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Discussion Starter #1
Hello again Dendroboard!

So, I've been trying to make a rather large uninhabited terrarium that is quite on the tall side. The distance between the ceiling and the substrate is around 5 ft, for instance. As such, I purchased some exceptionally bright lights, which to me may be too bright, if I'm not mistaken.

I could post a bunch of pictures of my lux meter grading light, but to cut it short I'm seeing lows of 8,000 lux to 12,000 lux within a foot above the substrate, then picking up gradually to about 30,000 lux at 3 feet above the substrate (2 feet below the ceiling) and sort of a parabolic change from there on up, up to ~200,000 lux (where the meter stops) inches below the Jungle Dawn bulbs.

I think, from what I've read, that this is going to be way on the high side for any kind of terrarium plant past one foot off, at least anything that wants to grow from the ground up and isn't exclusively growing on the walls (which get less light, of course). So I'm wondering, are there epiphytic plants that can be used to grow out from the wall and make a sort of canopy? What I mean specifically is, are there plants that can survive sun-like light, grow outwards onto a piece of driftwood or something, and break up the light? I think this would also make the terrarium look more attractive, if it could be pulled off. I know there was more or less a thread asking this already, but I have a strangely-proportioned terrarium that is different from others.

Alternately, do I just need to find a milder light bulb?

(Here's a pic of the terrarium in its incomplete form, if that helps)

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the responses!

I grow many of my Bromeliads in an unshaded greenhouse. Those can provide quite a sufficient amount of shade.
That's interesting. Do you mean neoregelias or a different type of brom, like the rather large ones shown in some stores? I'm interested in knowing. I'll definitely have some neoregelias ready to plant soon, too.

I have a strangler fig (Ficus burtt-davyii) here that could do that well and I could send you a piece of it.
That's very gracious of you! I was not familiar with that species of ficus, but I looked it up and it's beautiful. Do you want me to start a PM conversation?

Also, I am curious, by what means does this ficus provide shade? Do you mean, grow it from the ground and when it's near the top, it will provide shade? How long does it take to grow up? EDIT: Oh! I see that it is epiphytic now. Will it grow in spaghnum, or just on other trees? Or does it grow in any organic matter, like other epiphytes?

Thanks again!
 

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There’s a huge collection of Bromeliaceae in the room. Smaller Neoregelia aren’t any exception to that light tolerance. Some of the terrestrial type Tillandsia should be tolerant as well.
 

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Also, I am curious, by what means does this ficus provide shade? Do you mean, grow it from the ground and when it's near the top, it will provide shade? How long does it take to grow up? EDIT: Oh! I see that it is epiphytic now. Will it grow in spaghnum, or just on other trees? Or does it grow in any organic matter, like other epiphytes?

Thanks again!
If you plant that strangler in there the branches and foliage will grow out into the middle of the tank and shade areas below. Like other stranglers, this one starts out like an epiphyte and then the roots grow down to the ground. It seems to be a very easy grower. If you just attach it on the side somewhere with a pad of sphagnum it will probably establish easily. I've heard stranglers can be a hazard in an enclosure because of the expanding roots, but this is exaggerated. Just prune it so it doesn't grow so big and you can also trim the roots.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm curious, what will the roots do when the plant is 3 to 4 feet above the ground? Do they attempt to make it all the way to the ground or just give up when it looks too far to reach?
 
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