Making A Photo-Realistic Mini Desert Terrarium

Hey guys, today I’d like to kick the Bantamarium experience off with a mini desert terrarium. This is going to be one of the easiest terrain builds. I’m really trying to be all-inclusive with this project and felt it would be a good idea to offer something at this level.

If you aren’t familiar with what a bantamarium is, I strongly recommend you take a look at this deep dive I put together. In a nutshell, it’s a concept I’ve been working on where we bring a diorama to life. The goal is ultimately to make photo-realistic vivariums anyone, no matter the skill level, can make!

Bantamarium: Everything You Need To Know

Moments In Monument Valley

As with all of my builds, I like to pull inspiration from real-world landmarks. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to drive through the Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona, you know how breathtakingly photogenic this desert can be. The “Moments In Monument Valley” terrain symbolizes the stillness I’ve felt while passing through the area. Traveling here in the past has always felt like I’m pervading through a moment in time.

Making The Mini Desert terrarium

With most of the hard work already done in the casting itself, breathing life into this historic recreation won’t be a challenge at all. I will focus on mainly two aspects: Making sure we properly house this scape for longevity and accurately display vegetation with real plants.

Mini Desert Terrarium Material List



Desert Terrarium Construction:

Taking a closer look at the terrain I’m working with today, we will notice a few things worth keeping in mind as we go. It measures just under six inches for the width and length. This will make it suitable for a 6×6 enclosure. The base thickness is about 1/2 an inch so we want to make sure it has at least that amount in tank depth for holding excess water.

Our Bantamarium case crown and divider tray will work perfectly for this. A three-inch tall glass case will cover the crown once this living diorama is assembled making this bantamarium a closed terrarium.

Desert Terrain in Bantamarium Base

It is totally possible to build your own enclosure for this terrain if you’d like to make things even more personal.

Once the terrain and enclosure are assembled, you are ready to add flora to the valley. I recommend test fitting and sealing everything before moving on to the next step. I applied silicone between the Bantamarium crown and divider tray to assure no leaks as well as simplify the number of individual parts making up this entire build.

Mini Desert terrarium Plants

My choice of foliage for this terrarium has to mimic the natural shrubs found in an Arizona Valley desert. Any acrocarous moss species would work for this setup since they don’t carpet and grow really slow. I will be using bits of mood moss I’ve been propagating in another tank.

Acrocarpous Moss

Starting with a single stem clipping, I use tweezers to place each piece in random areas around the scape. Keeping the moss damp as I workaround, I’m comfortable trimming away as much as I need to keep the shrub look. It really is as simple as that.

Adding Plants To Mini Desert Terrarium

Mini terrarium Animals

I wouldn’t recommend many livestock in a bantamarium this small. I prefer the low maintenance and easy upkeep in something like this. That’s not to say you couldn’t make this living diorama habitable though.

If I did stock some type of animal, I’d go with a microfauna. A few isopods or springtails would not only add movement to the terrarium, but they would also do well keeping it clean and mold-free.

Mini Desert Terrarium Care

This mini desert terrarium will only need watering every once in a while and that’s it. This low-maintenance setup shouldn’t grow fast and doesn’t produce waste. Depending on the type of enclosure you set the terrain in, the frequency between watering is going to be slightly different.

For example, the Bantamarium case I’m using doesn’t require misting as long as I keep the glass on. Once I fill the bottom tray with water, the evaporation cycle circulates within the case for weeks. The terrain will absorb stagnant water as well helping with the humidity regulation.

Mini Desert Terrarium

If you are using a self-built enclosure and it’s a closed terrarium, make sure any stagnant water is low enough to not reach the moss. Open top containers will need misting as moss becomes noticeably dry.

Lastly, remove lids daily on closed terrariums for a few minutes to avoid mold.

Final Thoughts

There we have it, a photo-realistic mini desert terrarium. I told you this one would be really simple and straightforward. If you’re interested in seeing updates on how this as well as other enclosures progress follow me on social media. If you’d like to get your tall tweezers on one of these limited edition terrains yourself, check them out in our shop.

‘Moments In Monument Valley’ Terrain
‘Moments In Monument Valley’ Terrain
‘Moments In Monument Valley’ Art Print
Definition Of Bantamarium Mug
Bantamarium Definition Ceramic Mug
Definition Of Bantamarium T-Shirt
Bantamarium Definition Black Tee

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