A young man I know recently expressed an interest in carnivorous plants, which in turn got me interested, and so I thought it a good idea to join these forums. My only previous experience with CPs was as a young man myself, when I managed to quickly kill a fly trap bought from the hardware store. Now somewhat older and, I hope, wiser, I elected to do some research first, beginning with Peter D'Amato's excellent book.
I live in an apartment with a small balcony deck/patio, which I've populated with an assortment of container-grown plants. Mostly they're birdbait (I get a kick out of hummingbirds), plus some veggies, cacti and succulents. Although it might be feasible to grow certain CPs outside, I feel an indoor terrarium is my best bet. Southern California is prone to harsh, desiccating winds originating in the interior deserts which tend to begin in autumn and can go right into the winter. Besides, all my plants have been outdoors so far, and I would like to bring some characters inside.
My local pet supply stores sell the "All-Glass" brand of aquariums. The 20 gallon wide model ("20L") looks like a nice compromise size--large enough for a reasonable assortment of low-growing plants, yet small enough to be easily moveable if necessary. Cost is roughly $30, perhaps better if I lucked into a sale. It's the lighting that put a crimp into my plans. The home centers don't have any fluorescent fixtures which will properly fit the tank, and at present I don't have any workspace to do fabrication to adapt one to the tank. The petstores sell the All-Glass hoods, which of course neatly fit their tanks, but the prices seem quite high--the dual tube model to fit the 20L sells for $80, which eats up my cash very fast.
I would like the tank/hood assembly to look good together, as the terrarium will be in my living room. The hood should be perched upon the tank, since I have no space to mount a light fixture on the underside of a shelf (too many books!). Since I have no aquarium experience, I don't know if there are more affordable brands of light hoods that would fit cleanly on the tank. In fact, I don't know if the 20L style of tank is common in the aquarium business, or just particular to the All-Glass brand. Am I stuck having to spend about $110 to get a 20L style tank with a nicely fitting light hood?