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  #1  
Old 05-14-2021, 10:09 PM
ysera ysera is offline
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Total beginner, need a few tips for self-sustaining terrarium build
Default Total beginner, need a few tips for self-sustaining terrarium build



This dude collects local forest stuff and makes a self-sustaining terrarium. Definitely going for a collection trip tomorrow. I live in northern europe. Would this work just as well for my local eco? Like is there some types of soil that work better(minerals, acidity... all that.)? Which bark? I see pine in some other tutorials

Any tips for someone going out for for a trip to make a couple of these? Like besides constructing it correctly, what are some biology factors I should consider, making a 100% self-sustaining terrarium that would last like 15+ years?

And like, if you are pro at this, you can also leave some extremely complex answers that I'm more than happy to dissect later!!

Also explanations like I'm 5 are cool xD

Any papers on this? Awesome books?

Last edited by ysera; 05-14-2021 at 10:12 PM..
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2021, 11:09 PM
tmoney tmoney is offline
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howdy....

so i am new at the whole automated orchid terrarium thing and only have had mine going for a couple months now and itís still very much in progress. but, i have been making local collected closed moss terrariums for a long time and have several that have been closed and thriving for several years. so i am not sure, but it sounds like you are more interested in a local/mossarium rather than an Orchid terrarium per se.

but for local collections, sticking with mosses has been the only success i have had. wild plants that i have used all either die straight away (which means the end of the terrarium), or get so big they take over the jar in a couple weeks. i have never used springtails or purchased isopods, but your success rate would improve with those. i am very careful to remove any dead plant material, as again, any decomp initially in my jars means they will not establish. related, i now remove any grasses or other herbaceous weeds that sprout after closing because they will die at the end of summer and then the terrarium is also dead.

for soils you will just have to try a few and see what is good in your area. i would recommend having a bottom of small rocks or leca for your reservoir, overlain by a layer of activated carbon, on top of that put a very fine layer of your collected soils. the more sand and easier draining the better. as i made more of them i have been pushing my soil levels to the extremes low end, just cause to me i like the look better than a jar half filled with dirt.

ive included a photo of the last 2 i made back in february. now i am trying to collect as many varieties of moss as i can find...some do great, but as you can see from the photo, some donít do good at all. same day planted, one is thriving, one is dead. time to make another mossarium!!
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Last edited by tmoney; 05-15-2021 at 12:11 AM..
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2021, 11:27 PM
ysera ysera is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmoney View Post
howdy....it sounds like you are more interested in a local/mossarium rather than an Orchidarium per se.

i have never used springtails or purchased isopods, but your success rate would improve with those.
hey thanks, a lot to read and think about already!

Something I didn't actually think until now... is like how to keep the whole thing in balance of everything lively, yet not overgrow everything... is there some secret sauce to that?

As I quickly googl'ed already, springtails and isopods feed on decaying organic matter... but not organic matter so stuff can still grow?

I'm guessing now I also need to create an ecosystem good enough for the springtails/isopods to have enough food to also create a circle of life for them? Am I on the correct path on this?

Thanks
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  #4  
Old 05-14-2021, 11:55 PM
tmoney tmoney is offline
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hey there! yes, you are pretty much on the right path here it seems for these closed jar mossariums, it is for sure all about balance. a good springtails population or other isopod does exactly as you say, they eat all the dead stuff, roots, leaves and junk, and return minerals to the substrate for reuse. the plants take up the water you put in there, and then through transpiration it goes into the airspace, condenses, and then drips back into the soil/reservoir to be used again. a true closed ecosystem, just with very few moving parts.

without springtails the jar relies on other bacteria and fungi in the soil, so for me local soil is very important to the balance. without local soils most of them die pretty quick. this is contrary to a lot you read which says to not use soil because of contaminates, but i think that is mostly cause people tend to use way way too much soil. in fact many of the mosses donít really even need soil, so usually i use a layer about 2-3mm thick is all.

the water balance is perhaps most important if you have eliminated immediate decomposition. the rule of thum is that your closed jar should have condensation in the morning and evening/afternoon when the plants are at peak photosynthesis. the remainder of the day, the glass should be mostly free of moisture. if itís wet on the glass all day, open it and leave it for a few days to evaporate so out. if water never condenses inside, then you need to add a little more...like 10 drops more, depending on size of jar...

edit to add, there is no secret sauce that i know of! im not sure i ascribe too much to keeping growth in check per se, only enough to ensure it stays alive. otherwise, i want it to do its thing and reach its own natural balance. trial and error. like my current orchid terrarium, my approach to a lot of like is throw poo at the wall and see what sticks. if you make 20 jars and two of them live, then you have gained 2 mossariums and a whole lot of knowledge 🤓

Last edited by tmoney; 05-15-2021 at 12:06 AM..
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Old 05-16-2021, 11:15 AM
ysera ysera is offline
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So once the water leaks back into the soil, it moves through the soil, into the stoney area below? And then it start evaporate once its in the bottom?

How does it evaporate tho? Does it move through the soil again or moves up the side of the bottle of the glass?

It eventually condensates on the glass I see but the middle part of this proccess is a bit unclear.

Also, once it condensates, does it fall back down along the glass?

Is there a specific isopod / springtail breed I should be looking out for?

Also, once lets say the ecosystem is up and running. What are some OUTSIDE factors that can affect the longevity and the overall health situation of the Terrarium? Besides light and heat, I can't think of any.

Thanks again this is so much fun thinking and working my brain on this!

Last edited by ysera; 05-16-2021 at 11:45 AM..
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Old 05-16-2021, 12:48 PM
tmoney tmoney is offline
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hey! i hope you were able to get out and collect some mosses!

for the water, some will evaporate from the soil/surface, but a lot will go through the plants themselves. you want a good contact between the substrate and the bottom of the moss pad. the roots will do their job, the plants will use the water and then it leaves the leaves and enters the air in the jar where it condenses, drips down and is used again.

for the isopods, you will have to research more. i know there are some types you want, and you can buy them online. google is your friend there.

i canít really think of any factors that will affect it. obviously, the light levels will depend on the type of moss you collect. the moisture is already in there. i would just advise against putting it in a super sunny window cause it will get too hot. but it will prolly need more light than you think, and normal temps. pretty easy once itís set up and establishes itself
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Old 05-16-2021, 12:53 PM
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But do you what to grow orchids or no? That change a lot the approach in my opinion
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Old 05-16-2021, 01:11 PM
ysera ysera is offline
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honestly not thinking of any orchids right now, I just google'd terrarium forums and saw this place had a terrarium section

Will start making the terrariums more beautiful and stuff in the future but right now trying to get just the basics.

Right now, learning all about moss life and moss sex...

Also, if I'm thinking about building them in an insulated enclosure like a quarantine(think of a very tall tent in my house - is that overthinking it or no? Perhaps in a plastic suit and everything since the terrariums are so delicate.

Last edited by ysera; 05-16-2021 at 02:03 PM..
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Old 05-16-2021, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ysera View Post
Also, once lets say the ecosystem is up and running. What are some OUTSIDE factors that can affect the longevity and the overall health situation of the Terrarium? Besides light and heat, I can't think of any.
Plants in northern Europe will have distinct seasonal patterns, with dormancy, dry/cold spells etc.
You can have a terrarium work perfectly for a year or two, and suddenly die because of the somehow even conditions in your house.

Also consider day/night temperature variations, humidity fluctuations... It takes a lot of experimentation to get things right.


The place you want is https://www.reddit.com/r/terrariums/; there's a lot of inspiration, tips, links...
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Old 05-19-2021, 09:13 PM
ysera ysera is offline
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The project is well on its way boys and girls!!!

Got so much stuff like proper tools and naturey stuff. Still missing some stuff going out to get some tomorrow.

There is no-to-little information about healthy laminations. Like laminating wood for example so it stays the same and the bugs wouldn't eat it and other nature affects. However, obviously, I don't want the lamination to affect the ecosystem in any way. I also got 1 completely lidless container. I'm not opposed to making open terrariums either anymore.
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