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Thread: At my wit's end trying to cool a terrarium (with diagrams!)

  1. #9
    Lover of Mountains nightsky's Avatar
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    Fill your humidity thing once a month? That would be great! Mines a 3 gallon capacity, and is only humidifying a growrack, and I have to fill it every other day. I love the desert, but there are drawbacks it seems

  2. #10
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I am not sure the minifridge could keep up but that wasn't your question. Seems to me that in order to take air out of the fridge without alot of back pressure you need to let air into it somewhere. Ideally you would want to remove the cold air from one side and let air in the other so that it has a chance to cooldown again. Maybe have the air intake blow right over the cooling coils in the freezer section..Other than that.. insulate everything you possibly can. Tube, sides of the tank etc..
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  3. #11
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Seems to me for a hundred or so more what you paid for the mini fridge you could buy a glass doored wine cooler and make the chamber out of that.

    Add lights and turn it on at night.

    http://www.nextag.com/beverage-coole...ay/search-html
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

  4. #12

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    An engineering friend did a bit of research for me, and gave me a lot of very good advice. The big thing I took away from all of it is that I was fighting a losing battle with my house's ambient temperature. Getting the terrarium down in the feasible range that I wanted (around 60 degrees F) was just going to be pretty difficult.

    The solution I went with ended up being that I'd be better off placing the terrarium in a place where the ambient temperature would help and not hinder the process.

    In my old home that was a cellar. Thus, I decided to try creating an artificial cellar.

    I talked to some hydroponics fellows, and they mentioned how a grow tent could do a decent job of keeping a temperature in. That paired with a portable air conditioning unit might get me what I wanted.

    All that, and it kind of looks like a monolith.


    Its size is 4x4x7, but let's peek inside, shall we?


    Inside, there's the control tower. The air conditioner sits on top because the venting tube needs to reach a window, and longer tubes can decrease efficiency. You can also see where I've taped up vents to insulate the tent.


    The side of the grow tent, showing the vent leading to a window.


    Electrical stuffs (+ cat tail). I still need to clean this up a bit to make sure it's all organized. The timers are there to control the two sets of fluorescent lights, and the rest of the plugs are for the terrarium humidifiers and fan.


    The tank currently sits on the bottom of the tent (where the colder air will gather).


    I also ran a tube of air from the AC directly to the terrarium (although I need to check just how much this helps). The AC has an auto setting and a cool setting. I just wish the auto-setting worked a bit better. I set it for 62 and the thing just stops around 72. I've taken to switching it to auto during the day and cool during the night.


    A view of the AC tube. The AC itself sucks humidity from the air, but the terrarium is enclosed and thus keeps a happy humidity of around 80-100%


    Regrettably, as the tent is big and opaque, it's tricky monitoring the thing. I went to a hardware store and picked up a remote temperature sensor that let's me monitor how things are going.


    Results:
    Daytime terrarium temperature: 80 degrees F
    Nighttime terrarium temperature: 63 degrees F
    Terrarium humidity range: 80-100%

    Ideally, I'd like to push the nighttime temperature to 55, but I think for now this is as good as it's going to get. I'm at least pleased to be at a decent point that I believe I can build and develop upon.

    On the happy side, my plants appear to be improving greatly. A number of them that had stopped producing new leaves are now starting to pick up their growth again. Even the N. Lowii seems to be pitchering well.

    Costs:
    There is the unfortunate 'cost' of having an enormous black cube like this thing taking up space in a room and blocking a window. Unfortunate, but one I'm willing to make to ensure plant health and happiness. I am open to decorating solutions to the cube though.

    This was not a particularly cheap solution, but overall I found the costs not too horrid.
    The tent itself was around $180.00 (http://www.texashydroponics.com/shop...cat=329&page=1)
    The air conditioner was $340.00 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PGQ8YQ)

    On the other hand, I'm intrigued at the idea of using this tent (as it stays fairly cool) into a make-shift root/wine/cheese cellar as well.

    Anyhew, that's the direction I went. I welcome any comments/critiques as I'm still feeling my way in the dark with all this.

  5. #13

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    Talking to someone, they suggested moving the AC out and venting its cool air into the tent. That would certainly give the AC more air to suck in. However, I'm wondering what length of tubing would be the maximum I could use without the air losing too much of its coldness.

  6. #14
    Grow Pitcher Plants! DroseraBug's Avatar
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    Love the cube. Looks like you found a solution.
    "And this is what happened, and this is why the caribou and the wolf are one; for the caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong."
    Farley Mowat

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  7. #15
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    wow. thats alot of work... well if your going to go that route, I think you need to just put in a grow rack instead of the tank, get a small humidifier to keep the RH up in the tent and just build an indoor HL nep greenhouse...

    rather than the small tank in the big tent
    but we can't always get what we want now can we...

  8. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmm889 View Post
    wow. thats alot of work... well if your going to go that route, I think you need to just put in a grow rack instead of the tank, get a small humidifier to keep the RH up in the tent and just build an indoor HL nep greenhouse...

    rather than the small tank in the big tent
    but we can't always get what we want now can we...
    Maybe in the future!

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