Terrestrial plantings are still fairly sparse (both at the start and currently), but this is an interesting idea. I imagine I do need to stock it with springtails - there are a few, but nowhere near the levels they probably should be - and that might help with nutrient cycling. (There has been very little in the way of mushrooms or visible fungi, if that means anything.) I was using fertilizer as I have no other sources of input (no animals) of nutrients. Since it's epiphyte fertilizer (orchids or tillies, depending on what I'm doing with it beforehand) it's probably lower-dose on some minerals than average, and it is urea-free. The fertilizer use is quite minimal...we're talking maybe a small pipette/eyedropper full per plant at most, just to dose it in the immediate vicinity of its roots. I get that it's a fairly closed system but I'd be surprised that it's going to be an issue for some time IF the plant roots are healthy enough to make use of the nutrients.
Still, I'll certainly keep it in mind. Nitrogen tie-up does make sense given what I know about fresh vs. aged wood chip use outdoors in the garden (for example), though the interveinal chlorosis I'm seeing (esp. on the Ficus thunbergii
) suggests iron or magnesium deficiency instead of nitrogen. (The off-color Episcia and Peperomia certainly could be nitrogen, though I would have thought a temporary fix from the added ready-to-absorb N in the epiphyte fert. would alleviate that.)
Someday I'll graduate to drained setups! Alas, it'll be awhile.
Since I'm still fairly new to terraria, I'm curious...is it normal to never have to water your terrestrial plants? Has anyone else had substrate never dry out to that point (if wicking weren't the issue)? Speaking of, do we still think this is wicking? Think I should redo the drainage layer or might a different plant selection (some emergent aquatics, perhaps) work out best?