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Thread: Design your dream terrarium

  1. #9

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    Thank you for the input everyone, I had a long weekend off so this is my first time back on the board. I love the thoughts.

    Jack, I am back to considering the shop light and like your ideas to dress it up some. What I saw at thie store this weekend will either mean 4 individual light units that look good or one shop light. I figure the shop light will be the better deal.

    Lithopsman and Big CarnivourKid, the small pump is a plan for down the road. Talked to hubby will need to update our circut box and then rewire which is more than we can afford right now. We have more things plugged into our house than it can take right now. I do plan on creating the layout of the tank to allow for a pump when I can get it done.

    I was rock hunting this weekend and found several nice size rocks to get things started. I'm real excited about getting it going. Filled the tank up about 5 inches (more than I'm going to use) and no leaks. So I'm ready to get started!!!!!! Keep the ideas flowing, I love them.
    Linda in PA

  2. #10
    BoooOOOOooooo!!!!! unknownclown's Avatar
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    You know before I got into CPs I ahd a tank with anoles and other lizzards and a emperror scorpion. In one corner I created a small tank by using caulking and scrap plexiglass and I put sone fish in that

    Of course the scorpion ate the anoles, it would catch them by thier tails dangling while they were sitting on the little log I gave them and Reel them in and then the scorpion eventually fell in the tank and drowned. But live and learn

    Now I wish I had that set up cause it would have been a cool set up for neps!
    I am the weirdo who sits next to you on the bus!

  3. #11

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    Go with as much light as you can produce: the shop lights are really the way to go. (2) 40 watt bulbs is good, but 4 are even better, esp. if you don't use staging to raise the plants to within 6 inches of the bulbs. Forget the charcoal, it's not needed and Pyro's comments are on the mark regarding its use. I used inverted pots to raise the level, masking them with live sphagnum moss. There are problems in using pots in a natural setting: it is difficult to provide tray watering. You might want to consider some form of individual resavoir for each pot/species which would let you place pots in esthetic spots rather than be limited to one level. Do be careful about which rocks you choose, and I would disinfect any branches by soaking in a dilute bleach solution as bark is the perfect place for fungus to hang out just waiting to infect the terrarium.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  4. #12

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    Tamlin, thanks so much for your insight. I have deceided to take Pyro's advise and chuck the charcoal. I have inverted pots planned for the nepths that don't want to sit in water. I have been a bit concerned about how to get the sundews higher to the lights but still keep them standing in water and still haven't figured out how I'm going to deal with that issue. I visualize the tank set up as woodland on one side and bog on the other, but not sure what the end result will be.

    So far, the tank has been cleaned, I've washed off a bag of large lava rock and small chunks of lava rock and the bottom is just barely covered. Technical question RE Lava Rock, doesn't it contain calcium and could that be a problem? I've also added some washed decorative stone (not fish tank stone, but the larger smooth like river rock stone). I'm going to need more though, the wooded area I want to build up higher than the bog area. Have to get more Orchid Bark for the next layer. I had planned to put LF moss on top of the Orchid Bark, then sit the sundews on top of that (but will give serious thought to your suggestions and see how I can incorporate it, maybe a plastic tray of some sort that can be covered). In my mind, I was planning on 3 to max of 4 inches deep on the low end and 5-6 inches deep on the high end; water to cover the lower end. Right now without water or plants or top, the humidity level is just over 70%. The rocks that I use that come from outdoors I plan to clean with bleach, boiling water (as Pyro says) and will also not sit them directly on the medium, but use a plastic butter or coffee can lid as the base for them to sit on, I hope that will avoid any possible leaching problems. I will remember about the tree branches and bleaching also, good point.

    Going looking for shop lights this weekend, I have deceided that is the way to go. I hope the light from the window the tank will sit next to will assit to provide added light to compensate for the distance issues.

    Pyro, if your still out there reading this, when you refered to using grape vine did you mean grape vine as a live plant, or just the vine a decoration? I am intriged about that as I live in grape country and have plenty available. Some dead grape vine hanging like a tarzan swing could be cool; am a little concerned about it alive as I'd always be pruning it I think.

    Thanks again for everyones insight. Sorry if this is too long, can you tell I'm having fun?
    Linda in PA

  5. #13
    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    I'm still out here reading


    Re: Lava rock. I beliefe lavarock is mostly basalt and neutral in pH (but bear in ming I am not a geologist ) I have been using it in all my mixes instead of perlite and I have yet to see any adverse reaction.


    Re: Grape vine. I was refering to dead stuff because it is pretty and easy to clean, plus bigger sections from closer to the main plant tend to be rigid and many branched offering great places for epiphytes and such. Live stuff could be interesting too and would add some colour but I can definitly see how pruning would be a problem


    Re: Watering/moisture issues. Aeons ago, when I had my 55 gallon tank set up as a "lake side" vivarium I created a buffered watering system using 4 sheets of plexi-glass. It was a bit elaborate but basically what I did was drilled three 1/16" holes about 1" from the base of the first sheet, two about 2" from the base of the second, two 3" from the base of the third and one 1" from the top of the fourth. I glued these in the tank (at about a 30 degree angle as it was supposed to simulate a shore but there is no reason they cant be verticle) with the first being closest to the water with an inch of space between each sheet. I filled the spaces with ultra fine sand blasting sand mixed with a little peat. The way it worked was that the water would seep through the drill holes and capillary to the next level. By keeping the final hole above the "water-line" the rest of the tank was only being watered by capillary action. This set up worked great for me and I would guess that you could set up someting similar but increase the space between the sheets for different wetness zones.


    Pyro



    'My love was science- specifically biology and, more specifically, when placed in a common jar, which of two organisms would devour the other.'

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  6. #14

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    Pyro, what a great idea with the plexi glass, I will have to study on that a bit and figure out how I can make it work.

    Another technical question: If there is 3 to 4 inches of water in a sealed tank (a couple of open inches for ventalition), I'm not expecting the need to water often. Is that a mistaken expectation? I figure most everything will be kept well watered just from the evaporation that has no place to go but back inside the tank. The nepths may be the only exception as they will sit above the water, although I ponder if they sit on a basket type container and if I cut the bottom off the pot they may do ok too. My soil mix for them is peat, small lava rock and LF Moss (which looks to be alive in one of them). The woodland plants I plan to set up a wick system with yarn, so even though they won't sit directly in water, the yarn will be below water level and keep them damp.

    Well, guess I better get working now. I'm out the rest of the week, so look forward to any new thoughts when I get back on Monday (and I'll probably cheat and look in again later today )
    Linda in PA

  7. #15
    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    With a constant water table you probably won't need to add all that often but moisture has a way of escaping when it wants too. The nice thing about your set-up is that is allows you to see the water table so you'll know when it needs and when it doesn't.

    With the Neps, if the capillary action is right then enough moisture should come up through the soil for them to absorb. What you might consider is take the thing you are going to use as a prop and stuff it full of sphag and then cut the bottom out. Now, when you put it in the tank the moisture will capillary up the moss. Thread some strands of sphag through the drainage holes of the Nep pots place them on top of the exposed moss. That should allow sufficient moisture to wick into the pot for the Nep.

    Pyro
    'My love was science- specifically biology and, more specifically, when placed in a common jar, which of two organisms would devour the other.'

    See You Space Cowboy

    actagggcagtgatatcccattggtacatggcaaattagcctcatgat
    Hagerstown, Maryland

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    actagggcagtgatatcccattggtacatggcaaattagcctcatgat

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