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Goals and intro
#1
I'm a horticulturist and a plant nut who has been into aquatic planted tanks for a few years. I recently purchased a 75 gallon tank because a) it was cheap and b) I've always wanted to have a larger terrarium...
I don't know if I'll keep frogs in it eventually, but I do know that I I do I would like to stick to a communal species recommended for beginners such as the auratus or the leucs.
This project is still in the planning stages, as nothing will be started until late june or july.
My goal is to create a vivaria that is frog friendly, but with the initial goal being happy and healthy plant growth in an aesthetically pleasing environment (I would like to have it set up for several months before I even considered putting a living thing in it, to allow for adjustment and tinkering, as well as stabilization.. then if you figure 1mo quarantine minimum on top of that..)
I would also like to have a water feature in which I could have some aquatic plants- doesn't need to be deep/large, I would love to have some crypts/other plants grow emergent. How deep I can make the water and still have it be safe for auratus or leucs is another thing I am unsure of.
In order to allow for easy access to mechanical parts(namely plumbling to some form of misting/humidifer), I would like to drill the lower backside of this aquarium- my issue is that I do not know the brand name, and it is not on the aquaria, so I have no way of contacting the manufacturer to see if any of the sides were ever made with tempered glass.
Another issue I am trying to figure out involves the best use of space in this terraria- I am assuming a classicly shaped 75 would not make a great vertical vivarium as the footprint (vertically) wouldn't be very large. I think I would prefer more ground space- although it would be neat to try some species orchids if the ventilation/air circulation could be made suitable.
Lighting I have figured out- I have purchased from AH supply in the past and have also purchased used coralife fixtures and had good results with aquatic plant growth.
Media- I think I want to use the mix described here and on other vivaria forums.
background- I think GS would be a good choice. I like the idea of a black foam, that someone mentioned in another thread and can be bought from a vivaria supply co, but I imagine I would need quite a few cubes for a 75!
Bottom/drainage- I prefer the egg crate false bottoms.
Plants- moss! Love the moss. Also some of the philo species, would like to try some of the hoya on the back wall, ferns (maidenhair is a particular favorite), broms, ludisia, selaginella, liverworts (pellia! often sold as aquatic but will do well in damp areas as well), would like to try emergent glosso, crypts, etc. Suggestions on plant material are welcome. Prefer mostly smaller leaved plants- perhaps a couple 'specimens' or larger leaves plants as highlight- but I want to create the impression of space.
I know 75 is awfully big for a first vivaria- but I've actually kept terraria (although minus the ornate background/water feature) in the past- sans critters. This is my first large project, but I have this beautiful 75 and a real and time-tested passion for everything plants... plus an absolute fascination with the idea of a mini-ecosystem (although I know vivaria aren't true ecosystems- and as such require inputs/outputs).
If I could get some comments and experiences from others in the forum that have tackled large products, or comments on other's experiences with orchids in the vivaria (problems and why you think you encountered the issues), false bottom issues, external plumbing issues, the best way to plumb a water fall with water feature (small pool), tackling large vivaria projects, moulding GS (I know you carve it when dry, but any tips/tricks?).
This is a great forum, and I look forward to picking your brains as I plan this project.
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