Terrarium Fun

 A few months ago I found a 20 gallon aquarium setting next to the dumpster at my apartment and thought I could use it or at least sell it on craigslist.  So for the past few weeks I've been thinking of the best way to use this piece of dumpster treasure.  I decided to make a terrarium. Here's how I did it and what I learned..

All of this (not including the free aquarium) cost $43.   The whole process took me about 2 hours which included cleaning everything, assembly and potting.
Itemized list:
1. Pea gravel
2. Charcoal
3. Potting mix
4. Plants
Wash the gravel to remove dirt and add into container, about half an inch.  This layer keep the water below the soil just like the bedrock of the earth. Wow, learning is fun!
Add the Charcoal onto of the gravel.  The charcoal acts a natural filter so that the moisture build up stays nice and fresh.  You want about half an inch to an inch of it.  
Next, add your potting mix.  (I could have added a layer of moss between the charcoal and potting mix but it's not required.) Be sure to moisten the dirt but not a lot. This starts the whole "eco-system" and the newly planted foliage requires some moisture in there. 
Now comes the fun part!  Start arranging your plants.  I have selected "tropical" plants or house plants.  They are easy to care for and most of them live well together i.e they have the same sunlight needs and moisture requirements... I was lucky, and there was a whole terrarium section at the garden center I went to so I just picked from it. Also be sure to inspect your plants before you buy them for any traces of disease.  It's also good to get a second opinion on placement and my dog is always a good critic. 
Once everything is in place start pruning any leaves that are dying or about to fall off.
Once everything is arranged carefully take the plant out of the pot.  Don't pull from the top of the plant.  Squeeze the pot and let it drop into your hand.  Remove most of the potting soil so the roots are exposed (depending on the plant) and plant.  Once everything is planted remove any potting soil from the leaves and and spray everything with water.  If you have a closed terrarium like mine leave the lid off for a day to release excess moisture. 
  And enjoy! 
The person that threw away the aquarium actually left this castle inside, score! You've just entered the enchanted forest bitches. 
It's like entering a tiny little world of your own creation.  OHH AHH!  
P.S - After only 5-10 minutes the inside of it already started to smell like the freshest forest air I have ever smelled.
After taking this picture I added a couple of taller plants (see the image 3 above). 
After a week or two, the humidity should be prefect for a frog.  They sell fire bellied toads at petco for $5.  If you want to do this you'll need some type of UVB/UNA bulb and a hood or lamp but they can be kind of pricey.  Oh, and in case your wondering I knew nothing about terrarium construction as of this morning.  So it's super simple and easy to learn. Have fun!