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Thread: Really want to do a live terrarium for my gargoyle! But I need help!!!

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    Post Really want to do a live terrarium for my gargoyle! But I need help!!!

    As I mentioned in another thread I've already started setting up the permanent enclosure for my gargoyle gecko when it gets older.

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    The above picture is what I have at the moment. My gecko is only 5 months old so I have a while before I'm putting him/her in the bigger tank which is a National Geographic 16 x 16 x 24. And lately I've really contemplated cleaning all of that out and instead doing a naturalistic bioactive setup. But I'm deathly afraid of setting it up wrong, because I'm not really sure what the consequences of that is. And I've heard that it's quite difficult to set up a self sustaining terrarium, unless you're experienced of course.

    So please help! I need detailed instructions and information for making this happen!
    1. What all do I need?

    2. What plants are very easy to maintain and strong enough for a gargoyle?

    3. What substrate(s) is best for this?
    A. What order should the substrates be placed in?
    B. How thick should each substrate be?

    4. What light do I need?
    A. What type of bulb?
    B. What wattage of bulb?

    5. Will I need an automated misting system? I know they are pricy, but I'm sure it will come in handy.
    6. What little critters will I need? (I think they are called micro fauna?) not really sure Lol
    A. How many will I put in? And I'll I need to add more or will they take care of themselves?

    7. How often, if at all, will I need to change substrate or anything in the terrarium?
    A. Is this too much of a hassle?

    8. And I know I'll need something like a drainage layer, but I'm not very sure how I'll handle that, and if or when I'll have to replace it.

    Sorry for all the questions! But please help me out! I want it to be perfect for the little guy/girl when I'm done.

    After I get all the info and get started, I'll make a thread with step by step details and pictures of how I'm doing it.

    I'll appreciate all the help I can get!

    Bradley

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    I will intently following this thread. Hopefully it will get some knowledgeable collectors involved


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    I hope it will! I could really use the feedback. I want to start as soon as possible. And I'm sure this thread could help a lot of people.

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    It's very easy to set up a self sustaining enclosure:
    2"-3" of expanded clay balls (hydroton) that you can get at a hydroponics store at the bottom for drainage
    layer of vinyl mesh that you can get by the roll at a place like Home Depot (cut to fit) on top of the balls
    2"-4" of some sort of herp soil mix (check out neherpetoculture.com) or coco fiber for the "soil"
    plants: pothos grows well and easily; sansevieria is an easy to grow plant that can withstand crestie climbing
    fake vine: I use a fake vine as another place for the crestie to sit and also to train up the plants
    isopods and springtails: the (tiny) springtails seem to show up on their own. You can buy isopods from website above.

    Enjoy.

    Aliza

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    Bradwillard96 (09-24-2015)

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    What lights will I need for those plants? And how long should I keep them on every day? Should I suspend them above the tank an inch or two with a lamp holder? I want to get something like the Exo Terra compact light top but since my tank is 16x16x24 instead of exoterra's 18x18x24, it will be too big for my tank. Should I suspend the pothos? Or plant it on the ground?

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    I personally use the natural daylight compact florescent bulbs but I am switching over to led lights. The light temp you want to strive for for the best lighting for your eyes and for the plants is between 5500k and 6700K. Planted aquarium lights work well too. I just recently got one of those satellite led aquarium lights and the tank that is on is going crazy. Like acpart said, pothos and sanseveria work well. Wandering jew works well too as if they sit on it and break it it just falls to the floor and roots itself and grows. Tillandsia (air plants) are great for shoving in cracks and crevices in wood and background. If the garg knocks them off I just put them back. I have some that after a year have started rooting into the wood. I have the pothos in my tank in the ground as well as growing in a ball of spaghnum moss shoved into a a crack near the top of the tank. Maranta (prayer plants) are a lot of fun and make a good ground cover, plus they "pray" at night. I love playing with my vivaria. It's like a little slice of nature and I get a kick out of watching everything grow and watching the little critters run around cleaning up after my gargs. Give it a shot, what's the worst that can happen? YOu have to take it apart and try again. Careful though, it might become an addiction....

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    Bradwillard96 (09-25-2015)

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    Thank you Mohkia! I'm going to start getting everything together. I'm going to go get some basic stuff right now!
    So regular hydroton from Home Depot would work fine? I have to clean it a lot first right?
    The nearest pet store is petsmart, and his particular petsmart doesn't have any of the stuff I need. Is it best to order soil? Would the NEOHERP 'origional' soil be fine? I think I'm just going to do snake plant, and pothos. Atleast to start with. And will I need to get the micro fauna before I start planting anything?

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    Pet store should carry a product called hydro balls which are essentially the same thing but you can get hydroton in larger quantities and for less money. Hydroponics stores usually gave stuff like that of you can't find it at a hardware store. If you can't find hydroton you could try larger grade chunks of lava rock. As for the soIL that sound perfect. I mix my own but it is similargely to what they have minus the charcoal and tree fern fiber. I suggest using a layer of spagnum moss or leaf litter over top the soil. It's a good idea to add the microfauna when you set up the tank and let them take care of th e initial mold bloom before you put your gecko in. Should take about a month.

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    The store does online, but when I go there, they don't have much of anything I need except for insects for my Leo. But I'll probably just get everything from Neherpetoculture. I'll just start saving up thank you very much! I can't wait to get started.

    My only problem is the lights. Because my tank has smaller dimensions than other tanks, there aren't many light fixtures built for it, which I'd feel more comfortable with. Plus I'm just doing pothos and snake plant. So will I need extra lighting for those plants? Or is my room light fine?

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    I use a regular "clamp lamp" that I either clamp to a vertical strut near the cage or lay directly on top of the cage. I get 26 watt compact florescent "grow" lights from my local hydroponics store. I set the lights on a timer, 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Other people like to vary the amount of light from 12-14 hours in the summer to 8-10 hours in the winter, but it's worked fine for me this way.

    Aliza

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