Steps to Starting First Terrarium

beckeydornFebruary 5, 2008

I am going to start my first even Terrarium. Is there a place to get step by step instructions? Maybe a supplies list of what I'll need? I'm going to use an old Aquarium to start it. I've been reading all I can on the subject and have enjoyed this discussion. I hope to start this in the next couple weeks. So, how does a newbie get started. I'm really new in the houseplant department also.

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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

You should probably start by searching this forum. This question is posted every month or so. Dig through a few pages of posts and see what comes up. I'll save you a bit of trouble though and post you this and this. You could also check the gallery page of this forum for some ideas on layout. Just try to be logical about it. Don't try to put a cactus and an orchid in the same terrarium. If you build a terrarium that maintains a higher temp and humidity, then you need to stick with tropical plants. Same rules apply if you are putting animals in it. Look at the requirements of the plants you want and build the terrarium according to that. Make sure you get the light, size and humidity requirements right. Without those, it will all die anyway.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 1:15PM
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There are all kinds of resources available on the whats and the hows to do.

The main thing that you will need to do is to decide on what kind of terrarium you want to have. There are desert terrariums, tropical terrariums, temperate terrariums, terrariums with animals generally called vivariums, and actual habitat-type terrariums that attempt to replicate an actual piece of the natural world.

Generally your beginning should be modest and give you a chance at mastering the proper substrates, the lighting, and the humidity and temperature appliances that you may need for what you have in mind. While this forum has alot of info and threads on terrariums therre is so much on the net and at the different on-line stores that can help you.
I am listing my current list of terrarium related sites. Cannot recall what all are about but take you time and check them all out.

Happy growing.


Note: some of the above links may be dead ends. ??

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 1:52PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Also consider:

*How big do you want it?

If you are using a small tank [10 gal for instance], that will put limits on what can go in it. Personally, while I REALLY think water features are cool, I feel they are best reserved for large tanks/terrs -- they require a lot of space.

*How much work do you want to put into it?

The more ambitious the project the more work it will be to set up and likely to maintain. [I know that is a 'no brainer' but it really is a point that is soooooo easy to forget about in the heat of the moment.] :)


DH gave you a sensible starting point -- this forum, (including the FAQ). There's a lot to read here, I know, and TM gave you a ton more sites to check out. LOL If you have more specific items you can also use the search engine for this forum.

I also agree with TM that while there are some truly AWESOME setups out there, for your first terr keep it modest! It will help give you an idea of how much work is actually going to be involved, to see what works for you and doesn't, and to discover what is most appealing to you.

A couple other points you will see time and again but bear repeating:

1) Just about any clear container will do. Your imagination is the limit.

2) If you are even considering having animals in the terr please DO YOUR RESEARCH. Animals complicate matters many times over.

Don't be disappointed if this forum moves slowly at times. Problem seems to be that once folks have their terrs set up, there isn't often much to continue chatting about. Only so many terrs one can have ...

Keep us posted!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 10:14AM
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I have found this to be a useful site. It mainly focuses on vivariums (terrariums with animals), but has some articles that have good info on terr.s, too.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 3:15PM
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Help! I also need to set up a terrarium. Received a English Wardian 9 inch tabletop terrarium for Christmas. I look forward to having it established and taking care of it but am clueless as to what to buy and how to even start- I tried to find starter kits on the web but to no avail - I would like a colorful, romantic terrarium to keep with the theme of the terrarium architecture itself - can someone direct me to a site that sells starter kits with everything included with instructions!!?? Thank you!!!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 12:08PM
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The only place that I know of offhand is Carolina Biological Supply. Check the link below. Keep in mind that the package offerred is for a 10 gallon sized aquarium.
also note this item cannot be shipped to the Pacific coast states nor Arizona and Nevada due to quarantinee laws.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carolina Biological Supply

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 1:43PM
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