Mac turned terrarium for carnivorous plants

The Mac-turned-terrarium and the carnivorous plants within. Completed March 2003. Don't ask when I started and how long the partially-completed project sat in a box.

The Mac

I started out hoping to build a fishtank. With a saw blade, I cut out any protruding plastic pieces from within the case. These pieces were originally meant as mount points for boards and the CRT in the Mac but just get in the way if you want a fish tank or plant terrarium.

Then, I bought some plexiglass. Using a jigsaw, I cut out five pieces and epoxied them to make an open-top box that fits neatly into the bottom of the Macintosh case. I used silicone sealant for fish tanks to seal the edges where the plexi pieces come together. Supposedly, silicone sealant from hardware stores might release nasty chemicals over time, whereas the silicone sealant sold at pet stores and meant for fish tanks shouldn't.

Lastly, I searched for a plant light that would be small enough to fit inside the case. I finally found a 13 Watt light bulb at Home Depot, but had to go to a specialty electrical store where they special-ordered the socket and ballast. I mounted these inside the case. The light is on a timer. I should point out that in the first month or so, most of the plants grew noticeably, but they also lost a lot of their reddish tint and became greener. I've noticed this change in photopigmentation in some succulents that I brought from sunny California to Washington. It's quite possible that the plants would actually prefer more than 13W for this size enclosure, and indeed the owner of the Indoor Sun Shoppe where I bought the plants recommended more.

The plants

The plants within are as follows. Where two images are shown, the first was taken when the plants were first bought and the second about a month later. All plants were purchased from the Indoor Sun Shoppe in Seattle, Washington. I happenned to talk to the owner and he was very excited and knowledgable about the plants. The other employees in the store also know a lot. I highly recommend this shop.

Venus flytrap:
Dionaea muscipula

Purple pitcher plant:
Sarracenia purpurea venosa

Drosera spatulata

Cape Sundew:
Drosera capensis

Drosera dichotoma giant

Pinguicula morenesis

Neato note on the plants. The two larger sundews (the capensis and dichotoma) have both caught small insects on their own. One day, I came home and found a fruit fly stuck to the capensis and still struggling. A couple of hours later, it was more stuck and struggling. The next morning, the capensis leaf had folded over such that the fly was sandwiched. A day later, the capensis leaf opened up again and only remnants of the fly were still there.

Last updated Apr 13, 2003. © Anna Mitros
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