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Thread: How to make a terrarium

  1. #9
    Far too old to grow up now. Kate's Avatar
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    I don't currently have a terrarium setup, the last one I tried was for tropical plants: a 10gal aquarium. 1/2inch layer of 1/4inch gravel, 1/8th inch charcol, 5inches of soil; 1/2 aged compost 1/8 peat, 1/8 perilite, 1/4 sand.

    Plants:3 of the same kind of fern I can't remember the name of, Baby's-Tears (Soleirolia soleirolli) and Nerve Plant (Fittonia argyroneura).

    I was very carefull with the watering, as I suspeced that my last failure may have been caused by overwatering, the soil was damp but not wet and the aquarium was not covered.

    Lighting: Bright indirect natural light for about 11 hours, less than 1/2 hour of direct evening sun, more like 15 minutes.

    temps ranged from 75-85 degrees humidity stayed steady around 80% which should have been perfect for these plants, and seemed to be for about a month. then suddenly they started turning brown on the edges of the leaves and within 3 days they were completly wilted and dead, just like all the rest of my attempts. An ispection of the soil/ roots showd nothing, no parasites, no root diseases I could identify, and no molds

    I can get african violets to grow in a fish bowl, but I can't get anything else to grow in a terrarium environment, even my "dessert terrarium" failed and I ended up with dead cacti mush.

    I expect it is something really simple I am overlooking, I just can't pinpoint what... Anyone have any ideas?
    I typo, therefore I edit.

  2. #10

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    The charcoal, gravel or compost could be your trouble. I wouldn't use those personally. If you want a layer of something at the bottom of your terrarium, use a few layers of plastic florecent light cover (it's a hard plastic grate), or if you use gravel, I would boil it for 10 minutes and rinse it after with pure rain or distilled water to be sure it's clean. Put a good 5 inch layer of peat/sand or peat perlite (was perlite or sand with distilled or rain water first). If you're going to have a wide variety of different plants with different needs together in the same terrarium, I would keep them all in seperate pots with trays for watering, on top of your soil mix. That way any amphibians you add can live happily on the soil you layed down without disturbing your plants too much!

    If you don't want to add pets, just put a false bottom in your terrarium (a few layers of plastic grate or something), put water in the bottom and set your plants in their own pots with trays above that.

    The humidity and temps sound good for carniverous plants, but I can't say a lot for other plants. I hope this helps a little! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]
    To live we must learn to forgive.

  3. #11

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    I really don't know all that much about terrariums, but it seems to me that your lighting may also be a problem? If you're only using sunlight, it may not be as bright as you think inside the tank. (During the "bright indirect lighting" times of day.)

    Perhaps a fluo. light strip may help?

    Take care!

    Chris F.

  4. #12
    Far too old to grow up now. Kate's Avatar
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    Unfortuantely again, I have tried other soil combinationa dn I tried the florescent lighting... personaly I think it's just a conspiracy the plants have against me... lol
    I typo, therefore I edit.

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    Not sure how old a set up has to be to be to consider it a success, but mine is hitting about 60 days and so far so good.

    I have a 55 gallon set up that now contains a momma Anole and a couple week old baby Anole (momma was prego when I got her). Anyhow, the plant life right now is 2 Nepths that are doing very well, they sit up off the floor of the tank and the Anole's don't seem to bother with it much. The rest of the plants are non cp's and also are doing well. All plants are in their pots, and the pots are buried in the medium on the floor of the tank.

    I tried some sundews for a while and although the Anole's weren't interested in them, I had a difficult time with the cricketts who walked all over them, chewed the leaves and flowers and drowned in the water dishes they were set in.

    I am planning a redesign of the tank, which is still in the plan and test stages. I'm trying to work on creating a minni bog at one end in a raised container, which will hopefully be crickett proof. The baby Anole has delayed this somewhat as I've had to make a divider in the tank to keep momma and baby apart. Momma was a bit to protective of "her" trees and kept chasing baby away. I was also worried that the baby won't get to eat cause momma was too agressive.

    There are plenty of cricketts, as I have found they multiply as fast as rabbitts. That's worked out well cause the pinhead baby cricketts are perfect for the baby Anole. This tank is its own little ecosystem (I think that is the right word LOL)
    Linda in PA

  6. #14
    Send in the Clones Houstonherp's Avatar
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    Linda -

    Your terraium sounds like it has established well, and I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one that thinks certain CPs work well in terraria! As for the bottom of the tank, here's my formula, bottom to top:

    1 to 2 inches of plastic egg crate, as mentioned in previous posts

    a layer of CLOTH window screen material on top of the egg crate

    1/2 to 1 inch of CLEAN pea sized gravel

    1/2 inch of finer gravel or blasting sand

    soil of your choice for the top layer.

    Another trick that helps to maintain the terrarium is to put a piece of aquarium air tubing running from under the egg crate up one corner of the tank, and hanging out the back. That way you can remove the "bad" excess water without haveing to break the terrarium down!

    Hope this helps!
    Mike Howlett

    "Leuc, I am your flava!"

    Now we know Princess Leah's last name: Wilkerson!!

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    Arrow

    Don't forget Anoles! They really need a terrarium to be happy... or a fake one [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img]
    There is no item greater in value than life, for without life value would cease to exist.
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