All images and information ©Matthew Schwartz | Another World Terraria

The concept for the Steambank Pano terrarium was conceived and sketched in January 2021, when I was watching a video of a mossy stream and suddenly had a vision for this design. Almost immediately, I knew I wanted the primary plant species to be Sinningia pusilla, a micro gesneriad which is endemic to Brazil, where it grows on wet boulders near shaded streams. In addition to S. pusilla having the look I wanted, it’s also a great fit for this design because the rock scape emulates its natural habitat. At one point I considered having an inch or two of water at the bottom of the terrarium, so the rocky slopes would emerge from it, but I decided not to for several reasons, including algae growth, more maintenance time, and increased mold risk on the land portion.

General Info

The rock scape is feather rock, which I cut and carved into the desired shape, then topped with pieces of Hygrolon to maintain moisture for the plants.

The bottom substrate is a layer of sand.

There are a variety of moss and liverworts in this terrarium which I sampled from other builds and plant bins.


The container is an Aqua Top 6.5 gallon high clarity bookshelf tank.

The tank dimensions are 6.7″ x 23.6″ x 9.4″

The light fixture is a NICREW ClassicLED (18-24″)


I occasionally mist the tank to ensure the moss and plants on the upper surface of the rock slopes have enough moisture.

Only distilled water is used.

The light is kept on for about 13 hours per day, using a digital timer. I set the brightness of the LED to one of the lower settings so as not to overpower the shade loving Sinningia pusilla. The moss and liverworts also tend to be darker green at the lower light setting, vs pale in color at the brighter setting.

I keep two small PC fans running inside the tank while the lights are on, then off when the lights go off. The fans help control mold growth, which otherwise is rampant. I removed the fans before taking photos of the terrarium.

I have been using plastic wrap to seal the top, but I plan to replace it with a sheet of glass at some point.

The Sinningia are fertilized with Osmocote Plus, one pellet next to each plant, or two to three pellets next to a larger clump of plants.

I occasionally mist the tank, sparingly, with a 1/2 strength liquid orchid fertilizer.

Plant List

Product Links

Aqua Top 6.5 gallon bookshelf tank

Nothing compares to a rimless, high clarity tank

NICREW ClassicLED (18-24″)

NICREW LED are attractive, affordable, and effective.

PC fans

Fans in larger terrariums is a great way to reduce mold growth and keep plants healthier

Water sprayers

Having a variety of misters and pump sprayers around is extremely useful

Osmocote Plus fertilizer

This is by far my favorite fertilizer and it can be used on almost any kind of plant

Grow More Orchid fertilizer

Grow More orchid fertilizers are high quality and can be mixed to any strength.