Self-contained, Closed System Vivariums
This is my first posting; apologies if I've overlooked any procedural stuff.
I'm interested in putting together completely closed system terrariums and--hopefully, someday--vivariums. Anyone remember the whole 'Biosphere 2' project a few years back? Like that, but smaller. . . or alternatively, you can now buy these sealed, 4-5" diameter glass globes filled with water, stocked with some algaes and a few small shrimp-like things . . . like that, only bigger.
I have done several closed terrariums (airtight, never opened), maintained one successfully for over two years. I've tried several different plants in these settings -- Boston Ferns, Swedish Ivy, English Ivy, a couple types of Peperomias (sp?), and others -- even tried a Venus Fly Trap. To date, by far the most successful has been the Boston Fern, which in time, completely takes over the terrarium.
I have some decidedly ambitious hopes of eventually being able to put together one or more closed ecosystems with self-sustaining insect colonies, and hopefully even a small vertebrate, like a turtle or other small, low-metabolism reptile.
As a for instance, I'm considering creating a terrarium with one or more plant species that can sustain a colony of aphids, yet are hardy enough to tend to survive the aphid's feeding. Along with the aphids, I'd introduce a species of Ladybird Beetle, to maintain the aphid population.
At this point, I'm just wondering if anyone else out there has any interest in this kind of thing, and particularly if anyone has already done any hands-on experiments along these lines. Also, I'm looking for suggestions on what plant species would be good for the kind of conditions I'm describing. Finally, I'd welcome any general thoughts on the overall subject.