One of the biggest current trends in reptile keeping is the move to bio-active enclosures for arboreal geckos and frogs. Not only do they look great but they provide a dynamic environment for your pet, oxygenate the room and reduce the amount of time you will need to spend cleaning. We have recently upgraded our terrariums in store and every display terrarium housing tropical species has at lest 2 or 3 live plants in it.
A lot of people have been in contact trying to set up the perfect environment for their pet and while the method is obvious it’s not always easy to pick the perfect plant. For this blog we have made a list of 5 of our favourite plants for bio-active set ups. These are for use in a humid warm enclosure around 70-80f and 60-80% humidity and would be perfect for many geckos and amphibians.
Bromeliad are an obvious choice for anyone looking for an impressive centerpiece. They are pretty big, very rugged and really colourful. The leaves are long and fairly large arcing down from the center to the floor of your enclosure, this makes for a very handy ladder for small geckos and frogs and will also provide many great hiding spots for shy pets. As they are also epiphytes they can be planted on to cork pieces or other decorations to provide a raised decoration.
2. Ficus benjami
This small tree grows a lot taller than other species. Once established the Ficus benjami are also quite strong so should be able to support small and medium sized pets. As it grows vertically and doesn’t spread out too much this is a great option for thin enclosures like mantis or arboreal spider tanks. This plant would also be brilliant to one corner of a larger bio-active enclosure as it should eventually fill that corner and make a dense hiding space.
3. Philodendron scandens
This Philodendron vine is brilliant for anyone keeping pets that drink from leaves. The leaves on the vine are large and tapered towards the bottom making them a great source of hydration after the morning spray. The vine grows extremely quickly when compared to our other plants and will take up as much space as you are willing to offer. They tend to stem out from a central location before rooting in a new area, if you keep pinning the stem to decorations and keep it off the ground you can manipulate the plant to cover a desired area. The only downside to the plant is that it will eventually try to take over your enclosure and may need pruning every now and again to prevent it competing with your other plants.
4. Ficus pumila
This Ficus vine is a brilliant option for anyone looking to cover an area of floor or someone that wan’t to hang a vine for partial cover. The leaves on this plant aren’t too large and as they are a little bluer than a lot of our other jungle plants it makes for a nice contrast. The vine grows pretty quickly and can be pinned by they stem or woven around decorations to make it seem nature is taking over the enclosure. The plant usually starts off thick and thins out as it stretches which makes it brilliant for filling corners or gaps between decorations.
The Cryptanthus plant initially appears quite underwhelming when compared with the size of some of the other jungle plants. It stays quite small and holds it’s ground rather than spreading to the rest of the enclosure but this is exactly why we like it. Cryptanthus are a brilliant addition to the enclosure when you have limited space or you need to fill a small area between decorations. They are usually light pink to dark purple in colour so can be placed in between green plants and still stand out.