Ideas for vivarium plants?

itstracc

Arachnopeon
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Hey! As I stated in my previous thread regarding carnivorous plants and millipedes, I have zero knowledge of plants outside of whether or not something is poison ivy or carnivorous. I'm not really much of a plant person in general, and I don't intend on keeping potted plants on their own outside of a terrarium because I get bored of them fairly quickly (just ask my two succulents I accidentally let die because I forgot about them while I was at college). However, with that being said, the idea of a fully planted bioactive vivarium is super appealing to me, and I love the look of them. I'd love to try my hand at setting one up, but like I said, I know squat about plants, which is why I need help from people that do.

I've got an 18.5gal vertical terrarium (this one, to be exact) that I got on sale and have had lying around collecting dust for about a month now. I'm still not sure what I want to put in it (I'm thinking either a gecko, anoles, some type of small arboreal snake, or a variety of tree frogs, but if I can make it safe/cushioned enough I might even shoot for an arboreal tarantula or even a millipede set-up since that's what I have the most experience with). I want a tropical set-up with temperatures between 70°F-100°F and humidity 70%+ since those enclosures are most appealing to me, and also because I don't have the dedication for a winter dormancy period that most temperate species require. Lighting won't be an issue since I plan on using a bright LED fixture during the day for visibility anyway, and a moist substrate is fine because I'll have a springtail colony to control any mold or fungal blooms.

So, with that in mind, what are some plant species that would thrive in this type of environment while also being completely safe for any animal I might add to the terrarium? I know pothos and moss are big hits, but that's about all I know as far as pet-friendly plants go. Since I'll likely be doing some type of expanding foam background with cork bark added in as well, is there anything I could plant in cork bark rounds to add some plants to the background? Is there any type of ivy that could climb a foam background? Is there anything I should definitely avoid for whatever reason? I'd also love some accent colors as well, so that the terrarium isn't just varying shades of green, but I could accomplish that with artificial decorations if needed. Also, if anyone has any suggestions regarding what type of animal would thrive in this environment, please let me know!

Sorry for such a long post - I just thought it would be easier for everyone if I was upfront with what I was looking for instead of wasting anyone's time! Thank you!
 

bulbophyllum

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I have had really good luck with these cheap lights from amazon.


I just super glued 4 aluminum bushings to the glass of the light to act as spacers to keep the light off the top of the tank.

I see you are in Georgia. I have kept dart frogs for years and have a ton of suitable plants if you want cuttings. I'm in Athens.
 

itstracc

Arachnopeon
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I have had really good luck with these cheap lights from amazon.


I just super glued 4 aluminum bushings to the glass of the light to act as spacers to keep the light off the top of the tank.

I see you are in Georgia. I have kept dart frogs for years and have a ton of suitable plants if you want cuttings. I'm in Athens.
Oh wow, thank you so much! I'll definitely check out those lights!

And I really appreciate the offer! Once I decide on what plants I'll be using I'll definitely shoot you a private message about what you have available and pricing and what not!
 

viper69

ArachnoGod
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I have had really good luck with these cheap lights from amazon.


I just super glued 4 aluminum bushings to the glass of the light to act as spacers to keep the light off the top of the tank.

I see you are in Georgia. I have kept dart frogs for years and have a ton of suitable plants if you want cuttings. I'm in Athens.
Nice to know there's a frogger. What species of PDF do you have/breed etc
 

moricollins

Arachnoking
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Nice to know there's a frogger. What species of PDF do you have/breed etc
There are a few froggers here, myself included.

To the op , if you're intending a planted well lit terrarium, most tarantulas will not be pleased. My experience was that arboreal tarantulas particularly hated bright light.

There are plenty of plants that fit the bill for what you're looking for.

Pothos would be great, fittonia verschaffeltii, pilea species such as moon Valley, pepperomia's also work well in terraria
 

itstracc

Arachnopeon
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To the op , if you're intending a planted well lit terrarium, most tarantulas will not be pleased. My experience was that arboreal tarantulas particularly hated bright light.

There are plenty of plants that fit the bill for what you're looking for.

Pothos would be great, fittonia verschaffeltii, pilea species such as moon Valley, pepperomia's also work well in terraria
I've got another empty terrarium I could use for an arboreal T, so no worries there! I doubted I could make it safe for falls anyway due to the height.

And thank you so much for your suggestions! Fittonia verschaffeltii "red" and moon valleys are absolutely stunning, so I'll definitely see if I can get my hands on some! Such a fantastic way to break up an otherwise pure green design!
 

moricollins

Arachnoking
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The White Fittonia veerschaffeltii is also very nice.

What are the dimensions of the tank? Depending what animal you want to stock it with there are a bunch of other vivarium/terrarium safe plants
 

itstracc

Arachnopeon
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The White Fittonia veerschaffeltii is also very nice.

What are the dimensions of the tank? Depending what animal you want to stock it with there are a bunch of other vivarium/terrarium safe plants
The tank is 22"L x 11.1"W x 25"H, but the front is curved in a crescent shape so I would have to be careful about adding too many plants since I would still need room for whatever animal I decide to go with. Honestly, I'll probably end up going with either a gecko or frogs, although I have yet to decide what species specifically. Is there perhaps a list anywhere of what plants are safe for vivs, or is it more just word of mouth and personal experience?
 

moricollins

Arachnoking
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I've never seen a list of vivarium safe plants. I usually search for info on plants I see over on dendroboard
Or a Google search will usually tell you as well.
 

viper69

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There are a few froggers here, myself included.

To the op , if you're intending a planted well lit terrarium, most tarantulas will not be pleased. My experience was that arboreal tarantulas particularly hated bright light.

There are plenty of plants that fit the bill for what you're looking for.

Pothos would be great, fittonia verschaffeltii, pilea species such as moon Valley, pepperomia's also work well in terraria
Yeah I run across a few of them, but always nice to find more froggers. Some day I'll get some, still trying to figure out the whole prey item biz. They eat the tiniest of food!!! I know they are keen predators, but man sure looks like the micro fauna will disappear and frog will die!
 

bulbophyllum

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Viper69,

I have kept dartfrogs on and off since the 90's. I never really had a collection. Usually one 1 or 2 species at a time. Right now I have D. leucomelas and R. imitators Varadero. I have to say I love leucomelas. They are always out and active, do well in groups if they are not female heavy, and they use the whole tank. Fun frog to keep.
 

Dorifto

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For the background Dubyana vesicularia moss, grows pretty quickly and covers very well. My preferred plants are chamaedorea elegans, hedera helix, a small fern and bromeliads.

Not a vertical setup but may help

IMG_20200325_231810.jpg
 

itstracc

Arachnopeon
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For the background Dubyana vesicularia moss, grows pretty quickly and covers very well. My preferred plants are chamaedorea elegans, hedera helix, a small fern and bromeliads.

Not a vertical setup but may help

View attachment 338207
Thank you so much! I'll definitely see about getting some of the moss you suggested, since I plan on using a few different varieties anyway. And I completely forgot about bromeliads! I definitely want to have some sort of flowering plant for added color, and bromeliads seem to be the way to go!
 

Dorifto

Arachnosquire
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Thank you so much! I'll definitely see about getting some of the moss you suggested, since I plan on using a few different varieties anyway. And I completely forgot about bromeliads! I definitely want to have some sort of flowering plant for added color, and bromeliads seem to be the way to go!
You're welcome!

I suggested you the dubyana because is very easy to keep and grows much faster than other species. I put the moss two weeks ago and doubled the planted area. A little trick is to blend the moss with a little bit of milk and water, and then spreading across the substrate, in my case a blend lf xaxim and top soil.
 

itstracc

Arachnopeon
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I suggested you the dubyana because is very easy to keep and grows much faster than other species. I put the moss two weeks ago and doubled the planted area. A little trick is to blend the moss with a little bit of milk and water, and then spreading across the substrate, in my case a blend lf xaxim and top soil.
Oh wow, I never would have thought of that, thank you! I plan on using some type of mix of coco fiber, peat moss, and top soil, but for the most part I'm still undecided until I figure out what plants I'm going to use and what animal I'm putting in.
 

Dorifto

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Use top soil, it's much cheaper and better imho. I use a first layer of top soil, clay and sand mix as a drainage layer, then add another good layer of top soil and it's done.

To maintain a healthy substrate I use springtails and dwarf isopods (trichorhina tormentosa). They are cheap and last forever.
 
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itstracc

Arachnopeon
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Use top soil, it's much cheaper and better imho. I use a first layer of top soil, clay and sand mix as a drainage layer, then add another good layer of top soil and it's done.

Yo maintain a healthy substrate I use springtails and dwarf isopods (trichorhina tormentosa). They are cheap and last forever.
Yeah, that's mostly what I use for my millipedes as well since it's bioactive. I've got a massive colony of springtails in with them right now (and another smaller colony in with my centipede), so I'll likely just move a good amount of those over to my new bioactive set-up instead of buying a new starter colony. If I need another CUC I'll order some dwarf white isopods, but for now I definitely want to see how it goes with just springtails since I've had good luck with them so far. Thank you for all of your advice though, I greatly appreciate it!
 

Dorifto

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Yeah, that's mostly what I use for my millipedes as well since it's bioactive. I've got a massive colony of springtails in with them right now (and another smaller colony in with my centipede), so I'll likely just move a good amount of those over to my new bioactive set-up instead of buying a new starter colony. If I need another CUC I'll order some dwarf white isopods, but for now I definitely want to see how it goes with just springtails since I've had good luck with them so far. Thank you for all of your advice though, I greatly appreciate it!
For me worked the best with both in conjunction
 

SamanthaMarikian

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Yeah, that's mostly what I use for my millipedes as well since it's bioactive. I've got a massive colony of springtails in with them right now (and another smaller colony in with my centipede), so I'll likely just move a good amount of those over to my new bioactive set-up instead of buying a new starter colony. If I need another CUC I'll order some dwarf white isopods, but for now I definitely want to see how it goes with just springtails since I've had good luck with them so far. Thank you for all of your advice though, I greatly appreciate it!
Dwarf white isopods breed like rabbits and Ive ended up with 3 colonies of them stemming from the original 25 i got 3 years ago. Theyre everywhere in all of my tropical enclosures and have even managed to spread into other colonies i have Lol. If you get them they’ll likely eat rotting stuff before it can mold and any that roam on the surface will be a crunchy calcium snack for any frogs if you get them lol. I hear some of my geckos chasing them at night on the substrate surface since they dart through the leaves. also theres a few climbing plants i just now forgot the name of that will kind of form a shingling pattern up the background wall that always looks really cool. I have one and i cant remember the name of it now but it grows really well in pretty much anything
 

itstracc

Arachnopeon
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Dwarf white isopods breed like rabbits and Ive ended up with 3 colonies of them stemming from the original 25 i got 3 years ago. Theyre everywhere in all of my tropical enclosures and have even managed to spread into other colonies i have Lol. If you get them they’ll likely eat rotting stuff before it can mold and any that roam on the surface will be a crunchy calcium snack for any frogs if you get them lol. I hear some of my geckos chasing them at night on the substrate surface since they dart through the leaves. also theres a few climbing plants i just now forgot the name of that will kind of form a shingling pattern up the background wall that always looks really cool. I have one and i cant remember the name of it now but it grows really well in pretty much anything
My biggest worry is the isopods getting into my millipede vivarium, since they can attack molting millipedes and kill eggs and pedelings. I know the odds are slim, but both terrariums would be in my small bedroom and I'm fairly certain small isopods could fit through gaps in both tanks if they were to climb. Like I said previously though, I'll definitely get some if springtails alone aren't enough! I'd just like to minimize risk if I can, haha. Depending on what animal I end up going with for the viv, I might even toss a couple terrestrial millipedes in there if all inhabitants would be okay with that to sort of fill the gap from not having isopods.

And the plant you described sounds super pretty! If you happen to have any pics of it, I might be able to do some research and figure out what kind of plant it is!
 
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