An Easy Guide on How to Build a Terrarium
Learning how to build a terrarium is a fun and rewarding activity if you love taking care of reptiles, amphibians, and other exotic pets. Imagine being able to create a miniature world for your animals where they can live and thrive! However, considering that you are virtually making a home for your pets, you can’t just put together random plants and ornaments, place them in a glass cage, and put your animals inside.
Building a functional and healthy terrarium for your pets takes a lot of planning, time, and effort. Remember, you want to be able to mimic their natural habitat as closely as possible, which means that you need to account for the heat, humidity, and other factors that the animals would experience in nature.
Here is an easy guide to help you build the right kind of terrarium for your pets.
How to Choose the Animals for Your Terrarium
The type of animal that you plan to keep in your terrarium will dictate the environment inside as well as the plants and ornaments that you will place. Each specific animal species has their own needs when it comes to food, water, heat, light, and humidity, and all of these factors will affect how you will construct your terrarium. This is the reason you generally can’t place two or more different species of animal in the same terrarium, even if they belong to the same family. For example, if you’re a fan of keeping snakes as a pet, you cannot place a milk snake in the same terrarium as a corn snake; these two species have different diets, heating needs, and preferences when it comes to bedding.
Here are some great ideas for different terrarium builds as well as which animals would thrive well in them:
A dry terrarium requires a heat lamp, little to no humidity, and lots of areas where your animal can lounge. Generally, you’ll only need to put a small bowl inside the terrarium for drinking water and if the animal occasionally wants to hang out inside the bowl to cool down.
Here are some suggested animal species for a dry terrarium:
Wet terrariums vary in terms of the amount of water inside the terrarium. They can range from having half of the terrarium containing 1-2 inches of water to the whole bottom of the terrarium being submerged in water deep enough for an animal to swim.
Here are some species of animals that thrive in wet terrariums:
- Green Tree frogs
- Fire Bellied Newts
- Red Bellied Toads
- Hermit crabs
As you can see, reptiles and invertebrates are best suited for dry terrariums while amphibians and aquatic animals are best for wet terrariums. If you are a complete beginner to keeping a terrarium and you want to become familiar on the cleaning and maintenance of one, you can start by keeping crickets! Crickets are inexpensive to feed, hardy, and they’re a lot of fun watching as they jump and move around. A typical 5-gallon terrarium is enough to hold hundreds of crickets. What’s more, if you decide to “graduate” to other animals, you can use the crickets as feed.
Placing the Terrarium Flooring
Once you’ve decided on what kind of animal you want to keep, you can start building a terrarium. For this article, let’s focus on building a wet terrarium for fire bellied newts. Fire bellied newts need a terrarium that is at least 10-gallons in size.
First, you need to put a base flooring material for your terrarium. You can use small plastic balls or pellets that you can find in any pet store. Place a 2-3-inch layer of these balls at the bottom of your terrarium.
Next, place a plastic bottom on top of the drainage material. One of the best materials to use is the plastic mats that you often find in dog cages. Afterwards, place a mesh fabric on top of the plastic mat. This fabric will prevent dirt from falling through but will allow excess water to pass.
Next, place a substrate on top of the mesh. For fire bellied newts, the best substrate is a mix of dampened moss, coconut fiber, and pieces of bark. The substrate helps keep the climate cool and your animals moist and will provide them with a hiding place.
Finally, add a thin layer of leaf litter on top of the substrate. The leaf layer helps prevent the substrate from drying out and gives your terrarium a more natural look.
Completing the Terrarium Environment
After you have built the base of your terrarium, you need to add the heating and moisture components. Fire bellied newts need a humidity level of around 70-80%. You can buy a moisture system that will spray your inside of your terrarium to keep the humidity constant, however, if you don’t want to spend too much on your system, simply buy a cheap humidity gauge and thermometer. If the humidity drops too low, you can take a spray bottle and spray the inside of your terrarium.
For your heating and light options, the best option is to buy a heating lamp. Heating lamps simulate the natural sunlight that newts need to regulate their body temperature.
Finishing up your Terrarium
After you have built up your terrarium’s environment, you can start adding plants and décor to your terrarium. Many pet shops sell terrarium-appropriate plants so that you don’t need to choose out plants one by one. You can ask for assistance from pet store owners to see if they have any recommendations for your terrarium. Make sure that the plants are habitat appropriate.
Once you have added your desired flora and other finishing touches, you can add your animals! Make sure to monitor them constantly during the first week inside the terrarium so that you know if there is anything that you need to change in the environment.
A terrarium is a great choice if you love keeping animals but you’re living somewhere with limited space. If you know how to build your own terrarium, you’ll be able to provide your pets with a beautiful environment that closely simulates their natural habitat. This way, you’ll be able to see your pets grow and thrive!
It is a wonderful feeling to have a garden where you can care and grow different plants. It makes your home look beautiful while making the family relaxed as gardening help improve our health.
A terrarium is a little indoor garden in a transparent glass containing the plants inside. It is a tiny plant world that is easy to take care of.