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Tree like plants for bioactive setup/what bonsai trees (if any) are safe to use?

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  • Tree like plants for bioactive setup/what bonsai trees (if any) are safe to use?

    Hello, I have a gargoyle gecko who is almost 3 years old. His tank currently has, I'm ashamed to say, the bare minimum decor. There are a couple branches (real wood) and an artificial "wood" vine for climbing, as well as two fake vines suction cupped to the sides. I have kept him on Eco Earth and Repti-Chip substrates, and he's currently on an easy-to-clean Repti Mat.
    I want to make a bioactive setup for him, and have done all my research, watched a buuunch of YouTube bioactive setup builds, and know where to get all my materials.
    The only thing is, I can't seem to find a small, tree-like plant to put in the center of the tank. I want something sturdy, with a wood-like stem or solid wood. I'd prefer to get a real plant. I want plants that are solid and sturdy that can hold my Garg's weight.
    My Garg is a slightly smaller than average male and I'm currently keeping him in a 12×12×18 (I think it's an Exo-Terra but I'm not 100% sure) but there ARE plans to upgrade him to an 18×18×24 in the future when I have the funds and am living in a larger place, but that will have to wait a year or so. I need plants that won't outgrow that tank size, or at least can be pruned back to keep at my desired height.
    I DID find a tree on amazon, some sort of bonsai, that says the tree type is a water chestnut, but I can't seem to find out if this is a gecko safe wood type. I do really like the way this bonsai looks. Here's the link to see for yourself, and info:

    TL;DR, need tree-like live plants for 12×12×18 Bioactive setup, need to know if water chestnut bonsai I found on Amazon is a good fit. (Link above)

    Thank you for your time, thank you for reading this entire thing if you took the time to, and thanks in advance, any help is greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    1. Bioactive tanks are fun!
    2. Money trees have nothing to do with water chestnuts. The botanical info on that page is crazy.
    3. I have no experience using that kind of tree for geckos, however, I have had success with various species of Polyscias and Plerandra, which are also native to New Caledonia and pretty resistant to being jumped on and climbed on by geckos. Keep in mind that you will need a grow light for the tree to grow well, and you will also have to trim the tree repeatedly. These houseplants are available from decent florists.

    Edited to add that if you don't want to fuss with maintaining a bonsai, there are alternatives! My 18" cube tank (one male crestied) is full of plants, but the one he likes most is a Maranta (prayer plant). I have lots of driftwood in there for my gecko to climb on, and a "trapeze" made out of a stick suspended from the ceiling of the tank. My gecko likes to hide in the leaves of the Maranta, sometimes sandwiched between two of them, sometimes, stuck to the wall between the glass and a leaf, sometimes stuck to a leaf, etc. He walks on the other plants but definitely interacts with this one more. Bonus: they are inexpensive, grow quickly (with a grow light), easy to maintain, and clearly interesting to geckos.
    3.3.0 Correlophus ciliatus (crested geckos)


    • #3
      Thanks so much for the response! I really like the look of the Polyscias and Magenta plants, I'll definitely be looking for these now! Have a great day ^^