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Thread: Newbie terrarium dying

  1. #1

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    Unhappy

    I just started a 10 gal terrarium, 40 W fluorescent, sealed except for a crack in the lid, 80% humidity, 80 temp. I have 2" of clay pellets on the bottom, covered by nylon, then a 50/50 mixture cocofiber/tree bark originally soaked in a small amount of DynaGro fertilizer added to the 1 1/2 gallons of water used to soak the coco fiber. There is a 1/2 inch standing r/o water in the pellet layer and the substrate is moist and not soaking wet. I have a Pilea and a Selaginella K. growing. They did fine for about 3 weeks, and then the Pilea began to loose leaves which turned brown/grey. The Selaginella K. started to lose its green color and just dry up. At the time I noticed that there was no more water in the bottom of the pellet layer so I added 1/2 inch and misted the substrate. Now my Pilea is sending out a whole bunch of new small leaves. The Selaginella doesnt really look any better.
    Help. I dont know what is up. Did I put too much fertilizer in the initial water? My tank always has nice condensation on the sides even when there is no water in the pellet layer. I think my lighting is good and so are the other parameters. I even tried opening the lid a bit to lessen the condensation on the sides with no real improvement. I dont think it is light, water, humidity or temp? So what is wrong??

    My terrarium still looks lousy so I did some exploratory surgery on the roots. The plant roots on the Selaginella are still light tan and some light tips. The Pilea is also has good roots, no rotting.

    Thanks
    Newbie, Ivan

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    You say there is always good condensation on the sides of the tank...That's usually a sign of poor air circulation. Even though you said you tried opening up the tank more to eliminate the condensation, try opening it even more and give it some time. I think that the lack of air might be causing your problems.

  3. #3
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    I have a similar setup, save for there being LFS at the bottom of the tank and the plants being individually potted. Your environmental conditions sound adequate, save for the condensation which may be a sign of poor air circulation (place an AC PCU fan in the tank to solve this).

    I've not grown pilea in a terrariu but I am growing four different species of selaginella. Your selaginella is browning probably because it's receiving too MUCH light! These plants prefer shade and grow best under the cover of other plants. Other factors to consider are humidity (which must be high) and a requirement for constantly moist soil; however, based on your statements, these are probably not issues.

    If your selaginella is totally brown, it will probably not recover. They're fairly inexpensive, so I'd try another, but next time, keep it potted and place it in the darkest part of the terrarium--I almost guarantee you it will survive if your terrarium is as you described it.

    Good luck.
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

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    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img] I have heeded to all your suggestions. I have opened the lid on the terrarium about 1/4 " and now I only have a bit of condensation and some "fog" on the glass. The humidity is staying at 75% and the substrate moist, but very slowly drying out (sounds optimal for AV and Creeping Fig.) The water in the tank is about 1/8" high. So far the Pilea, AV, and Fig appear well. I will leave things alone and check when the substrate becomes a little dry and then add 1/4 " more r/o water to the tank. (I water down the inside of the glass so as to not wet the plants and allow the substrate to wick up needed moisture.) I will probably lightly mist the substrate if it is too dry. It seems like my terrarium with the above 1/4" crack will keep the substrate wet for about 2 weeks before watering again.

    Thanks all, you are a big help for a newbie. I will write an update in about a month which will tell the story??

    Ivan

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    Sounds great. I hope everything works out!

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