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  #1  
Old 03-14-2020, 07:09 PM
PlumCrazy PlumCrazy is offline
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Terrarium Build Attempt - Suggestions Please?
Default Terrarium Build Attempt - Suggestions Please?

Hello Everyone!

I have found this forum to be EXTREMELY useful and hope you guys can provide me with further guidance. My experience level = I have a fish tank. I have had orchids for many years, but based on the Midwestern (US) climate I live in, mostly my Phalaenopsis are thriving. I have a couple Dendrobiums that are doing alright, and a couple other things barely clinging to life. I want to get into more interesting types but can't provide the proper conditions, hence the terrarium.

I am going to build the terrarium out of an old TV stand. The top portion, which will get glass/plexiglass sides and top, is 41"Wx21"Dx43"H.

My question is specifically, what do I need?? This is the basic list I have come up with:

- 2 computer fans, one for inside and one in the lid to draw air

-Timers

-Thermometer/humidity gauge

-Heat mat

-Lights - can really use some guidance here. I am thinking LED grow lights found on Amazon. White color, looking at 60W strips that have 4 lower light levels. I'll probably be moving towards more mid-level light requirements, like the Dendrobiums. I don't really like the look of a big fixture on the top.

-Mister. This is looking the the biggest expense. I've been reading up on here and it seems like spending the money on the Mist King Starter system is the way to go, especially given the size. The ExoTerra Monsoon to be almost the same price, and I think I'll need more than 2 nozzles.

-Plan on building a water tight tray for the bottom and covering it with egg crate

Am I forgetting anything? Any comments, suggestions, etc. would be much appreciated! Also, if you have links to DIY tutorials, that would help (have been looking at a lot of posts similar to mine on here, but many seem to have smaller dimensions).
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2020, 02:33 PM
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Connie Star Connie Star is offline
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You'll need some way to drain the water out, assuming your terrarium is water tight. One thing you can do is get some tubing from a fish supply store, the kind they use for air pumps and siphon the water out.
I don't grow in terrariums though. Years ago I got some humidity trays that had built in tubing for siphoning. I am still using them in a stand with lights that I had made.
I still have the stand in the photo and use it, but I no longer live in that big sunny house and I don't have as many orchids
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  #3  
Old 03-17-2020, 05:04 PM
PlumCrazy PlumCrazy is offline
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Terrarium Build Attempt - Suggestions Please?
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Thanks for the reply. Your orchids are lovely! My concern with having a drain in the bottom is that at some point the seal would likely go bad. I'm thinking of putting an overflow drain in the side instead, so that if the water gets to a certain level it drains into a bucket underneath.

Also, someone at one of the major orchid suppliers recommended not spending the money on a mister right away, but rather waiting and seeing what the humidity level in the case is like first as too much dampness is a concern as well. I'm taking that advice. I figure why spend so much money when I might not need misters.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:58 AM
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What is your ambient humidity? If it's not particularly high, your dual-fan concept is going to be quite drying all by itself. Also, misting might be your primary means of watering in addition to humidification.

Without the outside ventilation fan, partially covering the enclosure might be adequate.

I have a basic enclosure (8" diameter x 12" tall cylindrical glass vase with no drains) with 2" of saturated LECA on the bottom. In it I have a mounted Phal. parishii, a mounted Schoenorchis fragrans , and a potted Lepanthopsis astrophora (sitting on a piece of plastic to avoid contact with the wet LECA). A piece of clear plexiglas covers all but a crescent-shaped slit about 1/2" x 3", and it sits under a custom-made LED lamp on a timer. I water manually by misting with a spray bottle.

100% RH over night, dropping to about 80% when the lights warm it up in the day. No fans. Seems to work fine.
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:24 PM
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Connie Star Connie Star is offline
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Ray, that seems like a lot of plants in such a small space. Do you have a photo? I'm sorely tempted to try terrarium growing but I've always felt intimidated by it.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:22 PM
Hookedup Hookedup is offline
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Ive had a tank for about a month and Im learning a lot as I go. My tank is 6 x2x 18 about 150 gallons. I bought the mistking starter set and love it. It only came with 1 nozzle so I bought 2 more. I have one on each side and one nozzle in the middle. Honestly I think I need at least one more for the middle so I may order another one. Finding the right amount of water has been the hardest part. Currently I am running the misters for 20 seconds every 2 hours and things seem to be happy. I stop the misting at night.
I have 2 computer fans running. They need to be on a timer, if you run them constantly they will dry up the tank. I run the fans for about 20 minutes after the misters come on. The humidity swings between 53 and 85 and Im still working on trying to keep it from dipping below 60.

I have no drainage in the tank and have had no problem with water building up. I laid 2 inches of lava rock on the bottom then about 4 inches of orchid bark.

Again I am learning as I go but so far everything seems pretty happy.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:03 PM
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Terrarium Build Attempt - Suggestions Please?
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I have a twenty-gallon and have the lava rock on the bottom, too, and keep water in the very bottom. I haven't had to worry about draining it as the water evaporates (and some of the orchids' roots have snuck out of the pots and help drain the water). I don't have any fans or misters but the orchids I grow there are tolerant of the conditions.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:28 PM
PlumCrazy PlumCrazy is offline
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Thanks for the info! Reading about your set ups gives me more to think about. I've read so much about how important air flow is, but maybe two fans are overkill... I am planning on having a hole in one corner of the top and also drilling some holes in the back for airflow, I wonder if that might be enough, or maybe just one running through a hole in the lid part time.

The humidity gauge I bought for the case came to day, and is running at 35% in my house. The light fixture I bought has three adjustable strips, so I hope I can have it work for both higher and lower light plants at the same time by having one side brighter than the other. I figure I can add sticks and other materials to create shadier areas near the bottom.

I also decided to go with LECA at the bottom under the egg crate. I'm thinking to cover that with landscaping cloth, and orchid potting medium on top of that. I want to add moss, which is abundant in my yard. I'm debating if I should just plop it down on top of the orchid mix, or plant it in shallow dirt filled saucers.

It is sounding like the main thing is doing a lot of monitoring. Most of the orchid I have prefer 50 - 70% RH, so hopefully the case will help them thrive by giving them the moisture and light they currently lack.
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:54 AM
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I don't know where you live, but most "yard mosses" from temperate regions don't do well in terraria, in my experience. I think we just keep them too warm for it.
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Old 03-20-2020, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Connie Star View Post
Ray, that seems like a lot of plants in such a small space. Do you have a photo? I'm sorely tempted to try terrarium growing but I've always felt intimidated by it.
Sorry it took me so long to respond, Connie.



For additional scale, the white plastic platform the potted plant is on is 2" square x 1/4" thick.
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