Glass Terrarium | Indoor Garden & Terrarium Soil 

How To Glass Terrarium

Glass terrarium hobby is picking up globally and Google shows that DIY glass terrarium footprints are increasing day by day. Looks like glass terrarium hobby has originated from the aquarium hobby.

It is said that the more we are closer to nature the more collected and good our lives would be. We’ll be more peaceful and happy, during a conversation with friends someone said that he is very close to nature too. Upon my asking, he said that he watches Animal Planet every day after dinner 😀

ROFL, people have forgotten what it means to be closer to nature. One can’t be closer to nature while watching TV. We are closer to nature only when we are in nature. So go out of your house and off your sofa set. One need not to go too far wherever you are living. There are many tiny pockets where you can feel nature, its beauty and everything. Even sitting underneath a huge Banyan tree you’ll start feeling good, its a simple thing.

In this blog, we’ll learn how to prepare good quality terrarium soil at home and using this soil to prepare a terrarium. 

Materials Used to Make a Glass Terrarium:

  • DOOA Terra 30 system glass structure. Though it comes with a filtration system at the back. I am using it, since it is broken, simply recycling the broken stuff instead of throwing it in the trash. This will make our glass terrarium.
  • Coco peat
  • Dry moss aka sphagnum moss or any dry moss
  • Clean sand without any shells and contamination or ADA La Plata and some ADA soil. 
  • Some orchid bark or small pieces of driftwood
  • Activated carbon
  • API Water care & and also API Root Boost
Terrarium Soil Ingredients

It will be a dry terrarium with no water. I’ll be suggesting alternatives to the above ingredients so if you don’t have the above-mentioned products then you can use substitute products for your terrarium. We’ll start with making soil for it.

How to Make Glass Terrarium Soil:

We’ll discuss how to make glass terrarium soil. This is going to be an interesting blog as with this you can learn useful tips that you can use it in any terrarium ranging from even a tiny bowl to a huge one too.

You can use the soil we’ll be making very easily, the plants will grow very beautifully.

We’ll be doing a trip to a nearby nursery to choose and collect some plants. 

So let’s start. Before starting anything, keep all the ingredients ready be it you’re making terrarium soil or your favorite pizza. 

Keeping all the ingredients ready is very important coz when everything is ready, its easier to work. 

Remember the aim is to make a good quality and long-lasting terrarium soil because we need our plants to grow well in our terrarium

Firstly, we need coco peat which is obtained from coconut husk. Then we’ll need dry moss aka sphagnum moss or any dry moss, then we’ll be using sand, it can be any sand but it should be clean without any shells and contamination here we’ll be using ADA La Plata and some ADA soil. 

some orchid bark or small pieces of driftwood, then some activated carbon. Here we’ll also be using API Water care and also API Root Boost but we’ll be using them before adding the terrarium soil. Let’s have an empty bowl for measuring everything.

During making the terrarium soil I’ll explain why are we using those ingredients. 

Have a tray or a bowl to mix the ingredients in it. 

Firstly,  Let’s start with peat moss. We’ll be using the cup for an approximate measurement

and two parts of the coco peat and one cup of dry moss. For better results, it is good to disintegrate the dry moss into pieces. 

Now let’s add a cup of wood chips in it followed by adding a cup of sand and as this is very fine,

we’ll add only half a cup at first and if we’ll need more, then we’ll add it later.

Now add a half cup of activated carbon.

and lastly we’ll add half a cup of aqua soil amazonia

Mix them really well, you can do it with your hands, its up to you mix it well so it can last longer. 

Our soil is ready and we have to prepare the base of this tank, we have to prepare the hardscape. 

Understand The Benefits of The Ingredients We Used

Coco Peat

Coco peat retains moisture and keeps the soil loose & aerated so oxygen can move. If you don’t have coco peat, then you can use the coconut husk and chop it in small pieces. Soak it in water then use it. 

Sphagnum Moss

Dried moss or sphagnum moss, it retains water. If you don’t water the terrarium for a week or so, then it retains water. Aany moss keeps the water stored that is retention so just like coco peat, the moss retains water if you can’t find sphagnum moss or dried moss, there aren’t much alternatives. Yyou can get any dried moss easily. its not a very complicated thing. You can buy it from a near by nursery or plant shop. Try using barley husk or dried grass as an alternative to sphagnum moss however they won’t give the same results as sphagnum moss gives.

Barley husk or dried grass that is hay, the dried one used to feed cows but it doesn’t work as well as dried moss.


Next thing that we used is sand, you can use any sand, you ca use river sand, and construction sand. You can use any but make sure it shouldn’t contain any shells or contaminants like any eggs of snails or leeches otherwise they’ll come in your terrarium and create a mess. 

The sand also improves the texture of soil and keeps it loose and when we use water, it gets drained easily & keeps the soil loose. It doesn’t let it get clayey, so that’s why sand is important. 

Orchid bark aka driftwood chips

If you don’t get orchid bark then you can use driftwood chips or you can use the outer berk of driftwood that breaks easily but keep in mind that it should be completely dried, the more dried it is, the better it will be. The wood chips increases the aeration of the soil and also helps in drainage. So the water doesn’t stay stagnant and moves out easily

Activated carbon

It removes the impurities in the soil and all the toxins and also if there is any odor, it will be removed. If you don’t get activated carbon then you can simply use charcoal, the charcoal that we get after burning the wood. You can use it too after breaking it into pieces.

And then we have used aquasoil amazonia

If you get the ADA aquarium soil then its great if you don’t get aquasoil then you can use good quality red soil not the clayey one, the soil should be loose. It is the soil that is used in garden, the red soil, you can use it. Remember, it shouldn’t have cow dung mixed in it. it should be only simple red soil. 

These were all the ingredients we used for making terrarium soil. 

To prepare a hardscape, try to remember the best memory you have with you about any natural scape and try to rebuild it from your memory. Make it with a feeling about how it looks in nature or how the old observation or imagination might look. Use that and then make a hardscape. 

Building a terrarium or a vivarium or a paludarium or aquarium is always fun and it’s also very interesting because every project uses some unique techniques that evolved with time and depend upon the project requirements. 

With that always remember and make a note of probable problems that might arise during the course of the project. 

Before we start setting up a terrarium, we’ll discuss what problems that might arise. 

Since we’ll be making this terrarium completely with soil so there is no way for the water to go out. To counter this problem, we’ll be using an old filter pipe here from an old filter. This filter pipe is very important in this project. 

The excess water in the system will collect at one end where this filter pipe will be fitted. Secondly, in the base and towards the back, I’ll be using API bio media. It can be aquarium or terrarium or paludarium or vivarium whenever you use soil, ensure that there is some porous substance added. 

This porous space helps bacteria to colonize as well as helps in aeration and oxygenation. Air circulation is very important in any structure that involves any type of life – plants or animals. This proper air circulation helps in a healthy environment because of which plants will grow beautifully and nicely. 

For terrarium, bio-media is very useful. Place the filter pipe close to the rear glass at the backside of the glass terrarium. This will reach the height till where we have the cuttings. Add some more media here to give it a sloppy view. 

What this media will do is, if there is some excess water then it will accumulate near the pipe and it will be evaporated through the top or we can put a smaller pipe in there and suck out the excess water. Hence, the problem of excess water in the terrarium is resolved. 

On top of bio media, we’ll be adding API Root Boost. It will boost the growth of roots so its good if we use a bit of root boost for any plants then its good. 

As we mentioned earlier, we’ll be using API Water Care. We’ll be using two things from this, one is the bacteria and the other is carbon. Post that add the Bacter+ here its good to have bacteria so we’ve added that. Now add Carbo fit+, it will help remove the toxins and impurities. 

The root boost+ that we used is  a unique German system known as pauschal system that is used in agriculture. It helps in the growth of the roots of the plants, and the media that we have used at the base will strengthen the roots. It and improves aeration and also provides some height. 

Before, Now, we can add soil here but before that we have an important thing to do, that is placing a simple mosquito net, which generally used to be placed on windows. This is grey in color, we’ll place it on top of the media so that the soil and media don’t mix. 

Now we’ll be adding the soil from the front. Our base is ready and now the important thing is getting plants. 

when we’ll get the plants from a nursery, it will have some soil in it too. Generally, it is the coco peat soil mixture so we can use that soil too as we need the soil level to be at a certain level to give our terrarium a sloppy look. 

While adding the plants we can adjust the soil level. 

What is hardscape?

Hardscape means that whenever you plan on making an aquarium or terrarium

then the foundation that is made of the natural setting which can be made of stones or wood

or a combination of stone and wood is called hardscape. This is the foundation and we’ll be adding plants on it and around it. 

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