Beginners Guide To Terrarium Keeping - Watering

In this first part of the beginners guide to terrarium keeping we are going to tackle some of the most common questions I get:

'how often should I water my terrarium?' 
 'why is the glass always steamed up?' 
'how too fix a overwatered terrarium?'


When to water a terrarium

The answer is simpler then you think, most terrariums actually require little to no watering at all after the initial watering. This is if you made your terrarium in an airtight container. However over time the plants & moss inside the terrarium will use the water to grow until there is not a sufficient amount available for more growth. This isn't something that happens quickly in a terrarium and depends on many factors such as; the growth rate of the plants, moisture/humidity requirements, substrate moisture retention, terrarium size & many more. For most terrariums watering is not required for at least a year after setup, but its always good to regular check up on your terrariums just in case they are drying up. Luckily terrarium are very forgiving due to their enclosed ecosystem, if you're 2 months late to watering, your terrarium will be absolutely fine so long as the plants & moss are not completely dried up.

There are exceptions when it comes to how often you should water a terrarium. If the terrarium is in a container with a small opening or with a lid that is not airtight (some cork lids can often fall into this category), moisture will be able to slowly leave the terrarium and it will need a bit more care & attention. 

When you see the soil is beginning to look dry or you notice signs of moss & plants drying out it is time to give it some water. Every terrarium is different so the frequency in which your terrarium needs to be watered may not be the same as mine or anyone else's so i recommend a quick check every couple of weeks.

Top tip!: if you want to make a cork 100% airtight wrap it in a layer of cling film (saran wrap)!


Why is the glass always steamed up?

In case you didn't know there will always be some level of condensation on the glass inside a terrarium, this is a sign that the water cycle is at work(water evaporates from the substrate, condensates on the glass & falls back into the substrate like its own little ecosystem). However the glass should not be constantly steamed up but there are a few reasons for this and plenty of ways to fix it. It is common in new terrarium that have only recently been set up but one if the main reasons a terrarium is constantly steamed up is that it has been overwatered. Overwatering a terrarium can not only cause this condensation problem but it can also lead to the death of your terrarium! Don't worry as there is a few easy fixes to a overwatered terrarium.

How to fix a Overwatered Terrarium

We’ve all been there at one point or another & there are plenty of easy solutions so don’t worry too much. My go to method it to wipe the inside glass with some tissue to remove all the moisture & then leave the terrarium open for an hour or so, this will allow more water to evaporate. Then close it up and leave it for 24 hours, if the glass is still steamed up repeat the above steps. In extreme cases a pipette can be used to remove water straight out of the drainage layer.

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