Like all beginners, I just had to have the orchids that were deemed for the “more knowledgeable” orchidist! A few months ago, a member sold me a masdie that had just finished blooming. My goal: keep it alive and healthy so it could bloom again. In the 4 months that I had it, it had only grown 1 small leaf. =\
My friend had just picked up a Dracula at her first show. Needless to say, we needed to create suitable housing for these two.
This is what we’ve used. We made good use of our dollar stores!
- 10 gal aquarium
- Reptile screen, hinged for easy access
- Egg crate
- Digital Thermometer/Hygrometer
- 4 Votive candle holders for risers
- Water dish
- Ice packs
- Computer fan, if you can find one with adjustable speeds, great!
- Trickle charger for motorcycle/atv batteries (12v/1amp)
- Spray bottle
- Sphagnum moss
In the beginning, we were looking for ac/dc adapters to use with our computer fans, but we just couldn’t find any for a decent price. All cell phone chargers nowadays seem to be 5 volts, and the one 12 volt adapter we found was almost $40. After commandeering all the adapters in the house and not finding a single 12v, we had resorted to using small oscillating fans. When clearing space for the setup, I stumbled upon my old battery charger. Which JUST happened to have an output of 12 volts.
If you’re afraid of splicing and soldering and you can’t get one of those nifty AC/DC -> molex power cables (Amazon.com: Coolerguys 110v AC to 12 / 5v DC 4pin Molex 2A Power Adapter: Electronics
), the battery charger works pretty well!
With the computer fan I removed the plastic molex connector to expose the pins, then clamped on the battery charger to the pins. It runs perfectly and has no issues when I change the fan speed. Next up is putting that portion of the connection in some sort of enclosure for safety, especially with all the water around.
At the bottom of the tank is a water tray. At night, I submerge two ice packs in there to lower the temps. If it’s especially warm in the room, I put one in during the day. During the day it sits at about 70F, and then drops to about 60F at night.
The votive candles are actually turned right side up and filled with water. After some trial and error, the fan is twist tied to the bottom of the enclosure (on the outside of the reptile screen). We got the best temperatures and humidity levels with it there. The fan itself has 3 settings, low is the best as it doesn’t dry out the tank as fast. (Antec.com - Category: Tri Cool Fan
Then there’s the mesh covered egg crate. The moss kept falling in the water below, so it’s just there to prevent that from happening. In the mornings I spray the moss around the plant, but not the plant’s medium itself. Soaking it thoroughly to raise the humidity, it drops to the low 70% range throughout the day.
Other notes: The back of the tank is as close to the wall as possible so the room’s temp and (lack of) humidity doesn’t have as much of an effect on the tank.
I’ve had my masdie in the tank for about a week and I’ve got 6 tiny new growths on it already! What a difference the right conditions make!