About the author
John Courtney-Smith, is the product manager for Arcadia’s reptile products. Arcadia are not only at the forefront of reptile & exotic pet UVB lighting but also much other equipment. There’s even an ‘Earthpro‘ range of supplementation and bug food.
Not only is John well respected by myself. But also his peers.
What to expect
The Arcadia Guide to Bio-Activity and the Theory of Wild Recreation is A5 size and hardback with 374 pages including 80+ exclusive colour images within.
The term ‘bio-active‘ has been around a good number of years, while it’s practise, even longer. The use of bugs (clean up crew, custodians etc.) is what many associates the term bio-active with in relation to our hobby. But that really is only such a small part of the whole process.
This book, to my knowledge, is the first time this method has been documented in hardback book format with the theory of ‘Wild Re-Creation(TM)’ explained, and in great detail too.
Like the other 2 books John has written (The Arcadia Guide to Metabolic Bone Disease and its Elimination in Captivity and The Arcadia Guide to Reptile & Amphibian Nutrition), it follows a specific theme. This is prominent throughout. With other side subjects explained IF needed, and relevant to an explanation for the specific chapter at hand.
Getting down and dirty (in a sand/soil mix of course ;))
The book is essentially about re-creating specific wild conditions within your vivaria/tank/enclosure. But, it also goes into nutrition, water, plants, soils, UVB lighting, and plant growth lighting. As well as specific bugs that a suited to a variety of enclosure types (arid, damp, forest, etc). All of which are subjects that aid such re-creation.
I have used a ‘naturalistic’ set-up many times in the 29 years I’ve kept Reptiles. When I say ‘naturalistic’ I mean, I used a sand and top soil mix, and real plants for years :P.
This is about as truly natural as many of us have ever gone. Of course, substrate wise, yes, it’s natural. But you are not thinking about feeding that soil, feeding those plants naturally. And using bugs to clean up waste, rotate the earth and feed nutrients back into the substrate. Its all a cycle.
Something of which has really come to light over the past few years thanks to the likes of my own Facebook groups. And of course. RABS FB group (Reptile & Amphibian Bioactive Setups).
“Now, this book explains all of the above. In great detail.”
I learnt so many new things upon reading this. Also, many ways to improve what I do currently with my bio-active set-ups. Which I find very refreshing. What I did love, was the section on specific plants suited to a specific condition set-up. Which is something I feel many don’t know a lot about. Therefore, the enclosure occupant is truly missing out. Not only does this book help you understand the conditions needed to achieve this. But the conditions to help them thrive within the said set-up.
The sections on Pro and Pre-Biotic, custodians, and bee pollen, all of which have become very popular in the past few years. All are explained within the book also.
As well as sections on a few lesser Bio-Active associated reptiles and inverts, and their use of a bio-active set-up.
“This book will become the ‘Bio Bible’ for many keepers. Rightly so, too.”
Everything you need to help your reptile thrive in a little, or big, piece of wild re-creation, via a bio-active set-up, is in this book. Of course. New methods, or variations on methods mentioned within the book will come to light. This is a good thing. With all these positives, of course, some negatives occur. These pros and cons are also covered where needed.
In a hobby that is becoming dominated by Facebook groups, and forums for information (and the unnecessary rivalry that goes with that!), it’s refreshing to have a source like this to refer too. John, is a member within a few of my created Facebook groups (Chameleon Network, Bearded Dragons Network, Snake Network, Amphibian Network, and Lizard Network). And he’s a great help when needed. He, like us all, only wants the very best life for our reptiles.
Even if the ‘bio-active’ part is not where you want to go with your reptiles it’s well worth a read for all the great info on the other relative subjects discussed. With methods and Technology moving forward within the hobby, things like this book ARE needed to help the process. To help people understand, help people give the best, longest, most enriched life for their reptile or exotic pet.