Sub Stratum 4.4 lb – 2 kg

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Sub Stratum 4.4 lb – 2 kg

Bioactive Volcanic Substrate

  • Natural bioactive soil
  • With live beneficial bacteria
  • Keeps the terrarium clean & healthy
  • Eliminates ammonia & odours
  • Great drainage capabilities
  • Ideal for bioactive planted terrariums

The Exo Terra Sub Stratum is collected from the mineral-rich foothills of the Aso Volcano in Japan. The natural volcanic soil, formed from andesitic and rhyolitic tephra, is very nutrient rich, ideal for lush plant growth in bioactive planted terrariums.  The porous surface allows for excellent drainage and aeration, supporting strong root growth. The Sub Stratum’s friable, low density structure promotes a flourishing population of beneficial, nitrifying bacteria, creating a self-sustaining, living terrarium ecosystem. The active beneficial bacteria of the soil will decompose biological waste, keeping the terrarium clean and healthy.

3 Ways to use Sub Stratum:
As a sole substrate
As a drainage layer
Mixed in with other substrates

Sole Substrate
When Exo Terra’s Sub Stratum is used as the sole substrate, add a layer of 1-2″ (2,5 – 5 cm) to the terrarium. The live bacteria will activate when the substrate comes in contact with water or waste. The organic matter such as left over food and animal waste will decompose over time. The absorbing properties of volcanic ash will eliminate odours by trapping the decomposed materials. Rinse the Sub Stratum and replace partly every 12 months.

Drainage Layer
Add a top layer of biological substrate to the Exo Terra’s Sub Stratum layer for optimal bioactivity and drainage. Plants can be secured in the top layer (eg. Exo Terra’s Plantation Soil) while their roots will thrive in the sub layer of Sub Stratum – resulting in optimal growth.

Additionally, an inorganic layer can be added first for even better drainage (Exo Terra’s BioDrain) to allow excess water to flow through the substrate to avoid saturation and anaerobic bacteria to outcompete the beneficial bacteria in the Sub Stratum substrate. Use the BioDrain Mesh to separate the BioDrain layer from organic matter to penetrate the underlying layer.

Use a top layer of leaf litter to provide dry areas, shelter and dwelling surfaces for all organisms in the terrarium. In the meantime it will prevent evaporation of the underlying layers.

The secret to growing healthy plants begins with the soil. Naturally, healthy soil contains living microorganisms — from bacteria to fungi, protozoa and arthropods. Together they form a choreographed exchange from the recycling of nutrients to the decomposition of organic materials.

By mixing the Sub Stratum with other organic substrates, you enrich any substrate with the required minerals like calcium, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. It also aids in the water retention capacity and provide adequate air supply to the roots.

Only use tap water treated with Aquatize (PT1979) in bioactive planted terrariums to remove heavy metals, chlorine, and chloramines.

The regular use of Turtle Clean (PT1998 or PT1999) to add extra beneficial organisms to the terrarium water will support the biological filtration capabilities.

Ingredients: Natural Volcanic Soil (Andisol), Active Carbon, Live beneficial bacteria (Bacillus)

“Nothing is lost, everything is transformed” – Antoine de Lavoisier

Made in Japan

PT3183 – Sub Stratum – Bioactive Volcanic Substrate – 2 kg / 4.4 lb
PT3184 – Sub Stratum – Bioactive Volcanic Substrate – 4 kg / 8.8 lb

Also available:
PT3115 – Bio Drain Substrate – Terrarium Draining Substrate- a natural, non-organic substrate that allows excellent drainage of the terrarium.
PT3132 – Bio Drain Mesh Small – Non-toxic mesh to keep the underlying draining substrate separated from the decorative terrarium top-layer substrate
PT1979 – Aquatize – Terrarium Water Conditioner – Makes tap water safe, for healthier terrarium water conditions
PT1998 – Turtle Clean – Biological Turtle Habitat Cleaner – Establishes a right beneficial biological flora to ensure significant organic waste breakdown


2 kg - 4.4 lb

SKU: PT3183 Categories: , Tags: ,
Increases Humidity

Increases Humidity.

Stimulates Natural Behavior

Stimulates natural behavior.

True To Nature

True to nature.

Increased Humidity

Increases Humidity.

Substrates in natural terrariums serve many functions and are not only there for decorative purposes. They play a very important role in the determination of the terrarium's microclimate. The Exo Terra® Tropical Substrates are ideal to create natural planted terrarium set-ups for humidity-loving reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates from tropical environments. The hygroscopic properties of the Exo Terra® Tropical Substrates regulate the terrarium’s relative humidity in a natural way by absorbing and slowly releasing moisture. Adequate relative humidity levels aid in shedding and help prevent respiratory infections.

Stimulates natural behavior.

The all natural Exo Terra® Tropical Substrates stimulate natural digging and burrowing behavior, and allow reptiles to shape firm nesting burrows similar to their shelters in nature. By slowly releasing moisture at night, the Exo Terra® Tropical Substrates stimulate the natural absorption of moisture by the reptile skin, so that dehydration in tropical animals is much less likely to occur. The unique size and shape of the particles discourage crickets to hide in the substrate.

Stimulate Natural Behaviour
True To Nature

true to nature.

The Exo Terra® Tropical Substrates are extensively tumbled to smoothen the particles and remove excessive dust, than heat-treated to reduce bacterial contamination. This ecological substrate is the safest on the market for use with reptiles, frogs, salamanders and burrowing & digging animals. The unique size and shape of the bark particles allow frequent irrigation of your plants while still providing good aeration for healthy root growth. This improved aeration promotes a flourishing population of beneficial, nitrifying bacteria, and prevents root rot, making the Exo Terra® Tropical Substrates the safest choice for naturally planted terrarium setup. Exo Terra® Tropical Substrates are absolutely non-toxic, free of chemicals & pesticides and can be safely composted in your garden.