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My first Terrarium Build

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by Dave The Scientist, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    Should I move it to the basement? That would probably drop temps down into the mid to low 60s.
     
  2. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    Tyson, can you explain your use of an aquarium pump and air stones for humidity further? Maybe pics or sources for parts?
     
  3. chicago chad

    chicago chad Active Member

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    Absolutely move the tank to the coolest part of the house. The more of a temp swing, diurnal range you get, the better. 15F is good and 20F is better.
     
  4. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    I moved the tank to the sunroom where I grow almost all the other orchids, where the air conditioner/heat pump is set to cycle between a 74 degree daytime temp and a 64 degree nightime temp so the day time temps in the tank are about the same, 80 degrees but the nighttime temps are down in the mid 60s. Also it should get a little more natural sunlight and the ambient humidity is higher so it should hold humidity better.

    In other news, one of the Restepias is starting to throw up new growths as is the Dinema porpax, which is exciting. Hopefully the Bulbophyllum will recover.
     
  5. chicago chad

    chicago chad Active Member

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    Very nice Dave. Just remember to watch how the sunlight can affect the internal temps of the tank. It can creep up on you.
     
  6. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    :clap: wooohooo
     
  7. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    Its on the interior wall of the sun room so it won't get a ton of light and its directly in the path of the air conditioner- heat pump so when ever the sunroom is hits 74F, it gets cool air blown over it. Thus far, it appears to have daytime temps slightly lower than its previous location, 80 rather than 82-83F. I reset the min-max recorder on my thermometer/hygrometer so I'll keep track of it over the next few days and see what happens.
     
  8. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    I am having trouble keeping the humidity where I would like it (it regularly drops in to the 70s or mid 60s rather than the 80-90% I think would be best. Is 80-90% too high to be shooting for?) so I am debating getting some sort of automated misting system or fogger. The misting system has the benefit of greatly reducing or possibly eliminating the need for manual watering, but the different parts of the tank seem to dry at different rates so I am worried I might have problems with some plants being too dry while others are too wet. A fogger would reduce how often I need to water manually because of reduced evaporation due to higher humidity but still gives me the accuracy of watering manually. However the misting system does have the benefit of being able to leave alone for days at a time. Either system allows me to run the fan more often and more intensely( I currently have it angled away from the plants) which would probably be good. The main reason I have it turned down so low at the moment is running it seems to really drop the humidity as the tank is not air tight (which is probably a good thing for stopping bacterial/fungal problems).

    The two systems I am looking at Exo Terra Monsoon or the Zoo Med Repti Fogger possibly with or without the Zoo Med Hygrotherm humidity and temp Controller ( you can see both at http://www.neherpetoculture.com/mistingautomatic). I don't really have any way of controlling temp so the temp function would not be used. I would be open to suggestions for other products though, these just seem to be best I have found. The Monsoon(~$100) is significantly more expensive than the Fogger alone (~$30) but with HygroTherm Controller(~$70), they are essentially the same price. The fogger only has a intensity control, no built in timer so I would probably have to hook it up a timer if I didnt get the controller, possibly using the same timer as the fan so the fog is mixed around. The Monsoon mister has a highly programmable timer with many timing options and is also expandable up to six nozzles so I could use it to run multiple terrariums if I were to built them later. The Fogger has 1 L reservoir where as the Monsoon has a 9.5 L (2.5 gallon) reservoir but obviously more water is used in misting than fogging. The product info says the Monsoon can run for several days without refilling, but I am not sure how often the Fogger would need refill, but that would probably also be on the order of a few days. The Monsoon has several feet of very thin unobtrusive looking line so it could be stowed out of sight were as the Fogger only has 3 feet of thick white tubing so it could only be placed directly beside or behind the tank so that is the aesthetic situation.

    Additionally if I were to buy the fogger, could I run it on rainwater, possibly with a little 3%H2O2 to inhibit algae? It calls for distilled or RO water, but I would rather not have to buy tons of distilled water and RO systems are expensive, although I might end up getting one anyway if I can't collect rainwater whenever I end up moving to. The Monsoon says rainwater is fine.

    Thoughts, Comments or Advice please? Sorry for the long post but I felt it was good to know all the facts.
     
  9. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    RH level you need depends on probably what species you are growing, but I'd be happy with night time 80% and day time 65% for most (except maybe Telipogon, which I'm using constant 80%). With my aquarium tanks, I can easily get that level without active humidification in the summer (ambient RH of 40-50%).

    For the humidifier, I use normal ultra-sonic humidifier and attach a vinyl tubing to vent to the tank/grow tent (instead of those "reptile" foggers). You can probably find it cheap or free during trash day or from good-will type place. If you want new, I like this kind. It is controlled by HygroTherm, which I do like. The company has great customer support. The sensor became inaccurate over 1-2years, but they sent me the replacement for free! I have a couple of HygroTherm, but absolute value seems to be quite variable. So to get 80%, you might need to set the set point to 86% with one or 72% with another.

    For the humidistat, this is another cheaper alternative: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009VY1ANM...UTF8&colid=E0YFUUWTU1N2&coliid=I14O503CYJIAFT
    It does require that you get wire/AC plug by yourself, but this is probably the one I would get if one of my HygroTherm dies.

    If you don't like white flakes, you should use water with low TDS, and rain water should work.

    MistKing is nice, but I use it for watering instead of for humidity. I thought that it is a bit pricey, but it is really quiet, and I'm pretty impressed by it (I got it this spring).
     
  10. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    If 80% at night and 65% during the day is good enough, I'll probably just continue handwatering as I am well with in that range and often above that, more like 70-75% during the day and 85% at night. I looked at reviews of the Monsoon and Repti Fogger and apparently both are junk. I may get a Mistking eventually. Has anyone seen any difference between their value and premium mist heads?
     
  11. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    Good news the Scaphosepalum has sent up a flower, both Restepias and the trichosalpax are sending up new growth and the Encyclia polybulbon is sending up a spike and new roots. The Bulbophyllum has seemed to stabilize but not really any noticeable recovery. I do have a fungus gnat problem I need to deal with though.
     

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  12. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Great. Sounds like you are on your way.
     
  13. Tyson

    Tyson Ex-Situ

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    Definitely! Sorry for the late response though. So, you go get the finest-bubbled air-stone you find at the pet store. Like this one,

    http://www.petsmart.com/fish/air-pu...6-5098130/cat-36-catid-300087?_t=pfm=category

    It's just an air diffuser, so anything will probably work. You'll need a small air pump and some tubing, as well. Connect the hardware, and drop the air stone in a tall, bottle-shaped container and fill with perlite and water. You could connect this to your hygrotherm controller, and mount it outside, with a tube running into the terrarium, or just put the bottle inside. I'd say the ultrasonic fogger with a tube option is also a good bet... I've used both of these options to fruit mushrooms, which require much higher humidity, and they worked well in similar vivaria.

    I also have a second small air pump plugged into the wall, constantly running fresh air inside. I use a gang valve such as this one to control the flow to a very slow trickle. http://www.petsmart.com/fish/air-pu...6-5121969/cat-36-catid-300087?_t=pfm=category
    You connect it to the aquarium pump and then connect the valve to the terrarium. Leave one port partly open for waste air, and adjust the flow to the rate you want. This way, if you water heavily one day, the environment can dry somewhat before the humidifier engages.

    My project is kind of a mess, and I haven't quite figured the electronics out, but I'll try and put photos up soon.

    Good luck, looks great so far!
     
  14. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    Thanks Tyson. I'll have to remember that if(more like when) I build another tank. At this point, just hand misting every or every other day seems to keep the humidity well into the 70s and 80s so I think I'll stick with what I am doing now.
     
  15. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    I am gving a talk on orchid terrariums at the Susquehanna Orchid Society Meeting tomorrow (Sunday 21st) at Bethany Village (325 Wesley Dr, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055, Maplewood Building Door 21) at 130 pm. All are welcome. I'll also be bringing the terrarium I talked here.
     
  16. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    I have good news and bad news. I made some new additions to the terrarium,Dendrobium lichenastrum, Lepanthes telipogoniflora, Lepanthes calidyton,Tolumnia sylvestris, Restrepia sp.and Bulbophyllum hirundinis. Also the Scaphosepalum is blooming for a second time and the Dinema (Epidendrum) porpax is blooming for its first time in my care. Also the Encyclia, Isabelia, Restrepias, Dinema, and Lepanthopsis are all putting up new growth and the Lepanthopsis even threw up a keiki.

    Now for the bad new. the disreputable seller I bought the Lepanthes telipogoniflora from at the DC Orchid Show, managed to introduce not one, not two, but three pests into the terrarium, namely some very tiny species of snails (only 2mm tall), some type of thrips and what I think is false spider mites. The fact that she was reselling Ecugenera plants should have been a tip off, although I am not sure I noticed that until I got it home. Luckily, nothing seems to be showing any obvious damage yet. I have been crushing the snails by hand and just spread some Sluggo (buying that felt silly, they only come 16 oz cans and thimblefull would have taken care of my needs) and ordered some predatory mites that should take care of the thrips and false spider mites. Unfortunately, the predatory mites won't be here two weeks because I missed the deadline this week for shipping out next week.

    I also broke down and ordered an Repti Fogger on a whim, partly because my new apartment is much dryer than my last growing space so I am having trouble keeping the humidity up and also because I am working 10 hour days now, it would be nice not to have to water everyday, which I am hoping the higher humidity will help with.
     
  17. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Dave, the snails are probably "bush snails" and, unfortunately, are quite common. Also, they are not attracted to Sluggo or any snail bait products that I am aware of. Apparently a good long dip in a bucket of water will drown the little suckers. Do a forum search on bush snails and you can read about a multitude of home remedies. There are also some chemical solutions on the market but I don't recall the names.
     
  18. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I can give an update on my battle against bush snails. A friend recently recommended Deadline M-PS (mini pellets) as being good for them. They do have an attractant which I was told was a pheromone. I was doubtful, but willing to try. The good news is that I put a few pellets on a mounted plant that I know had a little colony. Within a few days I saw their little slime trials rambling around in erratic circles. Very gratifying. The bad news is that within 10 to 14 days, some of the pellets had a little bloom of fuzzy mold. If you were going to scatter these on a collection the mold can be a real problem if the pellet is lodged in a growth. But it definitely has a use. I bought it on line.
     
  19. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Thanks for that, Marni.

    I see that it is a metaldehyde bait, and that is the only known pesticide known to work on those micro orchid-eaters. I'm surprised it can be sold so broadly, as metaldehyde is a controlled application pesticide.

    I found a place in AZ that has 10# for $29.95 and free shipping, but their cart isn't working right. I emailed them...
     
  20. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

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    Thanks Marni and Kelly. Marni, I am going to try and avoid using Deadline because a; metaldehyde is pretty toxic and b; I can't seem to find it in anything smaller than a 10 pound bag when all I probably need is a teaspoons worth. I looked up those threads about home remedies and I think I am going to try either the coffee ground treatment, 1:10 ammonia or try and track down some dry ice as the affected plants are in a terrarium.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014