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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently set up a 1 gallon jar with plants from the wild. These plants consist of Florida wildlife from boggy areas. Some of the plants are already doing poorly because I did not put much design into the water portion and the soil is drowning the root systems of some of the grassier plants. This is fine, as it's my first go at the whole thing.

Where I need advice is specifically in three areas.

1) Simulating conditions suitable for mosses and other bog plants to grow without encouraging mold growth (I've already experienced some mold and have physically removed it, taking steps to lower humidity).

2) Preventing stagnant and harmful water as I do not wish to have any water feature/movement in this system. I want it to represent a standing bog found in common lowland areas of Florida. I've added some duckweed and java moss to try and combat poor water conditions, but because of poor planning on substrate layers, I feel it may be too little to help.

3) Maintaining an environment on a piece of wood that will grow some sort of air plant or air fern. I have a fern already on a substrate of coconut peat but it does very poorly unless humidity levels are kept extremely high. These levels also cause mold growth.

Here is the setup:



The above images are from the day I set up the system. I have since added java moss to the water line where the plastic is, and I have trimmed the fern lower and it is significantly more wilty. You can see how moist the soil is in the entirety of the tank because the water so easily seeps past the plastic barrier and is wicked up the organic top soil.

For some of the plants this is excellent as the conditions are identical to their wild habitat, but for some of the other grassier plants, they are doing terribly.

Here is a schematic of some improvements I am thinking of making vs the current setup. Note that the dark brown on both the old and new designs are the same organic top soil, the sandier substrate in the newer version is also intended to maintain a slightly drier environment for certain grassy plants:



I'm still not sure how to maintain the humidity without mold, however. I want to avoid adding any technology at all and would prefer controlling humidity using ventilation. Any tips are appreciated. I'm enjoying the learning process for this, but I find it extremely difficult to find reliable information on the web for setting this up successfully.

Plant ID would also be helpful. I am particularly interested in a suitable habitat for the yellowish brown moss featured throughout the center portion, but I don't know what it is to create the ideal growing environment,

Thanks in advance for help and input. I know someone out there has to know more about this than me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What if instead of eggcrate you use a mesh which would allow moisture to go through but not allow the layers to mix?
That could work. And I could even still use partial egg crate if I need an area to be even dryer like with the sandier substrate. I like that idea. The water may be less stagnant too by being allowed to wick through to the upper layer of top soil where all the really boggy plants thrive. Snails and earthworms would probably really dig it (no pun intended).

Seems like a simple solution to one of my issues!

Now if only I could figure something out for the humidity and mold...

I was thinking last night of just cutting a round piece of acrylic with an opening for the ferns to protrude. I can alter the size of the opening based on the humidity levels which would require careful monitoring until I get it right. I have a gauge from a humidor I rarely use that could work. I worry that I'll need to remove the fern soon anyway was it is not taking well at all without near 100% humidity which, like I said, causes mold issues.

I also realized there's probably some people over on reptile forums that I might be able to help, but I thought this would be one of those areas that the two schools of thought would overlap.
 
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