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Other Substrates

Substrates for basic enclosures

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A Note Regarding These Substrates

Our company has narrowed it's focus towards living terrarium ecosystems over the past few years. In order to make room at our shop for the increased amount of live vivarium substrate we manufacture & ship, we've made the tough decision to drop the majority of the non-live substrates we previously carried. We still carry all of the basics, though! :-)
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Exo Terra Forest Moss

A 2-pack of compressed moss bricks

Exo Terra Forest Moss
▾ Show Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
A popular substrate choice for "humid hides", egg-laying containers, and as a substrate in non-live terrariums. Some folks also use this product in their own DIY Custom Background Texture Mix, or as a binding agent in DIY Moss Slurry*. At our shop, we most commonly use this for temporary terrariums and humid hides.
* This is not an ingredient in our NEHERP Live Moss Slurry, which primarily contains live (never dried) mosses.
Manufacturer Description:
Exo Terra Forest Moss is real compressed moss grown in tropical Asia. This ecological substrate is ideal for increasing humidity in the terrarium and is totally safe for frogs, salamanders and burrowing or digging animals. Forest Moss is extremely absorbent and is recommended in humidifying shelters, and as an ideal egg-laying or incubation medium. This completely natural forest moss has no dyes or chemicals, and each brick expands to 7L when soaked in water.
$6.99/ea
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$5.94/ea

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Water Feature / Paludarium Substrate

Fluval Plant Stratum: An aquatic substrate ideal for water features

Fluval Plant Stratum
▾ Show Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
A great natural substrate for water features in bioactive vivariums, as well as larger water areas in paludariums. It helps to effectively support marginal & aquatic plant life with ease, and lasts long term.
Manufacturer Description:
Fluval Plant Stratum is the ideal substrate for stimulating the growth of aquatic plants in freshwater environments. The substrate's light, non-compacting, porous structure is highly beneficial to nitrifying bacteria, which rapidly colonize the vast porous surface, providing optimal water quality for plants. Plant roots easily penetrate and spread throughout the substrate, allowing plants to obtain a variety of key nutrients that will make them flourish. Fluval Plant Stratum's inherent properties will help support a neutral to slightly acidic pH, ideal for most plant species and species of tropical fish normally kept in planted aquariums. This highly attractive substrate will not discolor water and helps control organic discoloration usually present when natural driftwood is used.
4.4lbs 8.8lbs
$16.99/ea 4.4lbs
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$15.29/ea 4.4lbs
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4.4lbs 8.8lbs
$24.99/ea 8.8lbs
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$22.49/ea 8.8lbs
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Peat Moss

OMRI Organic Canadian Peat Moss

Peat Moss
▾ Show Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
What seems like one of the simplest substrate ingredients is actually one of the most complex & interesting! Peat is mostly made up of decayed plant matter (often Sphagnum), which has partially decomposed to a deep brown substrate. It's acidic (3.0-4.5pH), low in macronutrients, and has a bunch of different uses both in and out of our terrarium hobby. Below, we'll outline the most common terrarium specific uses!
As Terrarium Substrate:
Peat moss is not suitable for standalone use in a terrarium, but it's one of the ingredients in a popular terrarium substrate called ABG Mix. (Developed by Atlanta Botanical Gardens) The original ABG Mix recipe calls for 2 Parts Tree Fern Fiber, 1 Part Peat Moss, 1 Part Charcoal, 1 Part Sphagnum Moss, and 2 Parts Fir Bark.
As Horticultural Substrate:
A great deal of potting soils have peat moss as a primary ingredient, especially for acid-loving plants. We use Peat Moss in the overwhelming majority of potting mixes at NEHERP. For more info on this, check out our Horticultural Substrate page.
For Blackwater (Paludariums / Aquariums):
Enthusiasts caring for animals which benefit from tannin-rich, mildly acidic water conditions have used Peat Moss in a number of different ways. Amphibian keepers might prepare a "blackwater extract" or "tadpole tea" using peat or other ingredients, while aquarists have found ways to incorporate it into a filter system to simply add tannins & achieve the desired effect. There are numerous ways it can be used for this purpose, so it may be worth a Google search if you'd like to learn more.
1 Gallon 5 Gallons 15 Gallons
$4.99/ea 1 Gallon
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$3.74/ea 1 Gallon
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1 Gallon 5 Gallons 15 Gallons
$18.99/ea 5 Gallons ($3.79/gal)
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$16.14/ea 5 Gallons ($3.22/gal)
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1 Gallon 5 Gallons 15 Gallons
$39.99/ea 15 Gallons ($2.66/gal)
We always appreciate your business, but if you need a ton of this stuff, it may be worth checking a local Garden Center for organic, pesticide-free, fertilizer-free, "wetting agent" free, 100% pure Canadian peat moss. Shipping costs can add up, and you might save a few bucks buying in bulk and in person! ♥
On Sale Now!
5% Off!
$37.99/ea 15 Gallons ($2.53/gal)
We always appreciate your business, but if you need a ton of this stuff, it may be worth checking a local Garden Center for organic, pesticide-free, fertilizer-free, "wetting agent" free, 100% pure Canadian peat moss. Shipping costs can add up, and you might save a few bucks buying in bulk and in person! ♥
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Sphagnum Moss

AAA-Grade New Zealand Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum Moss
▾ Show Price & Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
This is the same ultra-high grade Sphagnum we've always been known for offering and using in-house.
Important Note:
With everything going on in the world this year, New Zealand Sphagnum Moss is experiencing an extreme shortage in the US-Market. These gallon bags are offered in an effort to ensure there's enough to go around. With the demand so high & supply so limited, these bags are strictly limited to two per customer, and we apologize for not being able to offer more at this time. The moment the typical compressed bales are available in the USA again, we'll have them back on the site ASAP. Thanks for your patience!
$6.99/ea Gallon Bag
(Approximately 0.15lb)
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14% Off!
$5.99/ea Gallon Bag
(Approximately 0.15lb)

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Gallon Bag 0.15lb+

Sphagnum Moss

AAA Grade New Zealand Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum Moss Sphagnum Moss
▾ Show Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
This is the same brand of ultra high quality Sphagnum moss we use in-house. A perfect product for anyone looking for the absolute best Sphagnum around.
Manufacturer Description:
Our sustainably harvested, AAA-Grade Sphagnum moss has dozens of uses with thousands of different types of plants. Sphagnum moss is a versatile, long-lasting product renowned for its water holding capacity. Most commonly used by commercial growers and hobbyists for cultivating various orchid species, assisting with the growth of young plants, as a soil additive, and as a decorative enhancement and as a liner for hanging baskets.
100G 150G 500G
1000G 3000G 15000G
$8.99/ea 100 Gram
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$7.64/ea 100 Gram
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100 Gram Compressed Brick
Expands to 2 gallons when hydrated
100G 150G 500G
1000G 3000G 15000G
$11.99/ea 150 Gram
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$10.19/ea 150 Gram
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150 Gram
Expands to 3.17 gallons when hydrated
100G 150G 500G
1000G 3000G 15000G
$29.99/ea 500 Gram
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$25.49/ea 500 Gram
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500 Gram
Expands to 10.57 gallons when hydrated
100G 150G 500G
1000G 3000G 15000G
$49.99/ea 1000 Gram
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$44.99/ea 1000 Gram
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1000 Gram
Expands to 21.13 gallons when hydrated
100G 150G 500G
1000G 3000G 15000G
$119.99/ea 3000 Gram
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$107.99/ea 3000 Gram
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3000 Gram
Expands to 63.40 gallons when hydrated
100G 150G 500G
1000G 3000G 15000G
$399.99/ea 15000 Gram
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$399.99/ea 15000 Gram
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15000 Gram Compressed Bale
Expands to 317 gallons when hydrated
Non-Stock Product Recommendation:

Sterile Sand

Suitable for many Reptile species

Sterilized Play Sand For Reptiles
▾ Show Information ▾
NEHERP Staff Recommendation:
If a sand-based substrate is appropriate for an animal in your care, we'd recommend asking a breeder about natural play sand. There are a lot of bigger breeders which recommend it on its own, or as an aggregate in a broader mix. It's price is almost comical compared to hobby-specific stuff, at around $5 for 50+ pounds! It's natural, easy to find, and might be a good choice in certain situations. We don't sell it, but you can usually find it at Home Depot, Lowes, or your local Ace Hardware store.
Links To Google Search Results:
(These aren't affiliate or sponsored links ♥)
Lowes
Home Depot
Ace Hardware
Disclaimer: Any type of sand can be an impaction risk to certain species. Before putting any animal on sand, we recommend consulting a trusted breeder or expert in that particular species for advice. We do not recommend using major pet stores or major pet brands for this advice, because both have a conflict of interest. On a related note, we recommend against using calcium enriched sand and walnut shell substrates for any reason.
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Zoo Med Eco Earth

The best selling coconut ("coir") herp substrate

Zoo Med Eco Earth Brick Zoo Med Eco Earth Bag
▾ Show Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
Eco Earth is our top-choice for coconut fiber. In our experience, Zoo Med brand has a lower salinity content than some of the low-end and/or horticultural alternatives. It's great for use as-is in standard (non-bioactive) enclosures, or it can be used as one of many ingredients necessary to create a quality Live Vivarium Substrate. Check out Vivarium Construction 101 for more info regarding substrates.
Manufacturer Description:
Eco Earth Coconut Fiber Substrate is an eco-friendly product made from the husks of coconuts and can be safely composted or recycled into potted plants or gardens. It's ideal for naturalistic terrarium type set-ups incorporating reptiles, amphibians, or invertebrates. Use it damp for tropical species as it naturally absorbs and breaks down odor and waste products. Available in loose and compressed brick.
Single Brick 3-Pack Brick
8qt Bag 24qt Bag
$3.99/ea Single Brick
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$3.39/ea Single Brick
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Single Brick - Expands To 8 Quarts
Single Brick 3-Pack Brick
8qt Bag 24qt Bag
$7.99/ea 3-Pack Brick
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$6.79/ea 3-Pack Brick
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3-Pack Brick - Expands To 24 Quarts
Single Brick 3-Pack Brick
8qt Bag 24qt Bag
$9.99/ea 8qt Bag
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$8.99/ea 8qt Bag
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8 Dry Quarts
Single Brick 3-Pack Brick
8qt Bag 24qt Bag
$25.99/ea 24qt Bag
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$23.39/ea 24qt Bag
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24 Dry Quarts

Zoo Med Excavator Clay

A sculptable burrowing substrate for arid environments

Zoo Med Excavator Clay
▾ Show Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
This does what it says, and it does it well. While we don't do much with arid environments nowadays, this stuff does make a really nice arid terrarium building material. Low/wide background features are possible too, which makes Excavator a great choice for folks looking to create a naturalistic environment. Plant pots, net pots, or Cork Rounds can be incorporated into the clay material, and appropriate plant species can be added for an even more realistic experience. The only downside we've found is that it does require a little extra maintenance. It should be misted every so often to prevent cracks, and any higher-up features should be formed and maintained fastidiously to prevent cracking & structural failure. That being said, it's a nice, natural way to build an arid terrarium environment. Like many loose substrates, it's important to offer insectivores their feeder insects in an escape proof bowl. To use, simply mix with water (per the instructions), and sculpt as desired.
Manufacturer Description:
Zoo Med Excavator is a clay substrate that can be formed to your liking, while still allowing reptiles to dig tunnels and burrows just like they do in nature. Watch your reptiles perform natural digging behaviors; mold and create multi-level terraces and burrows in your reptile’s terrarium. Excavator holds its shape so burrows and tunnels won't collapse. All Natural! No added dyes, colors, or chemicals.
10lbs 20lbs 40lbs
$9.99/ea 10lbs
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10lbs 20lbs 40lbs
$19.49/ea 20lbs
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10lbs 20lbs 40lbs
$37.99/ea 40lbs
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Zoo Med Forest Floor

Top Quality Cypress Mulch

Zoo Med Forest Floor
▾ Show Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
Forest Floor is the best pet-grade Cypress Substrate we've tested. It's a popular choice for many types of reptiles "as is" in standard (non-bioactive) enclosures. It's also used as a beneficial aggregate in Live Vivarium Substrate, which lasts long-term and slowly adds nutrients to the mix. Check out Vivarium Construction 101 for more info regarding substrates. Note: Cypress must not to be confused with Cedar, which contains oils toxic to most Reptiles & Amphibians. Never use Cedar!
Manufacturer Description:
Zoo Med Forest Floor is a natural cypress mulch substrate. It provides your terrarium with a natural "forest floor" look while retaining moisture to provide humidity to the enclosure. Great for snakes, amphibians, or tropical species of tortoises.
8qt Bag 24qt Bag
$8.99/ea 8qt Bag
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8qt Bag 24qt Bag
$27.99/ea 24qt Bag
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Zoo Med Repti Bark

Top Quality Fir Bark

Zoo Med Repti Bark
▾ Show Description ▾
NEHERP Staff Description:
In our experience, Zoo Med's Repti Bark is by far the best type of fir bark substrate available. We use a lot of fir bark at NEHERP, and we've seen a massive difference in quality between brands & grades. Horticultural brands often have bark of questionable species, or large variances in grain size. Meanwhile other pet shop brands are either too big, or small enough to give you splinters if you try to mix the bark around by hand. While it seems simple, getting a good quality pet-safe heat treated bark substrate isn't always easy. Zoo Med Repti Bark smells great, has a uniform size (3/8-5/8in), and is probably the oldest "Reptile Bark" substrate available. We recommend using Repti Bark in standard (non-bioactive) enclosures, or it can be used as one of many ingredients necessary to create a quality Live Vivarium Substrate. Check out Vivarium Construction 101 for more info regarding substrates.
Note: Douglas Fir Bark must not to be confused with basic Pine Bark, which contains oils toxic to many Reptiles & Amphibians. Never use Pine!
Manufacturer Description:
Zoo Med Repti Bark is made from the bark of fir trees. It's the perfect substrate for humidity loving reptiles due to its ability to absorb moisture and then release it into the terrarium. In addition, the smaller chips provide better moisture retention while preventing live food from hiding in your substrate. Naturally decorative, ReptiBark provides your terrarium with that tropical rainforest look.
8qt Bag 24qt Bag
$8.49/ea 8qt Bag
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8qt Bag 24qt Bag
$21.99/ea 24qt Bag
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