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Thread: Building CP terrarium

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    kataok's Avatar
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    Building CP terrarium

    This is my sketch of what I think I want. I'd like to get more capensis - particularly the all red narrow.


    I've been searching a TON of aquarium sites, vivarium setups, terrarium setups, I've looked back at a lot of the old TF threads on the subject. Searched on youtube in my free time and have seen so many amazing setups. I would like to work on creating a sweet one as well so am taking my time with the planning...

    This is what I have going on right now.


    I need a stronger light... I'm trying out an LED and I don't think it's strong enough. My sundews have lost their dew and seem to be having trouble getting it back. Only a couple capensis narrow 'red' lost dew, and one alba. The dielsiana are fine as well as my wide leaf capensis and a couple larger alba.

    I'm also going to get a heat mat. Right now I'm just using a heater close to the tank and I keep the tank in my living room which has a wood stove for heat. Temperature now is 73. Humidity at 54%

    I also need a cool tank stand. If anyone has any recommendations. I don't want a cheesy aquarium stand. Just something super simple. I might have to go to Petco. Or check out this Reptile vivarium store I heard about..

    My first question is.. Can I use pumice stone as a drainage layer?

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    kataok's Avatar
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    Another question I hope it makes sense.. Should I create mini bogs to see how the plants work out and use a couple mini almost tiny bogs planted in the pots in the terrarium and see how that goes and then transplant the bogs into the terrarium later on? Or maybe that doesn't make sense.

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    Here is a link you may not have tracked down to give you some inspiration. http://www.flickr.com/groups/naturalisticvivariums/

    I've never tried using pumice as a drainage layer, I would personally either build a 1" false bottom (with an access point to allow you to syphon out the excess water/debris when needed) or use aquarium type gravel. If you plan on adding in a mini bog I would go with the false bottom, that would allow your bog to have a much larger water volume, something the plants would prefer and it would allow you a way to drain and clean the bog every year or so. If you raised the false bottom to 2-3" (might be a problem with only 12" of height) that would allow you to place a low wattage aquarium heater in the false bottom to heat the water and thus heat the terrarium while providing some very minor water flow and raising the humidity.

    Not all LEDs are created equal, I've never tried the lower powered ones so I can not help with those. I would recommend the CREE or similar LEDs but I have only been using them a few months now so keep that in mind. For lighting a 30" area I think the high powered DIY LED kits are the best option. By high powered I mean they can run at higher wattages not that you should run them at high wattages. I'm not talking about the LED bars you see with an LED every 1/4"-1" of the bar, those are low powered and I have no experience at all with them. Here are links to most everything I've wrote about my LED experiences.

    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...uld-love-input!
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...LED-Growlights
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...ic-Cooling-Fun!

    I should be building another LED bar for the 40 breeder in the next few weeks using the moonlight kits. Now if I was getting free electric I would buy T5s!

    I would assume you have also found http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/, so much info there for constructing terrariums CPers can borrow.

    As for the stand if your not planning on filling it with water there are a ton of furniture options out there, along with aquarium stands, or a lot of the metal/plastic shelves. I was able to build the stand http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...tand-build-log for under $80 in supplies, now I had all the tools. With a 20L? you would need less wood and I used some of the more expensive wood/screws so you could get it done for a lot less provided you had the tools/woodworking skills.

    Have you considered added a back wall to the design? I've found the extra vertical growing space very nice in many of my setups. Starting on page 4 here is one I made last year. http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...l-Setups/page4 These backgrounds are covered pretty well on the dendroboard. Another option I've used in fish tanks and plan to try in a terrarium next time I set on up http://www.universalrocks.com/aquari...t/backgrounds/.

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    kataok's Avatar
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    Thank you SO much for all of the information and inspiration!

    I'll reconsider my drainage layer. The reason I didn't go with a false bottom like the plastic egg carton is because I was afraid you would see it and I didn't want to take away the natural look. I thought of adding a rock with an area underneath it that I could use a turkey baster to take out excess water.

    I was thinking for the back wall I would just use a black sticker or maybe a reflective mirror sticky.

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    kataok's Avatar
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    Have you ever used Epiweb for the background?

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    I thought this terrarium was really cool http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecham...n/photostream/

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    Quote Originally Posted by kataok View Post
    I'll reconsider my drainage layer. The reason I didn't go with a false bottom like the plastic egg carton is because I was afraid you would see it and I didn't want to take away the natural look. I thought of adding a rock with an area underneath it that I could use a turkey baster to take out excess water.
    Its easy enough to hide the false bottom on all the sides if you just build the structure about 1-2" smaller than the tank and back fill the extra space with some more attractive medium. Just make sure to get your measurements right I have one that barely fit into the tank and it took forever for the medium to fill up the gaps.

    Here is a photo that shows what I'm talking about better than anything. The left side is the front of the tank with the right being the back. Looking at the front of the tank you can not see any of the false bottom. I could take the time and fill in the sides but I would just be using up more medium.

    DSC_0070 by randallsimpson, on Flickr

    Quote Originally Posted by kataok View Post
    Have you ever used Epiweb for the background?
    I have tried Epiweb for many different things and I have never really liked it, some people are getting amazing results with it so the concept is sound it just does not fit my growing style. My wife on the other hand loves to mount orchids on it.

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    kataok's Avatar
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    Wow that makes sense!
    Now I like the concept of the false bottom more..

    I found this cool tutorial.http://www.frogforum.net/vivarium-te...se-bottom.html And taking what I've seen from you. I would make it smaller so I could hide the front of it. Cover the top of the egg crate and sides that I'm going to hide with screen. Add a tube for siphoning out excess water.. I could just hide the tube with wood pieces rocks, etc.. Then use my soil mix.

    Would you include a layer of sphagnum moss over the screen and then my soil mix ( peat, sand, perlite ) ?

    Have you used heat mats or heat wires? And do you like the submersible more than the mats?

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