Exo-terra Nano Tall vs Mini Tall


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Jun 11, 2011
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Hi everyone, I've been wanting to set up a vivarium for my orchid mantis with a live orchid and naturalistic feel to it. I like the exo-terra terrariums, but stuck between using a nano tall or mini tall, mainly because it's incredibly hard to find orchids small enough to fit inside a nano tall (8x8x12). The counter point is if a mini tall (12x12x18) will be TOO much space such that the mantis can't find food. If it helps, I also have a large sphodro that could fill the spot.Thoughts and opinions are welcome!

Also, is it easy to replace the metal screen with fiberglass mesh, preferably w/o hot glue gun etc... Thanks!

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I have a mini wide for my Orchid... She seems to spend a lot of time on the bottom... I am waiting for her to lay her second ooth.. I have sticks and leaves on the top for her to lay...

Thanks so much for the photo. It helps me get a sense of scale and size. Decided I would stick with he nano and try to keep locking for mini phalaenopsis. Kind of tough given the cage is 12 inches high... Not sure if most spikes are shorter than that including the roots...:/

I wanted to share my nano vivarium! Thinking about adding a few plants/twigs , but I think it's virtually there!

Of course the star of the vivarium moving into her 4th instar recently.

And here she is tackling a green bottle fly!

Wow that is a beautiful set up.. Great job.. and thanks for sharing!

Oh.. and a beautiful orchid.. the mantis ain't half bad either... LOL.. just kidding your little girl is a beauty...

Thanks dmina! I did a lot of searching around town for that orchid, but found the best place to get ones that can fit in a exo terra nano is Trader Joes. Special ordered "petite" phals for only $5.99.

Haha, the mantis could use a little more size to match up to that beautiful female you have in your tank. ;)

My SO and I decided to name her Daenerys from Game of Thrones. Thought it was fitting: she's beautiful, elegant, but can be ruthless when need be. We named the Sphodro female as Cerci, obviously cause she hunts and kills everything she sees.

Looks like a great setup for your pretty girl, I imagine she is loving it. Nicely done. :D

I think I would spend far to much time having to search for Daenerys in those orchids.

Thanks for appreciation CosbyArt! Who says you can't play a little hide and seek with your mantis? :tt2:

I was afraid the enclosure was too small for my L4 female to hunt, but was glad that she stayed on the flowers and was able to catch flies. Not to endorse Apple, but for a phone camera, I think these are pretty decent. Orchid flowers are slowly starting to wilt now. I wonder whether it's the proximity to the lights or maybe the dampness in the substrate. I planted it with sphagnum moss around the roots and orchid bark surrounding the hole to prevent moisture accumulation, but wondering if it's still too humid in there. Might let the viv dry out a little and not mist as frequently as daily. BTW, since these photos, she's gotten pinker. Saw another member mention that their orchid changed from complete white to pink under light. http://mantidforum.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=34131&hl=orchid Anyone notice a similar change in color?

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Quick update. Had a heating pad underneath the tank, which I think pressured my orchid to drop its flowers. I also think taking the plant out of the plastic pot kept the roots too moist. I replaced it with a more appropriately colored orchid which will hopefully survive better and longer in the tank now. Can you spot the mantis?

Looks great, the new flower seems to match your mantid even more. :D

Spotted - the bent abdomen, colored band at the end of it's thorax, and pointed eyes are dead giveaways. ;)

Thanks CosbyArt. I thought the bright light would blend those colors together, but that orchid mantis aint fooling anybody. More photos to share just cause its friday...Forgive the blurrieness from the Iphone.

And here is my Sphodro lineola. It was sold to me as a baccetti but given the missing inner dot on the forelegs, I'm thinking its a lineola. She is LOVELY. Calm, friendly, but super duper aggressive.


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