I wrote a build article for a terrestrail vivarium for my website. I have already posted it as an article, but would like feedback as per the content. Is it relevant? Will it educate someone? Is it too basic? I RESPECT this community, and would hate to administer something as an article that has true flaws... I thank you so much...
"Creating A Living , No Maintenance Enclosure
1. Start with a clean tank.
2. Measure the dimensions of the inside lip of the tank on front and side.
3. Cut "egg crate" material(available at any hardware store) to fit measurements. This will be your base for the false bottom. A false bottom allows for good moisture retention within the soil/moss/etc, and allows for complete drainage of the layers. Make sure you leave an opening to allow excess water to be removed in the egg crate base. A good way is to use a section of PVC pipe inserted vertically through the egg crate to the bottom of the tank. The top of the PVC can be covered in screening material(see 5th step), and plastic "zip" tied to keep the cover secure.
4. Use spacers to raise the egg crate about 2" above the bottom of the tank. 5. Be sure to use enough spacers to ensure the egg crate does not sag when substrate and decor are added.
6. Add a double layer of screen material(also available at any hardware store) to the top of the egg crate. You will need to make sure you cut the screen to allow a hole for the PVC water excess removal feature.
7. Add approximately 1.5" of fine gravel evenly across the top of the screening material. Make sure all corners and walls are well covered so that animals cannot get under the egg crate false bottom.
8. Add any plant(s) you intend to have rooting. Position the plants in a way that they provide cover, but also have viewable areas as well.
9. Add about 2" of ORGANIC soil over the gravel and plant roots.
10. Add any ornaments(like rocks, wood, mosses, and leaf litter) that you wish.
11. Add water evenly across entire surface of the Vivarium floor until about 1" of water pools in the bottom(beneath the false bottom). This will help to maintain a moisture gradient, and also will aid in rooting when plants start to really root down and into the soil. Plant roots will penetrate the screening and the egg crate quickly and use the water reserve underneath as a source for growth and to flourish! It is not a real problem unless roots break down the structure and form of the egg crate.
12. Cut a piece of Saran Wrap to cover 75% of a fitting screen top lid. Use blue painter's tape to secure the Saran Wrap in place over the screen top.
13. Use flourescent(NOT incandescent) lighting as this will emit little to no heat, and also provide great lighting for your plants to grow and thrive.
14. Seed your vivarium with Springtails and terrestrial isopods like woodlice. The seeding of your vivarium has multiple benefits. The isopods will consume waste, and also keep any mold in check. They will also act as supplemental feeders. They will breed(sometimes quite readily) in a vivarium with proper parameters, and will feed any offspring someone may be fortunate enough to produce. You can add garden worms as a potential food source and a cultivator, but more often than not they will end up in standing water under the false bottom leading to a lot more maintenance.
15. Allow a week or so for your plants to respond, and you are in business. Mist regularly, but not excessively.
16. Add your chosen captive and enjoy!
This was an example of a completely terrestrial vivarium.
Check back for Streamtype, and Pond style vivarium build techniques!