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  #1  
Old 03-06-2012, 05:43 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants
Default A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I have been working on this plant culture concept for quite a while and I am finally ready to explain it. I am developing the idea as a product line that hobbyists can use as an apparently novel and new way to grow plants in their terrariums/vivariums.

Like some already popular vivarium planting methods this system involves a false bottom assembly, but in this case the plate comprising the false bottom is cut with numerous round holes. These holes receive the planters that in turn hold the terrarium plants.



The false bottom is suspended above the enclosure bottom with cylindrical spacers (lengths of plastic pipe) situated in each of the four corners. The view above shows it sitting on top of the stand used for the whole terrarium setup.

I am currently putting together one of these setups with a standard 30 Tall aquarium. I know that this kind of tank is less than ideal as a frog enclosure, but I want to situate it as a peninsula in our reading room and I think it will make a nice effect with open viewing on three sides.

Here is the enclosure with the false bottom assembly situated inside.



For use of this system it is critical that openings to the void beneath the false bottom be well-covered. This cloth screen was cut to dimensions slightly larger than the false bottom plastic plate and with holes to match each of the planter holes. When placed inside it seals the between the glass and the false bottom outside edges all the way around.



I think that the most compelling aspect of this system is that it simplifies the terrarium culture of many kinds of terrestrial plants. I have been having a lot of fun researching aroids, palms and other diverse groups of plants and trying them out with this system. I've observed especially good results with various dwarf palms such as this Geonoma sp..



Since plant roots are contained with the planters, this system makes it easier to manage plants that can become too large or unruly within the terrarium environment. Plants can also be easily rearranged with the terrarium and the plastic assembly components can be reused many times.

The next picture shows the planting accessories with several plants in place and inside of the terrarium. The plants include two more dwarf palms along with a Schismatoglottis sp. aroid.



The several holes in the false bottom that do not hold plants will be covered with plastic mesh, then the whole false bottom will be covered with a layer of natural forest leaf litter to create a natural forest floor scene inside. I will have more pictures on the way as I continue to build this display next week.

This picture shows a setup that I made for a Hyla versicolor gray tree frog. The native ferns that I planted grew surprisingly well.



I also used a finished plywood facade to cover up the void area below the false bottom.

While this system creates a very flat terrarium bottom surface, it is pretty easy to develop the vertical space by adding features such as (real or fabricated) tree stumps, woody vines or boulders. Of course the plants will also help to fill the enclosure as they grow up. By piling the leaf litter to slightly different depths you can also create a sense of gently rolling terrain.

This explains the general way that the planting system works. I am introducing the idea as the "forest floor terrarium", although I know that this term sounds rather awkward and I might change it. I do have a concept for a brand name and logo.



I am currently taking orders for custom kits that include the false bottom cut to match your enclosure dimensions, screen, vertical spacers, planters and potting media. The potting media that I use includes a percentage of perlite. I know that some do not like to use perlite with frogs and I intend to test and customize a material more similar to ABG mix, but with sharper drainage. I also have a number of nice plants around here including some already established in planters.

The forest floor terrarium system and concept is US Patent Pending.
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  #2  
Old 03-06-2012, 08:23 PM
gnathaniel gnathaniel is offline
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Wow, great idea! The planted terrarium is really beautiful. I look forward to seeing where you go with this.

--Nat
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2012, 09:28 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Thanks! I hope to have more pictures on the way soon.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:57 AM
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Tindomul Tindomul is offline
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Interesting, with this system I assume it would be easy to remove excess water from the bottom either by taking a plant out and pumping out the water or having a drainage system built into the tank? Why not build levels that can rest ontop of the bottom level to fill the vertical space.
Also perhaps some of the planter holes can be square to allow for square pots, which would also give more room for more plants.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:24 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tindomul View Post
Interesting, with this system I assume it would be easy to remove excess water from the bottom either by taking a plant out and pumping out the water or having a drainage system built into the tank? Why not build levels that can rest ontop of the bottom level to fill the vertical space.
Also perhaps some of the planter holes can be square to allow for square pots, which would also give more room for more plants.

Thanks!

Yes it is easy to siphon the drain water out by just lifting out a plant and sticking a water-filled hose down into the void space.

The vertical space gets filled up plenty well enough by plants and other features, such as driftwood stumps.

Finally I got back to getting some new pictures of my 37G. I have started putting plants in here...



This was just a random selection of plants among the ones that are looking good right now. I might have tried to use some kind of theme, such as using only palms, but I think I like the way these plants look together.

I have also spent the afternoon cooking leaves and ABG mix at 325F...the house stinks bad!

Tonight when I get home again I am going to start belach sterilizing and repotting all of these plants. I hope I can pull it off without wrecking these nice specimens!
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2012, 03:03 PM
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This is a very interesting concept. I have been doing research on how to start my own...I inherited two 55 gallon fish tanks and I have no idea how to start it...what is needed to buy...
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:54 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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You could grow a lot of nice plants in a 55. You'd have to check the dimensions, but it might work to use two of these 12" X 24" kits side-by-side...

FS 12" X 24" Forest Floor Terrarium Kit - Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web !

Those kits have most everything included. All you would need to plant would be the plants, potting media and leaf litter.
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2012, 01:21 AM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Here's another quick shot of the planting in the 37G...just need to get the leaf litter in there.

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  #9  
Old 03-08-2012, 10:33 AM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Here's another quick picture that I got yesterday. This shows all of the parts that I have with that 12" X 24" kit.

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  #10  
Old 12-15-2017, 04:52 PM
Evendozen Evendozen is offline
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Why can't I find the picture ? [ newbie here]
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