'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.


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.


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.