Watering & ventilating in terrarium
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:51 AM
Froggle Froggle is offline
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Watering &amp; ventilating in terrarium
Default Watering & ventilating in terrarium

Wondering if those of you more experienced might share your knowledge on achieving good ventilation & setting up automatic watering systems in terrarium.

1. Ventilation - My Terrarium is a 3ft x2ft x2ft glass tank. I have exchanged the glass lids for x4 flyscreen lids which span the top of the tank. I'm assuming to grow happy orchids in this tank I'll also need to install a fan. Could you recommend how many fans you would recommend for this set up & if more than one is required, is it best to install these so they are together & blow the air in one direction or on opposite sides of the tank?

2. Watering - Thus far I've been using a spray bottle but I'd like to install an automatic system. I'd love some guidance on what key factors I should consider in such a system. I'm aware it is best to water in the morning so that plants have the remainder of the day to dry out. I'm aware that with phals it is important not to let water collect between the leaves in the crown but I'm wondering is this the same for other types of epiphytic & lithiophytic plants? Is it vital that such a system deliver 'mist' only or are larger droplets ok?

* I should add that I plan to mount or plant directly into the substrate (sphagnum moss over egg crate) rather than keeping plants in pots.

Many thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!!

Last edited by Froggle; 09-17-2013 at 07:59 AM..
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:03 PM
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WhiteRabbit WhiteRabbit is offline
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Good luck!

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Old 09-20-2013, 02:27 PM
Tadpole Tadpole is offline
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Watering &amp; ventilating in terrarium Male

I have two fans in my 18"x18"x24" terrarium. I just rewired some cheap computer fans... it's actually very easy to do! Yes, you do need some ventilation.

As for watering, I spray and I have a mini cool-mist humidifier system on a timer for 45 minutes a day. It creates a really cool fog and keeps the babies happy. I also feed them weekly but weakly with dyna-gro 7-9-5.

I'm also kinda new at this. So, I'm going to go along and learn from my mistakes. In the meanwhile, I'll take any advice!
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:03 AM
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Orchidbyte Orchidbyte is offline
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I have a 24" x 24" x18" Exoterra vivarium, have had it for almost a year.

I have two fans that I got off of Ebay, they are excellent fans with a speed control setup, I'll give you link to vendor if you need it.

Watering, I have a small home humidity machine that I got from a home/garden store, I modified it with PVC pipe so that it pumps fog into vivarium, that turns on in morning for 30 minutes. Automatic watering, I got an exoterra monsoon system, a cool system, comes with two misters, but can add up to 4 more nozzles, it is automatic with variable settings and a 2 gallon reservoir, so I only fill it once a every 10 days or so.

The above items have kept the plants happy and made it more automatic, I still inspect everyday and still have to water and feed by hand with a pump type sprayer.

---------- Post added at 08:03 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:54 AM ----------

Also the fans I have found do a better job for me mounted like a ceiling fan pulling air up towards roof and spreading air around plants, plants get air movement without the whipping of forced air on them, I noticed that some leaves were drying because of fan pointing at them prior to setting up as a ceiling fan.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:33 AM
Froggle Froggle is offline
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Watering &amp; ventilating in terrarium

Thanks tadpole & Orchidbyte, those tips are really helpfull!
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Old 09-28-2013, 01:19 PM
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Paul Paul is offline
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Watering &amp; ventilating in terrarium Male

PC fans are cheap, easy to install, and -- IME -- very long lasting. (The ones in my 90 gal terr have been running 24/7 for about 4yrs now.)

I don't know how much of a difference in the long run it would make if the fans are only on one side of the tank. I have 3 in my 90 -- two on one end and one at the other. Logically, it seems like having one at each end (which is what I would likely recommend to you) would make for a more consistent air flow. Unlike O.byte, my fans at the top of the tank are tilted somewhat downward and the one lower in the tank directed more or less straight across. Orient the fans to move the air in the same direction (think "spiral"), not fighting each other.

Recommendation: Get a variable AC/DC adaptor. It will enable you to have some control over just how fast the fans will run.

Watering is a more complicated issue. As with watering in general, so much will depend on the plants, the media used, and the conditions resulting in the terr. There are a number of misting systems available and all will require some tinkering to see what works best for you.

In the mean time, save your hand and get a pump sprayer like folks use for spraying pesticides or herbicides in their yard. Cost about $15 at Lowes or HD.
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it”
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:47 PM
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Tindomul Tindomul is offline
Watering &amp; ventilating in terrarium

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Hi, I've had an orchidarium made from a standard 20 gallon long aquarium for about 7 years. This tank uses a front screen at the top were a small computer fan sits. The fan will turn at various times of the day and dry out the tank. How often and long you leave the fans on in this type of setup is up to trial and error. You don't want the plants to stay to wet without active airflow, and you don't want the tank to loose all its humidity either. Here is an old picture of that kind of design. This tank is much greener now. As for watering, I used to mist by hand with a pump sprayer, recently I started using a mistaking nozzle through the screen opening.

Vertical Vivs project 2-28 by tindomul1of9, on Flickr

The newer setup I have does away with exchanging dry external air with humid internal air. Instead I have a strong internal fan that is constantly on circulating the internal humid air. There is some passive exchange because the tank is an exoterra with small vent slits below the doors. I replaced the screen top with 1 large piece of glass. I drilled that glass to accommodate two mist king nozzles and a hole which accommodates a tube connected to a cool mist humidifier (fogger), for fog. The tank has been up and running since June and my orchids, Tillandsias, and other epiphytes seem to be happy. Also I have not seen mold anywhere, or even leaf rot on any plats, only a few mushrooms. Here are some pics of that setup, you can't see the fan because I created a cave for it on the left hand side so that air is sucked in from the top opening and blasted out from the bottom opening.

Here it is when it was first setup,

DSC_2977 by tindomul1of9, on Flickr

Here is a more recent pic, with fogger on,

New Viv by tindomul1of9, on Flickr

Without fogger

New Viv by tindomul1of9, on Flickr
"We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?"

Goblin Market
by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Last edited by Tindomul; 10-17-2013 at 12:15 PM..
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