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Old 06-30-2020, 12:26 AM
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Chlorophile Chlorophile is offline
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Default Re: Exo Terra(s) progress report & lighting query

Thank you all!

Regarding the tall tank (all comments here):
I am severely critiquing it as it matures, but I suppose that's normal and it's always easier to envision a "better way" in hindsight. These two tanks are my first forays into serious terraria (after one years ago that was done poorly). I did a lot of reading, video watching, more reading, and then just go-big-or-go-home dive in. There's been lots of pauses for waiting for inspiration to strike, waiting for supplies, waiting for plants...throw moving in the middle of that and waiting to make sure your landlady isn't going to freak out and think you're going to mess up the place...and you get the idea. What could be a two-week process of setup turned into something like two years, but hey...we're here now, right? LOL

Other than changing some construction techniques and minor layout adjustments, the main thing I'd change is giving more thought to plant placement. A bit of it was "hey, this cutting can go in here" mentality and a few things don't have the look I'd prefer now that they've grown in a bit. Eh. <shrug>

Anyway, early-on in this endeavor I loved the idea of the in-the-canopy look, so I borrowed inspiration from other tanks and just kinda made it up as I went along using my existing cork tube stash. The branch placement isn't ideal - if anyone tries this, try to find a way to light it from above as you will when it's done but before you set the hardscape in place, 'cuz I have some spots that aren't well-lit due to shading of one branch over another, and it's aggravating as I wanted lots of surface covered in epiphytes. (I think it's too shady for shade-lovers, but we'll see and I'll find something to stick in there to experiment with. Maybe I'll get lucky.)

Some of the sphagnum used in "topdressing" some of the stumps/open spaces is slowly coming back to life though. I'm amused and going to let it for now until it gets to the point of engulfing something. I need more small- and fine-leaved plants for texture; might add bits of one of my trailing orchids (Trichosalpinx chamaelepanthes) and maybe Peperomia emerginella or something similar if I can get my hands on some. I do have a bit of Peperomia perciliata and Pep. prostrata still growing in and meandering. I have Peperomia 'Coin' (probably serpens if memory serves) that's nice and doing great but a bit coarser in texture than I envisioned. A mix of orchids, ferns, bromeliads (probably just Neos), gesneriads, and a few other assorted mini Begonias or the odd small Philodendron and the like were what I was going for. I stuck a small cutting of my Philo. Wend Imbe (the parent plant of which is ridiculously underpotted by now and is getting pretty stunted because of it) in there and it seems to be doing well mid-level.

I can easily come up with a plant list if anyone's interested.

The lights are mixed 'cuz I was having a hell of a time trying to figure out how to light it well enough (and bright enough). Two corners are 40W Jungle Dawn (one of which crapped out on me for no apparent reason not long after I set the tank up; I had to replace the bulb); the other two are standard Exo hoods (mini or small size...I forget at the moment) with 13W Jungle Dawn LED bars in them. Maybe overkill, I don't know, but the Dischidia ovata under one seems to like it, though it's further from that light than the other things that might be getting a bit blasted. Since I was going for mid-canopy or higher look in my head (anywhere you'd see the bromeliads popping up), I wanted bright. I have an old light meter, but it's not good for LEDs (as far as I know) so it's hard to objectively figure out how much light I'm putting out there.

The hygrometer in there reads around 50-75% most of the time, and as expected, it's often higher at night. I haven't stocked springtails (yet) but should; this tank has produced several notable mushrooms, which I find interesting as it has less substrate overall than the long tank and seems to dry out faster.
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