I want a "greenhouse aquarium" as described in The Savage Garden. *It has to be a size that fits my 48" table.
I have 3 choices according to the local pet store:
55 gallon 48" long x 12" depth x 20" tall $98 118 cubic inches of growing space per dollar spent
40 gallon 48" long x 13" depth x 12" tall $80 94 cubic inches of growing space per dollar spent
20 gallon long 30" long x 12" depth x 12" tall $30 144 cubic inches of growing space per dollar spent
The most cost effective size would be the 20 gallon long and this would allow me to add additional smaller aquariums to hold specialty plants like Mexican pings.
I'll be keeping each plant (or group if appropriate) in its own pot/pots and watering tray.
My lights consist of two fixtures using compact flourescent bulbs that are equivalent to 100 watts of daylight with 1 fixture mounted on each end of the terrarium. This is approximately 1.8 watts of light per square inch of surface area. At least 3 sides of the aquariums will be surrounded by aluminum foil to reflect light. *In addition, the terrarium will receive afternoon sun from a large picture window facing west. The terrarium will be about 6" away from the window.
An acrylic cover will keep the humidity in and can be raised slightly for air circulation as necessary depending on Michigan seasons. (Our humidity is extremely low when the furnaces are running and can be extremely high during the summer even with air conditioners running.)
I am focusing on these plants: *venus flytraps, terrestrial utricularias, Mexican pings, and some tropical drosera. I have 1 Nepenthes "Judith Finn" which will be raised so the pitchers can hang appropriately.
I will also be using 10 gallon aquariums to start Sarrencias species from seed.
1. *Does my plan for lighting seem adequate if I choose the 20 gallon long?
2. *Is 12" of height adequate for the type plants I want to grow?
3. *How can I prevent unsightly algae from growing in the tank due to humidity levels?
4. *Am I leaving out any other important consideration before I spend the money to purchase this tank?