WOOHOO! Got my exoterra! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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WOOHOO! Got my exoterra!

So for chrismukah my boyfriend got me an exoterra because he knows I've been wanting one for my crested gecko so I can upgrade his home!

Now I need the help of you lovely people to tell me how to make a pond/waterfall feature + live plants!

I know I need some kind of drainage under the dirt for the plants, but how do I do the pond part?

Any input you could give would be great!

Also, what are good small terrarium/vivarium plants?
What is good for drainage?
And what is good to use as dirt?

On hand I have Schultz aquatic soil, sand, aquarium gravel and large polished rocks, will any of that word as drainage?

As always, thanks in advance!!!


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 06:04 PM
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For the drainage layer I prefer this technique. It's much lighter than a gravel drainage layer. You could also use the clay pellets as drainage, but again, I prefer the nice, flat surface the egg crate offers. Next, your screening followed by a layer of sphagnum moss to keep your substrate above the egg crate. Then it's your soil medium.

I don't know what size exo you have, but for a water feature, you need a high false bottom to hide your pump and to maintain a high enough water level for the pump to function. You'll probably end up losing quite a bit of height because of this, unfortunately.

For plants, many of your little $2.50 Home Depot plants work well. Vining philodendrons, small begonias, creeping fig, maiden's hair ferns, 'polka dot' plants, etc. Bromeliads also make a great viv plant, but usually the HD ones arent the ones you want to use.

The soil mix I use, I mix myself. A bulk of it is orchid bark (just the bark, not the mix with the vermiculite), with organic potting soil (again, no vermiculite), charcoal, and sphagnum moss.

Good luck,

-Pat
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks for the speedy response and the link! Great information!

Hmm....i don't want to lose too much height....maybe I won't be able to do a water feature on this one unless I can so some kind of sloped land bit and put the water on the deep side if I can seal off part off.....though sealing things off didn't work for me before which is why I went with an exoterra instead of making a palu in a fish tank So we shall see


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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incidentally, where do you pick up eggcrate like that? Home Depot or Lowes? Or a craft store?


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 07:41 PM
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You can find it at both HD and Lowes. It'll be in the lighting section (they call it a florescent/lighting diffuser of some sort).
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2009, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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oooooh right right that makes sense, I knew I recognized it from something! Thanks!


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 03:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karackle View Post
Also, what are good small terrarium/vivarium plants?
What is good for drainage?
And what is good to use as dirt?

On hand I have Schultz aquatic soil, sand, aquarium gravel and large polished rocks, will any of that word as drainage?

As always, thanks in advance!!!
Hi,

For substrate, I recommend an ABG (Atlanta Botanical Gardens) type of mix - there are places to purchase this already made; I can tell you of one via PM, should you choose this route.

The mix is comprised of:
~2parts orchid bark - drainage
~2parts tree fern fiber - drainage
~1part activated charcoal - drainage and will help absorb excess nutrients until the tank grows in
~1part peat - water/nutrient retention
~1part milled long fiber spagnum - water/nutrient retention

This kind of substrate is often referred to as a soiless mix, as it contains no minerals. So, this mix will remain moist, but has sharp drainage, and provides air spaces that the roots of most terrarium plants appreciate.

Beyond such a well-draining substrate, the only additional drainage layering needed is LECA clay balls or a false bottom to raise the substrate level above standing water, either method should be covered with fiberglass mesh to prevent substrate particles from falling into the water below. This mesh can also be found at HD, in the window dept.


As for plants, there are so many that it could take a new thread or two to discuss... Some generally good types are begonias, bromeliads, aroids (like philodendron, anthurium, singonium, rhaphidophora, etc), orchids, ferns, etc. Of each type I listed there are a number that do well in vivariums and a great number that won't. The best way to start selecting terrarium suitable plants is to browse vendors that sell plants specifically for vivariums, so that you don't pick too many that wouldn't fair well while you are in the early stages of learning.

A good place to find vivarium plant vendors is the links page of www.dendroboard.com. There you can also find other useful information regarding terrarium culture.

Hope that helps!

Mike
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Cool thanks! That's really good info!

I will peruse the dendroboard link you send me momentarily!

I picked up peat/sphagnum and an organic soil that contains some bark (i forget what kind) and a couple of $2.99 plants at home depot. I forget what kinds but i saved the little stakes so I will post the names when I get home from work. I believe one is the "polka-dot" plant mentioned by patm.

I plan to put it all together tonight, so I will post pictures when I do. At the moment I think I'll leave out a water feature in favor of height since Cresties are arboreal geckos and like to climb. Perhaps if I am feeling ambitious someday I will extend the height of the terrarium so I can add a water feature. For now, I just hope be able to keep some plants alive and make a happy home for the little guy


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3 year old Tibetan Terrier named Whisky
11 year old miniature Poodle named Cody
I enjoy having a zoo to care for!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-05-2009, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so it occurred to me today that I uploaded my pictures of my new terrarium to photobucket but never actually posted them! Oops!!!

Enjoy!

Front (doors closed):


Sides:




Front right bottom corner:


Front (doors open):




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I enjoy having a zoo to care for!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-06-2009, 09:57 PM
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i like your exo setup.
the wood formation is cool, which would did you use?

youve got a nice looking cresty.

why is your front glass wet? it shouldnt be fogging...

My Tanks:

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks!! It's a piece of wood my friend got for me at the pet store a while ago, I'm not sure what kind it is to be honest, I'll have to see if I still have the tag. I have another gorgeous piece that's way too big for the setup, i'd love to use it in one of my tanks so I really should see if I have the tag so I know if it's tank safe...

And thanks! Yeah, I think he's a handsome boy!!! In fact, I rescued him from the pet store I used to work at and then found out he has some unusual/rare/sought after markings so that was exciting to find out, but to me he's just my cute little Squishy

I had JUST sprayed down the enclosure before taking the picture (i'm dumb and forgot to snap shots first), but ordinarily, no, the front does not fog up


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 01:03 AM
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Just keep an eye on that grapevine. It's a very soft wood, and has a tendency to mold/break down in really wet environments. But I agree, good looking setup.

-Pat
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip, I actually don't think it's grapevine though, I think I know the stuff you're talking about that is, well, vine-y (for lack of a better word) and somewhat flexible, this is quite solid wood. I'll keep an eye out though, thanks!

And thanks for the compliment!


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11 year old miniature Poodle named Cody
I enjoy having a zoo to care for!
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