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Mold in my bioactive crested gecko tank

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  • Mold in my bioactive crested gecko tank

    Hello I have had this tank established for about a year without any issues at all. I have a crested gecko, springtails, and dwarf purple isopods in my enclosure. I have started to let my girlfriend mist the tank and take care of the gecko and it has started growing mold on the bottom in my drainage layer. I assume this is from over watering. Other than watering the tank less is there anything else I can do to combat this? I am unsure exactly what it is or if it is affecting the quality of life for my gecko. I was just going to throw everything out and start fresh but I figured I would ask somewhere where people know what they are looking at. Thank you for your time!

  • #2
    It does look like mold, but what I find odd is that the upper soil layer looks dry. How long has this setup been in place?
    3.3.0 Correlophus ciliatus (crested geckos)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Treebiscuit View Post
      It does look like mold, but what I find odd is that the upper soil layer looks dry. How long has this setup been in place?
      It has been established close to a year

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      • #4
        OK, I think I have an idea what the problem is. It looks like the upper layer of soil has completely dried out and/or was never moistened. Water will therefore flow right through it and end up in the bioball layer, making conditions amenable to the growth of mould. (If the soil were capable of holding more water, there would be more roots in it and water added to the soil would take longer to flow through it and would be sucked up by the roots, leaving the bioball layer moist but not wet). It also looks like you have not enough soil and too much in the way of bioballs.

        What kind of soil is that, anyway? Is it just peat or sphagnum? If so, you need to add in potting soil or something else with texture to allow air penetration, such as sand and vermiculite.

        I recommend ripping out your entire substrate in layers. (Do you have buckets you can use for this? You can use large cooking pots for this in a pinch, just clean them well afterwards). Try to preserve the soil around the roots of the plants. Rinse the bioballs in very hot water, drain them thoroughly (put them on a cookie sheet or garbage bag spread out on the floor for a few hours to air dry). Add water to the rest of the soil and stir it around with your hands until it is crumbly but not soggy. (This will annoy but not harm your clean-up crew). Then return everything to the viv. This time, make the bioball layer thinner. If you were using a screen over the bioballs, don't. Over the bioballs, add a layer of soil mixed with bioballs. Then add the rest of the soil and the plants. This soil structure will allow moisture that has accumulated in the bioball layer to diffuse upwards back through the soil. Make sure that the soil around the plants is moist but not wet when you add them back in.

        Finally, watering should be thorough around the bases of the plants every month or so, or more frequently if you have grow lights shining directly on the plants . Misting alone won't give the plants the water they need. Keep an eye on the soil moisture level through the glass, and don't let water build up on the bottom. You might want to purchase a soil water monitor device (available at may hardware stores and also online) if you don't have a green thumb so that you can ensure that your plants get adequate water but not more.

        ETA: once your plants are happy, their roots will spread all over, helping to maintain soil structure. Mold will always be there in small quantities but if the soil moisture is at healthy levels, your clean-up crew will eat it before it gets out of control.
        3.3.0 Correlophus ciliatus (crested geckos)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Treebiscuit View Post
          OK, I think I have an idea what the problem is. It looks like the upper layer of soil has completely dried out and/or was never moistened. Water will therefore flow right through it and end up in the bioball layer, making conditions amenable to the growth of mould. (If the soil were capable of holding more water, there would be more roots in it and water added to the soil would take longer to flow through it and would be sucked up by the roots, leaving the bioball layer moist but not wet). It also looks like you have not enough soil and too much in the way of bioballs.

          What kind of soil is that, anyway? Is it just peat or sphagnum? If so, you need to add in potting soil or something else with texture to allow air penetration, such as sand and vermiculite.

          I recommend ripping out your entire substrate in layers. (Do you have buckets you can use for this? You can use large cooking pots for this in a pinch, just clean them well afterwards). Try to preserve the soil around the roots of the plants. Rinse the bioballs in very hot water, drain them thoroughly (put them on a cookie sheet or garbage bag spread out on the floor for a few hours to air dry). Add water to the rest of the soil and stir it around with your hands until it is crumbly but not soggy. (This will annoy but not harm your clean-up crew). Then return everything to the viv. This time, make the bioball layer thinner. If you were using a screen over the bioballs, don't. Over the bioballs, add a layer of soil mixed with bioballs. Then add the rest of the soil and the plants. This soil structure will allow moisture that has accumulated in the bioball layer to diffuse upwards back through the soil. Make sure that the soil around the plants is moist but not wet when you add them back in.

          Finally, watering should be thorough around the bases of the plants every month or so, or more frequently if you have grow lights shining directly on the plants . Misting alone won't give the plants the water they need. Keep an eye on the soil moisture level through the glass, and don't let water build up on the bottom. You might want to purchase a soil water monitor device (available at may hardware stores and also online) if you don't have a green thumb so that you can ensure that your plants get adequate water but not more.

          ETA: once your plants are happy, their roots will spread all over, helping to maintain soil structure. Mold will always be there in small quantities but if the soil moisture is at healthy levels, your clean-up crew will eat it before it gets out of control.
          thank you so much for the in depth response! i will give this a shot on my next day off!!!

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          • #6
            Let us know how it goes! Good luck!
            3.3.0 Correlophus ciliatus (crested geckos)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by acbpro13 View Post

              It has been established close to a year
              I am unsure exactly what it is or if it is affecting the qualit filezilla rufusy of life for my gecko. I was just going to throw everything out and start fresh but I figured I would ask somewhere where people know what they are looking at. Thank you for your time!
              Last edited by JITISAWA; 02-09-2020, 06:08 PM.

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