Desert Vivarium

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by cjjulian, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. cjjulian

    cjjulian Active Member

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    Okay, so I already know this may be a controversial topic here.. But I am just seeking advice and thoughts.

    anyways, I got intrigued with the thought of growing a mini "desert" indoors and of course the thought of having a very exotic creature in it.. you know like a scorpion.

    anyways...

    I just wanted to see what are peoples thoughts on Desert Vivariums and what plants will do good for it.

    I make sure I have a good temperature going on in the tank and also low humidity.

    Right now I have a couple of plants in it that I like to call "Salvage Plants" just becuase these were neglected plants from multiple of people that didnt know how to take of them and they were in BAD SHAPE!!!

    Here are some plants in the tank right now and maybe some help identifying some.

    Right now I have a finger jade, a small jade, a Gymnocalycium, and two other plants that I cannot identify. Do you think that some of these plants are okay in here. So far nothing has happened to them and actually some of them perked up more. But for my Gymnocalycium, I accidentally knocked off some of its thorns and looks like it got hurt (anyway of making him feel better, see picture)
     

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  2. cjjulian

    cjjulian Active Member

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    Here are the plants that I cant Identify..

    I actually found the cactus thrown in the corner of my grandmas yard and I chopped it in half to where it was more green and rooted it. So i have no idea what that is .

    and also this finger type plant.

    also, here is the tank setup.
     

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  3. Lila Pereszke

    Lila Pereszke Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hm, 1. looks like a Notocactus sp. ...
     
  4. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Be sure and read up on scorpion care before adoption: make sure that you are getting a desert-native species; provide heat on one side of the tank; get a lid that locks down firmly (scorpions are strong)! And, of course, always buy from a reputable breeder/dealer.
     
  5. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    Just a guess, #2 might be some sort of Haworthia, there are many different species
     
  6. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Not a very green idea, I must say.

    Sorry to be a downer, but this makes no sense what so ever. A scorpion does not belong inside a trapped environment just for your own pleasure. What happens when the electricity is out during the winter, and it perishes.... this sounds very unnatural to me. If you lived in the desert, and set up a tank for capture and eventual release, that may prove less harmful to all. The cacti garden however, is a great conversation piece on it's own... keep up the collecting... and strive for natural lightening...
     
  7. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    K.B.: Do you object to all animal ownership by humans, or have you a specific animus against captive scorpions?
     
  8. cjjulian

    cjjulian Active Member

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    Wow, sorry about this post. I did my research on the creature and I do love animals and living things.

    The scorpion i have is captive breed desert species that is not endangered which is fine with me but if it was taken from the wild that's where I have an issue.

    I am not here to tell people to not eat meat because it kills animals which is the way I am feeling right now with some of the posts already. But I am here to talk about my joy with succulents. And thought of caring for succulents and a living thing is a wonderful thought in my mind and very rewarding.

    again, I am sorry about this thread.
     
  9. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Hey, hey, cjj! Don't apologize. That is what a FORUM is all about: expressing opinions and sharing knowledge. I know well from personal experience that there are people out there who should NEVER own a pet (or a plant), there are wonderful, assiduous owners who do their charges proud---and infinite variations between these two. I believe that it IS possible to keep an animal in captivity without depriving it of one iota of its quality of life: in fact I will go further and state that I believe that given the right animal and a dedicated, knowledgeable owner, an animal can have a BETTER life than it otherwise would have.

    It is obvious that you care well for your plants: I think that an animal under your care would thrive, too. If the power failed, you might just do what my daughter did with her hedgehog---tuck him in your shirt. Good luck to you!

    By the way, what size is your tank?
     
  10. cjjulian

    cjjulian Active Member

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    My tank is a standard 10 gallon. enough for 1 scorpion. Hey if the power fails, then it could mimic how it is in nature, everyday is not a HOT day or night in the desert. Actually, I gradually bring the heat down and the light down by night time so that temperatures can drop.

    If you look in one of the pictures. I keep 2 different thermometers on each side of the tank and a humid-meter type thing so that I don't over do it when watering.

    So... my main thing for this was, what are good plants (mainly succulents and cactis) to be placed in my little enclosure.

    Thanks togata for reminding me that this is a forum!

    (BTW, 1/3 of the tank is sand for the while the rest is all cacti mix, which is where the plants are planted in)
     
  11. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Your tank looks great, and your scorpion is fortunate to have such good care and comfortable surroundings. ---Hey, if you can, post a photo of him!
     
  12. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    I like your feed back.

    It reminds me that every one has an opinion, but not everyone will agree upon the same logic.

    To each their own. I suppose a trapped arachnid equals the same thing.

    My angle on this is, what is best for nature is best left untouched.

    The plants should receive as much natural daylight to achieve the results that you need for a flourishing and vibrant "micro globe".
     
  13. JenRi

    JenRi Active Member

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    I don't know much about scorpions, but if you do lose power for some reason, what you've done probably increases its chances of survival and anyway....Eclipses happen in nature and everything doesn't die!

    Good luck with your project, I hope he does well:) Does he have a name?
     
  14. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

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    A lot of focus on the scorpion here ... but what about the plants? I have seen several Crassula ovata wilt in the sun and heat on windowsills in Sweden, are you sure they will thrive in a (artificial) desert? What temperature and humidity do you aim for?
    I am less concerned about the cacti, although they like ventilation and many (but not all) Gymnocalycium are sensitive to strong light. I grow most of mine in semi-shade.
     
  15. cjjulian

    cjjulian Active Member

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    Yes a little bit too much focus on my little guy..

    anyways, I was thinking of some Euphorbias

    here are some that I had thought about.

    - Euphorbia mammillaris
    - Euphorbia lactea crest
    - Euphorbia enopla

    and other plants i've been interested in.
    - Sarcocaulon herrei
    - Rebutia pygmaea
    - Opuntia rufida

    I am only going to add 2 more plants to complete it.

    Humidty is less than 50% and usually hovers around high 30's low 40's
    Temperature in the tank is at 90 in the peak of the day and goes down to 70's at night.

    Lighting:
    1 - Exo Terra Repti Glo 10.0 UVB
    1 - Exo Terra Repti Glo 2.0UVB

    Cover, mesh cover so that I can keep humidity at a minimum.
     
  16. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

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    I don't know much about Euphorbia and other non-cactus succulents, but your choice of cacti concerns me.

    Notocactus are found in areas with relatively high rainfall, and they sometimes loose their roots if it is too dry for long periods. I don't say that they won't survive in your vivarium, but they would not be my first choice. I would have tried low-growing species from for example the dry, hot regions in Mexico, such as Ariocarpus and Astrophytum and some Mammillaria and Echinocereus.

    My personal experience of deserts is negligible, but isn't the night temperature in your vivarium a bit high? I have heard that cacti need lower night temperatures to grow well, and this is consistent with my own observations.

    I also doubt that the artificial light is enough. As K Baron indicated, cacti need lots of light to grow well, especially those that grow in deserts.

    Rebutia pygmaea is a mountain species that needs low winter temperatures to flower well - I often keep mine in my fridge in winter. Do not expect too much from it ...
     
  17. cjjulian

    cjjulian Active Member

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    Thanks for the info, that's why i'm on here asking questions before wasting money on wonderful plants that would die on me.

    But i really have my eye on some Euphorbias andd of course Opuntia rufida, which I love so much because I have one in a bonsai pot!
     
  18. Laticauda

    Laticauda Active Member

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    Ok, so I am new to the plant side of this topic, but I am a long time scorpion/tarantula keeper. If you get a desert species, as long as you keep it from freezing temperatures (just like the plants in the viv) and give it ample sand/peat mixture to burrow in, and a safe place to hide with some area staying dry, then you won't have any problems. However, most desert species are very prone to mycosis which is a bacterial infection of the exoskeleton caused by too humid/moist conditions. That is definitely something to be aware of.

    Also, in the desert at night, it gets extremely cold, for the same reason it gets so hot during the day. There are no clouds to insulate the earth, but keep in mind that scorpions are for the most part noctural, and stay hidden during the day, in the cooler parts of the sand. The Giant Desert Hairy scorpion is a very hardy species, and I think would be very well suited for this set up. In fact, I believe that having live plants in the vivarium would help keep the scorpion healthier with the added fresh air. However, don't the plants need ventilation, hence an aquarium would hinder it's health and well-being? Just a few thoughts for you to chew on!

    Hope this helps,
    Raychel

    p.s. Also, if you set the aquarium in front of a window, it would "cook" whatever is inside! I'm not sure how it would all work out.
     
  19. cjjulian

    cjjulian Active Member

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    Thanks again.

    I am very aware of the mycosis, Thats why I constantly monitor the Humidity level. And yes it is a Black Hairy Scorpion. It has many places to hide in the tank. and different substrates to pick from sand to dirt.. stacked stones to dig under. Also, the top is open, but secured with a meshed top so the air & moisture does not get trapped in the tank.

    So far the creature is doing fine and happy, when i wake up in the morning I would see it with a cricket in its mouth at least once a week.

    Thats why, I am hoping to learn about some plants that can with stand the low humidity levels and the environment that the scorpion lives in. I really enjoy to look of the plants and the thought of a living creature below it.

    And of course I could not find ANY good information about Desert Vivariums, and was hoping that I can also educate some people on this as this is a learning curve.
     
  20. Laticauda

    Laticauda Active Member

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    Have you thought about using non-succulents? Like philodendron scandens (I think) that need less light than cactus and succulents do. If you could find a cactus that doesn't like much light, then it and the scorpion would be a match made in heaven!
     
  21. cjjulian

    cjjulian Active Member

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    But I believe Philodendron water needs are a bit demanding....

    Im looking at non-succulents, its kinda hard for me to go that route just because I LOVE succulents!
     
  22. Laticauda

    Laticauda Active Member

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    Yeah, I agree....succulents pretty awesome! I'm actually pretty addicted to them now!
     
  23. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

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    There are cacti that live where the nights are warm. They are not my favourites and I don't know much about them, but I think Melocactus belongs to them, at least they must be kept warm in winter. And they are easily available.
     

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