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Substrate Equivalent?

Discussion in 'Substrates/Bedding/Flooring' started by vicicarus, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. vicicarus

    vicicarus Member

    Thank you in advance for any and all help provided,

    I purchased(through the interweb's) a bag of Exo Terra Crushed Lava but I am seeing its not enough for what I am doing. What can I use as an equivalent to this product that I can purchase locally? I have not seen this in pet store around my area(Los Angeles, CA)Maybe there is something at Home Depot or does any one know of a reptile store around my area I could check out?
  2. cassicat4

    cassicat4 Subscribed User Premium Member

    Are you using it as a replacement for Hydroton balls? Because ZooMed has the equivalent:

    HydroBalls™ Lightweight Expanded Clay Terrarium Substrate

    I remember this being discussed on Dendroboards, and I believe Home Depot also carries lava rock for much cheaper than pet stores, and can be used as well.
  3. vicicarus

    vicicarus Member

    Thank you very much cassicat4 the reply,

    No, I am not using it as a replacement. I am setting up a new home for my redeye crocs and I was following a video tutorial where they laid the lava rock first then a foam before adding soils and live plants to use as drainage. But seeing what I received I don't think the lava rock is going to be enough. If Home Depot carries the lava rock I can check them out, Ill add what I get to the order I received.
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    If I understand you are using the lava as a drainage layer for your substrate? If so any suitably sized river pebbles will do, they will just be heavier.
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And if weight is an issue, all you need to do is to build a platform out of plastic eggcrate panel and put it on legs to raise it up off the bottom. This will give you a drainage area. The whole point of the exercise is to keep your soil from being in standing water, causing the plant roots to rot.
  6. vicicarus

    vicicarus Member

    Thank you all for the assistance,

    I am still fairly new to this and wasn’t very sure if I could mix other material in that would cause a reaction and produce molding or create a non-healthy environment . Ok so I can also use river rocks for drainage purposes and I have seen these at local store so this is very good to know. Also I didn’t quite understand the full purpose of the drainage worked so thank you for clearing it up and for all the suggestions on how to raise it.
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Yes you do not want the soil to be sitting in standing water. It will go sour pretty quickly. Plant roots and the microorganisms in the soil have to breathe too. If the soil is saturated and cannot drain there is no air in it. That is why you see worms on the sidewalk after a heavy rain, they are looking for air. Also another good idea is to arrange a tube in one corner that goes down to the bottom of the tank. That way if you get heavy handed with watering you can siphon the water out.
  8. vicicarus

    vicicarus Member

    Oh wow! thank you very much Merlin for the tube idea.:"> I will definitely use the tube idea in my setup. I really see how that would help out and increase the life span of the habitat.
  9. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    I like egg crate in 2 layers as a drain, my last tank has pea gravel as a drain and WOW is it heavy :p next time I wait till I can find enough egg crate...
  10. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Ya, I just use normal gravel from the hardware store. At $3 for a 25 pound bag its hard to beat in price. I suppose you are right though, its pretty heavy.

    Instead of the foam layer you were talking about vicicarus, you can just buy some fibreglass window screen from the hardware store too. The only point of it is to keep the soil from settling down in the drainage layer, while still allowing the water to filter through. Again they make this silly expensive stuff that the reptile brands sell, which is absolutely not needed. Window screen usually costs about a dollar per foot (at 3 feet wide) whereas the special reptile brand stuff goes for around $10 a foot at 2 feet wide. Ugh.

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