Pics of my first terrarium

PersistenceAugust 12, 2004

I posted this on a UK forum. it has some current pics of my first terrerium. I am going to take pics and document the next one I build.

First, it is a 29 gal fish tank. the opening is at the top. I started with the false bottom and the walls. I made the floor of the terrarium a few inches higher than the bottom of the tank.

For the walls, I used foam and spread a mix of peat and a concrete bonder fortifier available at any hardware store. this mixture is spread on and left to dry. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks to dry completely.

I made roots out of mixing mortar with peat and the concrete bonder. I then painted them with 'Patio Paint' available at local arts and craft stores. it's waterproof and comes in many colors.

I have a fish pump that pushes water up from the bottom to a small manifold that 5 small irragation hoses are attatched to. The water drips down the walls keeping them wet at all times.

I made the hood out of some bamboo I had and cutt slits in the top for heat to escape.

The inside of the hood has foil glued to it for reflection. I have 4 compact flourescent lights. i got all the parts for the lights at the local hardware store.

The fan is a computer processer fan I got from a local electrinics store.

The fan is wired to a dimmer switch I also got at the store. I got a plastic box to putit in.

In Europe you are gonna have different power but I needed to get a converter for the fan. this was also purchased at the local electronics store.

I have one open side where the water is visible.

The whole tank.

Inside the tank.

Things I noticed or would do different.

i would make the water reservoir in the tank larger as I add water once a week.

Make sure to locate the fan inside. I had the fan blowing outside air in and I would have to add water daily. i changed it and only add water about once a week.

Spray foam works great for making structures as well. Wait till it dries and carve it.

The next one I build this winter will be huge. I am really looking forward to it as it will be 90% orchids.

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rodzuf(Cincinnati OH)

Looks great love the roots you made they look really realistic.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 7:10PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

coming along nicely! I really like the episcas. Do you know the name of the pink-leaved variety?

I also looked at the other pics. Great orchids! You really do have a talent for growing them! And nice backyard, too! I'd LOVE a greenhouse. Are arucanas some kind of fancy chicken? Why do you have pics of them? Do you raise them?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 7:53PM
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ladybug_guam(z11 Guam)

WOW! Mike! That's one h**l of a terrarium, specially all the work you put into it!
Can't wait to see the huge one you'll make!
Where did you get the fan for it?
Ana :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 3:35AM
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ladybug_guam(z11 Guam)

OOPS! Never mind, Mike, I saw the name on it.... duhhh! I wrote to them to see if they ship to Guam, better than hunt for it here :)
Did you see mine? Is the same size as yours, not finished yet, waiting for the lights, have some now but they are a mixed bag, one white hoood, 2 blacks, so I ordered just one hood with 3 fluorescent lights, same size as the tank, and I can add another one if needed. How many watts are your lights?
Ana :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 9:51AM
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The lights are compact flourescents. They put out more wattage than regular lights. I will have to look at the package. it's also not the wattage but the kelvin rating(I think it's kelvin) it rates how much the light is like daylight.

I got the fan at Radio shack along with all the other parts. You could easily get one from an old computer or any computer store.

LOL I took the chicken pics for my sister to show her what the Arucana look like. They are the ones that lay light blue and green eggs. We are first time chicken owners. thought it would be fun. They eat the bugs in the yard, I compost the poop and we get eggs. All are hens, no roosters.

I have no clue what the names of the episcas are. Komi gave them to me so she would know. I am not one for tropicals and I think they will be the only tropical besides ferns in the next terrarium.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 2:16AM
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komi(z7/8 DC)

Sahoyaref - I sent you mail.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 6:43PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Thanks, I got it! Wrote you back too. =)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2004 at 12:47AM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

All i got was spam... :( but Mike's terrarium is cool !!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2004 at 10:58PM
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komi(z7/8 DC)

ooohhh Mr. B - are you volunteering to take some gesneriads??

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 10:30AM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

no I was just whining cuz I never get any fancy fun emails from anyone cool...

but now that you mention wait...i have no room for plants!!! I mean....i don't have a LOT of wait...I have NO ROOM!!!! NONE!!!! well maybe a little bit...

what's a gesneriad? do I like them? must i have them?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 7:16PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Gesneriads are a family of plants that includes african violets, episcas, sinningias, gloxinias, kohleras, chiritas, petrocosmeas, streptocarpus, etc. The good news for you, Mr. B, is that these plants are generally quite small, and take up little space! They also need less light than orchids (in general). And yes, you must have at least a couple! =) They are very enjoyable plants that flower more than orchids, are easier to take care of, and are cheaper. And especially the episcas have very nice foliage. Petrocosmeas are so symmetrical it will blow your mind! Check out the 'Melanie' Streptocarpus pic at the link below. I'm in love!

Here is a link that might be useful: Strep. pics

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 7:55PM
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komi(z7/8 DC)

...and if you decide you want a few (say, like the micro mini sinningias that might get as big as a quarter when mature... or some episcias or something), email me. Or, I could forward you a joke sent from a GWer's SIL....

but by all means, stay the hell away from gessies - they have a way of taking over.

For sahoy... I have a young strep from seed - with seed pods... (it'll be a 1-2 months until they mature) lmk:

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 8:48PM
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That's not an orchid!!!!! No wonder your orchids are ailing. You are spending too much time with the lower class plants!!!!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 2:43PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

That is gorgeous, Komi! I have a gesneriad dealer near me who just this year got some of the famous Dibley streps, and my oh my, almost nothing will stop me from ordering some next year! They are just amazing! And yes, gessies are addictive, but I wasn't going to tell Mr. B that. =) I was going to let him find out all by himself. . . heh, heh. . . =)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 4:26PM
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komi(z7/8 DC)

slander! how could you, Mike? My orchids are doing very well, thank you. (Well, most of 'em are.)

No, to clarify for Mr. B... gessies are not addictive. They are just a million times better at propagating themselves.

I'm gonna continue shamelessly hawking them off.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 5:43PM
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