Posts Tagged ‘Orchids’

The Nano Vivarium

This is the reason I haven’t updated the blog in a while:

Exo Terra Nano 1

Another obsession of mine is tropical orchids and plants in general. I have, together with my father, made plenty of glass houses/vivariums/orchidariums/paludariums over the years, but none with moving water and none with an aspiration of looking semi-natural. Inspired by the aquascapers nano aquariums (just google it, you won’t regret it), I decided to make a nano vivarium. I decided not to make it from scratch, since I plan on having this one at my place of work in the future. Places of work tend to shun home-made containers of water, for obvious reasons. Since this has been some sort of a trend for some years now, a small terrarium was easily aquired.

Container: ExoTerra Nano 20x20x30 cm
Pump: ExoTerra ReptiFlow 200
Important Notice: Yep, this might seem a little overkill on the construction side. Smaller containers are more sensitive to disturbances and actually harder to keep than bigger ones. My experience tells me that making sure all parts of the container is well ventilated is paramount. I plan to add a micro (2.5 cm) computer fan for air movement. Some of the plants will have to be removed, since they will probably outgrow the container. I will continue to work on the interior, gathering micro-mini plants and really try to get some moss growing. Update is coming in about six months or so.

Shops (OBS: nothing is sponsored in any way!)
Herpers Choise: the terrarium, the pump, Pleurothallis niveoglobula, Rubellia (or possibly Pleurothallis) lateritia, Sigmatostalix radicans. The ONLY thing I didn’t like about this shop outside of Uppsala is that they didn’t exist until I moved away from there. Warmly recommended.
Dusk Tropic: Hygrolon and Epiweb, also inspiration (take a look at the pics on the homepage).
Dartfrog.co.uk: Xaxim, tropical moss, Kyoto moss spores.
My aquarium: Java moss (probably Vesicularia dubyana), Java fern (Microsorum pteropus).
The woods: sphagnum, which I nuked in the microwave to get rid of pests like snails)
Local garden shop: coconut fiber, Chirita tamiana, Cryptanthus species, Ficus pumila (a great little climber and impossible to kill).
Local lawnmover shop: rubber fuel line. The only thing flexible enough to work for the waterfall. I am ambivalent, but liking the out-of-the box thinking I did on this one.
Fellow orchid/plant enthusiasts: Angreacum distichum, small Dendrobium, Sinningia Rio das Pedros seeds.

Vivariumforum: rather inactive, but with plenty of inspiration and how-to.
Dendroboard: Poison Dart frogs stuff, but loads on building terrarium habitats.
Pilgift.se : Swedish Poison Dart Frog society and forum.

Behind the cut is several images of the building process (pic heavy): (more…)

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Every third to fifth year or so, I stumble upon something that really catches my interest BIG time. Learning about it is like standing before an opening dam of knowledge armed only with an open mind (and mouth). It’s a wonderful experience, breathing in knowledge like that. The subjects I fall for have been impossible to choose in any way. I’d like to have chosen my university subjects (even though one of them is tickling enticingly in my mind, wanting to perhaps be explored in the future…). I’d like to have chosen philately, folk music, instrument building, flamenco or pottery since those are interests of my family and I’d love to share those interests with them in a deeper way than I do now. But as I said, I have had no choice. I even had a (thankfully short) sejour with being obsessed with makeup, something rather odd since I almost never use makeup and mentally withstanding the concept of buying it just to collect it was probably what ended that particular infatuation.

When I’m done with the frantic stage of obsession I generally continue to study the subject for a while, sometimes years. Intermittently, I get small, lovely revivals of the frantic stage, spending hours almost in trance, just learning. After a while I become content with my span of knowledge, satisfied by the acquisition of a new area of expertise to to enjoy at times, although not in the same burning way as in the beginning. Often, after “overcoming” a frantic stage, the subject will be dead to me for a while. Sometimes I rediscover it, sometimes I forget about it. I’d like to liken it to a series of infatuations that sometimes graduate to passions that seldom but sometimes graduate to true love.

Since one of these obsessions is tropical orchids, I read the book “The Orchid Thief” by Susan Orlean almost immediatley when it got published. It is several years since I read it now, but I remember being fascinated by this written portrait of people like me, being written by an author on the outside looking in. I think it is a wonderful book on the nature of obsession and well worth reading even if you are not interested in orchids. They made a movie based on the book, called Adaptation that is sort of a meta-movie about making a movie of the book. Thus, the movie is interesting but not really a true adaptation of the book.

Presently, my love for orchids is in hibernation. Living above the Arctic Circle and planning to travel a lot in the years to come does not go very well with orchid collecting. The infatuation I have at the moment is, of course, inks and fountain pens. Also, drawing. I hope to continue delving deeper into that in the months and years to come. Maybe combine them and learn more about scientific illustration, a subject that has nagged my mind for a while.

Now, off to London! Upcoming: a post about the trip, of course. And one about eyeballs.
I am leaving you with this photo I took a couple of weeks ago travelling to Narvik in Norway. Inspiring, ne?

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