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Thread: Building a terrarium?

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    Everything I read seems to be slightly different from everything else. As far as ground material - what needs to be going on at the bottom of my terrarium?

    I need to have an inch of perlite first, right? Is that for drainage?
    Then some accounts say I need to put down some sort of screen, like for a window. Do I?

    I'm planning on using a 50/50 mix of perlite and peat moss throughout, that'll work okay for all of my hypothetical plants, right? What about depth requirements, at what point is it too shallow or too deep? Cause I want to leave it uneven if at all possible, for a more natural look, I suppose.

    Sorry for all the dumb questions

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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    You'r Q's aren't dumb.

    Most of us like the "greenhouse" style terrarium because it's easier, althought usually not attractive.

    If you want to make a "real" terrarium, get some 2 inch sections of PCV pipe, lay eggcrate over it, lay gardencloth over that, and then put your media of choice (if you plant directly it will vary from genus to genus). I reccoment you fill it in with sphagnum or peat and plant the plants in that while they are still potted. Sphagnum moss will cover the soil up anyway.

    Leave a small hole in one of the back corners, that way you can siphon out excess water with aquarium air hose. This will also be helpful if you want to flush the soil in case of nutrient buildup.

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    CopcarFC's Avatar
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    ^ Thats one way to do it.

    My way is to ditch the perlite all together. Heres what to do.

    First layer 1" of washed gravel.

    Second layer 1" of activated charcol. Put down a plastic screen

    Third layer 4-5" of peat on top of a thin LFS layer over the screen.

    Fourth layer live (or dead) LFS.

    Run a silicone hose down into the gravel layer to syphon out excess water.

    This setup worked for me for the past 2 years. I would avoid perlite because it will turn an ugly green color. If you want more drainage mix in a little orchid mix or vermiculite(sp?) into the peat.
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    What is the screen and charcoal for?

    [EDIT] I got perlite because **********.com said that's what they use in their media.

    And another thing, all of these plant directions say not to top-water.. how am I supposed to not top-water if they're in a terrarium?

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    CopcarFC's Avatar
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    Top watering is fine.

    The screen is to keep soil and roots from mixing with the charcol. The charcol is there to keep everything smelling nice. Sometimes terariums can get pretty stinky if you dont watch over them like a hawk.
    My life sucks

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    Charcoal sounds good then, no way will I be able to deal with a terrarium stinking up my bedroom.

    Where is a good place to find the charcoal and a screen? And what does LFS stand for?

    Could you elaborate a little bit more on how the hose bit works?

    Sorry for the ten billion questions

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    白人看不懂 Drosera36's Avatar
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    You can find charcoal at most garden centers for use with plants. LFS means long fibered sphagnum (moss).

    -Ben
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    I need the sphagnum moss to be alive, right?

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