Terrariums are great! I turned a large glass wine bottle into a terrarium and currently am growing a green pepper plant in it. Very cool environment to grow plants in.
For your type of terrarium, I'd suggest growing Java Moss on some large rocks. Also, if you plan to include a water feature you might select some duckweed. Both of these plants require lots of light to grow, so don't forget to keep using your attached light system.
Take a look at this info:
What about using Lisa's idea to grow pepper plants? You could remove the top to pick your peppers. (03/16/2008)
You might want to take a look at this glass terrarium project too. There is also a page that has recommended terrarium plants.
I have used a 32-gallon fish tank that had a leak. The depth of the layers would depend on the size of your tank. You want good drainage and the charcoal prevents the soil from souring.
This is how I did mine, keep in mind I had a 32 gallon tank. First, layer the bottom with about 3 inches of fish gravel; I reused what I had after cleaning it. I used natural stone, I think it looks better.
Next, make a 3-inch layer of charcoal. This can be found in the plant section of most stores, I bought it at Wal-mart. The last layer should be 3 inches of a good quality potting soil mixed with a bit of sand.
I used the cover that came with the tank and used a plant light purchased at Wal-mart. When I bought my light, it was cheaper to buy it in the lighting section of the store than in the pet department. I kept the light on all day, since I didn't get any natural light in that room. I turned it off at night. I don't think it would be a good idea to have the tank in direct sunlight. It would probably get too hot for the plants.
I then landscaped it to look like a wooded area. I used different rocks, moss and tree bark and even found some small natural looking items to add to it. I found a miniature wheelbarrow and other items to make it look like a natural scape. Water it very lightly before adding anything. I used a spray bottle to water. Don't saturate it.
I planted different variety of small plants. It was trial and error. Some plants did overwhelm the tank at times, but I would just cut them back. After a month, the tank was filled with plants and looked great. I had a mirror glued the back of the tank when I used it for the fish so that added to the look. I received many complements from visitors.
We also had a toad living in the tank. Being the tank was all natural; the toad lived in there for about 5 years. I had a small house for him. About once a month, we would buy live crickets and add them to the tank for food. I made sure any openings were sealed so there weren't any escapees. We did get some but the cat usually took care of them. I never had to clean up after the toad since his waste went into the soil. I did have a "pond" buried a bit in the soil for him. He loved to soak in it.
I forgot to mention that at times I did have to clean the inside glass since the toad would like to kick up and dig at times. It was very interesting to watch the toad especially at feeding time.
I hope you enjoy this little project as much as I have. I finally had to give it away since we were moving and we did not have any room for the tank. I hope someday to make a small one since I really enjoyed it.
Thanks for all the great advice! I've put in all the substrate and soil, and am starting to collect small plants for the terrarium. I think it may be possible to grow several kinds of herbs, in addition to a few decorative things like miniature violets. (03/21/2008)
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