Last updated: August 17, 2021

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Terrariums allow us to recreate different animal and plant habitats in small glass, wood or plastic containers, which are very attractive and decorative. The question is, which of all the models and brands is the best?

In this article, we take a closer look at every detail to help you make the best purchase decision.




Summary

  • Terrariums are containers made of different materials, designed to recreate different natural environments for plants and animals. They are set up to reproduce tropical, desert or woodland habitats.
  • Terrariums come in many sizes, styles and models, suitable for each species.
  • The most common terrarium materials are glass, wood and plastic, although there are also terrariums made of clay and stone, among others.

The Best Terrarium: Our Picks

Buying Guide

What are terrariums and what are they for?

A terrarium is a container in which the environmental conditions necessary to create a specific animal or plant habitat are reproduced.

In the botanical field, the word terrarium usually refers to small greenhouses in which the characteristics of a specific habitat are recreated, for example a tropical habitat with constant high humidity and temperature, which makes it possible to grow tropical and subtropical plants as well.

Terrariums do not have a specific size and can be made of many different materials, such as pots, mesh, wood, plastic, etc., although the most common are glass terrariums, which allow a full view of the interior and are more resistant.

Terrariums are containers made of different materials, designed to recreate different natural environments for plants and animals.
(Photo: Tantaweegons/ 123rf.com)

What are the advantages of terrariums?

The greatest advantage of terrariums is that through them one can be in contact with more exotic animals and observe their characteristics or habits. They are also very attractive for plant lovers, as they create a microclimate where you can grow species that would probably not thrive in a pot.

It should be borne in mind that, although it is not difficult to set up a terrarium, it is necessary to dedicate the time needed in each case.

Advantages
  • Terrariums allow us to be in contact with exotic animal or plant species
  • Through the terrarium we learn about the habits and characteristics of the different species
  • They are usually very colourful and come in a large number of designs and sizes
  • Accessories and functions can be added, according to the needs of each species
  • They generally have a size that allows them to be moved from one place to another
Disadvantages
  • Homemade terrariums made of plastic are harmful to animal species
  • Smaller commercial terrariums made of injected plastic can be used as temporary housing for sick animals or hatchlings, but not for permanent installation
  • If the terrariums are too large, it is difficult to control the feeding of small reptiles
  • It is still an artificial habitat
  • If it does not meet the right conditions for the species (size, materials, fittings), it can be very harmful to the species

Glass or wooden terrarium - What to look out for?

Although there are several types of terrarium materials, the most common are glass and wood. Depending on why you are buying a terrarium, there are a few things you should pay attention to:

Glass Wood
It is the most common and best-selling terrarium material It is an elegant and decorative material
It allows you to see inside the terrarium perfectly It retains heat very well
It is solid and resistant to shocks It provides perfect insulation of the terrarium
It is easy to clean Withstands high temperatures
It is not easy to move, so it is not the most advisable material if the idea is to be changing the terrarium from place to place It is easy to clean
It is ideal to house larger animals It is not a suitable material for aquatic species or for humid environments

These are just a few characteristics to consider when deciding which terrariums are best for you; more on other factors to consider when making a good purchase choice later.

Terrariums come in many sizes, styles and models to suit each species.
(Photo: nd3000/ 123rf.com)

Buying Criteria: Factors that allow you to compare and rate Terrarium Models

Because there is such a wide range of terrariums on the market, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which is the best one to buy. That is why it is important to consider certain factors in order to buy the right terrariums.

Types of terrariums

There are three basic types of terrariums, built and conditioned for the ecosystems that can be reproduced in them.

The desert terrarium, for example, is the most recommended type of habitat for beginners, as there is no need to worry about humidity. In this type of terrarium, hardier plants are used and it is also the most suitable habitat for reptiles or insects, as their natural environment is very similar.

Then there is the forest, which can be warm or cold and, in some cases, includes a special container with water to recreate a lake or lagoon, adapted to the humid forests where certain species live.

Finally, the tropical type, which is more suitable for experts because it is the most difficult to build and care for, given that the temperature must be maintained precisely, as if it is too high, bacteria can form that are harmful to the plants or animals that live there.

Terrarium materials

Materials are an important factor to consider, and the right choice of terrarium will also depend on them.

Glass is one of the most common and recommended terrarium materials, as it allows better humidity maintenance and is very resistant. It is also hygienic and easy to clean.

The plastic terrarium is suitable for insects and small reptiles or amphibians, and its main advantage, unlike glass, is that it is easy to transport; but when the animals grow up they should be changed to a glass or wooden terrarium.

The main advantage of wooden terrariums is their elegant and attractive appearance, as they blend in easily with the decoration of the house, becoming just another ornament. They are recommended for larger animals, but are not recommended for humid habitats.

Terrariums for plants and animals

For plant terrariums, it is necessary that the container has at least one glass wall and a wide mouth or opening to be able to easily introduce the hand and place the stones, moss, compost and all the necessary elements to prepare it before adding the plants.

For animals it is essential that the terrarium has proper ventilation and a grid. It is also important that the size is appropriate for the type of species; it is advisable for it to be at least three times the size of the animal, but the larger the better.

Another important factor is that the materials must be adapted to the needs of each animal; for example, wood cannot be used for a tropical habitat where humidity is a fundamental element.

Decorative elements

Decoration is one of the most fun parts of having a terrarium, but the accessories selected should be appropriate for the habitat you are recreating, regardless of your personal tastes.

The substrate is fundamental and has to be the right one for the animal or plant species in the terrarium, as well as the type of plants, stones, waterfalls or water fountains that we choose.

(Featured image photo: Thammasiri Chusakcherdwong/ 123rf.com)

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