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Purple Pitcher Brainstorm

Discussion in 'Tropical Plants' started by Dragoness, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I am building a terrarium for a purple pitcher plant (yes, for a plant, lol).

    I am brainstorming, wondering if there is any type of very small animal at all that can safely cohabit with it, with neither damaging the other. It's just a whim, so it really doesn't matter if I can't find something suitable. I am flexible - anything will do. Herp, invert, etc.

    Humidity will be high - (consistently 75% or higher)
    Temps will average 75ºF at night and 85ºF by day.
    I am using a ten gallon acrylic fish tank with a tight fitting plastic lid.
    Substrate will be peat, with a surface of sheet moss.
    No UVB, but will have a bright fluorescent for the plant.
    I would of course be able to provide hides, water dishes, etc.

    The critter in question must meet the following criteria.

    Will not dig excessively. (I can protect the roots from a little digging, but not extensive tunnels) So nothing subterranean.

    Cannot climb very well. My biggest worry about this project is a small animal falling into the pitcher plant... It's unusual, they often only catch flying insects.

    Is small enough to live comfortably in a ten gallon.

    Can live within the above mentioned specs (temp/humid/size/bright light)

    Would prefer a carnivore/insectivore because I already stock foods for almost every type...

    The only things I can think of right now are:

    AFT gecko
    Small toad of some type.

    I'm sure one or both of those are not suitable for some reason I am overlooking. Anyways, I'd like to pick your brains. If I can find an animal, great. If not, of well, it was just an idea.
  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I'm thinking amphibian is probably the best way to go. I can add branches, logs, bark, whatever else.

    Dart frogs are a potential. They can climb, but not as prolifically as tree frogs.
  4. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Especially since the plant prefers wet conditions. What about salamanders?
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Oooh! hadn't thought of that.
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I could even aim for a species that normally lives in the same area as the plant naturally occurs (Eastern US, and most of Canada.). Probably need to drop the temps a bit, which is easy enough to do by moving it out of the herp room.
  7. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    Id go with dart frogs... Just because i want some too haha. I would sorta worry about them getting into the pitcher plant though since they are small enough. And if i remember right, Pitcher plants have some sort of slippery substance on there inner walls to keep prey from getting out.
  8. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    These plants (Sarracenia purpurea) do not have slippery insides, but they have downward pointing hairs that do in fact foil insects from escaping.

    If I got a larger species of dart (D. azureus or D. tinctorius which are also great beginner darts) it would be a little too large to fall into the pitchers once fully grown. And if it did, it would have no problems getting out.

    My only issue with darts is the fruit fly or pinhead cricket thing you'd need for a food source. Though I suppose the same would be true of any small amphibian that could live in there. Small herps need small foods.

    When my Venus Fly Traps come out of Dormancy in January, I am hoping to add them to the terrarium (if they indeed have survived my ministrations - we'll see.)
  9. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    The fruit flies may do better in this environment than pin heads.
  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Any terrarium in which I have had moist substrate has always spawned fruit flies without my help. I think they could thrive in there. You can always bait them to keep them in one place using a piece of banana in a dish.

    Right now, I'm leaning towards a small-ish salamander or darts.

    Another (potential) concern is that the plants have to live in nutritionally poor soil (or as close as you can get anyways). I have to use distilled water for them. I think I read somewhere that amphibians need minerals in their water (not chlorine) to be healthy. I guess the easy solution would be to provide a dish of normal water that can't be tipped or splashed easily.

    This is what the terrarium looks like right now. There is room for the fly traps (If all goes well, I'll have more than 2 come out of dormancy).

    Attached Files:

  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I would seriously question the distilled water requirement.
    After all it doesn't rain distilled water in their natural habitat.
  12. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I think just using water that has been left out for a day to de-clorinize
    Would do. As for the soil you could alway gather some pine needles and mix that in with the soil to make it more acidic, thats what I do with rhododendron and azaleas.
  13. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Good point Merlin.

    Everything I have read states that distilled water is strongly preferred, with dechlorinated tap water or rainwater being second choice.

    Fertilizers, however, are almost instant death, lol. Now sure how much I should worry about animal feces entering this equation. I'm sure the plants encounter it in the wild, but in a terrarium, it builds up much faster, and since everything is moist, it will seep around much faster too.
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Since true distilled water is completely void of minerals I can't see it being good for the plant. And it is definately death for any amphibians or fish, since osmosis would suck the minerals right out of the animal's body.
    However since some people tend to use the word distilled water for any purified water, maybe that is what they are getting at.
    And since pitcher plants are bog plants they are growing in swampwater, which although highly acidic is definately not pure!
  15. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    True, true. I'm probably just a little too paranoid about it since I usually have the black thumb of death with plants. I'm surprised it has lasted this long. Now the real question, will it survive the transplant? It has not yet been 24 hours since I stuck it in it's new digs.
  16. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    After some more thought, I doubt that sticking an amphibian in there is a good idea. Carnivorous plants are susceptible to fungus, so I may have to treat with fungicides on a regular basis to keep healthy. I'm pretty sure than amphibians and fungicides won't mix well.
  17. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I could see where there would be an issue with fungus, with the dropping of insect pieces around the plant. Some of those pill bugs may help with that issue of decaying matter.

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