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Hi everyone. I started this tank last October with a few plants and hand misting every day. Unfortunately, nothing grew or stayed alive except for my bromeliads and another clipping I got from another tank. Everything I have planted on the substrate has died. Last time I posted about this, people mentioned I might not have enough ventilation in my tank so a drilled another hold in the lid to help with this. I'm not really sure if this helped, my plants continued to wither away. Today, I took out everything that wasn't growing and would like to start again.

Here is a picture of my current set up. I would really like more plants help cover the background and fill in some of the tank by the back. If anyone has any recommendations, that would be greatly appreciated.

I also attached a picture of the glass top I made. I'm not sure how to check for adequate ventilation, but if anyone has some more advice for me that would be great.

Thanks
 

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I just see the one hole in the lid for ventilation, which in my opinion is probably the main reason you are struggling with your tank. I used to have a similar level of ventilation many years ago when conventional wisdom said that ventilation wasn't as important. I struggled with many plants. Some could handle those conditions, but many could not and melted away. I think you need 4 or 5 vents the size of the one you have right now for it to come closer to "ideal". Remember, plants need to breath too, they require it for effective transpiration.
 

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Yes, I think you need more ventilation. I also found that my plants were dying even with good ventilation. I started specifically watering my plants with a watering can and spraying each bromeliad with a spray bottle and now my plants are all thriving. Sometimes the misting doesn't provide enough water to the soil depending on your set-up. I should caution that I am a beginner as well, but that's been my experience.
 

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Yes, I think you need more ventilation. I also found that my plants were dying even with good ventilation. I started specifically watering my plants with a watering can and spraying each bromeliad with a spray bottle and now my plants are all thriving. Sometimes the misting doesn't provide enough water to the soil depending on your set-up. I should caution that I am a beginner as well, but that's been my experience.
I split my misting schedule into short bursts, around 15 seconds, that serve to keep humidity level up in the tank and longer rain storms, up to 2 minutes, that serve to actually water the plants. The longer rain storms happen once a week in winter and twice a week in summer. Short bursts happen many times a day, since I live in a very dry environment.

Even with this schedule, I water by hand for some areas that the mist heads don’t really cover, and to help establish new plants.

Watering schedule takes a lot of tweaking for your specific environment and paying attention to how the plants look.
 

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A round hole has an area = π * r². So a hole 2" across has an area of a little over 3sq inches.

A good amount of ventilation to start with (and then adjust more or less as needed) is a 2" strip the width of the viv. On a 18" ExoTerra (about 16" of screen), that's 32sq inches.

I like to leave the stock screen top on and then cut pieces of acrylic of different sizes the width of the screen, and lay in whichever one(s) give me the amount of ventilation I need. Other folks remove the stock top, make a screen out of a window screen kit, and get a piece of glass cut to cover the rest of the top. My way is cheaper, easier, and more adjustable, but it isn't as nice looking, and the acrylic needs to be flipped when the moisture differential makes it bow.
 

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I split my misting schedule into short bursts, around 15 seconds, that serve to keep humidity level up in the tank and longer rain storms, up to 2 minutes, that serve to actually water the plants. The longer rain storms happen once a week in winter and twice a week in summer. Short bursts happen many times a day, since I live in a very dry environment.

Even with this schedule, I water by hand for some areas that the mist heads don’t really cover, and to help establish new plants.

Watering schedule takes a lot of tweaking for your specific environment and paying attention to how the plants look.
This is excellent content. Read it closely. Do not try to just replicate the duration and frequency details, but understand you're going to need to do some similar "figuring it out". You will almost certainly have to adjust your personalized details 1) based on season, and 2) to distinguish between plant-establishment and plant-maintenance phases (not just whole-tank, but a) by individual plants as they "take" at different rates, and b) as you (probably) want to add a new one now and then into "vacancies").

You will also need to supplement any automation with hand-watering (with a pump mister if you're smart or a spray bottle if you aren't). To try to do otherwise - to attempt to rely solely on automation - will either lead to underwatering (real easy) or overwatering (takes more effort but is also more disastrous). You mist for humidity, you water for water.

Good luck!
 

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You mist for humidity, you water for water.
Mmmm....

I don't water a dart viv -- all the water that comes into the viv comes in as mist. I mist enough that the sub gets saturated, broms get full, etc (OK, I do flush broms with a wash bottle once a week or so -- that doesn't count, since it is 'cleaning' and 'tad care').

Humidity is maintained for the 23.95 hours of the day that misting isn't happening via evaporation, transpiration, and a carefully calculated amount of ventilation ("Yeah, about that much oughta do it!") to allow air exchange that doesn't outpace the rate of evaporation until the next morning when the mister hits again.

I don't think I'm abnormal in all of this. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
With my current ventilation, I have around 90% humidity around the substrate and 65-80% everywhere else. Will this be an issue with more ventilation or will I just have to adjust for more frequent misting?
 

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Is that 65-80% humidity level with the 2" screen strip the width of the tank? If so, that sounds like enough ventilation to me and a good humidity level.

Do you ever give the plants a deep soak, or just lightly mist the surface?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Do you ever give the plants a deep soak, or just lightly mist the surface?
Mostly just a light mist. I try not to give it a deep soak because I think my other pants all died from over watering even though my viv had similar hummidity.
Here's a link to what happened:
Right now, I run the mist king for 10 seconds every morning, and sometimes again in the evening. The spray doesn't quite reach the entire tank, but I'm a little hesitant to add another nozzle. I don't really have any plants that need to be hand misted in it right now too.
 

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I saw your screen strip in the original thread, I think that's enough ventilation, but I would strongly recommend an internal circulation fan. I would try installing that fan before cutting more holes or messing with the ventilation any further, and run it 24/7 pointed down at the substrate.

I'm not sure why the other plants died, but almost every tropical plant will need more than just surface misting (Tillandsias do well with just surface misting). I would recommend a deep soak once a week, you can program that into the Mist King or do it by hand just for the plants that are looking wilty. Also, was the Peperomia from the other thread a cutting? Cuttings are challenging to establish unless your conditions are optimal, I would recommend getting fully rooted, mature plants for the moment until you've figured out what care they need.

What is your substrate? How wet is it right now (damp, moist, soggy, does water run out when you squeeze some)? What kind of light do you have? Do you fertilize?
 

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I haven't grown earth stars before, but the earth star from the previous thread may have rotted if water sat in its crown for too long. Neoreglias want water to sit in their crown, but earth stars and most other plants do not, so you should keep an eye on the plants and any water should evaporate from their leaves/crown within an hour or so after misting them. A circulation fan will help with that.

There could also be an issue with lighting, but hard to say without knowing your light intensity.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm using 2 of the value grow leds from NEHerp (PAR: ~49µMol/M²S @ 12in / Lumens: ~1080 (Each) is what they list on their website)

What would be some easy plants you could recommend?
 

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You should be able to grow low to medium light plants with that lighting setup, so that shouldn’t be the issue. Definitely get that circulation fan going.

Peperomia prostrata is very easy and as far as I can tell, can’t be too wet. It grows into my aquatic section.

Restrepia dodsonii is a really tough little orchid that doesn’t mind being over- or under-watered, but it won’t ramble or cover anything. It would do well mounted on the back.

I believe there are creeping fig varieties that are pretty bullet-proof, but also will get big and need to be trimmed. Not Ficus thunbergii, that one is a little fussy.
 

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Mmmm....
(...)
I don't think I'm abnormal in all of this. :)
No, you're right, the oddball is probably me. Most of you keep frogs and I don't - but I was specifically referring to plants. Misting is inadequate for watering plants, at least the way I keep my (snake) vivs - i.e., with what might well be an excessive amount of passive ventilation for most anurans. Anyway the OP initially asked about plants, so that's where my head was. Good to point this out, to make the distinction, as you never know who is reading, what their experience level is, how much digging in DB archives they've done, etc.

So thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So my new plants came in today and I already placed them in my enclosure. Here's a list of the plants I got:
Ficus pumila var. quercifolia
Peperomia angulata
Pellionia repens
Marcgravia sp. Puerto Rico
Begonia 'Tiger Kitten'
Pilea sp. Ecuador
Philodendron 'Wend-imbe'

I think these are all fairly easy plants to keep alive, but I just wanted to post here to see if anyone had any suggestions/ tips on how not to kill all my plants again.
Here are also some pics of my viv now:
0120211414.jpg 0120211415.jpg 0120211415_HDR.jpg
 

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Ficus pumila var. quercifolia is the old name for Ficus thunbergii, and I have heard that it can be difficult to get established. Make sure the stems of all of those have air flow around them and aren’t packed with substrate or Sphagnum, and keep an eye out for rot, which usually means too little air flow or too much moisture.
 
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