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Hello there! I'm fairly new to this hobby, having found this forum a bit after setting up my vivarium. It's been planted now for right at two months, and I'm having some issues with a couple of the plants in it. I have a 10 gallon horizontal aquarium setup that I got a plant pack for from NEHERP, which arrived beautifully and healthy. My ferns are the ones I'm most concerned about. The autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) is the worst looking, with the largest fronds having mostly desiccated and curled up, especially those nearest the top of the enclosure. It's apparently supposed to grow to a decent size, upwards of 30", and I'm wondering if it's just not right for this setup since it's not a very tall enclosure and it doesn't get any shade. Similarly, my kangaroo fern (Microsorum pustulatum) seems like it's also struggling to reach a decent height due to potentially too much light. (Unrelated, the kangaroo fern also seems like a tasty snack for my isopods (armadillidium peraccae). I'm thinking it'll need to be removed anyway, but including the info here for completion's sake.)

My setup has an acrylic lid and a screen mesh vent strip on the back side of the top of the tank. I'm using NEHERP's V2 substrate, over a mesh separator and clay pebble drainage layer. I hand-mist daily in the morning, where I'll usually see a humidity spike into the upper 80-90% range if I don't run the fan (40mm computer fan) to bring it back down. It's usually in the 70% range the rest of the time, though lately I've tried leaving the fan off to keep the humidity higher around 90% to see if it would benefit the ferns more. I'm using a NICREW ClassicLED Plus light (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F7391M2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) that I had been running for 12 hours a day, but have dropped it to 10 hours for the last couple of weeks. I've also tried putting a sheet of tissue paper under the light to see if a bit of diffusion would help, but the ferns are still looking pretty bad.

I'm wondering if there is anything else I could be trying to save these ferns in this setup, or if maybe I should mulligan and transplant them into a pot and replant something different in my vivarium. Any tips are definitely appreciated!

Autumn fern's wilting fronds:
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New fronds emerging, but wilting as they open:
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Reference photo of the autumn fern right after being planted:
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Reference of initial setup after all plants were put in:
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When I had ferns showing similar damage it was alleviated by reducing the light, but autumn fern and kangaroo paw fern will both get way too big for that tank. The autumn fern is a landscaping plant (I'm confused why they even sell them for terrariums to be honest). Especially if your other plants are healthy, I'd think the best thing to try would be replacing those two ferns with more suitable plants, and then adjust light and humidity further if you need to.
 

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When I had ferns showing similar damage it was alleviated by reducing the light, but autumn fern and kangaroo paw fern will both get way too big for that tank. The autumn fern is a landscaping plant (I'm confused why they even sell them for terrariums to be honest). Especially if your other plants are healthy, I'd think the best thing to try would be replacing those two ferns with more suitable plants, and then adjust light and humidity further if you need to.
I was thinking that as well, I was kind of surprised they sent them for a 10 gal setup. I've been looking at Josh's Frogs and Black Jungle Exotics for some other replacements. Do you have any recommendations for others that would do well in a shorter tank? Other than the ferns, I also have a baby's tears (Pilea depressa), a golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), and a variegated peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia). I was thinking of something with a touch of color, maybe a cryptanthus or something similar.
 

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Are you planning on housing any vertebrate animals in this viv? If so, they might drive the decisions on which plants to include.
 

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Are you planning on housing any vertebrate animals in this viv? If so, they might drive the decisions on which plants to include.
Nope, only isopods and springtails in this one. I may decide to make another larger setup in the future with other animals in it, but for now the tiny critters are enough for this one!
 

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Update: After putting tissue paper under the light to diffuse it a bit, the fern has 2 new fronds growing and seeming to be doing better now. I'm still planning to move them to a pot outside the vivarium and replace them since they'll likely outgrow this setup, but good to know that the lighting was the primary cause of their distress and not something else.
 
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