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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pretty new to the hobby. Setup my first tank (no frogs). Just looking for any advice or tips on my setup, mostly with misting. I have an insitu tank with all the vents open, oil filled radiator space heater keeping the room at 70-75 degrees. Tank also has built in fans circulating the air in the tank. Lighting is from tincman herps, 16” full spectrum led 15 watts 6500k. I have the lights on a 14 on 10 hours off cycle. double nozzle misting system. Some plants have been damaged due to being shipped in the cold but most are doing well. Ive been getting mold in the tank and on the wood and its been there for maybe over a month now. I do have some springtails and dwarf white isopods in the tank. I think i have been misting too much and not letting the substrate dry out. Any wisdom is appreciated!
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I love the hardscape.

Mold is common for the first month or two. I've just set up a new tank and it had mold. Eventually either the springtails will eat the mold or the mold will exhaust the nutrients that it's feeding on and die off.

If this is going to be for dart frogs I would recommend removing the moss on top of the substrate and replacing work a thick layer of leaf litter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I love the hardscape.

Mold is common for the first month or two. I've just set up a new tank and it had mold. Eventually either the springtails will eat the mold or the mold will exhaust the nutrients that it's feeding on and die off.

If this is going to be for dart frogs I would recommend removing the moss on top of the substrate and replacing work a thick layer of leaf litter.
Thank you! Once I have frogs i’m going to use the moss elsewhere and add some more leaf litter.
 

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The plants look quite healthy and it doesn’t look too wet to me. I think most people do 12 hours of light, to match equatorial lighting. Also the plants will appreciate a 10 degree night temp drop, I think most frogs will too since they’re often from the same environment as the plants, but someone else can weigh in, I don’t keep frogs.

Overall looks great to me, as far as plants are concerned. How often/long do you mist?
 

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The mold cycle is fun to watch! I like the “corner background” design; debated doing that with mine. The ghostwood placement looks natural! I would add the lead litter sooner rather than later when you have frogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The plants look quite healthy and it doesn’t look too wet to me. I think most people do 12 hours of light, to match equatorial lighting. Also the plants will appreciate a 10 degree night temp drop, I think most frogs will too since they’re often from the same environment as the plants, but someone else can weigh in, I don’t keep frogs.

Overall looks great to me, as far as plants are concerned. How often/long do you mist?
i’ve recently been misting twice a day for 15 seconds and moved it down to twice a day for 5 seconds. The substrate is never being allowed to dry.
 

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Your jewel orchids would not appreciate that substrate ever drying out, so that's a good thing. A range from "moist" to occasional deep watering would be ideal, but if the plants seem happy then no need to change anything. To be honest, in order to get the amount of misting I need in the upper layers of my tank, it results in my substrate always staying more wet than moist. I get moss and algae growing on the leaves of my Macodes petola and I always have a mold or fungus growing somewhere. The Macodes, Anoectochilus, Begonia, Elaphoglossum, Marcgravia, Sinningias, Peperomias, etc. seem perfectly happy, but I believe keeping things that wet is not ideal for frog feet (I don't keep frogs).
 

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I do see a few plants that aren't epiphytes that appear to be mounted epiphytically - is there soil around the roots of the Ficus thunbergii and the Peperomia prostrata? I believe both would appreciate a pocked of substrate/soil to grow out of.

@ChillinVillain, the misters appear to be MistKing, the industry standard misting system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I do see a few plants that aren't epiphytes that appear to be mounted epiphytically - is there soil around the roots of the Ficus thunbergii and the Peperomia prostrata? I believe both would appreciate a pocked of substrate/soil to grow out of.

@ChillinVillain, the misters appear to be MistKing, the industry standard misting system.
The ficus is growing on a bed of sphagnum and the peperomia I suppose should be too but I have 5 strands laying on tropical moss. The peperomia must be a very slow grower? i dont think its moved since i’ve planted it
 

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Sphagnum and other moss won't make those plants as happy as actual soil, although they might root into it eventually. I don't consider the peperomia slow but of course that's a matter of perspective, my Schoenorchis fragrans that grows 1-2 new leaves a year is slow...however the peperomia might grow faster if it is in soil that never dries out. I would try a strand of it down on the substrate, I bet it will take off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sphagnum and other moss won't make those plants as happy as actual soil, although they might root into it eventually. I don't consider the peperomia slow but of course that's a matter of perspective, my Schoenorchis fragrans that grows 1-2 new leaves a year is slow...however the peperomia might grow faster if it is in soil that never dries out. I would try a strand of it down on the substrate, I bet it will take off.
Ill move a couple strands down and see! Also, if i end up moving it all whats a fast growing plant i can drape down that piece of wood? I would love for it to look like a weeping tree lol any suggestions?
 

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I am cycling 2x InSitu's myself (about a month now). My issue is keeping them wet right now...I find they dry out very fast! For your first setup, this looks great! I wish my first one looked like that.

Here are mine, for a peak at something similar and I don't usually plant much until I consider them "cycled". Plants are 2-3 weeks out, waiting for some Vriesea erythrodactylon for the one on the right. I'm misting on and off throughout the day, probably over a minute of misting a day.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am cycling 2x InSitu's myself (about a month now). My issue is keeping them wet right now...I find they dry out very fast! For your first setup, this looks great! I wish my first one looked like that.

Here are mine, for a peak at something similar and I don't usually plant much until I consider them "cycled". Plants are 2-3 weeks out, waiting for some Vriesea erythrodactylon for the one on the right. I'm misting on and off throughout the day, probably over a minute of misting a day.

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Looks like we think alike dude... I’m planning on putting a second one to the left of mine as well. I think with only the back and one side hardscaped it makes for a very cool look and alot of viewing room for display tanks.

I’m surprised you’re having a hard time keeping them moist. are your vents closed? also do you have a substrate under the leaf litter? I also think that having plants keeps the humidity up which should keep it more wet.
 

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How easy it is to keep humidity up in a tank varies wildly by environment. I live in a high desert and my tank ranges from 80+% humidity down by the substrate, to 25% up where the highest Tillandsia is located, and this is with a pretty well established, planted tank. I mist around 6x/day and the only way to get the humidity in the highest region up would be to plant it much more heavily, which is a slow process. In any case, your humidity readings might vary based on where in the tank you keep the hygrometer because all tanks are at least somewhat stratified, and based on ambient humidity level in the house (mine is around 20%). That's why it's impossible to give a "one size fits all" misting frequency/length recommendation, each person has to tailor it, often based on visually assessing humidity levels and fluctuation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sphagnum and other moss won't make those plants as happy as actual soil, although they might root into it eventually. I don't consider the peperomia slow but of course that's a matter of perspective, my Schoenorchis fragrans that grows 1-2 new leaves a year is slow...however the peperomia might grow faster if it is in soil that never dries out. I would try a strand of it down on the substrate, I bet it will take off.
Added some soil under the ficus and moved the peperomia to the soil. Added leaf litter back in as well as some more plants, found a local vendor and just cant help myself honestly.
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Looks like we think alike dude... I’m planning on putting a second one to the left of mine as well. I think with only the back and one side hardscaped it makes for a very cool look and alot of viewing room for display tanks.

I’m surprised you’re having a hard time keeping them moist. are your vents closed? also do you have a substrate under the leaf litter? I also think that having plants keeps the humidity up which should keep it more wet.
Yes, our designs both look nice! I wish I had gone with the black panel after looking at Socratic Monologue's InSitu build, but alas, too late! I like the way they turned out so far. It will be nice to get some frogs in them in February or so. I have two different types of imitators going in these.

I tried a different substrate approach this time around. It is primarily just a layer of tiny LECA (used for bonsai), topped with Flourite, then leaf litter. I've started to add in some ABG against the back and some other areas I intend on planting with some Philodendrons (from Peru to try and make a biotope sort of tank). I think the lack of ABG is probably contributing to the dryness, and certainly the lack of plants as well. I have only the back vent partially open at this time...but this varies on the day...and I am continually adjusting misting. I don't usually check humidity, but I check daily with a handheld one just to try and get a feel until I can get more stability in these tanks. Trying to see if I can get it to stabilize around 60% or so between misting, but not too worried!
 

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Ill move a couple strands down and see! Also, if i end up moving it all whats a fast growing plant i can drape down that piece of wood? I would love for it to look like a weeping tree lol any suggestions?
I can't think of a single truly epiphytic trailing plant that is fast growing and would do well up on the branches. A number of plants that are labelled "epiphytes" actually grow in pockets of debris that have accumulated in cracks and crevices of branches, debris that is essentially decomposing into soil. I believe Columnea microphylla is one of these, and if you could provide a small pocket of soil it would probably be quite happy. There are some pendant orchids that might do well, but none could be considered fast growing - Angraecum distichum comes to mind, that is particularly slow growing for me. Trichosalpinx chamaelepanthes would look great and is a little faster, but it needs to be kept very moist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I can't think of a single truly epiphytic trailing plant that is fast growing and would do well up on the branches. A number of plants that are labelled "epiphytes" actually grow in pockets of debris that have accumulated in cracks and crevices of branches, debris that is essentially decomposing into soil. I believe Columnea microphylla is one of these, and if you could provider a small pocket of soil it would probably be quite happy. There are some pendant orchids that might do well, but none could be considered fast growing - Angraecum distichum comes to mind, that is particularly slow growing for me. Trichosalpinx chamaelepanthes would look great and is a little faster, but it needs to be kept very moist.
I appreciate all the info! Man all three of those look awesome! That too branch stays moist up top by the misters. I think i’ll do some research on Columnea microphylla and Trichosalpinx chamaelepanthes.
 
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