Is it Okay to Have Mushrooms in My Bioactive Terrarium?
So you started a bioactive terrarium, and everything was going great. Until now… Suddenly you have mushrooms growing out of the soil in your tank.
Is that okay? Did you mess up some crucial part of tank maintenance? Do you have to start everything over again?
It turns out that mushrooms growing in your tank are perfectly fine and indicate that you’ve set up a rich bios inside your bioactive terrarium.
Here’s the scoop on why you may get mushrooms and what role they play in a vivarium…
How did mushrooms get here?
Mushrooms? You didn’t plant any of those. So why are they in your tank all of a sudden?
It may seem like fungus comes from nowhere, but their spores spread easily in soil, leaf litter, logs, and even the air. So once you have a successful bioactive setup, it’s likely that fungus will pop up.
Having fungus in your tank actually means that you have a very healthy setup. So healthy that the fungus thinks it’s a great place to call home.
Do I need to get rid of them?
So the fungus indicates you have a good setup. Cool. But are they safe to keep in there?
In general, yes. Mushrooms do not typically pose any safety concerns for reptiles or amphibians.
In fact, fungus tends to be beneficial for your entire bioactive tank. Here’s why:
They are decomposers
Like the microfauna in your terrarium, mushrooms are also decomposers. They have a different life cycle from the plants and animals in your tank. And although they can’t crawl through the soil, their presence still helps to break down waste.
That’s because the mushroom tops are only the reproductive part of the organism. Beneath the surface, the fungi’s root-like structures, called mycelium, spread throughout the soil.
They help with nutrient availability
As waste breaks down in a vivarium, mushrooms recycle the waste into nutrient forms that are more available for plants growing in the tank. The mushrooms help to create a natural fertilization process for the greenery. This contributes to the natural, or bioactive, functioning of the setup, so that you don’t have to add as many (or any) nutrients to the soil.
Hey, where did the mushrooms go?
Eventually, fungus will pass through its own lifecycle. Since the mushrooms above the surface are just the reproductive part, they will disappear after the reproductive cycle is over. No worries — they’ll come back again eventually.
Overall, finding mushrooms in your bioactive setup means that you’ve just achieved the next level in a natural, low-maintenance exotic pet habitat. Congrats!
If you haven’t seen mushrooms yet, you may want to boost your bioactive setup. Here are some products we suggest to help entice mushrooms to grow in your tank:
- Leaf litter
- Happy Frog Potting Soil with beneficial microbes and mycorrhizal fungi
- Ancient Forest humus soil amendment with beneficial bacteria and fungi
- Advanced Nutrients Piranha beneficial fungi
The best solution is rich soil with active plants and microfauna breaking down waste into nutrients.