Gareth's Terrarium - Pictorial Journal and Setup Guide
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > General Planted Tank Forums > General Planted Tank Discussion > Riparium/Terrarium/Vivarium


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-14-2003, 06:39 PM   #1
GDominy
Planted Tank VIP
 
GDominy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,363
Default

Ok, I just recieved word that my Terrarium tank has been built and is ready for pickup! I will be including pictures and info as to how I set up this 60 gallon Terrarium with the intention of housing Poison Dart Frogs over the next several weeks, so please check back often.

I am drafting some diagrams now, and will post them shortly!
GDominy is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-14-2003, 09:11 PM   #2
GDominy
Planted Tank VIP
 
GDominy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,363
Default

Before you build

Before you even begin to plan your terrarium design you need to consider what you want to house in it. This decision will drastically impact your design choices and you selection of plants. For the sake of this article, I am planning a terrarium around Poison Dart Frogs and have to choose my décor, plants, and water depth appropriately.

My decision to house poison dart frogs limits my plant choices to softer leaved varieties such as Mosses, baby’s Tears, creeping fig, ferns, and various others. Dart frogs have very tender skin and they can be injured by pointier plants. In addition to my plant limitations, I will have to be very careful about how I place my water features. Dart frogs are notoriously bad swimmers, and without proper care they could drown in an otherwise shallow pool.

Always, ALWAYS, plan before you build. A little time spent up front can save you hundreds of dollars and a lot of heartache.

Substrate


There are many options available for substrates in a terrarium, and each one should be considered carefully, if you have already decided what you are planning house in your terrarium this should make your decision easier.

For the purpose of my Dart Frog Terrarium I have selected a layered substrate. The bottom of the terrarium is lined with a large grade pea gravel (normally used for yard landscaping, smooth pebbles around .5”). This layer is approximately 2.5” and is used to raise the planting layer out of the water line.

A section of nylon mesh window screen is used to separate the layers of substrate from each other. You want to avoid having your drainage layer (the pebbles) from becoming obstructed with the finer materials. You will not be able to see this screen if it is cut to fit.

On top of the window screen a thicker layer (2-3 inches) of coconut fiber or potting soil is placed (potting soil has a tendency to get moldy and will need to be replaced more frequently). I prefer to use Coconut fiber despite its slightly higher cost for a variety of reasons;

1.) It holds moisture better then soils, without getting sopping wet
2.) It does not mold very quickly
3.) It is very light

Lighting

Unlike an aquarium the plants normally used in a rainforest terrarium do not require very much light at all. These plants have adapted to life under the forest canopy and very rarely would see direct sunlight. In fact, my 60 gallon tank will only have 2-3 40 watt bulbs. Full spectrum lights are very appropriate for this setup, and I find that my older aquarium lights are excellent for the terrarium.

Plants

This is probably my favorite part of the terrarium. There are a number of species that are well suited to the terrarium as long as you can meet their requirements. For the rainforest terrarium you will want to select plants that can tolerate a higher humidity, as this will be a very damp enclosure. Mosses and Lichens are excellent for this setup, and many can even be harvested locally (especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest). Many air plants and Bromeliads are also good choices as they can tolerate many different conditions (some dart frogs even require large Bromeliads to breed in!).

I have selected a variety of tropical plants for my terrarium and will be experimenting with them over the next several weeks;

1.) Creeping Fig (several species)
2.) Baby’s Tears
3.) Irish Moss
4.) Local Mosses
5.) Pothos (always a good choice)
6.) Varying Ferns

Humidity

This is a subject to be considered seriously. If you are planning on housing animals that require a relatively stable level of humidity, or your intention is to breed them, you may want to consider building or buying a humidifier. I am currently building a system that will operate on a timer to mist the terrarium several times a day so the frogs will be happy.

Your choice of substrate should be heavily influenced by what your humidity requirements will be, as some materials will not hold the moisture very well and can cause the terrarium to dry out. Dried mosses, coconut fiber, peat, etc can all be used to hold moisture in a terrarium, but they all have different maintenance requirements.

If you do not wish to purchase an automated system, you will have to make a regular routine of misting your terrarium as per your animal’s requirements. This may be once a day or even as high as 6 times a day depending on your surrounding environment. Plan carefully.

Water Features

You may wish to add a water feature or two into your terrarium. This can become a wonderful focal point, and actually perform a valuable service to your micro eco system. You will want to plan you water features carefully, as certain animals may not be able to rescue themselves if they happen to stumble into a body of water. I have decided to create a small waterfall that will cascade out of some slate pieces that are siliconed together, and down a slate channel that is lined with large pea gravel and aquarium gravel. Creating a stream in this manner means that there will not be any real deep area’s and water will simply flow around the pebbles. If the frogs stumble into the feature they can simply crawl or hop out.

In addition to visual appearance the water feature will provide a few valuable services. First of all, the running turbulent water will help keep the relative humidity up. Secondly, the water flowing through a gravel bed will actually provide some minor biological filtration, as bacteria will break down waste in the same manner it does in an aquarium. This process is actually more efficient in a stream situation as the bacteria has more contact with oxygen in the air, acting like a wet dry filter.

You will need to power these features using a small pump, power head, or internal aquarium filter. I will be using a small aquarium filter that I can stock with Carbon to keep odors down.

Backgrounds


You can use many different materials for your backgrounds, they each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Typically speaking you will want to select something that suits the needs of the terrarium (IE: Does it hold moisture to keep humidity up? Is it a good planting medium?).

For my terrarium I have selected Cork bark and Slate pieces to create a natural looking environment, and provide a stable, lightweight background to plant air plants into. The only downside to this design is that cork does not hold moisture very well so I am compensating by using an automated misting system.

[/b]
GDominy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2003, 03:15 PM   #3
GulfCoastAquarian
Planted Tank VIP
 
GulfCoastAquarian's Avatar
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Posts: 3,578
Send a message via ICQ to GulfCoastAquarian Send a message via Yahoo to GulfCoastAquarian
Default

Great article, Gareth. Can't wait for the pictures. Might actually encourage my wife to let me try one!
__________________
- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
GulfCoastAquarian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2003, 08:01 PM   #4
Ray1214
Algae Grower
 
Ray1214's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Lawerenceville, Ga In a Van down by the river.
Posts: 136
Default

I have a 75 gal tank that the top seam split and I dont' trust for an aquarium. I have been weighing very heavily the options of planting orchids and bromeliads but I am running my water feature (The tank is drilled for a reef) into a "Sump". Actually will be a 29 gal planted tank that is going to house a power head and I am attempting to make it look like it is one set up instead of two different setups. A 10 gal sump reservoir with a power head and pvcs will make a misting system (the mist heads are from Black Jungle Supply) that is set on a timer. A small power head will force about a gallon of water in 15 min to create a ro/di mist.

Ray

PS . Have you any experience with the foggers?
__________________
Ray
Bunches of tanks.
Reef, Planted, vivarium, terriarium, salt.


I worked my self up from nothing to a state of extreme poverity
Ray1214 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2003, 08:52 PM   #5
GDominy
Planted Tank VIP
 
GDominy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,363
Default

I have a little experience with the foggers, but not enough to speak with any authority on them. I do know that the ionizing head burns out after a while and needs to be replaced. I think I'm going to stick to a misting system and avoid the hassle.
GDominy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2003, 12:27 PM   #6
Ray1214
Algae Grower
 
Ray1214's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Lawerenceville, Ga In a Van down by the river.
Posts: 136
Default

I am going with misting, don't get me wrong. However, the fogger things do look cool.
Does anyone recommend false bottom setups or do they prefer just filling up with pea gravel?

Ray
__________________
Ray
Bunches of tanks.
Reef, Planted, vivarium, terriarium, salt.


I worked my self up from nothing to a state of extreme poverity
Ray1214 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2003, 03:42 PM   #7
GDominy
Planted Tank VIP
 
GDominy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,363
Default

You are pretty much accomplishing the same goal.. As long as you have a large enough resevoir to hold water (either in gravel or flase bottom) its ok. I prefer the look of the gravel then a true false bottom, thats the only reason I"m going that route.
GDominy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2003, 05:02 PM   #8
Ray1214
Algae Grower
 
Ray1214's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Lawerenceville, Ga In a Van down by the river.
Posts: 136
Default

GDominy,

I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens this weekend. I have some nifty ideas for Eplitic plants (like orchids) and cork park. They just simply glued and/or stapled the plants to cork, and the plants just took over in time. I am trying to mimic their Soil mix on the Dart frog tanks. Basically Orchid bark mix (with the charcoal i guess for odor control), coconut fiber, and I am guessing peat moss. I am guessing from looking that it is 2 parts orchid, 2 parts peat moss, and 1 part coconut fiber, but again I am guessing. The one that seem to go the best is the Dendrobate Leucoma tank, and as I "accidently" opened the "Do Not Open" cabinet it was sitting on, I noticed it had a 20 gal sump with a heater and a pump for the water feature which came out of a hole in the cork bark background. I also noticed that contrary to popular book opinion that based on the algae growth, that the tank had not been scrubbed out in some time, so a weekly tearing down the tank is not always nessecary.
I think I am gonna stick with a false bottom to permit a bit of ease in cleaning. My current Mantella is in a 5 gal tank with a false bottm, but I have rigged so that I can remove the substrate with one shot.

Ray
__________________
Ray
Bunches of tanks.
Reef, Planted, vivarium, terriarium, salt.


I worked my self up from nothing to a state of extreme poverity
Ray1214 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2003, 05:51 PM   #9
GDominy
Planted Tank VIP
 
GDominy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,363
Default

I also do not agree with weekly scrubbing of the tanks. You can very easily sustain a small eco system while only doing a major clean every 8 months or so... As long as you have adequate plant growth keeping the water clean and you do change the water from time to time.

Take many of the same water management principles you apply in fishkeeping to the water in a terrarium and you can sustain a system for a very long time without a major tear down.
GDominy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2003, 01:02 PM   #10
Ray1214
Algae Grower
 
Ray1214's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Lawerenceville, Ga In a Van down by the river.
Posts: 136
Default

That is what I figure. Anyways, when I can finally set up the tanks I want, I am planning on a 75 Gal Viv, but a 55 Gal planted tank underneath with an Amiracle Wetdry filter, and two EBO Jager 200 watt heaters underneath the same tank. The 55 will be a display tank as well but a planted aquarium. The Amiracle will be in the cabinet that can't be seen and will allow me to have the Vivarium on top and the Aquarium on the bottom. I figure since it seems frogs drown rather easily, it would be better to have a water feature with aquatic plants under neath and just off of the main system. Two for the price of one. I am going with a AMiracle wet/dry for a couple of reasons. 1, it is equipped to handle a 125 gallon tank, more than enough for a 55 gall plus the small water volume on the 75 gal. 2. The sump is large enough for me to have my heaters in it. (I removed the baffles since I am not gonna use it as a refugium anyways), 3. I already have one that I have for a reef tank until I decided to go away from bioballs. And yes I am building a stand that will have it and a 10 gall RO/Top off tank for the misting system as well as a place for me add RO water a wee bit at a time (I will use tap for the most part but RO will keep the water soft and pH stable.)

Ray
__________________
Ray
Bunches of tanks.
Reef, Planted, vivarium, terriarium, salt.


I worked my self up from nothing to a state of extreme poverity
Ray1214 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2003, 04:28 PM   #11
Anonymous
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 251
Default

I live in B.C., I am currently looking for poison dart frogs, but I have no idea where in B.C. I could find them, can you suggest something?
Anonymous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2003, 04:56 PM   #12
GDominy
Planted Tank VIP
 
GDominy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,363
Default

Where in BC Are you? I'm on Vancouver Island so I only really know suppliers here... However, I'm sure if you call around the local pet stores will be able to refer you to someone. There are several breeders out here....
GDominy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2003, 10:31 PM   #13
Anonymous
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 251
Default

Thanks for replying so fast, I really wasn't expecting an answer. I live in the lower mainland area, however I would not hesitate one bit to go to the Island to get these frogs. I heard that maybe the Vancouver Aquarium might be able to help, but I haven't contacted them. I tried one pet store in Vancouver, and they had no idea of what I was talking about.
Anonymous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2003, 10:41 PM   #14
GDominy
Planted Tank VIP
 
GDominy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,363
Default

Give Jim a Call at Worlds Exotic Pets here on the island. He is a great guy, a little rough around the edges but he knows his stuff.

(250) 474-1312
GDominy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2003, 10:48 PM   #15
Wasserpest
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (169/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,050
Default

So... where are the pictures?
Wasserpest is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
(New Pic) Gareth's 135 Gallon Loach Tank (56k warning) GDominy Tank Journals 402 04-27-2005 07:10 PM
Gareths 90 Gallon Tank Journal (Setup March 13, 2004) > 5 GDominy Tank Journals 86 07-16-2004 02:31 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:21 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012