I'm doing a tropical mid/highland terrarium setup, since where I live (Phoenix AZ) it's much too dry to keep anything outside, and I don't access to a greenhouse, or much space in general. (I'm a high school student ) I also want the terrarium to be more of a "display terrarium" rather than a "collector's terrarium," I want it to look like a chunk of an environment (even though the plants in it would never be seen together in the wild!)
I've read about which plants do well in terrariums, and decided to attempt to keep the following:
- Various N. ventricosa hybrids (St gaya, Lady luck, etc)
- N. tenuis
- D. capensis
- D. multifida
- D. madagascarensis
- Various tropical Pinguicula species/hybrids
- maaaaaybe a daughter plant of my Heliamphora minor x heterodoxa, if I'm able to keep the temps inside low enough (right now my heli is in its own little terrarium, acclimating after shipping. Just got it on Saturday!)
I purchased a 30'' long, 12'' deep, 18'' tall aquarium tank from a thrift shop. I'm a bit worried about the height interfering with lighting, but I believe i've found a solution, which I'll get to later.
For basic setup, i plan to do a simple false bottom with LECA, with a layer of sphagnum for filtration, and then various surface "substrate zones" for the different plants, 1:1 sphagnum + perlite for the Nepenthes, 1:1 perlite + peat for the Drosera, and a slightly higher concentration, maybe 3:2 of perlite + peat for the Pinguicula.
This was the source of my first question. My current small terrarium has multiple substrate zones just like this, and the plants have done pretty well. But after reading into carnivorous terrariums a bit more, I noticed lots of people use buried pots, rather than planting directly in substrate. Is there an advantage to this, beyond the plants being easier to move? Is it extremely important for the plants to be moved in a display terrarium? (e.g. will I need to replant frequently enough to warrant buried pots)
I also plan to do a moss wall in the back or side of the terrarium, for planting Pinguicula in. I was inspired by this California Carnivores blog post!
For the rest of the terrarium, I plan to use rocks & logs to have a varied-height environment. I've selected some rocks and cleaned them off very well, though I'm a bit worried about the wood. It's a bone dry chunk of sand blasted grape vine. Would that decompose and put the plants at risk if I put it in the terrarium? I was considering putting Pinguicula substrate into some of the cracks/knots, and planting some pings there would that kill them?
I also plan to grow star moss on lots of surfaces in the terrarium.
For lighting, I purchased 2 of these GE 30W LED grow light bulbs. According to what I've read they're plenty bright, with a good spectrum. And due to their spotlight-esque nature I'm pretty confident they'll be able to provide enough light even in the relatively tall (18'') terrarium. I would love to hear any thoughts on these bulbs, from what I've seen they're pretty good.
I plan to introduce springtails to control fungus growth. None of my plants are going to be small enough to be harmed by the springtails, at least I don't think they will be.
It's extremely dry where I live, which is why these plants are going in a terrarium in the first place. I might be able to keep the humidity up with a mostly open top, just because of how tall the terrarium is, the lower sections would stay relatively humid, if it becomes an issue I will just cover sections of the top until the humidity is acceptable (i'll probably aim for 70-80%)
Inside, where this terrarium will be, the temperature will be in the mid to high 70's during the day, and the high 60's to low 70's at night. I believe that'll be fine for the plants I have.
I apologise for the long post! This is a project I've been planning for a while now, if any of you guys have any tips, recommendations, or changes you'd make, please let me know! Thank you!