15 Gallon Terrarium! Deciduous style! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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15 Gallon Terrarium! Deciduous style!

Okay so I set up this baby yesterday and feel as if it is probably doomed to fail, BUT if it does happen to succeed, I will be very happy. Anyways I have always love the whole Deciduous biome thing and all the lovely moss and ferns and all that good stuff so I figured I would try to make a terrarium up and running and see how it goes. Also I'd like some tips or anything to keep this baby up and running.

I plan on adding a small dripping water feature in the right corner for some prettiness and all that junk, any tips on simple diy water pumps things that can help me accomplish this? In my mind right now I am thinking of just finding some crappy table top water fountain and pulling out the pump from there.

Also regarding the substrate, it is a little bit soggy, I am wondering how to keep it uhh.... more dry. Knowing that these type of plants don't appreciate it. Should I just reduce the height of the water (which will make me sad) or is there another way- like getting a cpu fan to blow air and dry out the soil a bit.

Lighting: 2x 17 watt florescent bulbs
Substrate: Sphagnum peat moss over river stones over egg-crate
Housing: Standard 15 gallon tank
Flora: Various moss, ferns, lichens all collected in NW South Carolina

But yeah if it works out then I will post updated and all that jazz because I think it is pretty neat.


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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 03:05 AM
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That is nice looking. Reminds me of the forests in Massachusetts.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 03:57 AM
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Looks pretty good. Only thing is that it reminds me more of a temperate rainforest dominated by evergreens haha. Looks like the costal forests of washington and oregon! Keep up the good work!


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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-08-2014, 04:05 AM
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How deep is your drainage layer underneath the soil? Making that deeper will keep your soil less moist and more aerated. Also, mixing in some orchid bark would increase water drainage.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-09-2014, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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How deep is your drainage layer underneath the soil? Making that deeper will keep your soil less moist and more aerated. Also, mixing in some orchid bark would increase water drainage.
I wanna say its only like 2 inches for drainage in the lowest part, I'll probably look into the Orchid Bark since it seems to be pretty cheap. If I get that should I actually mix it into the soil or should I do a layer on top of the soil then have the mosses layered over it? Also, thanks for your input, it is much appreciated

Also to the other commenters, Thank you so much! Now that I have looked up pictures of the Rainforest of Washington and it does look like that!
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-10-2014, 02:15 AM
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Welcome to TPT! Nice to see a local

[EDIT] I just noticed your join date. You've been a lurker for quite a while I'm glad you posted this. It looks great

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-10-2014, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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Welcome to TPT! Nice to see a local

[EDIT] I just noticed your join date. You've been a lurker for quite a while I'm glad you posted this. It looks great
You caught me! I'm shy about my tanks. But I figured I'd come out of the darkness to get advice. This forum inspired me to start planted tanks my first one being my 55. Definitely not putting my 55 gallon on just yet, she needs some cleanup! Okay I am rambling but thank you for welcoming me formally. Haha!
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-10-2014, 03:58 AM
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It would work best to mix the orchid bark into the soil, or put a layer directly underneath it. Reptile bark also works well because its essentially the same thing.
Great tank by the way! It will be very interesting to see how this will turn out. You'll probably see a bunch random mosses/ferns popping from time to time (which will be awesome).
What temps are you keeping the tank at? If its at a lower range (60s-lower 70s), you could put in terrestrial salamander (the marbled salamander comes to mind). If so, I would recommend checking out Caudata.org for more info. You could probably find some captive bred North American species for sale (better than getting WC).

Last edited by JoshBA; 01-10-2014 at 04:09 AM. Reason: Additional info
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-10-2014, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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Okiedokie on the Bark, I shall do that! Also yes I'm sure I will see random things, already see a little sprout of something. It's always fun seeing random things pop up, in my last terrarium (which failed after a couple months) I had some mushrooms popping up they were quite cute. and yeah for the most part I just keep room temp, doesn't get over 75 I'd say. I was thinking a salamander too because they have such cute little faces and they would probably like being in this tank. I will be sure to take a look on that website and seek out some species after I get all the dampness situated. Thank you very much!
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-10-2014, 07:08 AM
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Do you have a false bottom under the soil substrate? You gotta have a void there with egg crate or hydroton. Otherwise your soil will just become totally saturated and start to rot.

Like JoshBA said, terrarium soil needs to be really coarse so that it will drain right. Look into ABG mix...

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...t-abg-mix.html

http://www.glassboxtropicals.com/pro...rate-4-gallons

Some native mosses and ferns co grow OK in a terrarium. Many other northern native plants like trees and flowers will not because they require a cold winter dormancy.

If you can put a 12v cpu fan and close the lid up pretty tight the plants will be much happier. You can find 60mm fans and power converters pretty cheap on ebay.

Last edited by hydrophyte; 01-10-2014 at 07:29 AM. Reason: addition
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2014, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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Made a little water feature! yay! Prob will work on it more but I'm content with it now.

Last edited by MmmToastyXD; 01-11-2014 at 05:24 AM. Reason: .
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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If you can put a 12v cpu fan and close the lid up pretty tight the plants will be much happier. You can find 60mm fans and power converters pretty cheap on ebay
So I just hooked up the cpu fan, a 12v fan attached to a 12v wall plug thing and it's working, I was wondering if it is going to kill the fan after a little while since it's using up all 12v and also I do not have a very tightly sealed top so should I only keep the fan on for like 15 min through out the day? In order not to dry out the stuff thats not sitting on the soil?
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 04:53 PM
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I've never kept a terrarium but I would think you'd want to run a fan at least 15 min every hour to prevent mold growth. I'm only regurgitating what I've seen elsewhere, so feel free to disregard this

Can you post another FTS?
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 07:07 PM
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I've never kept a terrarium but I would think you'd want to run a fan at least 15 min every hour to prevent mold growth. I'm only regurgitating what I've seen elsewhere, so feel free to disregard this

Can you post another FTS?
That is really excessive. I have a fan run 3 times a day on my 33 gal crab tank and never had to deal with mold. I do think that including a ton of microfauna is essential though. You want isopods and springtails at the very least! Be aware of mites but you want to add a lot of these to properly clean your tank. I just found crab offspring, so I'm doing something right. I agree that a fan is necessary but not in that extend. Also, venting the tank is important to have a little bit of air exchange, so make sure that the air in the tank doesn't get stale!
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 05:00 PM
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Looks good and love the idea! It's a bit uncanny though that I was doing a very similiar setup on the same day. I especially like your variety of mosses. I haven't been able to find much around here.
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