The wonderful world of miniature ecosystems

My largest vivarium to date: a 24x18x24 Exo Terra enclosure housing a group of four Ameerega Bassleri Chrome and two juvenile Mourning Geckos (Lepidodactylus lugubris). This is about 3 months after planting.

There‚Äôs something mesmerizing about a glass box full of life. Every since I was a child, I loved to watch brightly colored tropical fish swimming in a brightly lit glass boxes. And I loved house plants, growing a number of African violets on the end of my desk in middle school and high school. In college, I moved my interests outside to tending roses in my backyard. Fast-forward to adulthood and my own places to live and I’ve always played in the dirt, but all outside until a few years ago. I had toyed with the idea of getting a fish tank off and on for a while and what made me launch full into research mode was the discovery of planted fish tanks. Lush, underwater gardens accenting by tiny colorful fish. I was officially in love.

After setting up about five planted fish tanks, I happened to look up information on poison dart frogs. You see, I had just discovered that they aren’t poisonous in captivity and I wondered what it would take to keep some myself. I began seeing these amazing miniature jungles built inside glass boxes accented by colorful frogs and the rest as they say, is history. I’ve since created multiple dart frog tanks as well as veering off into gecko tanks, and even arid setups for my leopard gecko and my oldest’s Colorado river toad, many of which I’ve put in the gallery on the home page. There are also two nano paludariums for fire-bellied toads and my youngest’s yellow spotted salamander.

On this blog I intend to go through the types of vivariums I’ve built and am building as a sort of accompaniment to my YouTube channel where I’ve been working for the better part of the last year to get build videos and other information up there for those who prefer to learn in that format.

And no blog about my miniature ecosystems would be complete with some accounts of my aquarium journeys as well, so expect to seem some glass boxes filled with water from time to time as well, though my dry enclosures now outnumber the sunken ones. However if you’re eager to get started with your own underwater garden, hop over to the Facebook group–Planted Nano and Betta Tanks–I admin with Karen Randall of Sunken Gardens who has recently also embarked on her own vivarium projects which you can read about on her new blog, Glass Jungles.

Stay tuned! I’ll be trying to post about once a week with past and current builds. Yes, I may have about three more planned and those will be exciting to some of you just starting out as they will be simpler and less expensive. It’s going to be a great rest of the year!

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