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Terrarium substrate

aec34

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10 Oct 2020
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Not entirely sure that this is the right place for this post, but what have people used as terrarium substrate?

I’ve been experimenting with my baby biorb over the last 6 months or so as a planted tank, but think terrarium is now the right way to go.
I’ve got some hydrocotyle leucocephala and moss growing emersed ready to go in, plus some fittonia, mind your own business, etc so nothing super fancy. Sphagnum-soil mix? Layers?
 

Alex Papp

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Tropica soil/any aquasoil is great because it doesn't compact (no need to put lava rock at the bottom), so holds an open structure for roots with no anaerobic areas, and contains enough nutrients for the short term (fertilise after 6 months).
Just so you can see the evidence of my claims, here are some projects I've done with Tropica's aquasoil.
Hope that helps!
 

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MWood

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Another vote for aquasoil for a high humidity terrarium.

I have also used some of this 'Dendrosoil' before, a mix of orchid bark, leaf mould, coir etc, over a base of hydroleca topped with some matting. It's a bit of a faff and I wouldn't recommend it where you want things to be consistently wet enough to grow moss and other plants from the hobby. However, I have had success growing begonias and other forest floor/terrestrial species where you want the substrate to dry out between waterings.
 

Alex Papp

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Wow, they’re stunning! I suspect my efforts will be much more modest... Do you find it tricky keeping the very shallow water clear in the rectangular one? My windowsill experiments with a small amount of water above the substrate struggle with a sticky, thready algae.
I washed the aquasoil to get rid of excess nutrients that might leach from it. The rocks (frodo stones) provides a barrier between the soil and water/sand front. The tank has no direct sunlight, which helps. Eventually (4-5 months) I replace the sand- it goes a little green.
 

Alex Papp

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Another vote for aquasoil for a high humidity terrarium.

I have also used some of this 'Dendrosoil' before, a mix of orchid bark, leaf mould, coir etc, over a base of hydroleca topped with some matting. It's a bit of a faff and I wouldn't recommend it where you want things to be consistently wet enough to grow moss and other plants from the hobby. However, I have had success growing begonias and other forest floor/terrestrial species where you want the substrate to dry out between waterings.
About drying out, aquasoil holds almost no moisture, I need to top up the DOOA tank a few times a week.
 

Alex Papp

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Hey @Alex Papp they look interesting.
Can you give some further information of what you run, plants etc?
I assume it's an ONF Flat but unsure which one.
Would they work in a dry room?
ONF Flat nano (original)
DOOA Neo Glass Air
Branch is Epiweb
wrapped with DOOA Tape.
moss is java moss on wood
Taiwan moss on stone
unipac sand, rio xingu gravel
Frodo stone
Tropica soil with Neo K and Fe tabs as the nutrients runs out.

Plants in foreground
-selaginella sp.
-Rotala rotundifolia/macrandra shimoga

Other plants
-Floscopa cf. Scandens
-Oxalis triangularifolia
I can't remember the name of the pretty one sorry

Plants on epiweb branch
-Neofinetia sp.
-Pluerothalis? sp.
-Dendrobium leuceocyanum
-Pyrrosia numularifolia

They are fine in a dry room, mine is in a kitchen/dining roon. I mist the DOOA once a day with RO water. I mist 1* a week with DOOA wabi-kusa mist to stop mould.
I fertilise orchids with orchid myst very occasionally.
 
Last edited:

Alex Papp

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Next one:
Ikea grow lamp.
DOOA Terra Base in center to water the plants slowly
Mini taiwan moss on DOOA Terra base.
Pitcher plant on base.
Pyrosia numularifolia on base
Orchid on base

Bun moss on base, with tropica soil underneath
Seriyu stones

Biophytum sensitivum
Fittonia
Rotala shimoga
Selaginella jorii

This was commisioned by someone so I don't look after it, but it needs little/ no care as it is sealed with a lid.
 

aec34

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Tropica soil/any aquasoil is great because it doesn't compact (no need to put lava rock at the bottom)
Hi @Alex Papp did you put anything at all under the aquasoil? I’d totally forgotten I have a tradition glass terrarium so am wondering about surrounding a patch of soil in the centre/back with rocks/sand/gravel.
957E20BE-9A5C-4EDA-92DF-242324FA2660.jpeg
Any suggestions much appreciated,
 

Alex Papp

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26 Mar 2018
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London
In the first one I didn't, because the water level is quite high all the time, that is fine for most plants in there.
The second I did because there are plants that need more drainage. Like the plant you have in there.

Another benefit of aquasoil is it is less messy
 
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