'Estonia' - A Model Ecosystem Recreates a Baltic Forest.

With some light pruning, refreshed leaf litter and a spray of clean rainwater, we tidied up one of our favorite terrarium displays this evening. 'Estonia' is built into a 37G (140L) Column enclosure (20" X 18" X 24" [31cm X 46cm X 62cm]) with plants and other features evoking a Baltic woodland with Birches, Firs and a ground layer of soft Ferns.

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This Model Ecosystem built in Dojō Terrarium style is very easy to maintain and designed to endure for at least several years. An "egg crate" light diffuser plate supports a rooting substrate comprised mainly of porous gravel (similar to bonsai tree soil) and allows for free drainage and siphon removal of irrigation water. A groundcover of dried leaves, conifer cones and found objects creates a convincing forest floor microhabitat, while a trio of Birch tree poles reach to the top of the tank, providing vertical dimension and creating an appearance of mature canopy trees. A 12-volt fan provides internal air circulation with a gentle breeze.

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The terrarium ecosystem was designed only for live plants and does not house livestock, but the antlered skull of a Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) lies hidden among the dried leaves and fern fronds to complete the effect of a cool, sun-dappled Baltic forest and its countless mysteries.   

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