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Ok, now what....?

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by ldkobzeff, May 9, 2012.

  1. ldkobzeff

    ldkobzeff Member

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    So through a lucky twist of fate i came upon a fish tank that is 36x18x22. I want to make it into a terrarium but have no idea how to start or what i need to get first. I am under the impression that i need Lights and a fan but other than that im lost. Now I am sure that this topic has been posted on b4 but I dont really have the time to look through thread after thread trying to compile a complete and concise how-to for beginning a terrarium. So if you have the time to give me a quick this is what you need and why i would very much appreciate it, or if you know of a website that was really helpful for starts please link it tom me.

    Thank you,
    Lucas
     
  2. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

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    Your bare minimums are lights and fans, as well as some way to keep the humidity in

    Lights - Commonly tube lights, less-so CFLs. T5s provide the brightest output (flower cattleyas), followed by T8s (only lower light plants), and lastly T12s (useless for growing, essentially). LEDs are new - I have been converting to using these for several benefits which I won't go into here unless you want to know more. Just for the record, Chris was the FIRST to use this on Orchids - feel like I should give credit where it is due.

    Fans - Usually computer fans, can be wired to a 12V transformer and plugged into the wall. Ask for details if you need more help with this as there is more than 1 way to do it.

    Covering - glass plates that cover the top which the lights can sit on, or something more sturdy if needed (I used old windows I found that had supports which rested on the rim of the tank.

    Bells and whistles:
    Watering - can be annoying if you have an aquarium that you need to remove everything on top to water the stuff inside. I did this for a while and it sucked, which is why I switched to a front-opening tank setup. Get a misting system

    Drainage - also annoying. Haven't solved this yet - I do a monthly cleanup. You need to elevate the plants so they are not sitting in water. Might be able to use a pump

    Humidity - if watering isn't enough ,you can use ultrasonics - buy one from the store and pipe it in

    I know how it is - with I don't know how many DIY setups in the past (including lots of $$ spent), a lot of the issues that pop up don't have easy generic answers. Feel free to ask more Qs/check out my flickr for pics of the tanks I have had in the past and have now. Lots of people here do this and grow well, so I'm sure you'll get some good help. Do you have specific questions? That may direct responses a little better.
     
    Brent W likes this.
  3. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

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    ...also, what are you trying to grow? that will be helpful too

    Good blog links: http://www.orchidkarma.com/ quite large scale though, probably extensive for your setting
     
  4. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I think Calvin covered most of the bases for a basic set up. I definitely recommend an ultrasonic humidifier, especially for humidity sensitive plants. I find they're a life saver. Don't waste your money on those designed for herps though. Go to Walgreens or something and buy the "cool mist" ultrasonic humidifiers. They're cheaper and they last longer.

    Drainage is another issue. I use plastic light diffuser "eggcrate" to create a false bottom for the potted plants. If you can, I highly encourage you to drill the bottom of the tank, so it can easily be drained. It's annoying to constantly have to siphon out the water from the bottom.
     
  5. ldkobzeff

    ldkobzeff Member

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    Im trying to grow pleurothallis or dracula's or masdevallia's. I just wanted an area which i can control the environment and be able to grow more tropical orchids. Now here is a light question, the room i'm setting up in has a southward facing window, and tinted windows (i would say they filter out about 50%), can i use natural light for the set up an just control humidity and temp? Or does it depend the plant needs that would determine if i can use that natural light as my light source? Also it it easier to control the environment if you control all aspects (light, humidity and temp) by pitting the terrarium in a dark room and using artificial light source?
     
  6. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

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    With those plants, I would be worried more about cooling, although I'll leave the rest to the experts here who grow those kinds of plants.
     
  7. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    You really want night temps to drop into the 50s for those genera. You can get away with a good bit of Pleurothallis, along with Masdies like floribunda, herradurae, and discoidea and Drac. latax with typical room temperatures, but you may want to look into cooling the tank to grow others. I grow some in a fridge that I converted to a terrarium.