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Discussion Starter #1
A while back I had found a 10 gallon fish tank for free. I thought it would make a great terrarium. I've had enough fish tanks and their care, thank you very much. With it being that big I even thought it would be fun to do it as a diorama. My wife asked what I'd do with it. I told her if we decided we don't want it that we could sell it. She said most people that would buy one would be women so she is the main designer. It's going to have an N scale train, fairies, and unicorns. I picked up these 4 cars off Ebay for $18. I was really surprised with their quality considering they older Model Power. I was also able to pick up 6 pieces of track for extremely little at a garage sale.
 

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I would think the size of your diorama would depend on if the fish tank is 10-gallons deep (small floor space) or 10-gallons shallow (large floor space). Good luck with it, and show us some pics as you build it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The name has changed to Whimsie Village and today we received the flat car for it.

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Still looking for an inexpensive engine.

I also got a list of plants that will work. The fish tank is the low profile kind. After adding all the rocks and dirt about a third of the tank is used up.
 

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i really like the color of that tank car!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Terrarium Plan

My wife got some fairies and unicorns. We also picked out 4 plants. The main plant is going to be sheet moss covering the forest floor. The bottom right plant is an air plant. The bottom left is a mini watermelon plant. The top plant with the bad print job is a variegata. The picture is the design we settled on, well, for now anyway. No guarantees once it's finally done. As you can see we're still chasing that elusive 4-4-0 American. It appears to be quite popular no matter how run down it is. The white rectangle is the size of the tank so a few things will be trimmed to fit.
 

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At last - something to do with the High Speed Reader's Digest train that I bought on eBay before I knew better...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The little steamer arrived yesterday. I'm already thinking about the best way to replace the smoke stack. The drive shaft from tender is also missing. Those are probably why I actually got it within my budget.

I look at the size of the N scale stuff and find it kind of hard to believe I used to model an 8 ft. X 12 ft. layout in this size.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Finally started the build.

This is the 10 gallon fish tank I found in the trash.
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Here is about 3/4" of pea gravel. I picked up a half yard at Home Depot for $5. I just had to rinse the mud off. I have a lot left for future projects.
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I sprinkled some activated carbon over the top. I picked it up in the fish department of PetSmart. I have most of it left for future projects.
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The carbon came in a couple of net bags so I split them open to help keep the soil from filtering into the rocks.
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Then 1.5 inches or so of potting soil. I had it left over from other projects..
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Now it's time to order the plants. I wanted to wait because it can take me a while to get back to things. Meanwhile I have other things I can work on for this project.
 

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This is a very unique project! Don’t think I’ve seen anything like it here. It will be interesting to watch how this progresses. Please keep the pictures coming.

- Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I got off work a little early tonight so I got the track laid. The plants are due in this week.

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Wow. Never thought of this. If anybody else is thinking of this, I have a 125 gallon aquarium with stand free to the first person to come and get it. Must bring pickup, I will help load. Floor of aquarium is 6 feet long and about 20 inches wide. Still holds water, with no leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dang, I live too far away. That's big enough for an N scale loop with a siding and spurs. Make an engine or two battery powered so you don't to worry about a clean track and you could have a garden railroad right in you living room or office.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Today the moss and air plant arrived so I put the moss in. Boy did I ever get a wake up call. The moss came in a 6 quart bag. Every place else kept talking about one quart bags. I thought for sure I'd have enough for the terrarium and several flower pots. What you see is the entire moss I received. I'm sure glad I didn't go with the 1 quart bags. At least the price was about the same. Once I get the plants in it should work out. The last two plants are currently due to arrive tomorrow.

I was going to put the moss in around the track so the track sad down in the moss. That is until I found out how thick the moss is. Guess it gets to sit on top.

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Discussion Starter #14
The last 2 plants came in today and I was able to get all the plants planted.

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And finally the train and figurines are placed. Basically it's done. I do need to put a smoke stack on the engine. I'm also tossing around the idea of painting the train, but then again, maybe not.

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Now comes the big question, can I keep the plants alive?
 

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Is that LIVE moss you got? I remember looking for some back when I had a terrarium, could never find anything but the dead/dried stuff.

Once your plants start growing, you'll be doing a lot of trimming to keep things looking neat. Have you considered putting a narrow branch diagonally across the tank for the vine to grow on? Could end up looking like a neat cave that the train is going through.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yep, it's live moss. I had a devil of a time finding moss that was actually alive. I found it at The Bio Dude and had it shipped to me along with the air plant in the corner.

We chose the plants based on size so hopefully there won't be too much trimming but I already figured on there would be some going into this. Actually none of the plants are vines but I am liking the stick and vine idea. I'll have to get that in mind since we decided to remove some of the figurines and add another plant or two.
 

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Nice find on the live moss! I thought the dark-green plant in front was a vining plant, but guess not. If you want to try it, most nurserys carry a variegated ivy that keeps very small leaves and grows somewhat slowly. There's also stuff like looks like a feathery fern (almost like dill, only much more dense) that works well in terrariums and could fill in the top half of the aquarium a bit for you, give you more of a forest look if you wanted that. Or since it's a fairy theme, how about growing some live mushrooms?

So many possibilities with what you've got built! I hope you keep updating with pics as the plants grow in.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
We decided that since we're keeping it that we wanted fewer figurines and more green. We took out about half of the figurines. I also moved the air plant from the back right corner to the left front corner. It was too hidden in the back. I also moved out the sticks it was sitting on and realized I only needed one. The other is to help fill space until we get the plants we want. I also figured the big space needed something so I found a fir cone. All the plants are doing great and seem happy in their new home. We're going to leave the train as is except for adding a smoke stack to the loco.

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