Rainforest Canopy | Epiphyte Laden Branch
I have been meaning to start this project for a while. I have seen a few other similar ones around. I plan to do this one in a 30 X High, which isn't a lot of room. I want to take some time to find real small epiphytes that will scale well with the branch that I am making and the enclosure.
Earlier this morning I started making the branch feature. I might have selected a thick piece of manzanita for it, but decided to use GS foam. All that I did to start the shape was to place a piece of waxed paper over my bench top with a few scraps of wood underneath to make a more dimensional surface, then I just sprayed out a twisted branch shape about 24" long. After it cures I will flip it over and apply more GS to the other side to get a more or less cylindrical branch form. I would shoot a picture of it now, but it's pretty ugly and not much to see. After the whole thing is cured I can start shaping with this fine coping saw that I have and coarse sandpaper
I don't see very many very memorable pictures of this kind of thing on the Internet, which is surprising because trees loaded with epiphytes can be so visually striking. Back in the day I climbed a few tall trees down in Costa Rica and it was really amazing. If anybody might know about any real good albums on flickr or Pinterest or wherever I'd be interested to get the link as more visual reference. Here is a Wikimedia Commons image that shows a tree with some larger bromeliads and aroid climbers and stuff like that.
(Wikimedia Commons image: FileirkvdM epiphytes.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I'm going to do this as a Forest Floor setup with false bottom. It might also be engaging to pick out terrestrials for the planter pots. Terrestrial plants will need to be very short to fit with this idea. It would be great to find some more unusual mini terrestrial orchids, aroids and gesneriads. The bottom area might need some extra illumination because the epiphyte branch above will be well-lit but throw a lot of shade.
I don't know about livestock yet. This kind of setup could potentially work for a pygmy cham, but I can imagine there are better ways to build a habitat for them. I understand that there are some dart frog species (Ranitomeya
spp.??) that are almost entirely arboreal. I might just make this a plant display. Some sort of insect might also work. There might or might not be connection between the branch and the bottom planted area with some fake vine features.