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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


Well everyone, I have decided to take emersed setups to a different level, I want to display my emersed plants like we do our submersed plants so I have started looking into a terrarium. I wanted to throw my idea out there and see what you all thought first before I started buying equipment. I'm planning on using a exo terra terrarium (if anyone had a better suggestion please let me know) with a mistking watering system hooked up to a humidity controller. i will have to get a custom acrylic top for the tank as I want 85%+ humidity at all times. I'm planning no fauna for it just plants and everything will be something that is sold to be in an aquarium (crypts, anubias, bucephalandras, maybe some stems, java fern and aquatic mosses). I'm planning on a tiered pool approach with hydroton in the bottom so their is substantial water in it.

My concerns:
1. is the exo terra sealed enough to keep humidity as high as I want..
2. Will the split front glass doors be a distraction..
3. What is the best way to heat (I'm thinking heat the water)
4. How do I create circulation in the tank and is it needed with aquatic plants (I don't have any in my emersed set-ups now)
5. Will mosses be enough to keep mold and fungus down (I know moss is naturally resistant to them) if not how do I control that other than air circulation.
6. How do I keep the front glass clear enough to see into this when it is done It would defeat the purpose if I can't see in (will a fan blowing on it keep condensation off? or is this a lost cause)

If anyone has any suggestions on the above points or other things I should think of let me know.

Len
 

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That sounds like a great idea. I wondered when somebody would try that and I considered doing it myself. Emersed aquarium plants are so easy to grow.

The easiest way to do this would be to just fill the bottom of the enclusre with Aquasoil or somthing similar. If you want any kind of built-up structure inside you will need to have very good watering or misting because those areas will drain much faster.

The plants might appreciate some air circulation so as long as you can set it up without drying the air a little CPU fan could be helpful. A fan aimed at front pane of glass will reduce condensation some, but you will probably still get some fogging. The condensation correlates with the difference in temperature between the room and the inside of the enclosure. the colder the room relative to the tank the more condensation you will get.

This sounds like it would be a pretty simple setup. I would probably just use a regular aquarium instead fo the Exo Terra.
 

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Well everyone, I have decided to take emersed setups to a different level, I want to display my emersed plants like we do our submersed plants so I have started looking into a terrarium. I wanted to throw my idea out there and see what you all thought first before I started buying equipment. I'm planning on using a exo terra terrarium (if anyone had a better suggestion please let me know) with a mistking watering system hooked up to a humidity controller. i will have to get a custom acrylic top for the tank as I want 85%+ humidity at all times. I'm planning no fauna for it just plants and everything will be something that is sold to be in an aquarium (crypts, anubias, bucephalandras, maybe some stems, java fern and aquatic mosses). I'm planning on a tiered pool approach with hydroton in the bottom so their is substantial water in it.

My concerns:
1. is the exo terra sealed enough to keep humidity as high as I want..
no. you'll have to cover some of the mesh vent at the top. you don't want to cover it all though because you still want air circulation. i'd leave about 1.5 inches across the back.

2. Will the split front glass doors be a distraction..

i don't find that, and they really help you access the tank easily.
3. What is the best way to heat (I'm thinking heat the water)

i doubt you'll need to heat it. room temp is fine. most plants will do fine in the low 70s and some even do better in the high 60s (mosses for example). plus the lights will provide more heat in an empty tank than one full of water, but if you do need one, heat the water.
4. How do I create circulation in the tank and is it needed with aquatic plants (I don't have any in my emersed set-ups now)
you won't have flow if you fill the bottom with hydroton. the best you can get with that is water turnover. just build a small area out of eggcrate to sit a small powerhead in so that it is separate from the hydroton but still submerged and then use it to pump the water up to the pools. other option is to build a false bottom rather than use hydroton.
5. Will mosses be enough to keep mold and fungus down (I know moss is naturally resistant to them) if not how do I control that other than air circulation.
some people seed the tank with springtails and isopods. most of the mold should disappear when the tank matures though.

6. How do I keep the front glass clear enough to see into this when it is done It would defeat the purpose if I can't see in (will a fan blowing on it keep condensation off? or is this a lost cause)

you would need a small cpu fan to do that. it is a good idea to have one for circulation anyway, and the added plus is it will keep the front glass clear.
If anyone has any suggestions on the above points or other things I should think of let me know.

Len
sounds interesting :icon_smil
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That sounds like a great idea. I wondered when somebody would try that and I considered doing it myself. Emersed aquarium plants are so easy to grow.

The easiest way to do this would be to just fill the bottom of the enclusre with Aquasoil or somthing similar. If you want any kind of built-up structure inside you will need to have very good watering or misting because those areas will drain much faster.

The plants might appreciate some air circulation so as long as you can set it up without drying the air a little CPU fan could be helpful. A fan aimed at front pane of glass will reduce condensation some, but you will probably still get some fogging. The condensation correlates with the difference in temperature between the room and the inside of the enclosure. the colder the room relative to the tank the more condensation you will get.

This sounds like it would be a pretty simple setup. I would probably just use a regular aquarium instead fo the Exo Terra.
My main reason for the exo terra is the opening front so I can work on it and take pictures if fogging is an issue, I plan on mounting the mister and fan to the top (I'm thinking a knife type of return that will blow air across the whole front of the tank, I was just going to recirculate the tank air so it doesn't dry out). This with the lights will make getting into it alot harder than just being able to open the front door and work on it. A tank would be a much cheaper solution though. I also want a taller tank 24" or so and really don't need the thick glass that an aquarium that height would require.

Len
 

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I agree with vespers it would also be good to have water circulation.

You should look at some of those really cool Cryptocoryne habitat pictures from Borneo and other places in SE Asia. It would be awesome to recreate something like that. There were a couple of people (can't remember who??) who posted lots of pictures of those places on aquaticplantcentral.com.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
sounds interesting :icon_smil
Thanks for the suggestions, I'm planning on having a custom acrylic top made for it if I go that route, I'm thinking of mounting an extra fan that will add fresh air once or twice a day then one that will just circulate the moist air to keep dead spots from forming, I'm really concerned about keeping humidity high becuase I plan on only using rare emersed aquatic plants and mosses (and small ones at that so they will dry out quick).

Len
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jungle mike is the guy from apc I'm getting inspiration from his photos as well.

Have you considered mineralized topsoil and clay for your substrate?
I havn't even thought of the substrate yet but that is definitely an idea, I'm thinking of building the tiers out of pink insulating foam covered in a peat and adhesive mixed together with planters carved out of it, this will give me a lightweight planter for the crypts that is waterproof, I'm thinking of making the setup modular so I can grow different crypts in the tier and then swap them out as they get bigger and need thinned down, just a thought on my part, I've always been a fan of terrariums and if you walked into my apartment you would see it looks like a big terrarium, with all the houeplants i have lol..

Len
 

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Oh yeah I think that junglemike is Michael Lo. I was just on his site looking at some other stuff... http://ibanorum.netfirms.com/

I like the idea of tiers. A setup for crypts might be pretty easy to make with tiers using just simple cutouts of pink insulation layered up to make different 3D shapes and then shaped a little bit for rounded edges. You could even make the water flow from one pool to the next with notch cutouts in the edge of each. Each pool could have a nutrient-rich topsoil substrate with gravel or sand cap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh yeah I think that junglemike is Michael Lo. I was just on his site looking at some other stuff... http://ibanorum.netfirms.com/

I like the idea of tiers. A setup for crypts might be pretty easy to make with tiers using just simple cutouts of pink insulation layered up to make different 3D shapes and then shaped a little bit for rounded edges. You could even make the water flow from one pool to the next with notch cutouts in the edge of each. Each pool could have a nutrient-rich topsoil substrate with gravel or sand cap.
Thats exactly what I was thinking, the only thing I'm trying to figure out is how to coat the foam, for that I'm going to troll the dendrobate board and see what they use.

Len
 

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Thats exactly what I was thinking, the only thing I'm trying to figure out is how to coat the foam, for that I'm going to troll the dendrobate board and see what they use.

Len
did someone say tiered pools? :icon_lol:

expanding foam is probably the easiest to work with, but sheets of pink/blue foam will work too. there are several ways to seal the foam too. cement/grout, drylok, silicone+coco coir and epoxy all come to mind and are the most common. or, you could do what i did and just use containers that don't need to be sealed. they don't look as natural as something shaped and then made to resemble rocks, but they were easy and only took a few seconds to make. they are also really cheap.





 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I imagine the tiered hardscape to be easier to make with layered poly sheet. You could also give it very nice contours with that kind of construction.
I plan on buying a sheet this weekend and playing around with making shapes out of it, I'm looking for a pool with low lying crypts on the edges and a small rock in the middle with a couple species of Buces on it. All the bare surfaces will be covered in aquatic mosses and the whole thing will be misted regularly with a mistking system. Flowing water is less important to me than the illusion of pool with crypts growing on the banks and some buces clinging above the water line. I have the vison in my head now to make it reality. I just increased my Buce collection and I think they really need to be showcased.

Len
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wouldn't it be cool to get something like a terraced rice paddy effect? Look at this picture.....

http://good-wallpapers.com/wall.php?category=places&id=4792&width=1680&ratio=1.6
That was my original though but my issue is depth, I'm already going to have to figure out what to do with the background, I'm already considering a shallow height so I don't need to worry about to much background, since all my plants are essencially terrestrial I need to make the background look like rocks on the bank of a stream or something similiar, no matter what I do it will eat up some of the depth of the tank, I'm most likely going with an 18" deep tank so if I use up 3-6" for the background that only leaves me 12-15" for planting which down't leave much room for terraces here is an example of what I'm thinking.

 

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I knew you had caught it but not this bad, it looks like your are going to take it to the next level. I've seen the exo-terra used at our LFS and it was a very impressive set up the auto misting, etc. it just depends on what you put into it with ideas and imagination.

Good luck and I can't wait to see what you come up with!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I knew you had caught it but not this bad, it looks like your are going to take it to the next level. I've seen the exo-terra used at our LFS and it was a very impressive set up the auto misting, etc. it just depends on what you put into it with ideas and imagination.

Good luck and I can't wait to see what you come up with!
I needed a good fall project, lol... My cube was my project earlier this year (built the stand from scratch).. I also have a dark corner in my livingroom that I need some plants in (only open spot in there without plants)

Len
 
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