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Vivarium Substrate Kits For 8X8X8 Terrariums

Vivarium Base Kits made with the best live vivarium substrate for biologically active enclosures

 
Drainage Substrate
Drainage
NEHERP Lightweight Drainage Layer Media
Drainage:
 
1 Gallon
NEHERP LDL
Screen Sep.
NEHERP Vivarium Screen Separator
Screen Sep:
 
8X8
(Inches)
Vivarium Substrate
Substrate
NEHERP Vivarium Substrate
Substrate:
 
1 Gallon
Your Choice Of Blend
Leaf Litter
NEHERP Leaf Litter
Leaf Litter:
 
0.5 Gallon
Assorted
Leaf Litter:
 
0.5 Gallon
See Below For Details
Screen Separator
NEHERP Vivarium Screen Separator
8X8
(Inches)
 
 
8X8X8 Vivarium Substrate Kit Contents:
1 Gallon Of Vivarium Substrate (Choose Below)
1 Gallon Of Lightweight Drainage Layer Substrate
1qty 8X8 Custom Cut Screen Separator
0.5 Gallon Of Assorted Leaf Litter Substrate
1 Gallon Of Vivarium Substrate (Choose Below)
1 Gallon Of Lightweight Drainage Layer Substrate
1qty 8X8 Custom Cut Screen Separator
Leaf Litter is currently sold out, and has been automatically removed & discounted from your kit to prevent delays. See note for more info.
 
Select Kit Option:
Select Substrate Type:
Specify Inhabitant Species:

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Save 10%+ off of our already low prices!
Select Kit Option:
Select Substrate Type:
Specify Inhabitant Species:
Sold Out!
Select Kit Option:
Select Substrate Type:
Specify Inhabitant Species:

★ On Sale Now ★

Save 10%+ off of our already low prices!
Select Kit Option:
Select Substrate Type:
Specify Inhabitant Species:
Sold Out!
Stock of V1 Substrate is low. If ordered today, we expect it to ship within 5 days.
Stock of V2 Substrate is low. If ordered today, we expect it to ship within 5 days.
Stock of ABG Substrate is low. If ordered today, we expect it to ship within 5 days.
Stock of LDL Substrate is low. If ordered today, we expect it to ship within 5 days.
Stock of Leaf Litter is low. If ordered today, we expect it to ship within 5 days.
V1 Substrate is currently sold out
V2 Substrate is currently sold out
ABG Substrate is currently sold out
 
Leaf Litter has sold out, but we've got you covered! :-)
 
Since Leaf Litter isn't available at the moment, we've automatically removed it from your substrate kit & discounted the price appropriately to prevent any delays. We'll include printed instructions on how you can process your own leaf litter, so your vivarium can still be built on schedule. Thanks very much for working with us while we're in-between shipments!
 
 
About Our Vivarium Substrate Base Kits:
Our NEHERP base kits are a one click solution for all the high quality supplies you'll need to start a live vivarium off with the strongest foundation available. These are the same high quality NEHERP vivarium Substrates we offer individually, at the lowest prices we offer. Enough substrate & drainage media is included for an appropriate (2.4-2.6in deep) layer of each in your 8X8X8 Terrarium, which is exactly what's recommended as the ideal solution in Vivarium Construction 101. We include a pre-cut screen separator, and enough of our high quality screened leaf litter (assorted) to tie the entire base layers of the live vivarium together. Live Springtails (also discounted) are an available option. Our substrate kits can be found in Zoos, Museums, Nature Centers, and in thousands of private collections all over the USA.
 
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions:
Answers to the most common substrate related questions we receive!
 
 
Question:
What about a layer of Sphagnum on top of the substrate?
Answer:
Some vivarium builders (pro & enthusiast) add a thin layer of Sphagnum moss on top of the substrate layer. There are pros & cons to this practice, and neither way is wrong. Sphagnum can act as a barrier between the substrate and inhabitant species, to prevent particles from sticking to sticky species. (Frogs, salamanders, etc) For enclosures which are a little more dry (near 55% R/H), Sphagnum can hold a little extra moisture and lock it into the substrate layer below. It's softer than Substrate, and can easily be wrapped around moisture-sensitive plants when low humidity is an issue. On the downside, it does decrease the amount of air which can penetrate to the substrate layer, which can decrease it's lifespan. Sphagnum Moss itself will also break down faster than the substrate mix will overall, so it may end up needing to be replaced (or removed + replaced) sooner than the substrate would. In our opinion, Sphagnum's long fibers pose a little more of an impaction risk than NEHERP Moss, Leaf Litter, or Natural Wood Decor would as ground cover.
 
When we build vivariums at NEHERP, we typically don't add a layer of Sphagnum. For this reason, we don't include any in our substrate kits. If you'd prefer to add a layer of Sphagnum, you can add some at this link.
 
 
 
Question:
Can I use "X" as substrate instead?
Answer:
Improper substrate choice is one of the most common mistakes made by beginners, and is a leading cause for vivariums failing prematurely. Topics like drainage, aeration, pH balance, resistance to breaking down, and the ability to support flora + microfauna life long term should all be considered when choosing a vivarium substrate. Coconut fiber, peat, top soil, and/or potting soil (alone or mixed together) are not acceptable substrates for long term success in a live temperate/tropical vivarium. While coconut fiber and peat are ingredients in a live vivarium substrate, they make up a very small percentage of a proper vivarium substrate mix. Inappropriate substrates will compact over time and will not support plant, mycorrhizal fungi, or microfauna as effectively, or for as long as a vivarium substrate will. For a whole lot more info on this topic, check out Vivarium Construction 101's sections relating to substrate.
 
 
 
Question:
How long will the substrate kit last?
Answer:
That depends on a tremendous number of different factors. Substrate used in enclosures which sit at 99% humidity year-round will inevitably break down a little faster than it would in a more typical 75-85% relative humidity range. Enclosures with lower humidity will see substrate last even longer. Adding a water feature will reduce the lifespan of substrate by half or more unless it's done with an incredible level of detail. (Separating all added moisture from the substrate layer) To put it simply, if a vivarium is set up and maintained as described in Vivarium Construction 101 & Vivarium Construction 102, we'd expect to see quite a few years out of a single base kit.
 
 
 
Question:
I read that I should bake and/or rinse substrate before using it?
Answer:
We don't recommend either. Any potential beneficial mycorrhizal fungi may be killed in the baking process, and our substrate doesn't have "bad stuff" in it which needs to be baked off. It's true that some types of Coconut Fiber should be rinsed before use, but we don't use typical horticultural coconut fiber in our mix. We use pet grade coconut fiber specifically labeled & sold for immediate use with Reptiles and Amphibians. The same claim "pet grade" statement also applies to our Fir Bark, & Cypress Mulch. Feel free to look into our ingredients list & production process. You won't be disappointed. :-)
 
 
 
Question:
What types of environments are these suited for?
Answer:
Our substrates are appropriate choices for environments ranging from 55% to 99% relative humidity. (Perfect for the vast majority of popular vivarium species!) Environments with humidity towards the lower end of that range may require more frequent misting to ensure the plants, microfauna, and mycorrhizal fungi have enough access to moisture to thrive.
 
 
 
Question:
Is this a "Self Cleaning" and/or "Bioactive" substrate?
Answer:
The substrate is considered biologically active, although that is a fairly broad term which we don't use too often outside of marketing. More specifically, our substrate is designed to sustain healthy populations of mycorrhizal fungi, beneficial microorganisms, and microfauna, which all work together to process detritus. If it's built to VC101 & VC102's specs, and there is enough light to support healthy plant growth, then the enclosure should be a fully functioning micro-ecosystem.
 
A vivarium's biology isn't nearly as simple as saying "Springtails eat all the waste within the enclosure". It's exponentially more complex & interesting than that. To ultra-simplify the basics into one giant run-on sentence: Healthy plant growth fosters the mutualistic relationship between plants & mycorrhizal fungi, the fungi help increase each plant's access to carbohydrates & nutrients, and the microfauna and other microorganisms feed on nutritious shed plant leaves, leaf litter, and decaying parts (fruiting bodies/mushrooms) of the fungi. The activity of each of these relationships increases as time goes on & populations grow. When an animal is eventually added, these processes can work together to help break down the associated waste. To sum it up, soil (or in this case substrate) biology is awesome.
 
Whether or not an enclosure is "self cleaning" (in terms of animal waste) depends on the size of the animal and the overall setup of the vivarium. In our experience, animals which digest plant, fruit, and insect matter produce waste which is far easier to break down than animals which consume larger & more complex organisms like vertebrates. Vivariums for Amphibians are easily designed to be self-cleaning. If you are working with any species of Gecko (from the tiniest Sphaerodactylus to the largest Rhacodactylus), you can rest assured the enclosure will be a fairly "hands off" affair. Invertebrates like Arachnids, Mantids, and more will be a piece of cake for the environment to process. Even most small-to-medium sized insectivorous & frugivorous lizards should require little-to-no cleanup. Larger species which consume a primary diet of vertebrates are more likely to require some spot cleaning within the enclosure. Building a live vivarium for a very large Reptile can be a fairly difficult process. Don't hesitate to contact us if you aren't sure!
 
 
 
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NEHERP Vivarium Substrate NEHERP V2 Vivarium Substrate NEHERP ABG Vivarium Substrate
About Our Vivarium Substrates:
Our company might be best known for our absolute top quality live vivarium substrate mixes, and we have three options available for our base kits. We developed our first commercially available blend in 2009, and have been constantly tweaking & improving it every year to ensure our clients get only the absolute best vivarium substrate on the market.
 
About Our Production Process:
We pre-mix & tightly bag each of our vivarium substrates for your convenience, and to ensure you get your money's worth in every gallon. Our custom-made food safe substrate mixing machine (nicknamed Brutus) helps our team churn out over one ton of substrate per month during our busy seasons. Although our shop has grown over the years, we still blend vivarium substrate in small (~30 gallon) batches to maintain a predictable & consistent mixture.
 
Substrate Ingredient: Charcoal Substrate Ingredient: Coconut Fiber Substrate Ingredient: Cypress Mulch Substrate Ingredient: Fir Bark Substrate Ingredient: Peat Moss Substrate Ingredient: Sphagnum Moss Substrate Ingredient: Tree Fern Fiber Substrate Ingredient: Calcined Clay
 
About Our Ingredients:
We use pet grade fir bark, pet grade coconut fiber, pet grade cypress mulch, AAA-Grade New Zealand Sphagnum (milled in-house), and OMRI certified Peat Moss in our Substrates. Hard-to-find Tree Fern Fiber, fine Calcined Clay, and rinsed/graded Natural Charcoal are added as long-lasting aggregates. In short, we literally use the best ingredients available in each of our vivarium substrates. Each of our three blends is designed to last long-term while maintaining a healthy pH, resisting compaction, supporting microfauna populations, fostering mycorrhizal fungi, and growing healthy plants.
 
Compare Substrates
 
 
 
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Screen Separator
About The Screen Separator:
The screen separator is used to separate the drainage layer & substrate layer. The mesh pattern is small enough to ensure substrate particles don't fall into the drainage layer, and large enough to allow water to freely pass through without pooling. Since water can flow freely downward, the substrate layer won't be prone to oversaturation which helps extend it's lifespan. The fine mesh helps facilitate a healthy drainage layer by preventing substrate particles from falling through & either wicking water upwards, or breaking down in the water table. It's not an exciting product by any stretch of the imagination, but it gets the job done!
 
 
 
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Lightweight Drainage Layer Substrate
About NEHERP LDL Substrate:
LDL (Lightweight Drainage Layer) Substrate is the ideal solution for a live environments lowest layer. It weighs significantly less than gravel pebbles, and has a tremendous amount of surface area for beneficial microbial activity. This helps cut down shipping costs, as well as the overall weight of a vivarium. The drainage layer is the lowest layer in a healthy vivarium environment, and the screen separator, substrate, and leaf litter are stacked above it. The drainage layer permits water to flow freely through the substrate layer during misting sessions, which helps to prevent over-saturation over time. As the environment begins to cycle, the drainage layer will become home to a beneficial population of natural microbes and bacteria.
 
 
 
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Vivarium Leaf Litter
About The Leaf Litter:
Leaf Litter might seem like an unimportant addition at first, but it actually plays a crucial role in the life of a vivarium. In nature, most of a forest or jungle floor is covered in leaf litter, with plants & moss peeking out here & there. A top-layer of leaf litter is a great way to increase realism within an enclosure. More importantly, leaf litter releases nutrients into the substrate layer as it breaks down, while simultaneously acting as a food source for beneficial microfauna like Springtails & Isopods. Moss is a great looking floor for a vivarium, but leaving some areas covered with leaf litter will help ensure your live environment will look more realistic and perform better, too!
 
 
 
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Easter Egg SpringtailSpringtails Close Up Isopod AnimationEaster Egg Springtail
Info: Springtails & Isopods
Springtails and Isopods play a critical role in the biological function of a live vivarium environment. These little critters do a great job of helping to process fallen leaves and other detritus produced by co-habitants. While often referred to as a "clean up crew", these detritivores are actually responsible for the natural fragmentation of organic matter within the enclosure. (Essentially breaking things up by agitation, chewing and/or digestion) Further decomposition takes place thanks to mycorrhizal fungi and microbes which eventually break down many of the elements into plant-available nutrients.
 
Deciding On Microfauna:
All live vivariums built to our recommended specifications will require at least Springtails. If the animal you are working with is under 3/4in or an invertebrate, it's possible the enclosure will not require the addition of Isopods. If your inhabitant is over 3/4in, we strongly recommend using both Springtails & Isopods. (Note: the "Kit Only" option (without Springtails or Isopods) was made available for hobbyists who already have microfauna cultures!)
 
About The Cultures:
These are the same high quality Springtail & Dwarf Isopod cultures we sell separately, only discounted for your base kit. The Springtail species is always Folsomia candida, and the Isopods are breeder's choice. (Either 'Dwarf Gray', 'Dwarf Purple', or 'Dwarf White') Printed care sheets & instructions are included for each type.
 
Introducing Springtails & Isopods:
Our Springtail and Isopod cultures are designed to be poured directly onto our substrate after a vivarium has been mostly completed. We recommend gently pouring the culture's contents into an enclosure after adding plants but before adding leaf litter. Ideally, the area where leaf litter will be should be "open substrate" at this point, so it's a perfect place to pour-out your Microfauna populations. Once they've been added, leaf litter can be gently poured on top of the location, so their first food source will be nearby! From there, Springtails & Isopods will slowly spread & reproduce within the habitat and should sustain a healthy population indefinitely.
 
 
 
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Vivarium Substrate Layers
Live Vivarium Base Layers
Every live vivarium starts with a few basic layers, which will provide a base for live plants & microfauna to thrive within the enclosure. For more information on the purpose of each layer, check out the links below.
 
(Links leave this kit page)
 
Vivarium Construction 101 VC101: Construction Basics
 
 
 
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NEHERP V1 Vivarium Substrate

For Environments Ranging From 75-99% R/H

NEHERP Vivarium Substrate
 
NEHERP Vivarium Substrate Ingredients

NEHERP V2 Vivarium Substrate

For Environments Ranging From 55-90% R/H

NEHERP V2 Vivarium Substrate
 
NEHERP V2 Vivarium Substrate Ingredients

NEHERP ABG Vivarium Substrate

For Environments Ranging From 75-99% R/H

NEHERP ABG Vivarium Substrate
 
NEHERP ABG Vivarium Substrate Ingredients
 

Vivarium Substrate Comparison

NEHERP Vivarium Substrate
NEHERP Vivarium Substrate Ingredients
 
V1: Recommended For Environments Ranging From 75-99% R/H
V2: Recommended For Environments Ranging From 55-90% R/H
ABG: Recommended For Environments Ranging From 75-99% R/H
V1: For Vivariums Ranging From 75-99% R/H
V2: For Vivariums Ranging From 55-90% R/H
ABG: For Vivariums Ranging From 75-99% R/H
 
About Our Ingredients
 
 
 
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