(Bioactive Soil Substrate)
Microforest Complete is the creation of Paonia Soil and Rubber Ducky Isopods coming together to provide a better solution to building your Bio-Active soil substrates. One of the frustrating issues is that major reptile bioactive soil brands need to reveal their ingredient list.
As we began to invest in Designer Isopods, we became worried that adding a soil substrate we knew NOTHING about could potentially harm or cause unwanted issues in our Isopod breeding programs. We reached out to Bart Eller, owner of Panonia Soil, and spent most of the year 2022 deciding what recipe we would create to try to replicate the "Old Growth Forest" where most Isopods thrive.
From this 10-month brainstorming process, we are excited to bring Microforest Complete as the FIRST Bioactive living soil substrate brought to market exclusively for the Isopod and Millipede world! Isopods are present worldwide and in varying environments; however, no matter where they are, Isopods all decompose organic matter. This nutrient cycling process allows the "Old Growth Forest" - an endless cycle of valuable vitamins and minerals - year round!
The Macro world is complex, and the quality of the ingredients your Isopods break down eventually creates unique and vibrant Bioactive soil substrates. These thriving living soil substrates are THE key to the success of your breeding robust and bountiful Isopod colonies.
Microforest Complete combines 24 organic ingredients to create a tried and true Bioactive soil recipe that will make a DRAMATIC improvement in the overall health of the vivariums and terrariums you are looking to build. Unlike our competitors, we are proud to reveal our organic living soil recipe to the entire Reptile and Isopod community!
Our 24 Organic Soil Ingredients List
- Citric Acid*
- Coconut Coir Peat
- Dolomite Lime
- Dynamic Dressing Compost
- Feather Meal
- Fishbone Meal
- Fossilized Seabird Guano
- Kelp Meal
- Manganese Sulfate
- Mastodon Peat
- Mycorrhizal Inoculant
- Oyster Shell Flour
- Rice Hulls
- Sodium Borate
- Sphagnum Peat
- Worm Castings
- Yucca Saponin Wetting Agent
- Zinc Sulfate
Our Detailed 24 Organic Soil Ingredients List
Organic Coconut Coir Peat
Coco Coir Peat has been a tried and true organic alternative to ONLY using mined sphagnum peat moss. Coco Coir Peat will last up to three times as long as conventional sphagnum peat moss and peat moss.
Unlike peat moss, coco coir is hydrophilic, will re-wet easily, and can hold up to 8 times its weight in water. It makes Coco Coir Peat the preferred choice for having a "Soil Hydration Station" readily accessible to the Isopods needing extra humidity. Coco Coir Peat promotes a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to peat moss derived from the coconut's husk.
Organic Sphagnum Peat Moss
Organic Sphagnum has over 380 scientifically accepted species of mosses, commonly known as "peat moss," so quality sourcing of this material is paramount for longevity when building Bioactive living soil substrates.
Our Organic Grade Peat Moss is ideal for plant propagation. It boasts an impressive air-filled porosity (AFP), allowing the microbial world to flourish and expand to its maximum capacity. Mushroom growers also prefer it for its fiber structure and water absorption properties.
Organic Rice Hulls
Improving the soil food web means adding perlite to your Isopod soil recipes. The main issue we have found is that perlite floats to the top of the soil substrate over time, eventually leading to soil compaction layers. Utilizing rice hulls has proven to be more natural and beneficial to your soil substrate system.
Organic Dynamic Dressing Compost
Utilizing high nitrogen content and Biodynamically prepared chicken compost, the organic dressing is fully composted at over 140F and then cured. Paonia Soil then fine-tunes this time-consuming process by turning excess carbon into a nitrogen-balanced recipe using our "secret sauce" known as natural sawdust for higher microbe species and more diverse nutrient availability across the Soil FoodWeb.
In addition to the Biodynamic preps inserted into the high-end compost pile, our compost is inoculated with beneficial nematodes. We add a layer of protection by adding the "Fungus Gnat Destroyer," known as the Stratiolaelaps scimitus. These "Soil Lion" micro-arthropods will safeguard your Bioactive Microforest Complete soil, looking for unwanted pest insects to devour. Stratiolaelaps scimitus provide the final layer of the Soil Food Web protection, allowing the delivery of organic nutrients to your Isopods and Millipedes.
Organic Worm Castings (VermiCompost)
We have All heard about the immense and diverse beneficial improvements healthy and vibrant compost adds to a healthy soil ecosystem. One of the "Secret Sauces" of this organic soil recipe is that we use vermicompost Composting Worms called Red Wigglers to add "Biofilm" all over our living bioactive soil substrates. Biofilm is essential in the survival of microorganisms, and any synthetic replication would not show the actual benefits that utilizing composting worms would provide.
Organic Kelp Meal
For high-end Isopods to thrive, they need TRACE minerals just as much as they need proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Kelp meal has been at the forefront of our soil-building framework as the trace minerals help slow-breeding colonies find optimum nutritional values and begin reproducing higher-quality offspring as each generation comes to fruition.
Organic Kelp Meal also consists of minerals, amino acids, and trace amounts of other micronutrients. Our sourced Kelp meal is seaweed, specifically Ascophyllus nodosum, harvested from the Icelandic ocean waters.
Organic Feather Meal
Old-growth forests begin to thrive because of excess proteins, High nitrogen levels, and excellent fungal to bacteria dominance that allows the Old Growth Forest to communicate and find quality decomposing food and wood sources in a much more efficient manner. Feather meal provides another diverse source of macro and micro minerals; Isopods and Millipedes need for maximum reproduction rates to be achieved.
(Quality Calcium Source)
Next level Isopod thinking MUST begin to include thoughts on Calcium sources. For the soil microbial world, Calcium is KING as this Macro soil nutrient is much harder to find in nature. Adding Calcium helps your Isopods breed as well as your composting worms so that you never experience anaerobic or soil compaction issues.
Organic Oyster Shell Flour
(Quality Calcium Source)
As mentioned above, Calcium is KING because it is much harder to find in abundance for the small macro microbial world in nature. The diversity of Calcium sources was another main focus when we created this soil recipe, as this diversity helps create symbiotic variety. This is why a living bioactive soil substrate dramatically IMPROVES soil over time instead of degrading soil over time.
Organic Dolomite Lime
(Quality Calcium Source)
Our 3rd source of quality Calcium diversity also adds magnesium to the soil substrates. Found naturally in limestone caves, this Calcium source adds a pH buffer to the soil system if you choose not to use composting worms to help regulate pH levels. Dolomite lime will buffer acidic conditions yet never rise above 7.
One of the best ways to improve Mother Nature is to find high-quality carbohydrate sources that help build and feed vast and diverse microbial life. Another reason to think about adding a healthy cover crop as an addition when designing your Bioactive soil substrates is that roots from plants release their own carbohydrates known as exudates. Closed-loop Isopod breeding is the future of our industry.
A scarce natural trace mineral source, AZOMITE® is a highly mineralized ore that is complex silica discovered in Utah after an ancient volcanic eruption that ejected released this unique mineral over time formed one of the groundbreaking fertilizers from Volcanic ash!
This volcanic ash started filling a tiny sea bed and the combination of seawater; by the 1930s, this ash was feeding several hundred rivers rich in volcanic ash, creating the AZOMITE® deposit, found nowhere else on Earth. The deposit is ancient; Rollin Anderson, the geological prospector that discovered the first benefits of this rare mountain, has said the age of this location to be somewhere north of 30 million years. By 1942, Azomite was a local household name for becoming known as a fertilizer that lived up to the hype when caring for plants and livestock.
Organic Fishbone Meal
Interestingly enough, Isopods are closely related to crustaceans... That's correct; these Isopods need more of a tropical ocean or cave-minded humidity setup. Contrary to nutritional information found online, our view on fish flakes is that they cause MAJOR problems when used as a consistent food source. Alternatively, utilizing Fishbone meal is high in nitrogen, protein, and phosphorous, all HIGHLY beneficial microbe foods.
Organic Fossilized Sea Bird Guano
Found in the Ocean, organic Fossilized Sea Bird Guano contains high levels of Calcium, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen. The elevated levels of micronutrients allow for increased water retention, an essential part of replicating the Old Growth Forest. Furthermore, this allows your Isopods to move freely amongst any substrate level because the Guano prevents significant substrate compaction, a common issue with a non-bioactive substrate.
The high levels of Phosphorus allow for a quick breakdown of the nutrients, benefiting the substrate as an organic fertilizer. No fillers allow micronutrients and NPK values to help any plants you may have grown within your enclosure.
When it comes to soil decomposers, the goal should be to find a variety of complex carbon sources. Complex organic acids help to build complex soil systems and improve nutrient distribution to all corners of the Bioactive soil substrate. Fulvic and humic soil inputs are ancient compost, and because of that fact, where you source humates should be a point of reference.
Organic Mastodon Peat
When we are searching for the best Isopod ingredients money can buy, one of those ingredients should be Mastodon Peat moss. Harvested from a local archeological excavation here in Colorado, Paonia Soil was able to acquire vast amounts of this fantastic organic material!! Paonia Soil's sourced Mastodon Peat Moss offers extremely RARE and diverse forms of fulvic and humic acids. This prehistoric ingredient is well over 45 million years old, and this ancient plant matter was found surrounding accurate and scientifically verified mammoth and mastodon remnants.
Mycorrhizal Fungi Inoculant
One of the most significant benefits of using a "Chop and Drop" system in your Bioactive isopod enclosures allows the addition of Mycorrhizal fungi. Using a cover crop for diverse root building allows the Mycorrhizal fungi to bond with the plant's roots to build a macro soil communication network.
Cover crop plant roots give off exudates that attract a diverse group of microbes to begin to build a soil utopia. The connection made as the system grows and develops over time has been described as going from a "Dial Up Network" to a "Fiber Optic Network. Microforest Complete offers 12 strains of symbiotic root organisms to increase the uptake of nutrients and water, building a closed-loop ecosystem for your Designer Isopods!
Other Bioactive soil companies frequently tell their customers that they have replaced their Isopod enclosures. Usually, issues begin with these soil systems because they use essential cheap filler as part of the recipe. Over time this causes compaction layers within the soil substrate, causing anaerobic bacteria and smelly conditions to overwhelm the vivarium or terrariums. Greensand is an ancient sand deposit that provides grit, silica, and potassium and prevents soil compaction over time.
Organic Manganese Sulfate
Manganese sulfate is one of the 9 primary essential nutrients that plants require for growth. This trace element helps dramatically improve the Bioactive soil substrate in which your Isopods and Millipedes thrive. Another reason we prefer to use a cover crop plant layer as Manganese Sulfate helps with chloroplast formation speed, photosynthesis rates, nitrogen metabolism, and synthesis of some enzymes. This role of Manganese in plants is highly crucial. Deficiency, common in soils with neutral to high pH or a substantial amount of organic matter, can cause severe plant problems.
Organic Zinc Sulfate
Since Microforest Complete was made with an Isopod and Millipede closed-loop system in mind, we chose to add another essential plant and bioactive soil element known as Zinc. This element is a crucial yield factor that is responsible for leaf sizing. Since cover crop leaves are our Bioactive's primary solar panels, these leaves' overall size (surface area) will directly govern the amount of sunlight our cover crops can capture and use those excess energies to produce exudates for our Isopods and Millipedes.
Photosynthesis is responsible for 90% of all Bioactive cover crop production, so improving photosynthesis is improving cover crop production. Additionally, water absorption is enhanced and retained within our soil substrates when you supply adequate zinc levels to your cover crops.
Because water is required for all cover crop uptake and nutrient translocation within the Bioactive soil substrates, improving water absorption is key to achieving top reproduction rates.
Organic Sodium Borate
A tiny amount of Sodium borate assists our living soil cover crop production in its immune function by allowing overall healthy growth to thrive and feed your growing Isopod colonies.
Another excellent natural source of potassium sourced by the Paonia Soil team allows Isopod farmers to have another Potassium source more readily available than the Green Sand mentioned above in the Soil Food Web for immediate soil microbial diversity.
Organic Yucca Saponin Wetting Agent
An organic, yucca-based wetting agent with saponins increases your Bioactive soil substrates water and nutrient uptake!
Yucca extract improves the soil substrate absorption and dispersal of nutrients and water by reducing surface tension. This allows soil microbiology to decompose and consume more of what is directly available to them. The water and nutrients are distributed evenly because the diversity begins to build naturally.
These same Yucca extracts reduce salt buildup and compaction layers by minimizing dry pocket formation within the Bioactive soil substrates. Complex carbohydrates found naturally in yucca plant extracts provide slow-release food sources for isopods, millipedes, and the Soil Foodweb of microorganisms.
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