About the bioactive terrarium


A terrarium is made up of vegetable and mineral elements and microorganisms, which when placed together in a glass container recreate a landscape. In the container that hosts them each of them interpret their biological role: they interact and develop like the actors of a real ecosystem. Indeed, an ecosystem is made up of a set of living beings in a biological environment. It is the characteristics of transparency and watertightness of the glass that allow, in the case of a closed container, its self-sufficiency. Its transparency lets in the light essential to the life of the plants, while the watertight seal retains the humidity emitted by the plants, to the point that the need for irrigation is almost non-existent. When this landscape under glass receives from the outset the right dosage of all the elements necessary for its development (water, light, nutrients), it can live in an almost prolonged autonomy. (some terrariums if for compounds, can last tens of years in autonomy) Human interventions are considerably limited, even unnecessary.

We also distinguish the technique of the “open terrarium” which also brings together plants with the aim of recreating a landscape, but in a container without a lid. This method of composition does not propose the same biological situation: since it does not retain humidity, the terrarium does not constitute an autonomous ecosystem, since it must be added again by evaporating.

Biology of the composition

 Before creating a composition in a terrarium, it is first of all necessary to consider the needs of the plants in their natural habitat. The assembly of plants according to their needs – humidity, light and type of soil – is done by associating those that do not compete with each other at the level of branches or roots. For example, we don’t mix forest moss and cacti in the same composition, because they don’t have the same moisture requirements. in order for the mosses to remain green, a lot of humidity is needed which instead would cause the succulents to perish

The purpose, in addition to recreating a small landscape, is also to leave nature the possibility to occupy the space: to let the mosses develop, the roots grow and the harmless insects inhabit this miniature world. Since when creating the terrarium, it is possible that some insects are hiding in the moss or in the ground. If they are not dangerous and harmful to plants, it is preferable to let them play their natural role in the natural development of the terrarium.


One of the surprising peculiarities of closed terrariums is that it can practically do without irrigation. As with photosynthesis, the water cycle reproduces on a small scale in the closed terrarium.

The water cycle Once the terrarium is completed, it is necessary to water the composition. This initial supply of water is done in the form of nebulization of the soil. The water is absorbed by the roots. Once photosynthesis is complete, the leaves of the plants return the water in the gaseous form (water vapor) through a phenomenon called evapo-transpiration.

Subsequently, the water condenses and becomes liquid again on the glass wall. It runs towards the ground to be reabsorbed by the roots and perpetuate the cycle.


Photosynthesis is the chemical phenomenon that allows plants and certain bacteria, in the presence of light, to produce oxygen. The principle of photosynthesis • The water present in the soil is absorbed by the roots of the plant, while the CO2 (carbon dioxide) available in the air is absorbed by its leaves. • Thanks to the energy of natural light, these two elements, water and CO2, will undergo a chemical transformation: photosynthesis. The chlorophyll contained in the tissues of the plant is the seat of this transformation. • The irradiation of light breaks up these assimilated molecules and reorganizes them in order to create other elements. This goes to produce the sugars necessary for the life of the plant and oxygen.

It is advisable to insert detrivores also called “cleaning insects”. The most common are the isopods Trichorhina tomentosa and “Cubaris” ones

BY DAY:  The plant transforms water, carbon dioxide (CO2) and light into sugars and oxygen. water (H20) + carbon dioxide (CO2) + light> sugars + oxygen (02)

AT NIGHT:  In the dark, photosynthesis stops but the plant continues to “breathe”. It absorbs the oxygen present in the atmosphere and releases carbon dioxide and water vapor. oxygen (02)> carbon dioxide (CO2) + water vapor (H20)

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