I also have an interest in all sorts of little animals (snakes to lizards to bugs to what have you)
My problem is that I live in a basement, and venus flytraps and other neat-o carnivorous plants would be extremely boring to one such as myself who wouldn't see them often.
So, here's the plan
Take the 15 gallon, add substrate (I've read pebble size substrate, then activated carbon on top to keep gas from decaying stuff from being a nuisance, followed by moss, followed by whatever substrate is appropriate for animals and plants in terrarium), add plants, add animals, put part screen/part plastic top on (to allow gas exchange without too much humidity loss), use flourescent gro-type light for plants, add small stream type water area in front (for fish and amphibians).
So there are a few big questions for this setup (the ??? areas are where I would hope you help me)
Q1. What plants will be in there?
--A. Venus flytraps, pitcher plants (???are they compatible with VFT???), Sundews (???compatible with vft???), non-carnivorous bog plants (??? maybe ferns of some type???)
Q2. What animals will be in here?
--A. Animals compatible with VFT. Will most likely include newts and maybe aquatic and/or tree frogs (will appreciate the humidity and the stream area), fish (the stream will likely be heated to some degree). Possible but questionable animals would include (need your opinions on these): Anoles lizards (may be a bit too large/rambunctious for carnivorous plants), maybe large inedible insects (not likely to drop in a pitcher plant) such as praying mantises (not compatible with anoles for obvious reasons), other options???
Q3. What will be the basic setup of the terrarium?
--A. Answered in Paint!
Plant positions are rough, and they will be thicker planted than that. They are in those positions to give you an idea of rough positioning based on needs and aesthetics (???pitcher plants like to be near the water, right???). Ferns or other larger plants would be put in the back. Driftwood offers climbing and hiding spots for residents. The pump will provide constant water movement like a stream, but the little area on the right should offer an area for more sedentary aquatic animals to hang without the rushing water. Pump won't be very strong either way. The water area will be seperated from the substrate somehow, still thinking on that one, but some kind of liner will be used.
Q4. What will you feed the inhabitants?
--A. Likely crickets, with some flake/pellet/frozen (whatever) food for the fish/amphibians in water. Hopefully the newts will eat crickets stupid enough to fall in the water, and climbing spaces for swimmers will be available. Hopefully crickets will crawl into the insectivorous plants, and if not some tweezers may persuade them.
Q5. What will keep the humidity up?
--A. Part of the top will be covered to help keep in the humidity, plus the heated water from the stream. If necessary it can be sprayed.
Q6. How will gas exchange work? (how will fresh air get in)
--A. The lid will be at least part screen, and if necessary it can be fanned once a day in order to keep CO2 from building
Q7. Something you've said is wrong/you're all wrong/this won't work at all/etc.
--A. Not a question, but I could definitely use your help guys! Input and feedback aren't only helpful, but necessary!