A Special Paludarium Build - Northern Acid Bog

We have an update with a new planted paludarium setup representing a special kind of native North America plant community, a northern acid bog. This kind of environment is distinguished by thick growth of Sphagnum spp. mosses and other plants adapted to grow in acidic, nutrient-poor water. In the United States, acid bogs are most common in glaciated, northern areas with sandy soils in New England and around the Great Lakes.

We have not employed any Aqua Verdi accessories for this planting, but we did make use of a sheet of EpiWeb, a unique terrarium plant substrate available at GlassBoxTropicals.com. EpiWeb is usually used as a vertical terrarium planted panel, but it should work well as an inert rooting substrate for these acid bog plants.

Along with the Sphagnum sp. moss, the planting also includes a few roundleaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) plants and several of the Family Ericaceae shrubs that grow in northern acid bogs:

  • Bog Laurel (Kalmia polifolia)
  • Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata),
  • Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus)
  • Labrador Tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum)

These photos show most of the steps in construction. A few manzanita twigs were added as hardscape features. The planting is illuminated with a PAR38 pendant LED lamp, while a 12v case fan provides internal air circulation to reduce water condensation on the glass and keep the plants healthy. We have also made use of our new view-through-the-top glass lid with laser-cut acrylic frame.

Notice also the special water feature, but don't be fooled by the small size of this round pool. The whole void area beneath the false bottom + EpiWeb is filled with water, so there is extra water volume to provide more system stability. 

The final planted view in this series shows the bed of moss a little disorganized and with bare patches. We have already tried a planting like this in another enclosure and the Sphagnum and other plants have done well with good growth. We will see this bog begin to green up some more in a few weeks.

Stay tuned for updates!