Plants and Glass "Drainage"?

Discussion in 'Enclosures And Supplies' started by BJ Vynz, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. BJ Vynz

    BJ Vynz Member

    My question is simply this. Can plants in substrate within a glass terrarium alone do enough to remove water from its floor? This is assuming that little misting is done, and I'm always monitoring the substrate to avoid pooling.
    Or is it necessary to have all kinds of "drainage layers" I've read a bit about here? Is that the only way to go when not drilling glass?

    Goes without saying, I don't know of the subject.


    I have a screen cage but it got damaged and want to replace it. It's just a big hole in the screen and I know I can patch that but want a new enclosure anyway.
    I was going to go with a dragonstrand breeder cage and the easy-drip pan system but those with the shipping reaches $400 and for that pricing I can just walk into my local pet store and buy a 2'x2'x4' glass one with the screen top and large screen door. My cham's been doing good since it was a hatchling (now 2+ years) and I'm not too worried to try a few new things, and am always happy to read resources if you can point me to them.
     
    #1 BJ Vynz, Jul 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  2. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Nope, you'd still need a false bottom drainage layer. Glass doesn't mean much less misting either. Can be cut down slightly, but still need time for drinking, bathing, eye cleaning
     
    Angelwolf likes this.
  3. BJ Vynz

    BJ Vynz Member

    Okay. I'll try looking up info on settings up drainage layers. If you (or anyone) have any suggestions for good reads I'll be happy to read them. Thanks.
     
  4. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Well, all you really need to do is make a 2-3" layer of clay balls or lava rock. Cover that with vinyl screen. Place substrate on top. Then for removing water, have a small pump in the drainage layer(where the clay balls are) with tubing connected to it to pump the extra water out. That's what I would do at least. You don't ever want the substrate to flood because it goes anaerobic, pretty much killing all of the beneficial bacteria along with plants. You can tell by a bad smell instead of the sweet earthy smell that a proper substrate has.
     
  5. Goose502

    Goose502 Avid Member

    That’s an odd size for a mostly glass terrarium. I honostly haven’t had to drain mine ever. It is heavily planted, and rooted. I have an automisting system that usually goes 30 seconds to 2 minutes multiple times a day. Lately, I have been experimenting with less, longer, heavier misting periods. I may go a day here and there without much misting, but feed juicer insects those days. I have yet to develop any smell, also, I have only noticed water at the bottom of my drainage layer after I dumped a gallon or so of water for the plants. This water is gone in less than a day though. My enclosure is the Exo Terra model, this holds onto humidity very well for me. This results in less misting than what may be necessary in an open all screen cage.
     
    Angelwolf and Alexander1 like this.
  6. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    I really have no idea how you never have to drain... do you live in a dry climate with fast evaporation? Even if I misted in a glass cage 1 minute a day it would be overflowing. I have to pump out my tubs twice a week.
     
    Vnessinessa and Angelwolf like this.
  7. BJ Vynz

    BJ Vynz Member

    Yeah, I hadn't seen one with these dimensions until now. I like it.

    Since having a drain layer seems simple enough I think I'll go for it and buy the terrarium. I'll buy a pump for draining when/if necessary, of course installing it before I do anything else. Better to play it safe than sorry especially since I'm new to this.

    Thanks to both.
     
    jamest0o0 likes this.
  8. BJ Vynz

    BJ Vynz Member

    Actually not sure if I'll do it haha. But it's good to know I can.
     
  9. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    You definitely want a drainage layer. It would be a bad idea not to have one. While goose says he doesnt have to drain his, he still has one in place. I think itd be bad advice to say to not do it. Not only does it hold water, but it helps aerate the soil. Wet soil sitting on a glass bottom is going to compact easier. It also allows space for the roots to grow down into the water similar to hydroponics. And lastly I just can't imagine not having to drain while misting enough. Even if it's once a month. All it takes is one time for your soil to flood and you turn the soil anaerobic, kill plants, etc. That's when the smell comes too.
     
    Goose502 likes this.
  10. Goose502

    Goose502 Avid Member

    I can’t explain exactly why I haven’t had to drain. I just hand sprayed about 1/3 a gallon of water everywhere too. I constantly check, like you said, anaerobic bacteria would set in fast. I always thought it had to do with the heavy rooting of my plants. Two ficus and an umbrella plant are the largest plants there. Perhaps my misting isn’t as freaquent? I have never had an issue with dehydration, and I feel like at least 3-4 gallons are going into the terrarium each week.
     
    Angelwolf, amfire125 and jamest0o0 like this.
  11. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    @Goose502 oh yeah I'm not saying you're lying. I'm just a bit jealous lol. I constantly have to drain my water, our humidity is so high here in the summer though.
     
    Goose502 likes this.
  12. Goose502

    Goose502 Avid Member

    Lol, now you got me worried! I keep my house pretty cool, I mean, my A/C runs a lot. That could do it. And I do run a ceramic heating element on one side of the cage. It’s set up with a thermostat, so it runs off and on as needed 24/7, but it’s not terribly hot near it(where my chameleon could get to). Could be lucky? Not sure, it’s never been an issue, so I never really thought about it. I hope I didn’t find the “Goldilocks” setup, and now I’ll be chasing it with every new build.
     
    jamest0o0 likes this.
  13. BJ Vynz

    BJ Vynz Member

    I meant I'm not sure I'm going to go through with setting up a glass terrarium. I'm still deciding :p Sorry I wasn't clear.

    I'm still comparing having it vs having the breeder cage.
     
    #13 BJ Vynz, Jul 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
    jamest0o0 likes this.
  14. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Ahhh gotcha! My fault. Do you live in a humid or dry area?
     
    BJ Vynz likes this.
  15. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    I'm sure youre fine! You've had it set up for awhile with a healthy chameleon. I also have free drainage, but my leaves stay wet all day from one misting. My humidity gets close to 100 at night, PA is like the tropics in the summer lol. My chams don't all like to drink much, they just sit with their mouths open. I had some yellow urates so I had to up my mistings. I also have AC turned off in my cham room.
     
    Angelwolf likes this.
  16. Goose502

    Goose502 Avid Member

    I understand the humidity in PA, used to spend a few weeks there every July. My family is all from there. It’s pretty dry out in NorCal, and hot!
     
    Angelwolf and jamest0o0 like this.
  17. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Oh nice, what part of PA were you in? It's been in the high 80s/90s here and almost 100% humidity at night. My family lives in SoCal, been getting to 115 where they are. Crazy!
     
    Angelwolf likes this.
  18. Goose502

    Goose502 Avid Member

    Just outside of Pittsburgh. It’s actually been pretty mild in my area so far, but I’m sure the 110 days are coming.
     
    Angelwolf likes this.
  19. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    Oh nice, I grew up in pittsburgh. Good luck with that weather over there.
     
    Angelwolf likes this.
  20. BJ Vynz

    BJ Vynz Member

    I'm mid-valley in CA, USA, it's dry.

    I think my uncertainty for a terrarium lies in how more easy/convenient the breeder cage seems to be. Lightweight (in comparison maybe?) so easier to move around (and I gotta bring it to upstairs apartment), and with my own substrate bin can still have tons of plants (not to mention portable and removeable!) and because the walls and back are solid I still get humidity retention as well as keeping mist from going outside the cage. The water tray would also mean no need to pump out water from inside for draining. Also no need for drainage layers for the tray so no need to add the weight. Opaque walls also mean no need to worry how the setup looks from the sides or have my cham stress about seeing people moving around in the room. Lastly, it would have dragon ledges which (owning some already) I have found extremely useful.

    The only advantage I see to the terrarium would be that it would look professional-like (if you know what I mean) and beautiful, and setting it up would be a great long-term and educational project for me. But also... as I keep mentioning, the glass looks so beautiful :D
     
    #20 BJ Vynz, Jul 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018

Share This Page



Loading...