner and healthier living conditions for the animals. The live plants help to filter the air and absorb excess moisture, reducing the risk of respiratory problems. The microorganisms present in the substrate help break down waste and organic matter, minimizing odors and preventing the buildup of harmful bacteria.

In addition, a bioactive setup promotes natural behaviors, such as foraging and burrowing, which can contribute to the overall well-being and happiness of the animals. It also allows for a more natural and balanced diet, as certain plants can provide additional nutritional benefits.

Overall, a bioactive setup offers a more sustainable and holistic approach to keeping animals in captivity, providing them with a healthier and more natural living environment.

Important elements broken down.


Lighting Can be one of the more confusing elements in a bioactive setup. There are 3 main types of light UVA, UVB and UVC. These light ranges are naturally found in the sun and we take all the good parts and replicate them with different lights to benefit our animals and enclosures. Now depending on the animal will depend on the differences it will make, for some animals it can affect things such as mating habits, hunting habits, sleep habits and more. 


Some letters you'll see a lot when researching light is nm, this is how light is measured, it stands for nanometres.


UVA - 315 to 400 nm - UVA is the light that makes up 95% of what reaches us from the sun, it gives us our tans and                                                     delightfully enough cancer. UVA helps regulate behaviors such as feeding, diurnal movement, mating                                                      and similar activities.

UVB - 280 to 315 nm - UVB will likely be your most used type of light. It's Important for plants as well as reptiles and                                                   amphbians as it helps them produce vitamin D3, which helps to absorb calcium.

UVC - 100 to 280 nm - Least important for setups. It can be used to kill certain bacterias which can help improve air quality,                                       but essentially not needed within the enclosure and can actually be quite damaging for your animals.



What ever lighting you go for, always take into account of the natural lighting and artificial lighting within the room they are located as this will also play a massive affect to your animals lighting and at times temperature.


Humidity is essentially the amount of water vapour in the air. Humidity has an important influence on our atmosphere and is super important to the micro climate you create. When water vapour condenses it releases heat, affects shedding and drinking abilities.

Researching the type of environment you animal is from is essential to obtaining the correct humidity level.


Rainforest - High Humidity 70-90

Desert - Low Humidity 30-40


There are many opinions on heating and many ways to provide heat for your animal. When ever choosing heating it is important to know where about's in the world your animal is from. Not only the temperature but also the seasons fluctuations can be very important too. As with lighting, room location and general location globally will play a big affect on the heating needs.


Heat Bulbs             - Some heat sources produce light, which can cause disruption to your animals cycles and comfortability. 

Heat Mat                 - Heat mats radiate from one location and are generally used as an underground heat source. They can also be used from the                                             outside of enclosures on one of the walls to provide higher air temperatures for the enclosure, the down side to this is it                                                     doesn't make for a pretty sight.

Ceramic Bulbs      - In our opinion these can be a great option to go for (all be it expensive), they produce a radiating internal air temperature                                                 without producing light and can be used with certain stones that act as a natural belly source of heat in tangent with the bulb.


Study your animals habits in the wild and try to reflect that for them in their enclosure as that is the essence of a bioactive setup.


Custodians or Clean up Crews (CuC) are a particular group of invertebrates and small arthropods and live plants. Microfauna are present in every habitat on Earth. They fill essential roles as decomposers and food sources for lower trophic levels, and are necessary to drive processes within larger organisms.

One particular example of the role of microfauna can be seen in soil, where they are important in the cycling of nutrients in ecosystems.

There are many different types of CuC's you can get and depending on your animals depends on what ones are useful or suitable. The 2 essentials that are pretty much always called for are:



Springtails are tiny arthropods that play a crucial role in bioactive setups. These minuscule creatures, also known as Collembola, are often found in moist environments, making them the perfect addition to these habitats.

Isopods, also known as woodlice or pillbugs, are fascinating creatures that play an important role in bioactive setups. These small crustaceans are often used in terrariums and vivariums to help maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem.

Substrates play a crucial role in bioactive setups, providing a foundation for the growth and development of various organisms. Different substrates offer unique benefits, catering to the specific needs of different species.

One commonly used substrate is coconut coir, derived from the fibrous husk of coconuts. This organic material retains moisture well, creating a humid environment favored by many reptiles and amphibians. Coconut coir also promotes natural digging and burrowing behaviors, allowing animals to engage in their natural instincts.

Another popular substrate is sphagnum moss, which is highly absorbent and maintains moisture levels effectively. This substrate is particularly beneficial for species that require high humidity, such as tropical frogs or certain reptiles. Sphagnum moss also provides a soft and comfortable surface for animals to rest on.

For arid environments, desert sand or clay-based substrates are commonly used. These substrates mimic the natural habitat of desert-dwelling species and allow for proper heat distribution. They are also easy to clean and maintain, making them suitable for reptiles like bearded dragons or geckos.

Additionally, natural soil or topsoil substrates are favored for their ability to support plant growth. These substrates provide a rich source of nutrients, allowing plants to thrive in bioactive setups. They also aid in maintaining a stable microclimate and contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of the enclosure.

When selecting a substrate for a bioactive setup, it is important to consider the specific needs of the organisms and the desired environmental conditions. By choosing the right substrate, we can create a more natural and enriching habitat for our captive animals.


Live plants play a vital role in bioactive setups, offering numerous benefits that contribute to a healthy and thriving environment. Not only do they enhance the aesthetic appeal of the enclosure, but they also provide various advantages for the inhabitants.

One of the key importance of live plants is their ability to improve air quality. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, ensuring a constant supply of fresh air for the organisms within the setup. This is particularly beneficial for reptiles, amphibians, and other small creatures that rely on a well-ventilated habitat.

Moreover, live plants create natural hiding spots and shelter for the inhabitants. The foliage and branches offer a sense of security, reducing stress levels and promoting natural behaviors. This is especially crucial for animals that require hiding places to feel safe and comfortable.

Live plants also contribute to the overall humidity and moisture levels in the enclosure. They release moisture through transpiration, helping to maintain a suitable level of humidity for the organisms. This is particularly important for species that require specific humidity ranges to thrive and prevent respiratory issues.

Furthermore, live plants assist in maintaining water quality. They act as natural filters, absorbing excess nutrients and harmful substances, thereby reducing the risk of water contamination. This is especially beneficial for setups with aquatic organisms, as it helps to prevent the accumulation of waste and maintain a clean and healthy aquatic environment.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, live plants also encourage natural behaviors such as climbing, basking, and foraging. They provide opportunities for physical exercise and mental stimulation, promoting the overall well-being of the inhabitants.

In conclusion, live plants are of utmost importance in bioactive setups due to their numerous benefits. From improving air quality and providing hiding spots to regulating humidity levels and enhancing water quality, they contribute to the overall health and happiness of the organisms within the enclosure.

Live Plants

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