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Old 12-02-2011, 07:31 AM
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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; if there are any gaps in the false bottom it will become a dangerous trap for the terrarium livestock. 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'll post more pictures as I finish building 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. 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.

I would be interested to hear any questions or observations that you might have.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by hydrophyte; 12-02-2011 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

very interesting technique! thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I really like this concept, that you can remove the plants and rearrange them or replace them.
What I was wondering is, do you need a filtration under the false bottom?
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I don't see why one would need filtration. Really, the water underneath would be no different than any other false bottom.

EDIT: Great job on the versicolor tank.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:02 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

This is a great idea. Wood seem more useful for taller tanks though. This is great for people who don't want to do too much wrk, and it would seem that the plants will drain better. Would you recommend drilling a hole in the tank? I ask that because I don't see a hole to drain from the inside of the viv.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Devin

I was reading this post on my phone and didn't see who wrote it the first thing that came to mind when I saw the plants (Palms and Schismatoglottis) wow this guy thinks just like Devin. Ha ha I just opened it on my laptop and lo and behold it's your thread, neat new concept you have going here, for all those who don't know his plants and riparium supplies are great.

Len
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

looks good! although what about establishing microfauna? would you just pile more substrate ontop [defeating the purpose of the holes]?
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Thanks for the feedback everybody!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WeeNe858 View Post
very interesting technique! thanks for sharing.
Thank you for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by didi View Post
I really like this concept, that you can remove the plants and rearrange them or replace them.
What I was wondering is, do you need a filtration under the false bottom?
No I don't think that that area requires filtration, but it is important to make sure that the drainage water level does not reach up to the level of the planters. As the water accumulates there it is easy to just remove one of the plants, stick a water-filled hose down inside, and then siphon it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by epiphytes etc. View Post
I don't see why one would need filtration. Really, the water underneath would be no different than any other false bottom.

EDIT: Great job on the versicolor tank.
Thanks! Those plants that I used were all native Wisconsin species and I think that they are now suffering from the lack of winter chill. I think I might stick some small houseplants in there if I can find some that more or less resemble native plants. However the native Carex sp. sedge that I used is still actively growing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by B-NICE View Post
This is a great idea. Wood seem more useful for taller tanks though. This is great for people who don't want to do too much wrk, and it would seem that the plants will drain better. Would you recommend drilling a hole in the tank? I ask that because I don't see a hole to drain from the inside of the viv.
Yes I hope that this system can simplify design, setup and maintenance. Like I mentioned above it is easy to siphon extra water, although a drain could simplify that further.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lbacha View Post
Devin

I was reading this post on my phone and didn't see who wrote it the first thing that came to mind when I saw the plants (Palms and Schismatoglottis) wow this guy thinks just like Devin. Ha ha I just opened it on my laptop and lo and behold it's your thread, neat new concept you have going here, for all those who don't know his plants and riparium supplies are great.

Len
Thanks man. Another compelling thing about this system is that it can facilitate the culture of plants that haven't been used so much recently in terrariums, which have tended to emphasize epiphytes. Here are some of the cool terrestrial groups that one could try...
  • palms
  • Marantaceae
  • Alocasia and other elephant ear aroids
  • tuberous aroids, such as the smallest Amorphophallus spp.
  • other lesser-known small terrestrial aroids, such as Homolomena, Schismatoglottis, etc.
  • terrestrial orchids
  • cyclanths

Quote:
Originally Posted by boabab95 View Post
looks good! although what about establishing microfauna? would you just pile more substrate ontop [defeating the purpose of the holes]?
That is one potential drawback. However, you do have to use quite a bit of litter so it will be a good amount of habitat for them. Microfauna might also use the natural composted media in the planters. The gray tree frog pays them no mind but that display has quite a lot of springtails inside. I think that they rode in on the large stump that I used in there.
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

it's nice but you need to allow for the leaf litter or whatever you put in there to drain as well.
so what really could be done is to just use egg crate and make holes for the pots and it will still drain.
with what your using there isn't any drainage except for the pots.
you could drill tons of holes in that material but it will be time consuming.
egg crate is a lot better to use with this...
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:25 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

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Originally Posted by DragonSpirit1185 View Post
it's nice but you need to allow for the leaf litter or whatever you put in there to drain as well.
so what really could be done is to just use egg crate and make holes for the pots and it will still drain.
with what your using there isn't any drainage except for the pots.
you could drill tons of holes in that material but it will be time consuming.
egg crate is a lot better to use with this...
Remember, there are holes where he didn't use plants and covered them with mesh.
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:16 AM
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Remember, there are holes where he didn't use plants and covered them with mesh.
yeah but you still want for it to all to freely drain...is that not why we use egg crate and LECA? so it drains at every point...
with euro vivs the bottom is slanted so it will run off. this doesn't even slant.
I see drainage issues with this design.
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:28 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I think that egg crate would be pretty awkward. That 1/4" sheet that I use is much more durable than egg crate. I can't even imagine trying to cut neat round holes in egg crate.

Another function of the mesh cloth that covers the false bottom is to create a bit of an air pocket between the false bottom and the leaf litter. I can imagine that leaf litter right on top of the plastic sheet could become very slimy and sour, but as it is with the mesh it dries out well enough so long as there is air circulation in the enclosure. There are lots of points for water to drain on that false bottom sheet. I put as many holes in the sheet as possible to leave plenty of plant positioning options.

Last edited by hydrophyte; 12-03-2011 at 02:35 AM.
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I have a question. Would this also be a good option for getting marginal plants to grow right in the middle of otherwise well drained substrate, where you just raise up the water level?

Also, would these conceivably (I know it's probably more of a pain) be available set at an angle?
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Everybody knows that Brandon and I get along like oil and water, so this is a first, but I'm going to have to agree that he raises a valid point. If it were put on a slight slope by making the front posts 1/2" shorter than the back posts, like Winstonamc is suggesting, that would alleviate any drainage concerns.
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:38 PM
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A lot of the plants he is growing actually grow in what is considered an everwet rainforest environment where the soil doesn't drain too well, they are almost bog plants but not quite (a lot of rainforest floor plants in Asia are like this), so humidity would have a big part in that in keeping the soil moist, but aside from that the pots being used are net pots with hydroton and soil in them so drainage won't be a concern unless you use a mix that retains moisture which means it really doesn't matter if it's sloped anyways. A lot depends on the type of plants you want to grow I see a lot of people growing epiphytes on the ground which changes the goals for the soil and moisture retention of the enclosure, I've rambled enough but soil composition is going to have way more impact on drainage than holes in the tray will..
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:11 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I'm not really seeing the issue with drainage here, especially being that you're "substrate", in the traditional sense, is simply being used to hide the plastic board from observation. Even if you were building an entire medium layer over the divider (a layer thick enough to actually plant in, as opposed one fulfilling a purely ascetic role), I can't see it being much an issue unless it was significantly bowed. In fact, this should help deal with most medium issues, being that you can specifically tailor the medium for each individual plant
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:13 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Well, I'm telling you that I have not observed drainage problems. How would you know if you haven't even seen it yet and how would these drainage problems even manifest? The leaf litter in that Hyla display, the setup that I have had going the longest, dries to moist, but does not stay wet all the time. You can come over here and look if you don't believe me.

An additional feature that I haven't described yet are the airlines that run to the void beneath the false bottom. These create some airflow through the leaf litter which probably dries it some, but their main function is to prevent that void area from becoming stagnant and to keep air moving around the plant roots.
mmmmmm. hydro. like a little DWC under the substrate killer.

i like it and i think its a kick ass idea. sort of reminds me of a hydro cloning tray.

to those questioning it... what gives? im sure its fine, if your substrate is remaining moist, then you have a poorly designed substrate. its like a potted plant, where the pot may only have a few small holes for water to escape from. if the soil stays too wet its not because the small holes are restrictive, its because the soil your using doesnt allow for proper drainage.

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Old 12-05-2011, 04:56 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Hey everybody thanks again for the interest. I just want to reiterate that this concept really is very simple. If people want to try it out I'm sure they will have a range of observations on their experiences but in general it is all pretty easy to manage.

Like I mentioned before it is important to mist/irrigate so that the media in the pots does not stay too wet. It is organic media and if it gets too wet then it will create anoxic conditions for the plant roots. If there is so much water that the leaf litter is sopping wet then the pots will also be too wet. With the right kind of equipment + enclosure setup it should be possible to maintain humidity inside without drenching the plants and the leaf litter.

One area that will require more discussion will be the visual design. These setups are oriented more in the horizontal plane, but most frog hobbyists have more experience with vertical 3D backgrounds. Plant selection is also important and will be relevant to the visual design.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Thanks again for the interest everybody.

I would like to request that we refrain from discussing these hypothetical conditions for right now and that the discussion return to the introduction of the general concept.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:48 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Thanks I do appreciate the feedback. I just wanted to avoid some of the back-and-forth that was starting to sound like bickering.

I have pondered a plate made with a more porous material, but it would need to be a plastic material more sturdy and easier to work than egg crate. For now I intend to use the solid plastic plate because I know that it works well in the situations where I have used it. If later on I hear that people might prefer materials that drain faster for other situations then I will research that and try to develop something.

I am aware that this kind of setup might be less favorable for microfauna populations than the popular combination of ABG or similar mix with leaf litter. It will be a smaller area and might not grow as many of them but springtails and isopods will find more favorable conditions where the leaf litter covers the tops of the media in the planter pots. The frog doesn't eat them but them but that Hyla setup has lots of springtails inside.
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

This seems to be be perfect for a Wardian case designed to showcase the plants in their own right, as opposed to a terrarium display. Peter Damato's The Savage Garden refers to this kind of tank. It'd be perfect for a single layer of CP's, orchids, or whatever rare flora you wish to display.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:21 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Again, thanks for your interest everybody I do appreciate the ideas and let's try to keep the discussion here with a congenial tone.

This is a very simple, boneheaded concept. I hope that people will find it to be useful but for anybody who might use it will probably require some learning and experimentation to keep the plants happy and to make a convincing visual display.

The void area beneath the false bottom is actually pretty visually distracting. I recommend painting the enclosure glass on the outside to cover that area. For the side you can either paint the whole panel with black paint or just that bottom 3-6" of glass. I have an idea to custom-fabricate a nice finished plastic or thin plywood panel to cover the void in the front. This would be a good spot for the logo . You could also just paint over that front area of glass too.

Last edited by hydrophyte; 12-05-2011 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Again, thanks for your interest everybody I do appreciate the ideas and let's try to keep the discussion here with a congenial tone.

This is a very simple, boneheaded concept. I hope that people will find it to be useful but for anybody who might use it will probably require some learning and experimentation to keep the plants happy and to make a convincing visual display.

The void area beneath the false bottom is actually pretty visually distracting. I recommend painting the enclosure glass on the outside to cover that area. For the side you can either paint the whole panel with black paint or just that bottom 3-6" of glass. I have an idea to custom-fabricate a nice finished plastic or thin plywood panel to cover the void in the front. This would be a good spot for the logo . You could also just paint over that front area of glass too.
or use contact paper
I used spray paint on mine not thinking about this but next time I will use contact paper lol
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I've been wanting to set up an Orchidarium. This might just be perfect for that!
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:21 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

It could work real well for terrestrial orchids, or you could use it as a base with a few terrestrial and then build up some kind of vertical structure on top for planting epiphytes.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

A lot of people grow epiphytes in plastic cups with the proper medium. It would make a very nice display.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Yeah so long as you were to blow lots of air into the void area the plants would probably grow alright, but for a better representation of the habitat I think I would prefer planting epiphytes up on a vertical mount. When you get it all set up this kind of terrarium looks just exactly like the ground in a forest and epiphytes just don't grow in places like that.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Hey I was reminded about pictures of some really cool plants that JoshH posted a while back. Chlorospatha are true terrestrial aroids and they are an example of uncommon, unusual collector plants that you could showcase in a setup like this.

I sure would like to try some Chlorospatha. They aren't easy to find.

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Chlorospatha hannoniae


Chlorospatha sp. '88495'


Chlorospatha plowmanii


Chlorospatha pubescens

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Old 12-05-2011, 11:45 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I agree. Your idea certainly looks better than a bunch of pots showing.

orchidarium.com
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

What about having it in two sections with different hole layouts. (One section would work for smaller vivs) Some with more holes some with less. There would be more support and make more options for wood placement and backgrounds. Just an idea. But ether way your on the way to a hell of a product!

Casper

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Old 12-05-2011, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I just remembered another relevant link...

Boyce & Yeng. The Aroids of the West Sarawak Limestone

That's a really cool article.

Alocasia are another example of promising plants to try with this system. It would be especially cool to look for some of the less common/new species Alocasia.

In a regular vivarium and Alocasia might start to get too big pretty fast, but in one of these setups you could control its size by keeping it in a smaller pot.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Perhaps a background piece, where the pots slot into the holes at an angle, for epiphytes?
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:01 AM
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I think that hte easiest way to keep epiphytes in a setup combined with these would be to have a free-standing structure like a tree stump--natural, or fabricated--and just set it right on top of the false bottom. I didn't palnt epiphytes on it but that is what I did for this setup.



That is a real tree stump in there. I cut the top and bottom flat.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Nice work, this does work well for being able to house potted plants in the base of any viv, Many of us used to make these for our desert vivs as it was the only way to keep greenery in with the kimberly rock monitors, we just covered it with sand and gravel. As for draining them we used pop vents with extra screen epoxied over them.
I currently make these with 1 3/4'' and 2'' pots for the growing trays in order to propagate plants in the domed grenhouse trays. It helps to limit the growth of the root ball for better planting in a viv.

Good luck with it.

Id also recommend a very good draining substrate if you use this idea. I have tried it in vivs and found the media stayed wetter with this.

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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; if there are any gaps in the false bottom it will become a dangerous trap for the terrarium livestock. 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'll post more pictures as I finish building 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. 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.

I would be interested to hear any questions or observations that you might have.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Yep you are right this is like a variation of some methods that people have already been using, but I hope to get it fully resolved as a product line with these user-friendly kits.

I have wondered about using this with desert vivs, but I haven't tried it yet.

Yes the drainage through those pots is tricky because down in that void space the humidity must be near 100%. I think that the airline running to the void space is very important. The potting mix that I have been using is 1:1 pro mix plus hydroton and it drains well, but still stays very wet after watering. For using these in a dart frog viv I think it will be best to time misting for short durations so that it will maintain humidity. but not run off and run down into the planters.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:46 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

If I were you I would market these with hydroponic baskets, makes drainage much easier, its what i used in many of the setups. There are a few places you can get them wholesale to offer complete kits with. As for the media I found using a mostly charcoal, sphagnum and orchid bark media did well. I never had much issue with plants not adapting to it.

As for the desert vivs, it works well, it really cuts back on the weight of the viv and excess sand you need in order to normally cover up and go around the plant pots. I used a more dense soil mix though for holding humidity in the roots,

This setup idea overall really does help mange the root structure of the plants in the vivs and makes it possible to mswap out a plant if needed without completely ripping up the viv.

Michael


Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Yep you are right this is like a variation of some methods that people have already been using, but I hope to get it fully resolved as a product line with these user-friendly kits.

I have wondered about using this with desert vivs, but I haven't tried it yet.

Yes the drainage through those pots is tricky because down in that void space the humidity must be near 100%. I think that the airline running to the void space is very important. The potting mix that I have been using is 1:1 pro mix plus hydroton and it drains well, but still stays very wet after watering. For using these in a dart frog viv I think it will be best to time misting for short durations so that it will maintain humidity. but not run off and run down into the planters.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrophyte View Post
Yep you are right this is like a variation of some methods that people have already been using, but I hope to get it fully resolved as a product line with these user-friendly kits.

I have wondered about using this with desert vivs, but I haven't tried it yet.

Yes the drainage through those pots is tricky because down in that void space the humidity must be near 100%. I think that the airline running to the void space is very important. The potting mix that I have been using is 1:1 pro mix plus hydroton and it drains well, but still stays very wet after watering. For using these in a dart frog viv I think it will be best to time misting for short durations so that it will maintain humidity. but not run off and run down into the planters.
i dont see why it would be a problem. the airline tubing is nice and like i mentioned earlier it seems like its very similar to a deep water culture hydroponics set up (with the airline tubing). ive used DWC for years in a number of different growing operations with excellent success. the extremely high humidity doesnt seem to affect the plant's growth in any negative way when the water remains well oxygenated. in fact i often see new leaf sets appear on a daily basis, in cases producing such vigorous growth that leaves appear mutated by the process. perhaps you could take a page from the hydroponics book and use s super well draining medium like tiny rockwool cubes, crushed lava rock or mini LECA (or a combination of these) and ditch the organic element completely. if you added an appropriate air diffuser and placed the air line underwater you would have what i might consider to be the perfect terrarium hydro set up

very basic explanation but one that accurately describes what i'm referring to (although i have to believe that you already know all about this hydrophyte )
Deep water culture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


how are the legs attached to the top panel BTW? are the molded in, glued on, or does it just rest on them?
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

Just out of curiosity, why not put a layer of substrate or clay/substrate rather than just leaf litter on top? Wouldn't you derive all the benefits of the design and still be able to have a wider breadth of planting area? A higher substrate level would allow the pots to serve as drainage with the only risk being that the potted plants would root out horizontally into the main substrate (which you could partially avert by screening them over at the rim). This would work particularly well if you were growing emersed plants with a high water table.

In any case, I'd say Hydrophyte or someone else should do a little mock-up rainforest set up, see how it goes wt respect to substrate humidity etc
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I think that if you were to put substrate on top of the false bottom you really would have drainage problems. Plus you would also loose the benefit of the modularity with easy removal and rearrangement of the plants.

I also would not recommend having the water up as high as the false bottom or the planters. I think you would just end up with a wet, smelly mess if you did that. The planters have a coarse organic potting media in them, which really isn't suitable for hydroponic growing. If it stays saturated all the time it will just start to rot and kill the plant roots. Trust me, I have killed a few plants already in those planters where they stayed too wet.

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Old 12-06-2011, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: A New Way to Grow Terrarium Plants

I think its a good idea, however in my opinion it has a little ways to go before marketing it as a vivarium product. I think right now it is more geared towards using in a "grow out tank", but with some changes I really think it could be an easy pop-in tool for people who dont like all the work. Just throwing some ideas and thoughts out there....

At least for me, I like my tanks to look clean, and minimalistic from the outside. I can only assume most people try and strive for the same thing. Thats means a submersible substrate is the only thing I want to see against the glass. Using your current design means some sort or exterior modification and one more thing to try and make match with everything else (meaning more work for you, and more work for the person who buys it)

In addition, I think a slight slope would be a wise choice. Then it would completely get rid of all the "will it, or will it not drain?" posts/naysayers. Not only would it help with drainage, but it would give the tank more depth and height in the back.

If I didnt always want to build my own stuff, this is what I would want to buy. And yes, it looks like a piece of swiss cheese



The back end would be completely open, and put directly agaisnt the back pane of glass with no gap. Then two sloped piece of plexi for the sides, and one across the front with a few cutouts to allow for drainage. The overall box would allow for a 1/2" gap between it and the tank (not including the back). The bottom cutouts could then be covered with small amounts of mesh to block the selected substrate that would wrap around the perimeter of the box. Doing it this way could save you time making that exact mesh basket in the original design. Most importantly it would remove the need for some sort of exterior modification to the tank. If a larger span was needed, you could use a piece of pvc for support in the center.

And as for the microfauna...As long as a thick enough layer of leaf litter is put ontop of the box, they will thrive. I had 3 cultures comprised solely of leaf litter and they did amazing. The only problem was that the leaves I used decomposed way to quickly.

Whadaya say....Split the profits 20/80???
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