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Terrarium

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Sunfighter, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Sunfighter

    Sunfighter New Member

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    I've had a 20 gallon terrarium with about 10 species of Orchids and 4 species of Sundews for about 2 years and I'm planning on expanding to 90 gallons. Besides the Orchids ( I'll leave out the Sundews ) there will be a variety of rain forest plants ans a pair of Giant Day Geckos. I'll be using an automatic misting system to deliver a fine mist for 30 seconds twice a day. I intend on mounting all of the Orchids either on the cork panel background or on pieces of tree branch incorporated into the design. I'm concerned with getting the Orchids enough water and also letting them get dry. The misting cycle will be every 12 hours. I'm thinking bare root or nearly so. I'd really appreciate comments, advice and opinions
     
  2. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    Before you mount anything, run your mister to see where the wet spots and dry spots will be. Keep in mind light intensity of those places. Maybe start with the species that don’t need on extreme or the other.

    Repeat the process to see if there’s a difference with plants creating a “rain shadow” where a wet spot may no longer be getting wet.

    Are you using one of the like exo terra misters? I would suggest sticking it to always on and getting a $15 seconds timer off Amazon so that you don’t need to do 30 intervals every 12 hours. Maybe a 15 second in the morning, three 10s during the day and a 15 in late afternoon early evening? This way your plants dry during the night.
     
  3. Sunfighter

    Sunfighter New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I'll be using the MistKing which I understand comes with a pretty good programmable timer. It produces 50 micron droplets, which is almost like fog. This should wet everything pretty well. I do expect to spend a week or two getting the misting pattern and timing set along with temperature and humidity control. I've bought two Caliber IV Hygrometer/Thermometers, one for each end of the enclosure. You've got me thinking about doing all of the misting in the night. A pre-dawn misting for the Geckos who get most of their water from licking it off of plants and another one half an hour before lights out. I'll need to monitor humidity levels during the day to see how that works
     
  4. Sunfighter

    Sunfighter New Member

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    I'm thinking about putting a few of the larger ones ( Phals ) in pots, either plastic or glazed pottery, with bark chips and sinking the posts into the soil substrate then topdressing with bark chips to hide the pots. I don't think that they'll ever get really wet, but never really dry either. What do you think? Maybe small stones instead of bark. Glass marbles would dry out between mistings.
     
  5. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    I’m not sure if my mistking does a total of 90 per day. Even then most of my tank is wet. My ceiling fan is going most of the time and I have my dyson air purifier blowing at the fronts of them. They still stay wet. Especially the substrate.

    Phalaenopsis I think are bad subjects for small or medium terrariums. Especially in the manner you describe. There’s no osmosis happening w a glazed or plastic pot. Roots would be indefinitely wet. I grow my Phalaenopsis in plastic in my greenhouses for that reason, they don’t dry completely the next time I’m available to water.

    I’d recommend you build a false bottom.
     
  6. Sunfighter

    Sunfighter New Member

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    I'm sorry that I wasn't clear. 90 gallons refers to the size of the tank, 48 x 18 x 24. I'll start with a misting schedule of 30 seconds every 12 hours and see how that works.
    I have a Phalaenopsis in my 24 x 16 x 18 terrarium now, in a plastic pot which rests on the soggy peat moss substrate and is buried in enough bark chips to hide the pot. Even though the chips hiding the pot stay damp all the time, the inside of the pot dries out nicely between hand waterings. It's been there for almost 2 years and blooms like crazy. The soggy substrate is to support Sundews, which require wet roots. I am concerned that the misting system will keep the Phals too wet, the reason that I'm going to try small 1" stones or glass marbles as a potting medium.
    Drainage will be provided by installing an aquarium under gravel filter under an inch of gravel seperated from the soil layer by a sheet of window screen. An airlift tube extending above the rim of the tank will be used to siphon excess water. A plastic hose can be inserted down the tube whenever water begins to accumulate.
     
  7. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    My bad. I missed writing seconds. I don’t think I mist more than 90 per day. One of the nine time slots on the mistking timer I dedicated to a once per week drenching though.

    Have fun.
    Here’s mine: The additional corresponding hobby
     
  8. Sunfighter

    Sunfighter New Member

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    You've got a really great looking setup there. It looks like you have most of the cover either glass or plexi. One of the things that i'm wrestling with is the balance between humidity ( 70 to 80% ), ventilation and UVB light for the geckos.My light panel is 10" wide with an arcadia 6% UVB flourescent tube on the back. About half of the canopy will be glass and half screen with the UVB tube hanging out over the screen and a 60 watt basking light in the back corner. I'll use a computer fan for ventilation, with a rheostat for speed control since I think full speed would be way too much. I see that you're using two nozzles on your mister. I was wondering about that, especially since my enclosure is 48" long. Thanks for the input and let's see more of those frogs.