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Thread: 2.6 gallon terrarium and a dearth of inspiration

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    anramitaco's Avatar
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    2.6 gallon terrarium and a dearth of inspiration

    I recently acquired a leaky 2.6 gallon Top Fin aquarium (can't say no to free containers) and am wondering if it can be put to use somehow. I've searched far and wide on the web but all I find is information on nano planted tanks and the like.

    My first thought was some species of Cyricosmus, because I haven't kept Ts in a long time and am itching to get back into them, but my partner quickly put the kibosh on that.

    My second thought was plants... epiphytic utrics maybe, or drosera adelae or prolifera, or mini orchids. I'd love to set up something for my desk at home. But I'm not sure about lighting in such a small space (a CFL? Jungle Dawn LED?). Heat and ventilation could be problems, too. I grow all of my plants in the open, so this is new territory for me.

    So... any ideas? If anybody out there has a small terrarium, I'd be grateful for some pointers.
    Last edited by anramitaco; 10-25-2014 at 10:01 AM.

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    I should be able to help out here. Some random thoughts in no order.

    Utric. sandersonii or graminifolia both make great ground covers. I could easily stuff 20-30 micro/mini orchids/ferns/whatnot in a 2.5g tank without it looking over crowded just to give you some idea of how many tiny species there are out there. The most important factor when choosing your plants is the flower stalk height and flower size. Nothing is more annoying than finally getting a flower stalk and having it hit the top of your tank. I have a Bulbophyllum right now that I had to make a tooth pick support to direct the stalks so the flower would open properly.

    If you turn the tank on its short side that would allow you to have more height and then go to your local hard ware store and have them cut two pieces of glass for the old top that is now your new front. Would be $2-3 here for that size. The first piece you would silicone in place to keep any excess water from draining out and the second one would be for a makeshift door. Make sure to leave about a 1/2" to 1" gap open at the top to allow for air exchange and to keep the humidity down. This is the tricky part, you want 50-70% humidity generally, more humidity and you get alot of bad things growing, less humidity and alot of the mini/micro plants will die.

    Some random threads. http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...ups?highlight= This one has a makeshift door that is amazingly still holding together perfectly http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...un!?highlight= Cephalotus could be grown in there similar to http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...-Vertical-Wall Another small one http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...ect?highlight=

    CFLs can provide enough light depending on what your growing, never tried the Jungle Dawn LEDs but I've used http://www.rapidled.com/4-led-solderless-moonlight-kit/ with good results so far, you would need to have them swap out the moonlight LEDs with daylight ones and the kit would require a heatsink.

    A really good source of info if you don''t mind digging around http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/.
    Last edited by RSS; 10-25-2014 at 11:55 AM.

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    anramitaco's Avatar
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    Those setups are fantastic!

    I have a lot of U. sandersonii, so I may look into using that as a ground cover, as you did. Do you fertilize the orchids in those nano tanks and does it have any adverse effects on the utric?

    I'll definitely look into more micro/mini orchids. I have a few that have proven pretty tolerant of growing openly, but would probably be much happier in a terrarium (e.g. masdevallia erinacea--I'm a big fan of pleurothallids).

    Thanks for the advice and thanks, too, for pointing me toward that other forum; looks like I'll be doing a lot of reading before getting down to business!

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    Quote Originally Posted by anramitaco View Post
    Do you fertilize the orchids in those nano tanks and does it have any adverse effects on the utric?
    I use a pressure sprayer with some low strength ferts added in those tanks, I've never done any flushing or anything and none of the plants seem to care either way. The oldest one is easily 10+ years so there should be alot of mineral buildups and I'm not seeing any negatives. But I'm talking 1/10 or lower strength on the ferts.

    Really when you start talking about smaller setups you want the lowest ferts you can get away with and still have healthy plants, the last thing you want is fast growing fert'd plants in a small space.

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    Sphagnum Guru Wire Man's Avatar
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    I put a Cephalotus and pygmy Drosera in my 3 gallon tank.
    3 Gallons of Zen by Wire Man, on Flickr

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    anramitaco's Avatar
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    I really like the cephalotus and pygmy sundews, but my only cephalotus seems to be happy where it is and I worry about moving it. A future project!

    RSS, I'm going to go with utric + orchids. I have A LOT of u. sandersonii and it grows like a weed, so I'm going to use that for the bottom and then mount a few pleurothallids (lepanthes gargoyla, scaphosepalum rapax, and salpistele brunnea) to get started; we'll see how they do. I'll post pics on this forum once the project is underway.

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    If you get enough Salpistele brunnea to trade some off send me a PM . That looks like such a neat little plant.

    I know Scaph rapax can grow really well in these type setups, the hardest part is finding the proper place to put them so the watering requirements of each species are met.

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    anramitaco's Avatar
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    Update. Things aren't looking too shabby, considering this is my first ever attempt at growing anything in a terrarium. The light, a Jungle Dawn LED, may be a bit on the bright side (the Lepanthes gargoyla leaves blushed within a week), but everything is growing nicely. L. gargoyla is starting to bloom and the Scaphosepalum rapax is sending up spikes. I really like the carpet of Utricularia sandersonii, thanks for the idea, RSS!


    This looks a bit darker than it actually is. I'm an idiot when it comes to photography.

    Last edited by anramitaco; 02-07-2015 at 02:47 PM.

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