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Thread: Newbie.. have some questions

  1. #1

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    Hello, I am Milky..

    I have a 10g fish tank that got a crack in the top corner.. so i am goign to drain it and turn it into a terrarium..

    well it has 2 regular 25watt incandessnt bulbs in the hood, and the hood covers the entire top but it isnt air tight..

    I have 1" of fish gravel on the floor of it and figured that i could use that as a drainage thing.. (plus even though i will vaccum out as much gunk as i can, there will be some fish fertilizer in it)

    I just want something kinda small.. and simple easy to find plants... i kind a like flowers a bit..

    SO what can i really add to it to make it perty? I would liek plants, no live critters, and the sealed humidity thing doesnt really appeal to me..

    so what do you think what would be the best way to go about this?

    Thank you !!

  2. #2
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums, Milky.
    With that size of a fish tank, you're best bet will be some of the smaller, more managable plants like Drosera, Pinguicula, and the smaller Utricularia. You should go over the carnivorous plant FAQ by Barry Rice for a description of these plants and their needs.
    However, a few things stand out, as far as your setup goes.
    First, incandescant lights just won't cut it. They produce way too much heat and not nearly enough light. If the hood is the right size, replace the bulbs with some compact fluorescents (you can get compact fluorescents specifically for plants at home improvement stores and such, but grow-bulbs aren't strictly necessary. If the hood can't accomodate compact fluorescents, you'll either need to replace it with a fluorescent hood or get some gooseneck desk lamps and stick some compact fluorescents in them. I suppose you could also get a small fluorescent strip light, but with a 10 gallon tank, it might not be cost effective.
    Second - wash that gravel! Carnivorous plants eat bugs because they occur naturally in substrate with almost no nutrients. The roots of most CPs are very sensitive and will burn when exposed to any fertilizer for very long. If you have some conventional houseplants around, give them the fish emulsion - they'll be very thankful for it. CPs, unfortunately, will not.
    That gravel in the bottom of the tank may not be entirely necessary, either. A planted terrarium is hard to set up; all the plants must like the same type of watering, light, soil, and climate conditions. It's also hard to maintain; some plants are more aggressive than others and will quickly overgrow the container, and if a disease or pest gets loose, the whole terrarium must be treated. A less maintenance-intensive route is to grow your plants in pots inside the terrarium. The simplest way to do this is just use the terrarium as a giant drip tray, with the pots resting on the bottom (or propped above the water table if necessary.) A more attractive variant on this method is to bury the pots in a managable substrate (like aquarium gravel) or disguise the pots with rocks, pottery, pieces of wood, plants (Spanish moss and Sphagnum moss are good choices,) etc. This way, each plant can have the soil and water it likes best, and you only have to worry about choosing plants that like the same temperature and light.
    As far as plants go, the sundews (Drosera,) butterworts (Pinguicula,) and bladderworts (Utricularia) all have very charming flowers that come up seasonally (two times a year on many varieties.) An Asian Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes) makes a nice addition; it doesn't have very impressive flowers, but the traps (pitchers) are about as much fun to look at as any flower. The Sun Pitcher (Heliamphora) is another good terrarium plant, but I'm under the impression that they aren't the easiest carnivore to grow. Whatever plants you choose, research them first to make sure you get varieties that will succeed in your home - be especially sure not to make the tragic mistake of buying an outdoor plant such as a Venus Flytrap (Dionaea) or Trumpet Pitcher (Sarracenia) and having it waste away in the winter, when they demand cold to frosty temperatures.
    You might want to have a few non-CPs too (watch the evil eyes on me from the CP purists.) Tillandsias, the air plants - including Spanish moss - make good companions to CPs, as they thrive on humid air rather than soil and water. Many orchids would also do nicely, provided with good air circulation. I'm sure there are many others, but that's what comes to mind immediately.
    Here are some simple CPs for the terrarium:
    Drosera adelae
    Drosera aliciae
    Drosera capensis
    Drosera spatulata
    Drosera hamiltonii
    Drosera schizandra
    Pygmy sundews (Drosera, too many to list)
    Utricularia sandersonii
    Utricularia livida
    Utricularia longifolia
    Nepenthes gracilis
    Nepenthes ampullaria
    Other lowland Nepenthes species and hybrids
    Pinguicula moranensis
    Pinguicula esseriana (very attractive, if you ask me)
    I hope that helps!
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  3. #3

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    Seedjar, I am suprised that there is no mention of ye olde favourite, Dionaea muscipula, our Venus Flytrap. Another one fit for terrarium growing. Too bad you are in Nebraska, Milky. Here in the San Francisco Bay, we can grow ours outdoors year round.
    45 yrs. growin\'
    Founder NASC

  4. #4

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    I gues i am not sure if i would like carnivorous plants, i was slightly creeped out the first time i saw a venus fly trap plant.. to Little shop of Horrors for me..

    I was thinking of something a little more .. immobile..

    As for light the lil floresent bulbs that they seell at wallmart that fit into incandesant plugs fit into my tank hood..

    as for the gravel.. i and goign to be cleanign it pretty good to seed my newest tank.. but i know i wont get it all.. i water my pregnaut plant with the fish water and they LOVE it..

    would a pregnaut plant do good in a terrerim setting?

    as for the kinds of plants.. i really dont care.. as long as they are all happy and arnt gunna bite me.. i am happy.. i mainly want a simple, cheap, easy to find, little assortment of plants.. ...

    i just dont know anythign about plants.. i kinda tend to kill them if i am left babysitting.. i havent killed my pregnaut plant in about 18 months and i have a cactus that i think is still alive.. for over 3 years now..

    Thank you for your responce..

  5. #5
    It's been one of dem days BigCarnivourKid's Avatar
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    Any of the plants Joe listed are pretty low maintenance. Neps can even tolerate fertilizer better than the other CPs. VFTs and Sarracenias have dormancy requirements. And the neps will eventually outgrow the terrarium. That would be a couple years down the road though.
    ---Steve Allinger---

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    My Grow List

  6. #6
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    There is one lowland nep that I can think of that stays small enough for a 10 gallon tank - N. campanulata. This a very small compared to other neps. I have a mature one that is only 5 or 6 inches in diameter. Very attrative plant, too.
    17 Nash Rd.
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  7. #7
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    camps are my favorite. you could make a species tank with utrics as a groundcover.

  8. #8

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    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/confused.gif[/img] Im sorry but i really dont know what ANY of those species are *hangs head in shame*

    soemthing that stays small and not very tall would be kewl..

    somethign that woul dlike 2 floresent bulbs that fit into incandesent pits..

    something that is fairly hardy (i tend to kill plants) so i can get someexperence with out having to worry about it to much..

    something.. that is easy to find..

    thank you for your help.. what about.. african violets?

    and my 10g is really more a 12g tall.. it has teh same width and legnth of a 10g but it is about 3" taller.. it has a crack in the top left corner of the back, about 3" down from the top rim..

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