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Discover how these fish tank-like devices are used to grow tropical plants

Terrariums are a special type
of enclosure with a glass case
that specialise in re-creating
a foreign habitat that is very different
to the room they are located in.
Typically they are used to grow plants
that can only exist in tropical climates,
such as croton or selaginella, with a
series of lighting, water and circulation
systems artifi cially imitating their
native habitat.
Animals can be kept in terrariums
too, with turtles being one of the most
common inhabitants. However, their
prime modus operandi is for botanical
or decorative purposes, akin to a fi sh
tank in modern homes and offi ces. It’s
worth noting, as can be seen in the ‘Get
to know your habitats’ boxout at the
bottom of the page, terrariums differ
from other similar enclosures like
insectariums and formicariums.
Indeed, a terrarium’s focus on plants
and fl owers makes it in many ways
more akin to a botanical garden’s
tropical glasshouse than an aquarium,
with facilities like the Eden Project in
the UK and the Biosphere 2 in Arizona
sharing much of its technology, albeit
on a far larger and more complex scale.
For a closer look at the key components
that make up a modern domestic
terrarium, check out the main image.

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