What's new
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
This is my sketch of what I think I want. I'd like to get more capensis - particularly the all red narrow.
photo2_zps2c17ec35.jpg


I've been searching a TON of aquarium sites, vivarium setups, terrarium setups, I've looked back at a lot of the old TF threads on the subject. Searched on youtube in my free time and have seen so many amazing setups. I would like to work on creating a sweet one as well so am taking my time with the planning...

This is what I have going on right now.
te_zpse2b465a0.jpg


I need a stronger light... I'm trying out an LED and I don't think it's strong enough. My sundews have lost their dew and seem to be having trouble getting it back. Only a couple capensis narrow 'red' lost dew, and one alba. The dielsiana are fine as well as my wide leaf capensis and a couple larger alba.

I'm also going to get a heat mat. Right now I'm just using a heater close to the tank and I keep the tank in my living room which has a wood stove for heat. Temperature now is 73. Humidity at 54%

I also need a cool tank stand. If anyone has any recommendations. I don't want a cheesy aquarium stand. Just something super simple. I might have to go to Petco. Or check out this Reptile vivarium store I heard about..

My first question is.. Can I use pumice stone as a drainage layer?
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
Another question I hope it makes sense.. Should I create mini bogs to see how the plants work out and use a couple mini almost tiny bogs planted in the pots in the terrarium and see how that goes and then transplant the bogs into the terrarium later on? Or maybe that doesn't make sense.
 

RSS

Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,570
Location
Saginaw, TX USA
Here is a link you may not have tracked down to give you some inspiration. http://www.flickr.com/groups/naturalisticvivariums/

I've never tried using pumice as a drainage layer, I would personally either build a 1" false bottom (with an access point to allow you to syphon out the excess water/debris when needed) or use aquarium type gravel. If you plan on adding in a mini bog I would go with the false bottom, that would allow your bog to have a much larger water volume, something the plants would prefer and it would allow you a way to drain and clean the bog every year or so. If you raised the false bottom to 2-3" (might be a problem with only 12" of height) that would allow you to place a low wattage aquarium heater in the false bottom to heat the water and thus heat the terrarium while providing some very minor water flow and raising the humidity.

Not all LEDs are created equal, I've never tried the lower powered ones so I can not help with those. I would recommend the CREE or similar LEDs but I have only been using them a few months now so keep that in mind. For lighting a 30" area I think the high powered DIY LED kits are the best option. By high powered I mean they can run at higher wattages not that you should run them at high wattages. I'm not talking about the LED bars you see with an LED every 1/4"-1" of the bar, those are low powered and I have no experience at all with them. Here are links to most everything I've wrote about my LED experiences.

http://www.terraforums.com/forums/s...uild-a-Cephalotus-grow-space-would-love-input!
http://www.terraforums.com/forums/showthread.php/135849-LED-Growlights
http://www.terraforums.com/forums/s...ium-I-m-Trying-It!-Thermoelectric-Cooling-Fun!

I should be building another LED bar for the 40 breeder in the next few weeks using the moonlight kits. Now if I was getting free electric I would buy T5s!

I would assume you have also found http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/, so much info there for constructing terrariums CPers can borrow.

As for the stand if your not planning on filling it with water there are a ton of furniture options out there, along with aquarium stands, or a lot of the metal/plastic shelves. I was able to build the stand http://www.terraforums.com/forums/showthread.php/135880-Terrarium-tank-stand-build-log for under $80 in supplies, now I had all the tools. With a 20L? you would need less wood and I used some of the more expensive wood/screws so you could get it done for a lot less provided you had the tools/woodworking skills.

Have you considered added a back wall to the design? I've found the extra vertical growing space very nice in many of my setups. Starting on page 4 here is one I made last year. http://www.terraforums.com/forums/showthread.php/128737-Exo-Terra-Nano-Tall-Setups/page4 These backgrounds are covered pretty well on the dendroboard. Another option I've used in fish tanks and plan to try in a terrarium next time I set on up http://www.universalrocks.com/aquarium-reptile-pet/backgrounds/.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
Thank you SO much for all of the information and inspiration!

I'll reconsider my drainage layer. The reason I didn't go with a false bottom like the plastic egg carton is because I was afraid you would see it and I didn't want to take away the natural look. I thought of adding a rock with an area underneath it that I could use a turkey baster to take out excess water.

I was thinking for the back wall I would just use a black sticker or maybe a reflective mirror sticky.
 

RSS

Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,570
Location
Saginaw, TX USA
I'll reconsider my drainage layer. The reason I didn't go with a false bottom like the plastic egg carton is because I was afraid you would see it and I didn't want to take away the natural look. I thought of adding a rock with an area underneath it that I could use a turkey baster to take out excess water.

Its easy enough to hide the false bottom on all the sides if you just build the structure about 1-2" smaller than the tank and back fill the extra space with some more attractive medium. Just make sure to get your measurements right I have one that barely fit into the tank and it took forever for the medium to fill up the gaps.

Here is a photo that shows what I'm talking about better than anything. The left side is the front of the tank with the right being the back. Looking at the front of the tank you can not see any of the false bottom. I could take the time and fill in the sides but I would just be using up more medium.

DSC_0070 by randallsimpson, on Flickr

Have you ever used Epiweb for the background?

I have tried Epiweb for many different things and I have never really liked it, some people are getting amazing results with it so the concept is sound it just does not fit my growing style. My wife on the other hand loves to mount orchids on it.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
Wow that makes sense!
Now I like the concept of the false bottom more..

I found this cool tutorial.http://www.frogforum.net/vivarium-terrarium-enclosure-discussion/9045-quick-false-bottom.html And taking what I've seen from you. I would make it smaller so I could hide the front of it. Cover the top of the egg crate and sides that I'm going to hide with screen. Add a tube for siphoning out excess water.. I could just hide the tube with wood pieces rocks, etc.. Then use my soil mix.

Would you include a layer of sphagnum moss over the screen and then my soil mix ( peat, sand, perlite ) ?

Have you used heat mats or heat wires? And do you like the submersible more than the mats?
 

RSS

Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,570
Location
Saginaw, TX USA
I would not put a submersible heater in there if you are going to seal up the bottom, you will want to be able to remove the heater in case of a problem. If you can work out a way to remove the heater into your design I would go that way. I have never used heat wires, the simple aquarium heaters work well enough. As for the heat mats they cost more than aquarium heaters so I've never used them so I can't say how they work.

I have always just built my false bottom added the screening and then the medium, I've never added a layer of sphagnum moss. I would probably use something like coco fiber if I wanted a natural screen over sphagnum, coco fiber is supposed to last for years where sphagnum will decay much faster. I don't see any harm in adding the sphagnum.

Make sure you get a non metal screen.
 

jimscott

Tropical Fish Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 14, 2003
Messages
18,811
Location
Western New York
I've toyed with the idea of putting a submersible heater in a Prego glass jar, sealed, to slow evaporation. I like your schematic. That must have been fun to dream it and express it on paper. <y lighting came from this place: http://www.ahsupply.com/36-55w.htm I the lack sophistication, LOL!:

 
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
I'm going to test out a heat mat this week since my boyfriend has an extra one. Then I'll decide if I should purchase a submersible.

I'm also going to get a stronger light. This LED doesn't seem to be making any improvements and I've been losing dew on Capensis and Dielsiana.

Have you ever used a weed barrier fabric instead of a screen?
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
Update on my progress:

I got a stronger light. T5 24W 2Ft 6400K 2280Lumens
I'm still using the LED as well.
I noticed improvement on the dew of my plants within 48 hours.

Has anyone used weed barrier fabric instead of a screen on a false bottom/egg crate???

Terrarium1_zpsf2a2d815.jpg
This is what it looks like right now. I need to build a stand or get one still. I'm using some old labels that I had for reflectors, since they are shiny metallic. I haven't decided on a background yet. I'm going to visit some pet stores, reptile stores, aquarium places this week to see if I can find something I like. Or build one myself..

Terrarium2_zps218ec737.jpg
The Neps are in the tank right now because I wanted to give them some more humidity and have the free space at the moment but they won't be going into the terrarium once I start building up the inside.

Termm_zpsb411e35d.jpg
You can see the two lights on top.

Tera_zps95a95fe8.jpg


T5_zpsb7aeaed7.jpg
 

RSS

Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,570
Location
Saginaw, TX USA
Has anyone used weed barrier fabric instead of a screen on a false bottom/egg crate???

The first thing I tried was a weed barrier and guess where it ended up at...in my garden...this stuff tears way to easily and doesn't drain fast enough for my liking.

From the photo of the LED it looks like the lower powered ones, I would be interested in any comments you have about it. If you put that many CREE or similar LEDs in such a small space I think it would cook your plants, so I have to assume they are the cheaper ones.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
Thanks Jim!

RSS, I already bought the weed barrier.. ha.. I was worried about it not draining fast enough but I can use it to hold the soil in for my future succulent wall hangings.. :)

The LED is a lower powered one, I found out.. It was a gift from my boyfriend :) I use it for supplemental lightning now since I have a T5 for the tank.. It's nice at nighttime because it has the blue/purple moonlight setting if you want to display your plants at night. The dew really shines bright with the moonlight setting! This is what it is: http://www.petco.com/product/122549/Fluval-Eco-Bright-LED-Aquarium-Strip-Light.aspx

How would the CREE cook the plants? I thought LED didn't put off heat. I've see some plants grown extremely close to LED lights before and they were doing fantastic! I don't know exactly what LEDs they were using though... ???
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2004
Messages
439
Location
Utah
I would add the advice of getting Tin Foil or mirrors on the bottom, back and sides of your tank. Tin foil doesn't look as bad as you think it would, my tank is using mirrors now, but in this pic you can see what an old tank with tin foil was like.

Also, do you want the light fixture inside your tank? Covering the top with a glass or plexiglass won't block your light source and will allow humidity to rise.

Myneptank_left_zps321868c7.png
 

RSS

Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
1,570
Location
Saginaw, TX USA
The LED is a lower powered one, I found out.. It was a gift from my boyfriend :) I use it for supplemental lightning now since I have a T5 for the tank.. It's nice at nighttime because it has the blue/purple moonlight setting if you want to display your plants at night. The dew really shines bright with the moonlight setting! This is what it is: http://www.petco.com/product/122549/Fluval-Eco-Bright-LED-Aquarium-Strip-Light.aspx

How would the CREE cook the plants? I thought LED didn't put off heat. I've see some plants grown extremely close to LED lights before and they were doing fantastic! I don't know exactly what LEDs they were using though... ???

I have no experience with the pre-made out of the box LED strips but you are expressing my concerns with them, not enough light.

LEDs can produce a TON of heat, that tiny little green square is the actual LED the rest is circuits and heatsinks.

DSC_0760 by randallsimpson, on Flickr

Now you need to mount those onto a large heatsink, such as the one below. Those 7 little tiny green squared if turned up to full power can heat up that 22" solid aluminum bar hot enough to burn my hand.

DSC_0764 by randallsimpson, on Flickr

At the power level I run them at the heatsinks are just above room temp.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
Thanks Odysseus.
I've been using a reflective sticky paper for the moment. I have it on the bottom and I need to tape the sides, and the back on since they have fallen off. I'm looking for a background for the finished terrarium; The 3D cork textured ones, if that makes sense. I haven't found one I like in pet stores yet so until then I'll be using the reflective sticky.

I don't have a top for my tank so thank you for bringing that up. I might wait to get one until I finish most of the setup. And plexiglass sounds like an easy answer to that.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
170
Dang RSS! I did not realize that it would get that hot!!
But just the heatsink would get that hot, the tank wouldn't be heating up because of it, right?

Where do you attach the aluminum bar heatsink?
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2004
Messages
439
Location
Utah
You bet!

Honestly, it depends on what you want to grow and how humid it is in there naturally where you live. Here in the desert I need a lid, but I will often open it to let the humidity levels drop from HI to something around 65%+. Honestly, probably harder on my plants to have swings in humidity, but I am missing vents on my lid currently and so until I get them cut in the plexiglass, I have to settle for cracking it open or just taking it off entirely for short periods.

Ahh, so you want an environment image as a background. I get why you would like that from your original drawing. I do like the look of them. I usually don't bother with it because what I need even more than a creative background scene is light light and more light. But, if you do go for an artistic or environmental backing, you should really beef up your lighting on your plants so you don't miss the reflective back as much.

Currenly, just from your pics, your lighting seems on the low side. But not as low as how I started:

THIS
TropAquarium_zps30fe650b.png


BECAME THIS
CP_Tank_2004_zps522959cf.jpg



I recommend considering ease of maintenance and lighting as high priorities on your list for your tank. But true terrariums with soil medium in the bottom and plants growing inside is really cool. They just are short lived, as are many plants in a terrarium. Short because of them being best grown in open sun and air conditions (i.e. VFTs) or short because they just outgrow the tank. (i.e. Sarrs and Neps). Either way, I completely enjoy the year or so I get out of each plant in my terrariums and wouldn't tell you not to do it unless you already have an environment outside fitting CPs or a greenhouse.


Indoor terrariums are fun to build, fill with plants and rotate all sorts of CPs in and out. :D Looking forward to see yours all come together!


photo3_zpsa33ea9e6.jpg
 
Last edited:
Top