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Living Fossils - 90G Paleo Viv

This thread will work like a pre-journal for me because I don't yet have the enclosure for it, but I have been accumulating ideas, plants and animals so I have some things to share.

The general concept for this display will be to showcase "living fossil" plants and animals in evolutionarily old groups. This planting won't be anything like a real biotope at all and will be only a very rough representation of life that lived during the Cretaceous Period (145-65 million years ago), the last period during which the non-avian dinosaurs lived.

I already have a start on getting the plants and here are a few of them in a 30G growout tank...



They include ferns, gymnosperm (cone-bearing/naked seed plants) trees, cycads and ferns. I have several more in my list of desired plants too.

I am going to try to keep a few different arthropods together as a simple animal community. I hope that this will work OK. Here are a couple of the porcelain roach (Gyna lurida) nymphs that I got last week.



Roaches are not the best display animals because they hide most of the time, but if you keep a number of them in the enclosure you can expect to see them from time to time. I also got a little group of death's head roaches (Blaberus craniifer). I also want to see if I might be able to keep some kind of large millipede with the roaches. I'll need to ask around about compatibility.

This display is going to be a diorama style terrarium with an illuminated shadowbox image background like the simple one that I made for this 65G tree frog setup.



This is where I'll be able to include some (virtual) dinosaurs in the display. I might be able to find an image to use with permission or I might make my own. The image will be printed onto a clear film via one of several different online shops that provide this service, such as this one...

http://www.backlitposters.com/movie-posters.html

I hope to have more updates soon. There are a few more plants that I hope to order.
 

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Thanks for reading!

The millipede, Harpaphe haydeniana, might be another good addition. They sell them at bugsincyberspace.com and describe them as "active day and night".


Wikimedia Commons image... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Harpaphe_haydeniana_002.jpg

This species gets to 2" long, which is pretty big for a flat millipede.
neat ;u;
pretty, too. it would add some color (besides the greens of the plants, obviously)
trying to remember from my zoology class if it's the centipedes or the millipedes that are the more aggressive ones... i totally forget :l
okay, i believe it's the centipedes. now that i've satisfied my curiosity...
have you kept arthropods (meaning insects/arachnids/centipedes/millipedes, not so much crustaceans) before? if so, what would you recommend for beginners? because i'd really like to give it a shot ;-;
oh, also... my dad insists he's allergic to any type of roach, and also tarantulas. and i feel like he wouldn't be too keen on the idea of a scorpion...so those are all probably out. sorry for all the questions!
 

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I guess the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) gets a bit too big, too fast. Maybe use a chunk of wood with the bark still on it as a tree stump?
 

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I guess the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) gets a bit too big, too fast. Maybe use a chunk of wood with the bark still on it as a tree stump?
depending on how realistic you want to be with wood, petrified wood would be super cool (i think), especially for a "paleo viv" :p.
just like a big ol' chunk, i dunno. i've seen kinds with bark still on, as well as off...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
neat ;u;
pretty, too. it would add some color (besides the greens of the plants, obviously)
trying to remember from my zoology class if it's the centipedes or the millipedes that are the more aggressive ones... i totally forget :l
okay, i believe it's the centipedes. now that i've satisfied my curiosity...
have you kept arthropods (meaning insects/arachnids/centipedes/millipedes, not so much crustaceans) before? if so, what would you recommend for beginners? because i'd really like to give it a shot ;-;
oh, also... my dad insists he's allergic to any type of roach, and also tarantulas. and i feel like he wouldn't be too keen on the idea of a scorpion...so those are all probably out. sorry for all the questions!
Yeah centipedes wouldn't work because they are vicious predators. Millipedes should be fine because they just scavenge and each dead leaves and wood.

There are some pretty cool arthropods that you can keep as pets. You have to set them up with the right housing and food but most of them are pretty undemanding.

I guess the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) gets a bit too big, too fast. Maybe use a chunk of wood with the bark still on it as a tree stump?
I want to use one stump that will look like hte base of a live tree and a couple of big rotten fallen logs. I can plant some mosses and ferns on the logs and they will also be good habitat for the roaches and millipedes.

I don't think that dawn redwood would work very well because it is from a cold area in China and it probably has a cold winter dormancy cycle.
 

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Yeah centipedes wouldn't work because they are vicious predators. Millipedes should be fine because they just scavenge and each dead leaves and wood.

There are some pretty cool arthropods that you can keep as pets. You have to set them up with the right housing and food but most of them are pretty undemanding.
awesome.

thanks for the response, i'll look into it some more. :)
 

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I hope to have some updates on the way pretty soon!

I had no idea there were flat millepedes, I just assumed they were centipedes, good to know.
We have some little brown ones that you can find in the woods here, but they are only about an inch long.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm doing this setup as a Forest Floor Terrarium with false bottom...



This starts out pretty flat, but as you add the plants, wood features and other stuff it develops dimension. Here is the 37G viv that I have had going for a little while now...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here's my Nageia nagi tree that I got from Florida. I hope it will grow.



The seller sent two of them and I potted up the second one to use like a houseplant. This unusual tree looks like a broad-leaved plant, but it's actually a gymnosperm and in the old plant family Podocarpaceae. It can grow up to be a big forest tree, but I hope that I will be able to maintain it as a seedling-size plant with pruning.

It would be so cool to pair a planted display like this with some real fossils. I bet I could set up some fossils really nice for the under cabinet area and light them up with a little puck light. Look at the beautiful specimens in this store...

http://www.fossilplants.com/site/index.cfm?action=dsp_prod&level=2&catid1=1
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Here's a closer look at the dwarf tree fern, Blechnum brasiliense.



This plant can eventually get to a couple feet wide with a short trunk, but this specimen is growing slowly and the leaves are not getting any larger.
 
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