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Thread: cooling a terrarium

  1. #9

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    sounds like i am going to have to find a cooler place for the tank, maybe bury it under my house Has any one heard of using a peltier like is used to cool CPUs and used in some small refridgerators?? I can get them easily but i dont know how to use them.
    My first thaught was to scrap a small refridgerator but that is a major job and would look hideous.

  2. #10
    Nepenthesian Nepfreak's Avatar
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    If you have a basement or anywhere in your house that gets down to the 50s, I'd recommend you find a place to put it there. If there's a method to cool down a terrarium to 60 degrees when the outside air is 70 degrees, I haven't found it. Unless it's to tube off a fridge (which of course looks hideous) or open a window (which can be a problem with terrariums when the sun shines, and only really works where I live in the Spring -- summer too hot, winter too cold).
    Insanity is a sane response to an insane world.

  3. #11

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    My large indoor highland chamber is cooled by a combination of frozen 2 litre pepsi containers and a drop in aquarium chiller. My chamber is constructed completely with 1/4 inch glass. On one side of the chamber is a modified swamp cooler that holds 3 - 2 litre frozen bottles and the aquarium chiller drop in coil. There is a fan at the top which also doubles as my circulation fan. This fan blows warm air from top of chamber around the frozen bottles and aquarium chiller coil. Cool air is vented/comes out at the bottom of the chamber. I also strategically locate 4 - 2 litre frozen bottles at various spots in the chamber. This routinely gives me a temp drop to 55 - 60F with inside air temp at 72 - 74F for about 8 hours. I have been running this setup for about 10 months now. It may sound labor intensive but is not. Lights and aquarium chiller are on an automatic timer. All I have to do is add the frozen 2 litre bottles nightly and remove same in the morning. It takes about 10 minutes in the morning and about 15 minutes at night.
    I never thought I could grow highlanders but with this chamber I have had great success so far. Although my chamber is filled to capacity and there are so many more highlanders I would love to grow.

  4. #12
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Peltier units don't scale up well enough to do the job for a terrarium, and you'd need a heat exchanger to move away the additional warmth that running the unit would create. I was excited about the notion of a peltier-cooled tank when it occured to me but somebody ran the numbers on here a while back and burst my bubble. :(
    You could try to use evaporative cooling. Get a swamp cooler/evaporative humidifier and direct its output into the tank; air temperature drops noticeably as humidity increases. If the humidifier doesn't get dry air you won't get very dramatic results, but you could get a dehumidifier and run it in sequence so that air -> dehumidifier -> swamp cooler -> terrarium (-> back to dehumidifier?) A bonus from running them in circuit would be that you could run tap water in the swamp cooler and get it back from the dehumidifier distilled...
    Most of the experienced, successful Nep growers that I've spoken with here use ordinary air conditioners for their cooling needs; that's probably the best way to do it. Air conditioners are designed to cool air efficiently. Swamp coolers have a similar purpose, but in most applications have been outpaced by the compressor-driven A/C. Other devices - foggers, misters, aquarium chillers, etc. - aren't designed with moving air in mind. Refrigerators and freezers are probably close seconds, but the A/C is the one that's really built to specifications. When you factor in price, power consumption, setup, maintenance and overall ability to do the job, A/Cs probably come out on top. That's likely why so many serious growers end up breaking down and going with them.
    ~Joe
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    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  5. #13

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    Red face terrarium cooling

    Peltier cooling practical cutoff is about 200 W. More power than that and air conditioning becomes more cost-effective. There is one posting on a UK web site for a cobbled peltier cooler using off-the-shelf parts.

    Peltier are DC current devices. The effective heat draw using these units is about 20C (36F) temperature decrease below ambient. But the heat gain through an enclosure requires insulated walls. Most of the peltier articles discuss styrofoam walls; I would add some sort of radiative infrared heat reflector like aluminum foil. The amp draws for these 12-16 VDC draw are relatively high. An efficient 250W computer power provides up to 13 amps. Expect about 6 amp draw by an 80 W peltier alone. Add in the fans for the hot and cold side heat exchanger and you're at 7 amps

    This scale would be useful for inducing dormancy with a photo-period in a five or ten gallon aquarium. There are beverage and food coolers using Peltiers as thermoelectric coolers for about $80-150. Any bigger size requirement and you might consider excavating below ground to 55F soil temperatures like one engineer friend did for his green house.

    Geothermal heat pumps installers are excavating into the ground for the same reasons in southwest Ohio.

  6. #14
    JMurphy97's Avatar
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    Good Thing I just have a cold basement!

  7. #15

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    Wish I had a basement, would make it much easier. No basements here in LA - thats lower Alabama. Am in the planning stages of building a large highland walk in chamber. Still working out the details.

  8. #16

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    Move to San Fransisco

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