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  #1  
Old 09-04-2018, 06:18 AM
borofan borofan is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 20
Planning a new terarium
Default Planning a new terarium

I am a very lucky boy and have been given what I think is an Eco Terra vivarium 2'x 18"x 2' high with a mesh top plus a hood with light fittings (no lights) that covers half the top. I am now agonising about setting it up, I have read quite a lot on the internet but still could do with some advice!

1. If I put clay balls or some such in the base and keep them well watered and have a mesh on top to prevent the orchids getting too wet than does anyone have a problem with mould and how do you change out any stale water and replenish with fresh?

2. How best to heat it? Some people seem to put a heat mat in a substrate but with the humidity "tray" in the base there will not be any substrate.

3. I have read of someone who puts an extractor fan in the top to suck out air which will then get replaced by fresh air through a grill near the base of the tank. Is that a good idea?

4. If I use an extractor as described will I still need one or more circulatory fans in the tank?

5. I cannot place the tank near a water supply so misting will have to be done manually or utilising a device that gets water from a bottle nearby. Any comments on this stem will be appreciated.

6. The hood has connectors for three bulbs of screw in type with a maximum wattage of 25W. There seems to be a lot of variety on type of lighting so any recommendations will be appreciated.

7. The current hood only covers half the top of the tank. Will there be adequate light distribution?

8. Someone is bound to ask just what I plan to growing the tank and I guess I don't have any real plans but I do have a number of orchids but am not sure how to organise heat and light regimes for them. My orchids are:
COOL:
Bletilla Brigante
Bletilla Striat
Bletilla Junpaku
Cypripedium "Michael"
Dactylorhiza Praetermissa
Dendrobium Nobile "Spring Dream"
Lepanthes Tigrina - mounted
Maxillaria Variablis
Platystele Misera
Pleione Tongarino
Pleione noID
Stelis Microphylla

INTERMEDIATE:
Brascidostele "Gilded Tower"
Dendrochilum Filiforme
Maxillaria Meleagris (bought as Camaridium Meleagris)
Promenaea Citrata x Limelight
Tolumnia hawkesiana - mounted
Tolumnia hawkesiana - in moss
Tolumnia hawkesiana - in orchid compost

WARM:
Dendrobium Unicum
Dendrobium Unicum on cork mount
Phalaenopsis - several
Robiquetia Bifidus on bark mount (bought as Megalotus Bifidus)

I realise this is a big request but I would appreciate any advice.

Mike
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2018, 09:41 PM
DTB's Avatar
DTB DTB is offline
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Hi Borofan, congrats on the tank, I love the Exo Terra tanks, they look really nice once setup and the finish on the tanks make them a real show piece. Looking forward to see the progress as you put it together. Ill share what I have found building my tanks as it seems we have similar setups, Im sure those more knowledgable can add deeper insights as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by borofan View Post
I am a very lucky boy and have been given what I think is an Eco Terra vivarium 2'x 18"x 2' high with a mesh top plus a hood with light fittings (no lights) that covers half the top. I am now agonising about setting it up, I have read quite a lot on the internet but still could do with some advice!

1. If I put clay balls or some such in the base and keep them well watered and have a mesh on top to prevent the orchids getting too wet than does anyone have a problem with mould and how do you change out any stale water and replenish with fresh?

I have clayballs on the base of my tank but they are just there to keep the soil from sitting in water on the bottom of the tank. I water once to twice everyday and I find there is very little water that actually pools at the bottom of the tank, what is there is absorbed by the clayballs and it hasnt been a problem in the 6 months the tank has been running. A small piece of aquarium air tubing in one cnr could be placed during the build so you could syphon out if needed later

2. How best to heat it? Some people seem to put a heat mat in a substrate but with the humidity "tray" in the base there will not be any substrate.

I have a heatpad placed on the outside of the tank, stuck to the bottom plate of glass that I run over winter, this has been great and kept the soil warm and the plants happy. Interestingly it has not raised the humidity noticeably in the tank which I was hoping it wouldIt has also evaporated most of the water that was laying on the bottom of the tank with the clayballs. The heatmat covers about 2/3rds of the tank and is a 5watt reptile heat pad (Exo terra or Zoo med, cant remember)

3. I have read of someone who puts an extractor fan in the top to suck out air which will then get replaced by fresh air through a grill near the base of the tank. Is that a good idea?

I have a computer fan that points down the front of the glass to circulate the air, it runs at 21 fps, if i remember and it keeps the glass clear of condensation and the air moving around the tank. The vents at the front of the Exo Terra and also the lid I build allows enough air from outside to enter the tank and I have found so far that it works well and the plants are happy and growing nicely

4. If I use an extractor as described will I still need one or more circulatory fans in the tank?

I dont use the fan as an extractor as I wanted to keep the humidity around 70% and higher so the air exchange is more passive in mine

5. I cannot place the tank near a water supply so misting will have to be done manually or utilising a device that gets water from a bottle nearby. Any comments on this stem will be appreciated.

I used a hand spray bottle for the first few months with no problem, i then purchased a Mistking starter system which I can not recommend enough, I love it. I have another one for a 3ft tank I am about to start. I used aquarium water in the spray bottles as I have a aquarium that i use the waste water to water all my plants with but I use Deionised water or RO water in the Mistking system so the nozzles dont clog up over time as I have been told they can using water that hasn't been demineralised.

6. The hood has connectors for three bulbs of screw in type with a maximum wattage of 25W. There seems to be a lot of variety on type of lighting so any recommendations will be appreciated.

I have 2 x 9w Jungle Dawn LED bulbs under my hood which is 30x30cm square and 45cms high. This was a recommendation from another member here who has an outstanding tank and it is a great amount of light. If the Jungle Dawns fit, I would highly recommend getting some of these, they are high quality LEDs and my plants love them.

7. The current hood only covers half the top of the tank. Will there be adequate light distribution?

The Jungle Dawn lights have a 120 degree angle I believe so the hoods should be ok, other may have more experience with these hoods. I made up a box that covers the whole top so all my misting hoses, lights and fan are hidden.


8. Someone is bound to ask just what I plan to growing the tank and I guess I don't have any real plans but I do have a number of orchids but am not sure how to organise heat and light regimes for them. My orchids are:
COOL:
Bletilla Brigante
Bletilla Striat
Bletilla Junpaku
Cypripedium "Michael"
Dactylorhiza Praetermissa
Dendrobium Nobile "Spring Dream"
Lepanthes Tigrina - mounted
Maxillaria Variablis
Platystele Misera
Pleione Tongarino
Pleione noID
Stelis Microphylla

INTERMEDIATE:
Brascidostele "Gilded Tower"
Dendrochilum Filiforme
Maxillaria Meleagris (bought as Camaridium Meleagris)
Promenaea Citrata x Limelight
Tolumnia hawkesiana - mounted
Tolumnia hawkesiana - in moss
Tolumnia hawkesiana - in orchid compost

WARM:
Dendrobium Unicum
Dendrobium Unicum on cork mount
Phalaenopsis - several
Robiquetia Bifidus on bark mount (bought as Megalotus Bifidus)

I have founds that there is not too much temp difference in my tank which sits at around 18-24 celcius so I have stuck with Intermediate to warm growers and focused more on the difference light levels for each plants and planted them accordingly in the tank


I realise this is a big request but I would appreciate any advice.

Mike
I hope some of this helps, here's the link below to the setup I did with my 30x30x45 ExoTerra, I have installed the second LED and a second misting nozzle since I took these photos (and prob a few more plants as well) Excited to see how your build progresses, lots of updates please!!

First time setup. Have I got it right???
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  #3  
Old 09-26-2018, 01:21 AM
estación seca's Avatar
estación seca estación seca is offline
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Location: Phoenix AZ - Lower Sonoran Desert
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This will be a lot of fun for you.

I recommend you browse older threads in this form. Quite a few people have built terraria with this very Eco Terra model. The questions you ask have been addressed by quite a few people here.

Many of the plants you list are far too big to fit into that tank even if they were the only plant. These are too big for your terrarium:
Bletilla Brigante
Bletilla Striat
Bletilla Junpaku
Dendrobium Nobile "Spring Dream"
Pleione Tongarino
Pleione noID
Brascidostele "Gilded Tower" - This is a huge plant
Dendrochilum Filiforme

Phalaenopsis - There are small Phals but most get pretty big

Tolumnias need strong wind in the growing area, they need a lot of water, yet they need to dry out quickly after watering. I don't think they're a good idea in a terrarium with wet-growing orchids.

Also you're not likely to be very successful mixing warm and cool growing plants in one terrarium.

A good idea with a first terrarium is to plant only a few plants until you get the hang of proper watering, lighting, temperature and humidity control. Then add them one at a time. Wait until they're growing happily before adding another. You will be able to watch each new plant to see if it is doing OK, and perhaps move it to a different part of the terrarium.
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  #4  
Old 09-26-2018, 06:52 AM
borofan borofan is offline
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Planning a new terarium
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These two replies make me realise I have not shown any pictures of the terrarium so here goes! I will respond to the replies separately.

Picture 1 shows the basic bits and pieces
Picture 2 shows it with some plants.
Picture 3 shows it with egg carte and more plants

Mike
Attached Thumbnails
Planning a new terarium-terrarium-setup-1-jpg   Planning a new terarium-terrarium-setup-4-jpg   Planning a new terarium-terrarium-crated-jpg  
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  #5  
Old 09-26-2018, 07:34 AM
borofan borofan is offline
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Planning a new terarium
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DTB, thanks for your full reply, it is appreciated. My point by point comments are:

1. I decided to go without anything in the base apart from some capillary matting to soak up moisture. I can always change this later.

2. I decided to go without any heat for the moment and rely on the ambient heat in the house which is keeping the tank between 16C and 23C (16F - 60F) and RH 65 - 90.

3. I am currently running one computer fan 24/7

4. I have loosely blocked up half of the mesh at the top of the tank to preserve humidity. The light hood covers the other half.

5. I have been using a hand spray bottle daily but have recently purchased something like
Ultrasonic Mist Maker Fogger, Shineus DC 24V Air Humidifier Water Fountain Pond with 2pcs Atomization Pieces Silver: Amazon.co.uk: Garden & Outdoors ... 2932622588
to add humidity which I do when the humidity drops a little. So far that is not often.

6. The 3 lights I am using are all exo terra 25W natural light bulbs but I will keep your suggestion in mind.

7. The light spread seems adequate at the moment.

8. At the moment I have none of my cool growing orchids in the tank nor do I expect to do so in future.

Thnks for the link to your setup.

Mike

---------- Post added at 11:34 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:29 AM ----------

estacion seca, thanks for your reply, it is appreciated.

I do not have any of the "big" plants in the terrarium apart from the Dendochrilium Filiforme which is very much in its infancy at the moment.

I have three very small Tolumnia and have put the mounted one in the terrarium with the others in window although I hadn't realised they needed strong wind nor lots of water.

I will not be putting cool growers in the terrarium.

Mike
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