View Full Version : How to make a terrarium
09-26-2002, 08:59 PM
what animals can live in terreriums? (so we know what to talk about)
Spectabilis73 http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
09-26-2002, 09:47 PM
For me, i wouldnt place any herps or animals with CP's for a few reasons. 1st: the terrarium's soil will be mostly peat and if animal feces get on it and decompose, the soil will no longer me nutrient free. 2nd: plants like sundews, etc are very delicate and will get crushed by larger herps like frogs, salamanders, liziards, etc. 3rd: if you go for the insects as animals for the terrarium, the smaller ones might get eaten or the larger ones like scorpions will burrow and mite destroy the plants' roots.
Well, enough of the negative stuff. http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
If you would like to create a natural terrarium that doesn't have any CP's, get any copy of Reptiles Magazine. The articles in "The Living Vivarium" is in every copy and talks about making vivariums/terrariums for Herps.
09-26-2002, 10:45 PM
Although I would agree that larger lizards and snakes would be potentially destructive to any live plants in a terrarium, there are loads of cool terrarium animals that work VERY well with certain CPs. I have a 30 gallon hex tank with a Leaftail Gecko, two Red-eyed Treefrogs and a Peacock Frog. I have built some neat bark-covered "pots" attached to the cypress bark backing of the tank, and routinely keep Nepenthes in these. Nepenthes gracilis is an excellent choice here. Of course, small sundews and other small ground dwellers (pinguicula) would most likely not be good candidates for a terrarium with active critters, but most CPs would do fine in a terrarium with a couple of small Poison Frogs (Dendrobates)...as long as their temperature and humidity requirements are similar.
Hope this helps!
09-27-2002, 11:59 AM
I have been wanting to make a terrarium for a while, maybe I'll get some ideas from here!
09-27-2002, 05:20 PM
Very interesting concept Mike. I never thought of the dead leaf geckos or dart frogs. Dont you worry about the feces causing an inbalance with the acidity and nutrient lacking soil? Thanks-Zach
09-27-2002, 11:17 PM
Not really a problem in my terrarium. Most of the feces are deposited on the bottom of the tank in the soil with the non-CPs. The Nepenthes are in baskets made out of cypress bark and glued to the cypress bark that makes up the back wall of the terrarium. So the animals often crawl on or across the neps, but don't normally add any nutrients "up high." Works well for me!
I have tried several times to make a terrarium, unfortunately with no success. I have about 15 books on the subject, have read them all extensively, no luck.
My ultimate goal is to set up an environment for a small lizard (possibly a skink, they are cute!http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif However I would like to get the plant growing part down first. So far I have managed to keep them alive for about a month, after that they just start wilting and die... any suggestions?
09-28-2002, 04:41 AM
It would help if you described how your terrarium is currently setup in a bit of detail. Or have you done this in another post already?
I don't currently have a terrarium setup, the last one I tried was for tropical plants: a 10gal aquarium. 1/2inch layer of 1/4inch gravel, 1/8th inch charcol, 5inches of soil; 1/2 aged compost 1/8 peat, 1/8 perilite, 1/4 sand.
Plants:3 of the same kind of fern I can't remember the name of, Baby's-Tears (Soleirolia soleirolli) and Nerve Plant (Fittonia argyroneura).
I was very carefull with the watering, as I suspeced that my last failure may have been caused by overwatering, the soil was damp but not wet and the aquarium was not covered.
Lighting: Bright indirect natural light for about 11 hours, less than 1/2 hour of direct evening sun, more like 15 minutes.
temps ranged from 75-85 degrees humidity stayed steady around 80% which should have been perfect for these plants, and seemed to be for about a month. then suddenly they started turning brown on the edges of the leaves and within 3 days they were completly wilted and dead, just like all the rest of my attempts. An ispection of the soil/ roots showd nothing, no parasites, no root diseases I could identify, and no molds
I can get african violets to grow in a fish bowl, but I can't get anything else to grow in a terrarium environment, even my "dessert terrarium" failed and I ended up with dead cacti mush.
I expect it is something really simple I am overlooking, I just can't pinpoint what... Anyone have any ideas?
09-29-2002, 12:34 PM
The charcoal, gravel or compost could be your trouble. I wouldn't use those personally. If you want a layer of something at the bottom of your terrarium, use a few layers of plastic florecent light cover (it's a hard plastic grate), or if you use gravel, I would boil it for 10 minutes and rinse it after with pure rain or distilled water to be sure it's clean. Put a good 5 inch layer of peat/sand or peat perlite (was perlite or sand with distilled or rain water first). If you're going to have a wide variety of different plants with different needs together in the same terrarium, I would keep them all in seperate pots with trays for watering, on top of your soil mix. That way any amphibians you add can live happily on the soil you layed down without disturbing your plants too much!
If you don't want to add pets, just put a false bottom in your terrarium (a few layers of plastic grate or something), put water in the bottom and set your plants in their own pots with trays above that.
The humidity and temps sound good for carniverous plants, but I can't say a lot for other plants. I hope this helps a little! http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
09-30-2002, 02:06 AM
I really don't know all that much about terrariums, but it seems to me that your lighting may also be a problem? If you're only using sunlight, it may not be as bright as you think inside the tank. (During the "bright indirect lighting" times of day.)
Perhaps a fluo. light strip may help?
Unfortuantely again, I have tried other soil combinationa dn I tried the florescent lighting... personaly I think it's just a conspiracy the plants have against me... lol
10-02-2002, 07:50 AM
Not sure how old a set up has to be to be to consider it a success, but mine is hitting about 60 days and so far so good.
I have a 55 gallon set up that now contains a momma Anole and a couple week old baby Anole (momma was prego when I got her). Anyhow, the plant life right now is 2 Nepths that are doing very well, they sit up off the floor of the tank and the Anole's don't seem to bother with it much. The rest of the plants are non cp's and also are doing well. All plants are in their pots, and the pots are buried in the medium on the floor of the tank.
I tried some sundews for a while and although the Anole's weren't interested in them, I had a difficult time with the cricketts who walked all over them, chewed the leaves and flowers and drowned in the water dishes they were set in.
I am planning a redesign of the tank, which is still in the plan and test stages. I'm trying to work on creating a minni bog at one end in a raised container, which will hopefully be crickett proof. The baby Anole has delayed this somewhat as I've had to make a divider in the tank to keep momma and baby apart. Momma was a bit to protective of "her" trees and kept chasing baby away. I was also worried that the baby won't get to eat cause momma was too agressive.
There are plenty of cricketts, as I have found they multiply as fast as rabbitts. That's worked out well cause the pinhead baby cricketts are perfect for the baby Anole. This tank is its own little ecosystem (I think that is the right word LOL)
10-10-2002, 11:41 PM
Your terraium sounds like it has established well, and I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one that thinks certain CPs work well in terraria! As for the bottom of the tank, here's my formula, bottom to top:
1 to 2 inches of plastic egg crate, as mentioned in previous posts
a layer of CLOTH window screen material on top of the egg crate
1/2 to 1 inch of CLEAN pea sized gravel
1/2 inch of finer gravel or blasting sand
soil of your choice for the top layer.
Another trick that helps to maintain the terrarium is to put a piece of aquarium air tubing running from under the egg crate up one corner of the tank, and hanging out the back. That way you can remove the "bad" excess water without haveing to break the terrarium down!
Hope this helps!
10-14-2002, 10:39 AM
Don't forget Anoles! They really need a terrarium to be happy... or a fake one http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif
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