Indeed! One of the key ingredients to a successful and long-lived vivarium is a well constructed Bioactive Cycle. This post will show you why we recommend waiting a month before introducing frogs or any other animal into your vivarium, and what’s going on during that timespan.
The lifespan of a well implemented bioactive layering system is about 2 to 5 years. While it may seem difficult and intimidating to go bioactive, it is incredibly easy as long as you follow all of the steps.
Bioactive substrates are actually living and breathing mini ecosystems. For this reason, it’s important to set them up properly and know the different parts of the system so you can make informed decisions to ensure the health of your vivarium. An improperly cared for bioactive vivarium will cause its lifespan to diminish quickly. By providing the system with time to establish before introducing animals, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Why Cycle? I typically suggest allowing your vivarium to “cycle” for at least 1 month. But what does that actually mean? Well “Cycling” or “The Cycle” is a reference to the Nitrogen Cycle. When you look at a Nitrogen Cycle, it shows the movement of organic matter. The fish hobby uses this term all the time – so if you keep fish you should be familiar with this term.
The Nitrogen Cycle of a fish tank (The Basics)
Fish eats food
Food is broken down by the fish
Their secretions release ammonia into the tank
The ammonia is then broken down by bacteria that secrete Nitrite into the water
The Nitrite is broken down by other bacteria into Nitrates.
Plants break Nitrates down into oxygen and Nitrogen.
Fish takes in oxygen through its gills, while Nitrogen is removed via water changes or live plants.
The concept is the same in the vivarium. Food and waste enter the tank. It is broken down with the animals and/or springtails, and then the bacteria and the plants. If you start too fast, you can topple the delicate system that you have built. So, taking it slow and giving it time ensures your tank is well established before you add your animals and gives you a strong start to creating a healthy environment for them.
Time is a very important ingredient to a well-planted ecosystem. Not only will time bring a larger springtail population, but it will also allow the plants to root in and become strong before they have frogs hopping all over them. Beneficial bacteria will develop over time and help to ensure that waste and other organic matter are broken down.
The key to helping time to succeed is to keep the humidity at or above 80% and the temperature where you will want it with your animals.
Start Off Right
By allowing your bioactive vivarium to cycle and establish before introducing dart frogs, you’re allowing microfauna populations to grow, fungi to flourish, and plants to root, thus providing a more stable environment for your animals.
Resources – Joshsfrogs.com