Terrarium for Ficus Bonsai?

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Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
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#1
I have an empty 55 gallon aquarium sitting in the garage and I've just discovered terrariums while surfing the web. They seem really cool and since I like bonsai, I was wondering if I could plant 2 ficus bonsai opposite each other in the aquarium? I have a plan to make a "miniature pond" in the middle to help with humidity. I would also like to make the soil level at 1/3 of the tank in hopes the more soil the larger the trunk could become, with proper pruning of the roots of course. What soil mixture would you use for a ficus in a terrarium? Would there need to be a space between the bottom and soil line for proper drainage to prevent rot? I would like to get artificial light as well. Any suggestions on what type of lights to use and how often? Could a ficus thrive under artificial lighting if done properly? Does a ficus need dormancy? And finally, are there any "tropical" moss specie I could find to cover the soil. I think it would look great with moss added. I know this is a lot of questions but I've never had a ficus or a terrarium. Thanks for any and all info.
 

Bonsai Nut

Administrator
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#2
You have a number of challenges, but what you are suggesting can certainly be done. Because you are dealing with a glass box, you will be able to maintain a nice humid environment, but you will have to watch that the roots don't sit in water. If you wanted to put a water feature in the middle, I would recommend compartmentalizing the "pond" so that the entire aquarium isn't full of standing water. An easy fix would be to sink a glass bowl (or other glass container) in the middle of your soil so that the "pond" is self-contained and can be removed if needed (to clean out the water, etc). A couple of hours with some rocks and peddles and waterproof glue (silicone) and you could line the inside of the bowl with rocks and make it look natural.

Make sure you put a nice drainage layer of gravel in the bottom of your aquarium so your soil sits above the gravel and you can see if you are overwatering and turning your terrarium into a bog :) You can get some ideas from surfing sites for poison dart frogs... a little wetter than what you want, but the idea is the same:

sloping-sides.jpg
 

GrimLore

Imperial Masterpiece
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#3
Thanks for any and all info.
You ask if it is possible and the correct answer is yes - However... It is a bit complex and would require a bit of an investment to work properly along with decent horticultural experience. Balancing Light, Air flow, Humidity is very tricky. There are other factors as well. If you try I would suggest you keep the plants potted in there and grow them outside in the Summer. The pots can be buried in the tank easily and put back in the Winter.

Grimmy
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#4
If you use a bottom layer of hydroballs, a second layer of flourite, and a thin top layer of cocoir or moss, you probly wouldn't have to quarantine the water.

Keep the lights close to an open top....

Maybe a tiny waterfall...

Should work.

The moss doesn't have to be tropical.

Sorce
 

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