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                                                     tropical terrarium plants
                                                            Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:07 AM                                       Posted by Stylish Wanderer

         tropical terrarium plants                    
                                                     Hi I was wondering if there was an alternative to dirt in a rainforest terrarium. I have had problems with bugs and
                                                     mold and the dirt is too high.




                                                     tropical terrarium plants
                                                            Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:07 AM                                       Posted by Stylish Wanderer
                                                      
                                                                                                                  Hi I was wondering if there was an alternative to dirt in a
                                                                                                                  rainforest terrarium. I have had problems with bugs and
                                                                                                                  mold and the dirt is too high maintenance to change all
                                                                                                                  the time. I was wondering if plants could live in just clay.


                                                                                                                  Im not sure if you mean Dirt from outside or anything
                                                                                                                  that looks like it. You also want to make sure you use a
                                                                                                                  drainage layer. I have been using lava rock lately for my
                                                                                                                  drainage layer. It is light and I can get a big bag for
                                                                                                                  under 4 bucks. I have clay backgrounds with plants but
                                                                                                                  have not tried it as a substrate. I do use a few other
                                                                                                                  things for substrate. Some of my tanks are only New
                                                                                                                  Zealand sphagnum moss with a drainage layer. Others
                                                     have a mix of coco fiber and sphagnum peat moss with a drainage layer. The rest I use ABG mixture. The recipe is
                                                     2 parts tree fern fiber, 1 part peat moss, 2 parts cocofiber, 1 part charcoal, and 2 parts orchid bark. These all work
                                                     great for me personally. I never have mold or maintenance issues. Here are some good threads for you to check
                                                     out.


                                                     There are plenty of people on the board growing plants in a clay substrate. Check out the threads Jay provided. I
                                                     also use ABG mix and it holds up for many years without having to change it.


                                                     There is no Coco fiber in the original recipe. I have seen that variation used before. I believe this is closer to the
                                                     actual ABG recipe.


                                                     ya unless you are using "dirt' from outside and bringing in all kinds of bugs with it, and also not using any kind of
                                                     drainage layer you shouldn't need to change out your substrate, or really do anything to it for years. Older vivs
                                                     (years old) that have had plenty of time for the substrate to break down in may need a fresh layer added every so
                                                     often just to keep the plants healthy and mold should mostly be temporary in any viv. You will often get a lot at first
                                                     but eventually the majority of it goes away especially if you seed with springtails. I have a feeling you may need to
                                                     review the threads on basic viv building, these shouldn't be problems in even the most basic properly constructed
                                                     viv.


                                                     A bag of peat/sphagnum moss costs about 6-8 bucks and you get a fair amount. With my CPs I use this subtrate
                                                     with perlite to help aerate the roots and perlite is very light and does well for drainage. However, perlite will float to
                                                     the top when watering so if this bothers you, don't use it. With a good drainage system, you shouldn't have to
                                                     constantly replace the subtrate. A viviarium is supposed to act as a living machine, hence, why live plants are one
                                                     of the key ingredients.


                                                     With my viv before I got frogs, I seeded the subtrate with springtails. This way any decaying matter, aka mold,
                                                     mushrooms, etc, the springs will eat them. Springs are also a nice backup if your frogs will eat them.


                                                     Since I'm fairly lazy and like to take the easy way out when I can I have used Zilla Jungle Mix in my tanks and the
                                                     plants seem to like it.