Monday, January 14, 2013

Tropical Terrarium Build (part 2)

First, a little catching up after the holidays!

Regrettably, my moss project didn't go so well.  I think it was due to a poor mixture and lack of sufficient natural lighting.  I think I'll give it another try in the spring, after the melt, when the moss will be accessible.  This time, I'll give the beer recipe a try.  Or maybe even both yogurt and beer, for a comparative analysis.

I've also got a bunch of new pics to put up!  Lots of new things in both my leo's habitat and my tropical terrarium.  My leo's build has been completely upgraded, tank and all.  For Christmas, I got the Exo-Terra Medium Low terrarium; much nicer than an old aquarium!  I'll get into that on a different post.

For now, I'll showcase my tropical terrarium.


Behold, the final product of my tropical build!

It's not quite what I had envisioned, but I'm satisfied with it.  I was obviously hoping for a little moss in there, but I may yet be able to culture some and transplant it.  In the meanwhile, I bought some Zilla Premium Compressed Frog Moss to toss around  for a little extra splash of green.  I'm glad I didn't try to stick it down; it works much better just fluffed about.  The colour can be a little dominating if I put too much of it in one spot. 

Also note that my plants have been trimmed down and separated.  I mixed up my pothos a little, so I hope that they won't be in direct competition for root space.  The gold pothos (just visible on the right) is doing fine.  It's sprouted a couple new leaves in the time since it's planting, meaning that it is doing well.

I was having some trouble with the philodendron and sansevieria (snake plant), however.  When I put the Zoo-Med Hydroballs in, I oversaturated the soil.  This lead to me loosing a couple philodendron leaves and a sansevieria stalk to overwatering.  Still, being fairly hardy plants, they've totally bounced back.  The philodendron has also sprouted two new leaf, which are not visible in the above image.  Some of the individual pothos plants are withering off, but some have also sprouted new growths, kind of averaging it out.  The sansevieria is now my cresty's favourite resting spot.  He wedges himself between the leaves, almost completely concealed.  I wish he'd take advantage of the log hideout I built him, but I'm just glad he's enjoying the plants.

I've still got to install the Monsoon system from my old tank, although for now, my hand mister is doing fine.  As a side bar, I'll most likely be revisiting my review of the Monsoon system eventually, as I've had some issues with it since.  One of the tubes is also in need of a little patch job.  A drop or two of silicone should solve the issue.

In later pics, you'll see the substrate layers; drainage, mesh, and substrate layer.  The substrate is a combination of three Exo-Terra products: Exo-Terra Jungle Earth, Exo-Terra Tree Fern Substrate, and Exo-Terra Plantation Soil (brick format).  The mixture I used is as follows:
-2 parts plantation soil
-1 part tree fern substrate
-1 part forest soil
This gives me a really nice, fairly natural substrate that is both visually appealing and thus far totally functional.  Plenty of drainage and a good amount of water retention.

I've also added a couple extra pieces of wood, drift wood and grapewood.  I originally planned to use them for the leo tank, but once again, my eyes are bigger than the physical space of my tanks.  It's all worked out though, since they fit perfectly into the tropical tank.  They give even more jumping and climbing platforms, and help to break the line of sight.

The overall effect has been fairly noticeable.  Humidity has been stable at the 50 to 70 percent range, and temperature has been holding at 20 to 25°C.

Psycological effects have been noted as well.  Rocza's a little less intimidated by my presence, he eats more freely from my fingers, he's actually walked up to the glass and observed me, and he's gone as far as jumping at my fingers as I worked to place some wires around the outside of his tank.  I'm fairly sure it was the twiddling movements that set him off.  I placed my hand in right after and he recognized it at once, and tryed to lick Repashy off my fingers. 

But enough analysis, time for some more pictures!

The philodendron leaf on the left covers the feeding dish, giving the gecko a better
sense of security while he eats.  Having the dish on the door also simplifies cleaning.

Formerly, the newest leaf of the philodendron.

Jade pothos, now a little more worst for where.

Here, we see the pothos wrapped around the grapewood, as well as the log hideaway.  And Rocza, of course.

Next post, I'll show off the third phase of the leopard gecko build, talk about some new product I'm trying out, do a little research into yet another animal I'd like to acquire, and post plenty new pictures.  Hopefully, it won't be another month till then!

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