Ask a Question forum: Building a terrarium

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Name: Pamela Gregory
Md (Zone 6b)
Gardening A Perfect antidepressant
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PamelaLynn77
Oct 29, 2016 7:21 PM CST
Im going to build a terrarium in the next few months. I figured id have it finshed shortly after Christmas, Dec 2016 .
What I like is if anyone has done this before please share your story. I will be researching this alot alot alot so write away I shall read read read. Id like to know what you grew and what did well for you. Did you add any insects. I want to add maybe a tropical Aรฅplant something very unique idk what it is yet. Im using a 10 gallon tank so nothing too big but not to small either.
If any one has tips or things they felt worked well for growing the moss ect. What soil would you perfer? Of course I do understand I need a very specific soil and somethings added to that. I will get it all figured out slowly but surly. Im already studing that now.
Again I dont know what Id like living in the tank but I want something different with that too. I want something like a hermit crabs so they don't move around much as not to tear up anything. So any ideas??? Id love to hear ideas too if anyone can think of something that may make this even more interesting, different and thriving in every way!
Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
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madcratebuilder
Oct 30, 2016 8:54 AM CST
Look at the 20T tanks, it's a tall 15gal. Are you going to use lights? I built one many years ago and have thought about another with weird frogs.
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Oct 30, 2016 10:25 AM CST
@pamala: i like pictures too !
Hope people send in pictures.
Along with your research. Go to a good pet store and nursery.or 3 .
You can get ideals from them and see what they gots.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Oct 30, 2016 1:10 PM CST
A terrarium is only plants. During the 1970s I was employed creating terrariums for a local florist shop. What you plan to assemble is called a vivarium.

I built a vivarium and kept it going for quite a while...but...not to discourage you but only to make you aware -
looking back I wish I had only put plants and not any living creatures. The live critters need to eat and the food can be expensive. Whatever food they do not consume needs to be removed (easier said than done when crickets are hiding in and among the plants); sometimes the 'food' falls into the water source and gets pretty yucky...the entire water container must be removed and cleaned; then there is the matter of poop. All living creatures create some type of poop which should be removed or at least buried in the soil. Critters require certain levels of sunlight (real or artificial) which may differ from what the plants would like. Likewise the humidity and heat needed for the animals may make the plants less than happy. It is a delicate balancing act but, with careful planning and attention to detail, it can be done. Crossing Fingers!

NGA is a plant site and even though our many members have tons of experience with things other than plants, I would suggest you also look up 'vivarium' in a Google search. You will find tons of information and some helpful chat sites to give you good information to have a successful vivarium. Thumbs up Thumbs up
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Name: Pamela Gregory
Md (Zone 6b)
Gardening A Perfect antidepressant
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PamelaLynn77
Nov 2, 2016 9:16 AM CST
Good stuff! Thank all of you for all the info . Green I will definitely look up vivarium. I have said a few times already ( maybe not outloud) if the hermit crabs or whatever I think about adding . will be bad for my plants. I will not add them. I want plants more than anything . I love love the frog idea because I had so many people around me keep them incorrect habitats that it makes me sad cause I know they are unhappy. . So The frogs could be to help others ( children ) to understand its not easy to keep frog or turtles. Turtles are my fav but later ill build them a tank. Again Im really into flowers now but maybe once I establish a nice terrarium or vivarium. I will surly do one for turtles and frogs. I love that idea!!
[Last edited by PamelaLynn77 - Nov 2, 2016 9:19 AM (+)]
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Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
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DomehomeDee
Nov 3, 2016 9:52 AM CST
Another idea for plants are carnivourus plants. Years ago I put together a nice terrarium with them, you can find some nice small specimins online.
My best suggestion though is to think TALL. Plants grow up and cane outgrow an aquarium pretty easily.
The carnivourus set-up I had was only 12" wide by 12" deep but was 24" tall, which made it perfect for blooming plants.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Nov 3, 2016 9:55 AM CST
I agree about going tall if you can. I had a terrarium with tiny palms, ferns, and episcias. After a few months I was having to trim the plants constantly. It'd be much nicer to be able to let them grow and bloom properly. I love the idea of carnivorous plants!
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Nov 3, 2016 10:46 AM CST
I tried both dry and wet terrariums years ago.

For the wet one, I recall dwarf ferns and mosses from the yard. Unless you want an enclosed waterworld with fancy guppies and anachris. Those can be self-sufficient if you get it right. The lighting matters. I set up a few of those for sale when I ran the fish department in a department store. I had them under artificial grow lights, but think they would work best in a NE window.

I liked the dry one better. I had so many little cactuses. My favorite was old man cactus. And there was an old lady cactus. IIRC those were eschervaria but I don't recall the difference between them. Succulents like also are good to. The star-shapes contrast with the cacti nicely.

Don't fall for those grafted cacti in the local stores. They look amazing, but they don't live worth a damn.

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