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Old 05-05-2017, 06:52 PM
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Default 25G carnivorous plants paludarium

Hi everyone!

My name is Carla and I'm from portugal. I've been stalking this board for awhile because I have an empty tank that used to house my youngest turtle (she is now too big for it and has, therefore, joined the other one in the outside pond) and I've been looking at it and thinking what I could do with it. The tank is a 24G 29x14x14 (inches).

I love carnivorous plants, and so I was pondering a viv composed mostly of them (in the mean time my mom has taken the liberty of buying me a bromiliad and an orchid, so those are going in there as well) but at the same time I have this poor Betta fish that definitely deserves better accommodation.

So, I have taken inspiration around the forum and I think I'm going to go with a paludarium.

My problem is, my tank is quite short at just 14 inches tall. There's not much space to play around with.
I'm considering doing something similar to the picture attached, but I'm worried about humidity levels.

Any advise for a vivarium noob?
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: 25G carnivorous plants paludarium

If the substrate is sufficiently moist, many carnivorous plants adapt to lower humidity (40-60%). Drosera capensis, venus flytrap and many sarracenia species do fine outside of terrariums. Several nepenthes species also do well in open air you just have to plan for how big they get. If you don't plan on 'wintering' your tank, you may only want to consider tropical sundews, butterworts, urticulata and nepenthes since these don't require a dormancy period. Venus flytraps, sarracenia, many drosera and some butterwort species need a winter dormancy period or they will die over time.

Just make sure the substrate stays moist and they get PLENTY of strong light.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:44 AM
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Honestly, I hadn't even considered wintering the tank, but since it'll house a betta I don't think I will and rather stick with the tropicals XD

I'm still researching what plants I'll use and their requirements, do you have any recommendations for posts/sites/articles about carnivorous plants? Google is my friend but expert advice is most appreciated!

Another issue I've encountered is substrate. I've heard about ABG mix but since I live in europe it's not an option for me. Tree fern fiber is also impossible to find or impossibly expensive.
So I'll have to make my own mix with orchid bark, coconut coir and sphagnum moss. I've also read about using charcoal and clay to enrich it? But I'm confused as to what "type" of charcoal and clay everyone is talking about. I have green clay that I use topically on my skin, but it's not "cosmetic". Would that be it?
Also, charcoal. What kind for charcoal? We use charcoal to grill food. It basically burnt wood. Would that be okay? Or are talking about activated charcoal?

As for lighting, I have to take a look at what I can find. But probably either a reptile light like Reptiglo or a flurescent/led that has 6500k.

Sorry about all the questions, but I'm still in the planing stage and I want to get everything right before I start with the hardscaping!
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Old 05-06-2017, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: 25G carnivorous plants paludarium

Be aware that the vast majority of carnivorous plants cannot tolerate minerals of any sort. They are usually grown in sphagnum moss and watered with distilled water, RO water, or rainwater, all of which have 0 TDS (total dissolved solids). You can't keep fish in water with 0 TDS, so you'd be restricted to a small handful of carnivorous plants that can tolerate low mineral levels. Nepenthes pitcher plants can tolerate minerals, but get very large and don't like having wet feet, so they won't work. Plus, most carnivorous plants require a massive amount of light, which would probably stress your betta.

Your best options are Ultricularia, bladderworts. They don't have visible traps, their traps are nearly microscopic, but they come in aquatic and terrestrial varieties that have pleasant little carpeting leaves and send up a ton of flowers. They also need less light.

Most carnivorous plants are actually grown outside of terrariums, for a variety of reasons. A few common varieties are actually very easy to grow if you have enough light and don't put them in soil with minerals.

I commend you for wanting a better habitat for your betta! Be careful to have plenty of wall height above the water, though, they can jump.

I'd suggest posting about your project on here: FlyTrapCare Forums or just snooping around in the care sheets.
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:56 AM
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Thank you so much for your advice!

Awww bummer, now I know why I never see terrariums with carnivorous plants. Hmm I'll have to think about this. On one hand I really like the look of them but at the same time they seem a bit complicated for a first project, specially because I really wanted to keep the betta in it. The poor bugger is in one of those terrible sphere bowls right now.

I might have to put that idea in the back burner and just use "regular" plants.

Might have to change the title of this thread ?
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: 25G carnivorous plants paludarium

I wouldn't advise trying a carnivorous plant terrarium, no. Some aquatic bladderworts might be worth looking into, as they can tolerate regular water, but their traps are only a millimeter or so wide. They're best kept in a setup tailored perfectly to them, and many aren't suited to terrariums, period. They're also finicky about things that would make it very difficult to keep a betta with.

You could make a gorgeous paludarium with mostly 'normal' plants, especially epiphytes like orchids and bromeliads that could cling to driftwood and drape off the edges of the raised area. Maybe use the driftwood to help contain the soil and attach epiphytes to it? A lot of orchids, including moth orchids (the wide-leafed grocery store ones), would do very well mounted right above the substrate and hanging over the tank.

While the build is in progress, get your betta a wad of loose Java moss. It's a low-light plant, helps clean the water, and bettas love to flop on and stuff themselves into it. You can probably get it to creep up out of the water onto the land, too. And, when you build, be sure you have plenty of places near the surface of the water for him to sit on. They like to flop on things.
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: 25G carnivorous plants paludarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
You can't keep fish in water with 0 TDS,
Bunk. This is completely untrue and is a gross exaggeration of the risk. As with amphibians the difference between the osmotic potential of water with a 0 TDS and that of "hard" water is far closer than that of the tissues and the "hard" water.
The problem with this claim is that the fish are not going into a huge amount of water that isn't touching any other materials that will end up in solution (consider that as soon as you feed the fish it is no longer "0" TDS... or when the fish excrete excess ammonia from it's gills or the run off from the substrate which will bring minerals and humic acids ...

As for the argument on the carnivorous plants, that is also not exactly correct... The problem isn't the immediate presence of mineral ions in the water (otherwise the plants would be unable to grow in virtually anything due to all of the minerals that end up dissolved in the water), but the buildup over time. As an example, there is a orchid and carnivorous plant nursery in Florida where the owner doesn't use RO or DI or rainwater for his plants. He simply repots them every year (and he has produced more than a few Nepenthes cultivars).

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Old 05-08-2017, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: 25G carnivorous plants paludarium

You can't keep fish in water with 0 TDS because it doesn't have any of the trace minerals that they need, not because it would somehow suck all the minerals out of them. In this case, you can't rely on mineral runoff from the soil because the soil shouldn't have any minerals in it, or the carnivorous plants won't do well and might end up dying.

It is true that you can use something other than water with 0 TDS for carnivorous plants, but it still has to have a very low mineral content, and frequent substrate changes are absolutely mandatory. I don't think anyone wants to deal with frequent substrate changes in a paludarium.

Nepenthes are more tolerant of TDS, but most of them, especially the easier-to-keep 'beginner' species, get far too large for this setup. It would absolutely be possible to find a vining one, pot it, and place it right next to the paludarium where it can drape over the soil, and that would be a lot easier to deal with. Otherwise, if you really want to try planting carnivorous plants in this, Cape sundews are probably your best bet- they're hardy and good for beginners. Some Pinguiculas could potentially work.

Honestly, though, carnivorous plants have fairly specific needs that are probably going to be very difficult to meet in a setup that also fully meets the needs of a betta. If you want to try a few potted carnivorous plants, or set up a separate terrarium entirely for them, I'd recommend sundews and Pinguiculas, and checking out that forum I recommended. You could make a gorgeous bog terrarium, I just think you're going to have a very hard time making a carnivorous plant/betta enclosure, especially as your first foray into the hobby.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of carnivorous plants are actually very easy to grow if you do your research. They're just very specific about what they like. Heck, if you wanna try growing a few in pots, PM me- I have extras of several species, including a baby Nepenthes and some sundews.
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: 25G carnivorous plants paludarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
You can't keep fish in water with 0 TDS because it doesn't have any of the trace minerals that they need, not because it would somehow suck all the minerals out of them. In this case, you can't rely on mineral runoff from the soil because the soil shouldn't have any minerals in it, or the carnivorous plants won't do well and might end up dying.
Bunk. The fish have a physiology that allows them to uptake ions lost to solution via their gills (the same place ions would be lost). You clearly are misunderstanding not only the physiological parts of the fish but do not understand TDS in relation to CPs or the fish.
Have you bothered to read the thread discussing the science of this??? see http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/beg...iscussion.html

As for the 0 TDS argument for the plants, again bunk, there are plenty of TDS in the environment where the plants are from, there are no natural sources of 0 TDS in the world. Even straight rainfall has dissolved minerals in it (in fact it is a major source iron in the Caribbean from dust from Africa).
Consider the blackwater streams and rivers where carnivorous plants grow, they do not have a 0 TDS, they have very little carbonate hardness or a buildup of salts like sodium chloride but they are not 0 TDS. A reading of 1000 on a TDS meter could still have a 0 ppm of calcium, magnesium, carbonates... but you don't understand the difference as your arguing from dogma. All a TDS tells you are the number of suspended particles that react to a charge and these can be anything that is acidic, basic or even just sufficiently polar so you can't make that argument for the plants or the fish on 0 TDS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
It is true that you can use something other than water with 0 TDS for carnivorous plants, but it still has to have a very low mineral content, and frequent substrate changes are absolutely mandatory. I don't think anyone wants to deal with frequent substrate changes in a paludarium.
Bunk... you could have a TDS of 1000 and never have to change the substrate. You really need to understand the actual problem as opposed to dogmatic arguments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
Nepenthes are more tolerant of TDS, but most of them, especially the easier-to-keep 'beginner' species, get far too large for this setup. It would absolutely be possible to find a vining one, pot it, and place it right next to the paludarium where it can drape over the soil, and that would be a lot easier to deal with. Otherwise, if you really want to try planting carnivorous plants in this, Cape sundews are probably your best bet- they're hardy and good for beginners. Some Pinguiculas could potentially work.
Bunk. They are no less or more tolerant to TDS than any other CP. Your argument has no value as TDS doesn't tell you anything about the suitability of the water for the plants particularly if it has passed through something like sphagnum or peat as the humic acids are going to significantly modify the TDS (in the up direction) so ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
Honestly, though, carnivorous plants have fairly specific needs that are probably going to be very difficult to meet in a setup that also fully meets the needs of a betta.
Bunk, it is only a problem if your blindly following dogma.

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