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Another First - creating a terrarium

This is a discussion on Another First - creating a terrarium within the A Kodak Moment: not necessarily plants... forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; When you're retired, you can either sit in your rocking chair and wait for your ...

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  1. #1
    Kauaiguy's Avatar
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    Default Another First - creating a terrarium

    When you're retired, you can either sit in your rocking chair and wait for your rear end to callous or you can try and find different things to do.

    I'm trying the air layering thing and may have to do it again, but then anything new is a learning process. Now I have something else in mind.

    My neighbor just gave me a 29 gallon Amphibian/Fish tank, and since I don't want to keep fish anymore other than OSCAR ( my Betta in a 10 gal aquarium), I thought that maybe I can try my hand at creating a terrarium.

    No, I don't want just an ordinary put some dirt and a couple of rocks in a bowl and throw in some plants ... which may be the best way to learn. But ...

    Why not put a waterfall inside in an enclosed pond-lett (for lack of a better word), and soil on the outside with some plants.

    The original Aquarium:
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    I've created a divide by using two pieces of Styrofoam, gluing them together and cutting a curved lip on top. The left side will be filled with water up to the lip and the right side rocks on the bottom and top soil. LOL ... hopefully it doesn't leak! Using lots of silicone because Styrofoam has lots of pinholes where water can drip in.

    The Water Leak Test ... Fingers Crossed.

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    The Waterfall Kit I'm Using.
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    To be updated as I continue to build. Any and All suggestions are welcome. Never done this before either. What the Hey!

  2. #2
    Chris in Hamilton's Avatar
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    Not sure the Styro will hold up. Take a look here though lots of info

    Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories

  3. #3
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    Default

    There's a lot of info regarding how to make tabletop waterfalls out of styrofoam, and that's where I got the idea of maybe making a dam to hold water on the one side and just plain dirt on the other. Some innovative ways of creating waterfalls on Utube and I'm intrigue by them.

    But ... it looks like I'll have to start over again as I couldn't stop the leaks although they're small. It will completely soak the medium on the other side and I'll wind up with a bog (sp?). Then, I'd would be limited to using bog or water plants.

    What I should have done and is to use fiberglass cloth and cover the Styrofoam AFTER I placed it into the aquarium. I just don't know how the fiberglass chemical is going to react with the Styrofoam. I think, all I have to do is the top and the back side and overlap it a bit on to the glass. Maybe 1/4" which should seal the bottom and the sides.

    The leaks I have right now are pinhole leaks where the water have found a way to work around the tiny holes in the styrofoam.

    I have to tear this apart and get ready for the tedious task of scraping all the silicone off the glass. Aaaargh!

    What's that they say about if you don't succeed? I'll give it a couple of more shots ... what do I have to lose?

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    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    I have a similar sized aquarium and thinking what to do for some time. I will follow this thread.

  5. #5
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    Yug
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    I don't know how deep your water will be, but one plant you may want to try is a common aquarium plant Nymphoides Aquatica (common name - banana plant because of the thick banana shaped roots). If it is happy with your conditions, it will grow leaves with longer stems, and eventually become like mini lily pads. I even had some bloom in my aquarium. I always thought those were cute. Another worthwhile addition if you have sufficient water depth is Aponogeton Madagascariensis (common name - Madagascar lace plant). It has a very delicate lacy looking leaf, and those will flower, too, under the right conditions.

    Just a thought. Look them up and see what you think.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yug View Post
    I don't know how deep your water will be, but one plant you may want to try is a common aquarium plant Nymphoides Aquatica (common name - banana plant because of the thick banana shaped roots). If it is happy with your conditions, it will grow leaves with longer stems, and eventually become like mini lily pads. I even had some bloom in my aquarium. I always thought those were cute. Another worthwhile addition if you have sufficient water depth is Aponogeton Madagascariensis (common name - Madagascar lace plant). It has a very delicate lacy looking leaf, and those will flower, too, under the right conditions.

    Just a thought. Look them up and see what you think.
    I think he's planning on a few inches of water Yug. Lace plants are gorgeous though!

    ---------- Post Merged at 06:09 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Kauaiguy View Post
    There's a lot of info regarding how to make tabletop waterfalls out of styrofoam, and that's where I got the idea of maybe making a dam to hold water on the one side and just plain dirt on the other. Some innovative ways of creating waterfalls on Utube and I'm intrigue by them.

    But ... it looks like I'll have to start over again as I couldn't stop the leaks although they're small. It will completely soak the medium on the other side and I'll wind up with a bog (sp?). Then, I'd would be limited to using bog or water plants.

    What I should have done and is to use fiberglass cloth and cover the Styrofoam AFTER I placed it into the aquarium. I just don't know how the fiberglass chemical is going to react with the Styrofoam. I think, all I have to do is the top and the back side and overlap it a bit on to the glass. Maybe 1/4" which should seal the bottom and the sides.

    The leaks I have right now are pinhole leaks where the water have found a way to work around the tiny holes in the styrofoam.

    I have to tear this apart and get ready for the tedious task of scraping all the silicone off the glass. Aaaargh!

    What's that they say about if you don't succeed? I'll give it a couple of more shots ... what do I have to lose?
    Maybe use plexiglass? I'm off right now but I work in the R&D department of a auto parts plant. We often have to replace guards on machines. We heat plexi with a torch and bend it to whatever curve we need. Takes some practice and you have to be careful that it doesn't burn and do it in a well ventilated area but you should be able to make a good seal. Don't forget to allow enough space in your water area for the filter. Maybe use an inert medium on your land side. Something like lava rock. Should be a few bits kicking around where you are. Then you can leave your plants in their pots. Lot less fuss and muss if you have to replace one.

  7. #7
    Kauaiguy's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris in Hamilton View Post
    I think he's planning on a few inches of water Yug. Lace plants are gorgeous though!

    ---------- Post Merged at 06:09 AM ----------



    Maybe use plexiglass? You can leave your plants in their pots .
    LOL! You and I must have this vibe, because while I was out in my back porch, I was looking at the divider I had made between my porch and sidewalk and it has plexiglass in it. It was a DUH moment and I just came in about a minute ago with the Plexiglass.

    But I think I'll go to my local HD and get a thicker one. That should hold the water on one side and I can still use the styrofoam in front of it to mold a curved lip. Mahalo Nui Loa for your suggestion and it's the perfect solution for this project. Now I don't have to deal with the strong odor of the Fiberglass resin. Bad Stuff!

    Leaving plants in Pot is a great Idea. I have a few small clay pots as well as plastic pots. LOL You rock bro!

    Yug: Thank you for your suggestions, now you have me thinking about a water garden.

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  8. #8
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    Default

    OK, It looks like the plexiglass will do the trick. Glad Chris thought of it!

    I have the waterfall going and you can see that the water (so far) has stayed on the left-hand side.
    Still keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't start leaking. I'll leave it like this for a couple of days and see what happens.
    Then I'll put in the styrofoam cutout to make it look more realistic.
    After that, dirt, rocks and plants .. Hopefully.

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  9. #9
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    LOL Sounds like you thought of it 1st. Don't want to sound like an ass but I, personally, would not use dirt or really, anything that can break down easily. If it does decide to leak later on it'll be a bugger cleaning it out. Perhaps lava rock or even good quality sphagnum? May depend on what kind of plants.

  10. #10
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    Haven't made up my mind yet. I was thinking that if I were to keep plants in pots, then I could use sand. But I worry about the salt content of sand. I can get a mountain full of sand here as we have about 33 miles of beaches .... LOL!

    Also thought about Black Sand. The big Island of Hawaii has black sand because most of the beaches has nothing but black lava rocks. Then if I wanted to spend a few bucks I could purchase river sand from the internet, but that doesn't guarantee me that it doesn't contain salt. We have rivers here but the rivers are fed by the ocean so I think that's out.

    Crush Lava rocks here are cheap, one bag for about 4 bucks. I use it all the time but I'm getting tired of looking at it. LOL!

    Spaghmun moss ??? Hmmm? Decisions, decisions, decisions. But then bog and water plants intrigue me, so why then did I bother to separate the water? Geeeesh!

    Maybe a couple of tiny guppies in the waterfall area? How bout' a betta fish ... Nah, they don't like moviing water.

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