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Thread: Need a top for your terrarium?

  1. #1

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    I was using a piece of seran wrap on the top of mine but found it to be 1. unsightly 2. too close to the tank and the leaves of the plants were touching it 3. hard to keep tight enough to allow sufficient light in. So, I made a lid this weekend that I am pretty pleased with, and thought I would share. It is real easy to make and reasonably priced I think:

    I used strips of balsa wood- found at craft stores (Rag Shop, Joanne Fabrics, Michaels in my neck of the woods). I paid &#362.49 for a 36 inch strip. The strip is maybe 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick, although you can get it in all sizes. I choose balsa cause it is easy to cut to size with a box cutter. This strip was just the perfect size for my container which is not a fish tank, but rather a table top greenhouse type. I wanted the edges of the top to lay on the top edge of my terrarium to give some added height for the plants inside. You might want yours to be more of a lid on a box and go down over the sides. Anyhow, I measured and cut the strip into four pieces that would fit around the top.

    I then used straight pins to hold the pieces together to form the box. Again Balsa is soft that the pins push in pretty easy. Then used a wood clue on the seams to seal the ends. Laid on wax paper for a while to let the clue dry.

    This makes the frame, I then used the window cover plastic and the double sided tape that comes with the plastic. This was the most expensive thing &#364.00 for 3 sheets of plastic and a roll of tape. Bought at K-Mart or Walmart. The tape went on the outside edge of the balsa wood frame then the plastic over top. Then used the hairdryer to shrink the plasitc to a tight fit around the frame. Make sure the plasitic is the type to shrink.

    The finished product is crystal clear. The humidity in my tank went to 75% immediately the temp has stayed at 75 degrees without a problem. The florsent light sits on top and plenty of light gets inside. If you want to add ventilation, I think once the plastic is tight, you could make slits in it (I would probably cut out the four corners) I have not done this so can't say the plastic will stay tight when cut (although I think it will) if not then I would use another piece of balsa at the corners to make a triangle L\ and cut in between.

    If you would like to see it, I can take a picture if someone would tell me how to post it. Anyhow, thought there might be some interest , hope someone might find this useful. Linda

  2. #2
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    For my tank lid I went to a craft/frame shop and had a piece of glass cut just a bit larger than the outer dimensions of the tank. Its heavy enough to stay in place, is light and crystal clear, and easily removed. It cost less than &#364. I remove it once a day to let air in to circulate while I inspect the plants. (I had considering having the glass place cut 2-3 small round holes in it for air flow, but decided against that.) A glass shop can cut just about any shape/size glass you want. I also had a round piece cut for my nep terrarium. Then I did something really stupid... I took it off and placed it on a chair to check the nep...and then forgot about it and SAT on the darn thing breaking it into a million pieces. lol duh! Nothing more unnerving than hearing glass break under your rump. :-) Sooo back to the glass shop for another piece of round glass. (Me bum didnt get cut but I do have a bit of a crack.) ;-) Word to the wise...don't put a piece of glass in a chair seat.

    Anyway, I've found the glass has worked well for me. I'm not sure what others use for a seal on their tanks/terrariums but that's an interesting way to gain more height on the tank, Linda.

    Suzanne

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    very smart linda!

    I am getting sick of my saran lid, even though it's covered by a wood canopy, it's a pain to get in and work on the plants...

    I think I might use your advice...

    THe only thing I think I would change is the glue, there is a modeling glue used by Radio Control hobbyists that molecularly bonds wood fibers, incredibly strong.

    I made a bridge out of balsa and this glue in middle school, it held 75 pounds suspended in the middle. before breaking on the 80 pound weight.

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    i just put a seran wrap on it..or if im using one of my extra reptile tanks with a cover already, i put some palstic over yhe whole thing to retain humdity. I dont allow any air i and plants are still healthy! I got some neps and Drosera and heliamphora in my unheated terrium

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    Hi guys, Thanks for the nice replies and I'm glad some find it of interest. I'm real please with the results and it sure beats buying a new tank to get height (its that time of year to buy for others not myself LOL). I also figure I can keep raising it if need be by adding pieces of balsa. It also is real easy to remove, which is what I do instead of adding the vent holes for now. I like your glue idea RamPuppy, will look for it if I add on.

    Have a good day all

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    I favor PlantAKiss's method, just using a simple glass lid. I keep mine cracked open just a bit to allow air to move and allow bugs to find their own doom on my drosera or in the bottomless bellies of my Neps and Sarrs.

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    Well, I would like a glass lid too, but I can't afford one, and if my choice comes down to a glass lid or a couple nepenthes, well.. I am gonna get the plant!

    (Also keep in mind that glass does take some wave lengths out of the light.

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    Interesting idea Linda. If you are still looking for vent holes, instead of cutting the plastic and running the risk of the slit going all the way accross and ruining you lid, try this. Light a match, blow it out, then quickly press the burned out match to the platic where you want a hole. The heat from the ember will melt a small hole, leaving no starts for tears. Just a thought.

    D. Buck.

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