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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i have a tank is 2ft long x 1ft wife x 6" high, same tank in the picture. my issue is im not sure how to build my land and water parts. This tank will be all carnivores as well. Using the same soil mix as below, 50/50 peat sphag to sand. I'm not copying this design but my idea is to look similar so not a high water area.

 

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Welcome to the board! That is exactly the picture I was thinking of when I commented about making a carnivorous plant bog in a different thread. I love that tank. I would copy that exactly if I could :)

As for how to do it, you might consider the tried and true egg crate covered in fiberglass screen. Another option is matala. Lots of folks have had success with that, as well. I don't really know much about the aquatic section.

Best of luck,

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i have all my plants down for sure and i've tried the egg crate and it failed. i need it to sit low and i don't want as much water to pass through so its less to replace every few days matala might work, i've never used it before. the issue is completely covering whatever it is I choose to use as my base/false bottom or whatever you want to call it. i don't want it visible from the front and sides and back if i can.
 

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Matala might work great for you, then. It can be sculpted into a slope much easier than egg crate. It is also porous, so wicking might be better for your plants. You can buy it in different pore-spacing, too, which might allow you some control of how much water you want to wick. Hopefully, jgragg (and others) will swing by this thread and provide input. I think he as posted about using different grains of Matala before.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is it special order or can i get it at like home depot? I have faith this will turn out great but i def need black so i can hide it better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
With a Bog setup you don't need a false bottom since the soil can be saturated and doesn't need to drain. You really just need a way to keep the contour of the land area the way you want it.
this seems to be what i need then but the question is how? I have most of my plants and substrate. i have gravel/sand for the water area. i just need it to be able to stay stable so i can build up a little so i can have a few larger rocks etc and really build a landscape and not just a flat space. Also i need to keep the substrate from really mixing with the water area because i want the water to be somewhat visible.
 

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Hi QuadSquat - That is a lovely looking bog! I've been growing carnivorous plants for decades. I've even done a stint as an officer for the International Carnivorous Plant Society. That said, I am not a bog builder. I tend not to mix species (though not for the reasons on the frog thread that was blowing up here recently). The big reason is that I am just too lazy. It's the same reason I failed at planted aquarium efforts. I'm more motivated by functionality than display, per se. Maintaining that tank looking anything like that will be a tremendous amount of maintenance. However, it can be done.

If you want to speak with folks who really know their stuff and have loads of experience, head over to the Carnivorous Plan Society of Canada forum. Not that people can't answer you questions here (frankly, I'm new here and don't really know if that's the case or not yet). That forum might well be the genuinely nicest place left on the internet. You can even tell them I sent you, as I use the same screen name. I'll give you warning that some folks will tell you that you can't maintain Sarrs without a cold winter dormancy. While it is much, much easier that way. You can do it with southern species like S. rosea (which looks like the one in the photo) with just a decreased day length. And if someone argues, tell them they can argue with me about it. ;)

Whatever you choose to do, good luck. I'm always impressed by the care and effort that go into setups like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I did post there just now, thank you! I've posted in a few places hoping for a lot of advice. I currently grow over 100 tropicals in my home here and they thrive. My carnivores however sit in a tank and i want to plant a tank just for them and have it look just like a bog like in this picture.
 

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Is it special order or can i get it at like home depot? I have faith this will turn out great but i def need black so i can hide it better.
Matala comes in 4 colors, one of which is black. It's either special order, or some pond / koi stores stock it. I just have it delivered.

Matala has perfect drainage - there is zero wicking. It is very easy to sculpt with a serrated knife or a naked hacksaw blade, you can easily do curves, slopes, "shelves" of varying heights, etc. (Any cutting power tool will work too - helpful for cutting precise shapes and sizes but not the least bit necessary.) I just cover mine with window screen to keep the substrate from falling through.

I could see Matala being perfect for establishing different substrate elevations or contours, with regard to the underlying water level, and thus different levels of bog saturation. You could also have an area with no Matala - just open water. And you could sculpt the adjacent Matala to leave a rim, or silicone on a rim of Matala trimmings, to help keep the substrate from "jumping" into the water.

Pick some up and play with it. I really doubt you'll be disappointed.
Here's a video that describes the material and its different grades (each of the 4 colors has a different porosity):


And just for fun, here's a video of an aquarist who used Matala as the substrate for a living plant wall. Pretty cool, and maybe it'll give some fun ideas. Maybe you won't even want any soil in your bog, who knows?
https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/diy-plant-background-wall

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
interesting...i was hoping i could pick it up locally but thats ok. I definitely need soil and my CP's will need that low acidity mix ive made. Ill look further into metala.
 

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Greetings,

Since the thread has alot of discussion happening I wanted to re-emphasize Apoplast's earlier comment: If you are interested in the specific pitcher plant species in the image (Sarracenia sp) you must give these plants a winter dormancy if you want to keep them alive long term. And many Drosera and Pinguicula species expect various degrees of dryness for dormancy as well. I don't see a Venus fly trap in the image but these need a cold dormancy too.

I grew up in Alabama and have grown Southeast-native carnivores (there are dozens of species) outdoors and indoors.

As pretty as the image is that started the thread, this is not actually a sustainable indoor bog terrarium for many of the species shown. I see Sarracenia which need a cold but moist dormancy and species of Drosera which need a drier dormancy. If you don't give these species dormancy they can persist for a season or 2 but they will succumb to fungal infections eventually.

An indoor carnivore bog is not impossible - you just have to choose the proper species. In the US, most of the commonly available species at nurseries need dormancy - you will need to order your plants from an online source. To start: sphagnum moss is global in distribution so you can easily find strains that work in always-warm vivs (just ask here on DB). There are tropical Drosera species, tropical pitcher-plants (Nepenthes and Heliamphora) and tropical bladder warts (Utricularia).

Even for these, species, you want a tank with very bright lighting to get the mouth-watering colors, patterns and forms you see in photos. Generally speaking, carnivorous plants grow in full-sun to nearly full-sun conditions in nature and they need strong lighting to be well-grown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I dont plan to use everything in this tank by any means. I have planned out what I am using which will be tropical carnivores only and I am aware of the dormancys needed. My issue is the build itself not the plants. I'm not sure how to build the land and water areas to look natural and so the water doesn't erode my land. Also i have a very bright grow light for this that will be over the tank. I may add another but 1 step at a time. I need to build the land/water area first.
 

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@QS,

In past viv setups with water features, I used a sand-bag strategy for building up substrate near water: Using ~10" lengths knee-high pantyhose, create hand-sized bags of sand/gravel/substrate (you can create whatever size you need). You can then stack and build with these to create stable slopes. The pantyhose don't degrade and provide just the right amount of hold to the sand and gravel. Plant roots can grow through the fabric easily enough and it rapidly gets colonized by moss and liverwort so you can't see the fabric (you can also cover it immediately with moss or plants). This worked for multiple builds across about 10 years of bog vivariums.
 

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Your use of peat in your proposed blend will likely turn your water the color of iced tea, fairly quickly. Maybe that doesn't matter to you, just pointing it out. On my first homemade vivs, I did put ponds in some. I kept substrate out of the water area by making a small wall out of plastic canvas, available at Hobby Lobby or any arts and crafts store. It would have been ugly were it not for the gravel that I siliconed to it.
I knew the silicone would have problems adhering to plastic canvas. When applying the silicone, I pressed the silicone, using the applicator tip as I went along, to force plenty of silicone through to the other side. Lightly smear the back side. You may need to add a second coat on the primary side before pressing in gravel. You are using the silicone to encapsulate the plastic mesh, otherwise, it will peel off easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
if i were just using peat/sand without some kind of false bottom yes my water would turn brown. The picture i provided though that tank uses exactly the same. 50/50 peat sphag to sand so my question in alllll of this is how was that done. Maybe i do need to build some kind of siliconed barrier then i wouldnt need a false bottom.
 

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@QS,

In past viv setups with water features, I used a sand-bag strategy for building up substrate near water: Using ~10" lengths knee-high pantyhose, create hand-sized bags of sand/gravel/substrate (you can create whatever size you need). You can then stack and build with these to create stable slopes. The pantyhose don't degrade and provide just the right amount of hold to the sand and gravel. Plant roots can grow through the fabric easily enough and it rapidly gets colonized by moss and liverwort so you can't see the fabric (you can also cover it immediately with moss or plants). This worked for multiple builds across about 10 years of bog vivariums.
This is exactly what came to mind!
 

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Hi QuadSquat - This forum never ceases to amaze me with how many people are willing to offer input and in such a short time. It's a vibrant community that I am excited to participate in (as long as they let me that is :D).

@kimcmich is correct about a number of things. First and foremost, an indoor bog with CP is not impossible. It sounds like you have quite a bit of plant experience, and that will serve you well. The other thing that is absolutely true is that CP require light. Like getting a tomato plant to not be leggy kind of light. Basically you can't give them too much. Carnivory in plants is a pretty extreme adaptation to low nutrient soils (and you've correctly identified that many of those are pretty low pH), they are hunting their fertilizer after all. One thing that is fairly true about low nutrient soils is that the vegetation is sparse, thus there is often an abundance of light. And they've adapted to that. I've been using LED high bay lights recently and had incredible results. Just look for them on Home Depot to another hardware store. Totally worth it. 14,000 lumens at 30cm is making my plants really happy!

I will push back on one thing said by kimsmich though. You can have Sarrs in an indoor bog. It's not easy, but you can sustain them. They need light. Lots! Think a couple of the lights I was describing above. You will need to give them a dormancy, that is true. But you can get away with just reduced daylight ours for the southernmost species. I have a colleague at the University of Georgia who has been keeping Sarrs under glass (lots of light) in the collection in their tropical room with no winter temp drop (but no supplemental lighting) for 30 years. I can be done. It's not easy.

I'll also say that the only Drosera that really need a dry dormancy are a group of largely Australian group of species that are winter growers and go dormant in the summer. There are none in that photo.

@pumilo has an astute eye. The water there has not been sitting in 50:50 peat:sand for long (a great CP mix though, as long as your sand is low mineral). If it had the water would be brown. You can have water without the tannins, but with other substrates that work for CP. I think this photo is like the Chelsea Flower Show. It's beautiful, but it's setup to look established, and is in no way sustainable long-term. Sorry to crash that.

I think if you introduce yourself to the CPSC group (noticed you just posted a pasted quote), they really can help you create a beautiful and long lasting indoor bog setup. I've seen photos of some of the member's plantings and they are like what the Chelsea Flower Show emulates. Or what Bonsai is - beauty created by careful planning and dedicated care.

I feel like I have been a jerk here. Please know that wasn't my intent. I was hoping to give you a clear-eyed view of both what it takes to build a successful bog and what the photo suggested to me. If you have any CP questions, and don't hate me already, feel free to PM me. I look forward to hearing about your efforts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi QuadSquat - This forum never ceases to amaze me with how many people are willing to offer input and in such a short time. It's a vibrant community that I am excited to participate in (as long as they let me that is :D).

@kimcmich is correct about a number of things. First and foremost, an indoor bog with CP is not impossible. It sounds like you have quite a bit of plant experience, and that will serve you well. The other thing that is absolutely true is that CP require light. Like getting a tomato plant to not be leggy kind of light. Basically you can't give them too much. Carnivory in plants is a pretty extreme adaptation to low nutrient soils (and you've correctly identified that many of those are pretty low pH), they are hunting their fertilizer after all. One thing that is fairly true about low nutrient soils is that the vegetation is sparse, thus there is often an abundance of light. And they've adapted to that. I've been using LED high bay lights recently and had incredible results. Just look for them on Home Depot to another hardware store. Totally worth it. 14,000 lumens at 30cm is making my plants really happy!

I will push back on one thing said by kimsmich though. You can have Sarrs in an indoor bog. It's not easy, but you can sustain them. They need light. Lots! Think a couple of the lights I was describing above. You will need to give them a dormancy, that is true. But you can get away with just reduced daylight ours for the southernmost species. I have a colleague at the University of Georgia who has been keeping Sarrs under glass (lots of light) in the collection in their tropical room with no winter temp drop (but no supplemental lighting) for 30 years. I can be done. It's not easy.

I'll also say that the only Drosera that really need a dry dormancy are a group of largely Australian group of species that are winter growers and go dormant in the summer. There are none in that photo.

@pumilo has an astute eye. The water there has not been sitting in 50:50 peat:sand for long (a great CP mix though, as long as your sand is low mineral). If it had the water would be brown. You can have water without the tannins, but with other substrates that work for CP. I think this photo is like the Chelsea Flower Show. It's beautiful, but it's setup to look established, and is in no way sustainable long-term. Sorry to crash that.

I think if you introduce yourself to the CPSC group (noticed you just posted a pasted quote), they really can help you create a beautiful and long lasting indoor bog setup. I've seen photos of some of the member's plantings and they are like what the Chelsea Flower Show emulates. Or what Bonsai is - beauty created by careful planning and dedicated care.

I feel like I have been a jerk here. Please know that wasn't my intent. I was hoping to give you a clear-eyed view of both what it takes to build a successful bog and what the photo suggested to me. If you have any CP questions, and don't hate me already, feel free to PM me. I look forward to hearing about your efforts.

I dont think your coming off mean in any way. I do have a lot of experience with plants, I formulate my soils and care greatly for my jungle. I plan to use only tropical carnivores to minimize the amount of dormancy needed. Not sure at this point if I will have a water section as the build is getting to me. That said this tank I posted has been going a long time or at least thats what the person who created it has said. sadly the thread is ancient and the creator vanished so any question I have are left to speculation. I did gather a lot on the plants used though and more pics of the layout which is what inspired me to do something with my carnivores instead of individual pots in my main tank.
 

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Hi QS - Saw that H2O got back to you on the CPSC forum. He's a great guy. Known him for years. Works at a botanical garden, and is a dedicated CP and orchid enthusiast. Can't say enough good stuff about him. Best thing I can saw is to repeat what the guy who runs the ESA program for CP in the south has said "that guy could root a pencil".

Upon looking at the photo further, I feel quite comfortable calling any person claiming the bog in the photo has been together for any significant length of time a liar. They have a tropical D. falconeri in there, and a VFT what requires a cold dormancy in a temp range which would kill that dew in a matter of hours. The Sarr purp in there is a recent cutting judging by the leaf arrangement (they grow from rhizomes like irises with a characteristic leaf arrangement). I could go on.

But I suspect in the end, that doesn't matter. If I understand you correctly, you are using this as inspiration. Certainly, there are some beautiful indoor CP bogs out there. I've seen some wildly impressive rock-garden-style plantings of Mexi pings on tufa rocks. There are some really beautiful results you can achieve. I'm planning on incorporating some utrics into my dart frog build(s).

I'll pop in to CPSC once in a while to see what you come up with. Good luck!
 
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