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I am constructing my viv and have came to the top layer. I currently have peat moss and sphagnum. Do I have to choose one or the other or do I put the peat moss on top of the sphagnum? Any help would be amazing. Also I have plants to plant and do I need to add the soil they are in to the substrate or just shake the soil off and plant them just in the substrate?
 

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Peat moss and/or sphagnum will make for a poorly drained substrate. You could have problems with saturation and root rot.
Consider a clay substrate http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63732-clay-substrate-how.html a Turface substrate, or ABG mix http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/63915-truth-about-abg-mix.html

For your plants you want to reduce the risk of pests and pathogens by bleaching. I rinse as much of the dirt out of the roots as I can, soak the plant for 10 minutes or so in water to make sure it is fully hydrated. Then I do a 10% bleach/water soak for 10 minutes. Rinse it really well. It is best if you can age the plant for 6 weeks to reduce the amount of systemics going into the viv.
 

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Are you suggesting six weeks after the bleach treatment to put the plant into another pot/grow out area for the systemic issues-- ("in the plant's system-leaves and roots") before actually putting the plant into the vivarium.....? makes sense...
 

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Are you suggesting six weeks after the bleach treatment to put the plant into another pot/grow out area for the systemic issues-- ("in the plant's system-leaves and roots") before actually putting the plant into the vivarium.....? makes sense...
That's what I like to do Judy. After cleaning, I plant it in ABG mix and put them under a shop light fluorescent. Then, when setting up my viv, they are ready to go with no further treatment. I can plant them with or without the ABG "dirt ball" in the roots as it's already been cleaned. Alternatively, I can simply take a cutting of it and leave the rest there to continue growing out for the next build.
 

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I completely understand the additional time for "grow out", but is it absolutely necessary. I don't have an extra tank for growing plants out, plus with a new build I will be buying a lot of plants at once and would need a rather large tank to do this. Can the plants be placed in the new viv right away? I plan on waiting a few months to add any kind of frogs to make sure the tank is stable anyways.
 

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I completely understand the additional time for "grow out", but is it absolutely necessary. I don't have an extra tank for growing plants out, plus with a new build I will be buying a lot of plants at once and would need a rather large tank to do this. Can the plants be placed in the new viv right away? I plan on waiting a few months to add any kind of frogs to make sure the tank is stable anyways.
That's a decision you'll have to make for yourself. Some people put them straight in and others do not. I choose to age them for a minimum of 6 months whenever possible. Here is a good thread discussing systemics. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/plants/59987-home-depot-question.html

Oh, and it has nothing to do with "grow out" time. I do it to let some of the systemic pesticide poisons wear off.
 
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Oops, I meant 6 weeks or a month and a half. 3 months would be even better and I often do that.
 
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