Ted: This video is a continuation of the June 2020 update on the Bioactive Vivarium project. If you’re new to the project, I will put a link to the entire playlist at the top of the screen right here. If you’re interested to see how this majestic reptile enclosure from Custom Cages was converted into a human vivarium, please check out that playlist. Now, I will continue with the update. We were just about to prepare some plants that had been in the quarantine grow chamber to go into the vivarium.
I’ve got some tools here to work with. I’ve got my towel down because I don’t like really making a mess on my table or in my room. I got my bin to help contain mess some more. I’ve got some long-fiber sphagnum moss that’s been soaked in some distilled water, and I’ve got my bobbin with my cotton thread, and then I’ve also got my tubes of red mesh onion bag, you want to call it. These are actually pretty big. You can actually create a pretty big little bag out of this stuff. Here’s one that’s been tied into a knot. This is what I’m going to use for the plants that are going up into the little openings in the top of the universal rocks fake tree. I might actually use some of this for some other things as well.
What I’m going to really do is systematically go through each of these plants I want to put into the vivarium and I’m going to pull them out of the growth stuff they’re in, check their roots, make sure they’re ready to go, clean them up a little bit, and then decide how I want to put them in the enclosure. Some of them I want to put up on the structure, up on the wood or up ends on the fake background, and some of them are going to plant down inside the substrate and [unintelligible 00:02:01]. If I do anything particularly interesting or different with any of these plants, I’ll show you close-ups of that, but I’m just going to go ahead and move the camera around so you can see what I’m doing here and then just get started.
I planted these and I want to double-check to make sure that they’re rooted well before I decide if I’m going to pull them out. This one seems to be rooted– Yes, they’re good. Look at that. Awesome. All right, I’m going to show you what I’m going do with these guys. All I’m going to do with these is make use of a little bit of soil that ABG Mix that’s on there and take some more long-fiber sphagnum moss, spread some out here, right like this. What I’m going to do is roll it up, right like that. I’m going to use my thread to just wrap it a few times and then tie it off. I tied up the right way.
This is pretty loosely clumped together and I’m going be able to put this pretty much in the same place with the other Begonia glabra is and hopefully, they’ll all grow together and grow out as a larger plump. Take a look at this. This is what this Begonia can grow into and I know you might think, “Wow, that’s a big plant for a vivarium,” but it’s a big vivarium. I’m going to grow this at the top of the vivarium, let it trail down. It’s really going to grow out to the light. I’m going to use this mesh bag to create a planter and this is going to slip down inside of that top of that fake log.
I tie a knot in one end and I can create a bag out of it, but what I’m going to do, is I’m going to take long and fiber sphagnum moss and I’m going to do the same thing I did. This one’s got a little bit of potting soil on it because I went upstairs and got these plants with the bucket. It’s messy. I’m going to basically do the same thing that I did with the other
plants and lay out some long-fiber sphagnum moss that’s pretty wet and I’m going to put the begonia in it like this. I’m going to need some more. I really want quite a bit because I want this to take up a lot of space inside that opening and I also want to make sure the begonia has got plenty of substrate to grow in for a long period of time.
Now, I’m going to take the bag and then close the begonia and all the sphagnum moss with it, right like this. There we go. Now, this mesh is pretty stretchy. It can get to be a pretty big bag. What I’m going to do with it– Because if I left it like that, you’d be able to see the mesh as it sticks out of the top. We’ll watch this. I’m now going to take my thread and I’m going to wrap it right around the top of this bag pretty tightly. Now I can take the top of the bag, and I can fold it down and around the whole thing like this and it’s still pretty flexible. I’m going to take this thread. I’m just going to tie it a couple more times just to hold that mesh down a little bit.
Now, I can put this whole planter inside the top of that log and this begonia will grow out from inside the mesh. It won’t be confined at all and you can see how dense it is. This is going to come out in a big tuft, and then I can shove this down in there, and then I can take more long-fiber sphagnum moss and fill in the space around it. Here, I’ve got all the plants that are going to go into my vivarium today and I just need to get some more water-soaked long-fiber sphagnum moss to pack in around them if I need it. I need my tools. I think I’ll take my tweezers just in case. Oh, I’m going do one of my nepenthes too. If we’re going to do a nepenthes, this means we’ll do the nice one, right? All right, let’s go to the vivarium.
The first thing to go in will be the large begonia into the chamber at the top of the universal rocks tree trunk. I will carefully stuff the mesh planter as far as I can into the crevice. Then I will fill in any gaps around it so that the animals that will eventually live here will not use it as a refuge. You have a much better view of what I’m doing than I do. The next plant to go in will be the Peperomia quadrangularis. This was growing in that plastic basket but the plant was only rooted into the top half-inch of the sphagnum moss. All I did was take that much of the moss out with the plant. The [unintelligible 00:10:12] of moss will wedge in well between a vine and the tree trunk behind it. Because while I’m putting this in place, I managed to pull down one of my orchids. Luckily, it’ll just go right back into the moss and shouldn’t have any problems.
The moss cone with Begonia glabra is going to be wedged into the same location as the glabra that was already in the vivarium. The idea here is just to thicken this plant out and give myself more than one stem so that this whole area will look a little more lush and full. I will place the begonia [unintelligible 00:10:53] in the fork of the main branch of the scape, over towards the left side of the enclosure.
I want this plant to be on the opposite side from some dividing structure, from that begonia species Manaus that is planted on the floor over on the right side, because they are somewhat similar in color and form. The Peperomia [unintelligible 00:11:18] that I took off of the board, will be tied to the side of the main vertical branch using thread. Some of the plants that I received in the mail today that we’ll talk a little bit about later, included four different peperomias. I didn’t realize there were many of them and I just didn’t realize I would have many of them when it was all said and done.
This is a nice little plant but from a coloration perspective, it’s not the most exciting peperomia. While this is going into the vivarium now, who knows if it’ll actually stay here. I’m going to have an awful lot of plants that look and grow like this one. I may as well use a prettier one, right? The Ficus radicans is going to be planted in the back right corner of the vivarium, where I hope to train it to climb up that branch and fill in that space a little bit so it doesn’t look empty back there. The Cissus discolor can grow in a trailing fashion and I think that the silver leaves will make a good contrast in the center of the scape. I’m wedging this moss cone in that area, pretty much dead middle.
The nepenthes pitcher plant needs some special consideration. It likes a peat substrate more than it will appreciate ABG. I’m going to dig a big, deep, wide hole for it and fill it with the peat the plant is growing in. I’m really not sure if this pitcher will stay in the vivarium or not but I want to at least try it. If this ends up being a larger species than I think it is, and it ends up growing large pitchers, I will not be able to keep it in here with small lizards. If this pitcher turns out to be one of the smaller species and it starts to vine up into the scape, well that’s just a bonus, that would be just too cool.
The Cissus amazonica is supposed to be a good climber so I’m going to plant it at the base of the big piece of wood and train it to grow along the horizontal branch at the bottom. I think that it’s triangular leaf shape and variegated color will provide a nice contrast there. The last to go in are the [unintelligible 00:13:49] which I hope will create a dense ground cover mat that is loose enough for the larger plants in the floor of the vivarium to coexist with.
After all the plants are installed, I will give everything a good soaking of water, then let’s take a look at the results. It is hard for me to picture what this will look like when the plants grow in because I have little experience with them. I am definitely following into the trap of putting a whole lot of different plants into the scape but some will do better than others and it is easy enough to get them out. I am happy with the way the sightlines are developing in the vivarium. The strong diagonal branches that are dominating to the flow of the eye are already starting to be softened a bit by the plants.
The vertical column of bromeliads like arrowheads pointing down are helping to create that circular path for a viewer. When I look at the scape, I find myself following the path of the branches up, and when I get to the top, I have choices of paths to move to. Only the very top right is a dead point, but someday a strong trailing plant will go into the plants around that side and provide a visual path down the right side of the enclosure.
This is enough for this part of the June 2020 update. I actually have quite a bit more to show you but nothing else is going to go into the vivarium for a while but I have a lot of new plants from my friend Karen that I really need to get into the quarantine growth chamber, which is what we will do in the last part of this Bioactive Vivarium Update. Thanks for watching.