Bioactive enclosures are becoming more and more popular with reptile owners. And we can see why! There are so many benefits to a bioactive tank.

But learning the best way to set up your bioactive reptile cage can be tricky. There are so many things you can add!

We’ve already written an article about creating a bioactive tank. We suggest checking it out to learn about the basics of bioactive enclosures.

Today, we’re doing a deep dive into the role dubia roaches can play in a bioactive setup. Ready? Let’s go!

What is a Bioactive Enclosure?

The idea of a bioactive enclosure is to mimic the natural environment of your reptile. Or at least do the best we can within a tank. Bioactive tanks often include logs, plants, sand, and rocks. And of course, insects.

Pretty cool, right?

As great as we think bio active tanks are, they’re not something to rush into lightly. You’ll need to do your research before committing to a bioactive tank for your reptile. They can be a lot of work!

A well-designed bioactive tank won’t need much maintenance once it’s established. However, you’ll still need to monitor temperature and humidity – and feed your reptile – just like a traditional tank. You’ll also need to keep an eye on the plants and insects in your bioactive tank. You should ensure that they’re in good health, too.

bearded dragon bioactive
A bearded dragon in a bioactive tank

Why are Insects Important in a Bioactive Tank?

Insects play an important role in the ecosystem. In a bioactive tank, their role is no different. Bugs in a bioactive setup are often called the CUC, or clean up crew. They break down waste material to keep the enclosure clean.

Without insects, your bioactive tank would quickly start to harbor mold. Not only does mold smell bad, it creates an unhealthy environment for your reptile. Not good!

Common CUC insects include springtails, isopods, and dermestid beetles. While each of these performs similar jobs, they all have their place. 

Buffalo beetles, for example, are great at consuming the bodies of other dead insects. Springtails will eat old plant material and leftover food before it starts to mold. They will then excrete those nutrients back into the substrate for the plants to use.

Dubia Roaches in a Bioactive Setup

You can also add dubia roaches in your bioactive tank. While less common, dubias are sometimes used as CUC.

Dubias in your bioactive tank have many benefits. They eat a lot of different materials. Dubia roaches will eat leftover fruits and veggies, decaying wood and leaves, and even reptile excrement. Also, their tendency to burrow will help keep the soil from becoming too compacted. What’s not to love?

Well, nothing is perfect. And dubia roaches are no exception. 

If your dubias don’t get enough to eat, they will resort to munching on the leaves of the plants living in your bioactive tank. They also don’t climb well. This makes them better suited to a bioactive bearded dragon cage than an arboreal lizard enclosure.

And while dubias can tolerate low humidity, they aren’t desert critters. Dubias will do best in a warm, moderately humid environment.

More on Bioactive Enclosures

There’s a lot to learn about bioactive setups. Many of the specifics of a bioactive tank will depend on the animal it’s designed for. But some things are the same no matter who it’s for.

We’ve written an article covering the basics of all bioactive setups. You can read our bioactive enclosure blog here to get started. And keep an eye out for future posts! We have an article on the pros and cons of bioactive enclosures coming in the near future.