Saturday, April 20, 2013

Removing the Water

This week I worked on a special project. It's unique from my other tanks because it doesn't involve water! Well it does, but this project isn't submerged! I made a moss terrarium from a Nature's Pure Glass 1 gal cube. I originally intended this for an aquatic project, but had to abandon that because it's positioning made water changes difficult. So I removed the water from the setup.

Because I know very little about terrestrial plants I searched around the internet for a tutorial (and some general guidance) on making a moss terrarium. This was my favorite that I found and the one I've generally been following. First I had to clean out the old cube because I'd kinda just let the water sit in it. I cleaned it with vinegar in an attempt to get most of the hard water stains off the sides.

I gathered all of my materials on the front porch. Then came the fun part, collecting the moss. You can buy it online, but since I have a lovely backyard I wanted to venture out and see just what moss was growing in the ravine. My pond does have a bit of moss on the rocks, but since it has taken about seven years to develop I didn't want to destroy that aesthetic. I grabbed an old backpack, some large freezer ziplock bags, and small trowel and went collecting. While I was out there I also dug up some rocks for this project. If you don't have a backyard like I do, you can go to a local park and head off the trail. But while you are out there make sure you are aware of your surroundings; carry a phone or go with someone else.

Moss in my backyard. I harvested this after I took the picture.

 When I returned with my moss I stated putting the substrate in the cube. First I added a layer of black sand in the bottom to give some added drainage and moisture storage. The room where this is sitting has a fan going all the time, and I'm afraid it might cause too much evaporation. I want to be able to "store" water in the bottom, too. Next, I added a layer of peat moss soil. Moss enjoys growing attached to things and in acidic soil. Since I didn't want moss on my rocks, I opted for the peat moss soil. It only comes in massive bags around here, so I'll be making a few more terrariums later this year. I tried doing some hardscape with the rocks, but most of what I brought back was too big. Finally, I moistened this with some nutrient-rich goldfish water.

Hardscape and peat moss soil

Now I added the moss. I'm not the greatest at making 'scapes, so I have a feeling I will be re-arranging it a few times before I'm totally satisfied. I tried to mimic an iwagumi but I'm pretty sure I failed. Either way, I brought my moss inside and am happy to have it sitting on my desk.

This begins my summer adventure into terrariums. I've never done too well with house plants before because you have to water them so much. I'm hoping that by adding the sand reservoir it will counterbalance my forgetfulness with watering them. If all goes well with this terrarium I'd like to try my hand at making another one with the leftover materials.


  1. Haha, I recently made one like this out of a fish bowl.
    I also added some succulents, I find they look pretty nice with it, and I used the 'goldfish water' from my tank too! Sisters!

  2. I actually think it does look quite Iwagumi-like!
    Going to have to try this some time this summer as well, it looks so pretty c:


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