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Thread: My plans for 2' x 4' growing chamber - feel free to criticize, it will help me

  1. #9
    cmm889's Avatar
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    2' is pushing it, I have a tank about that size but its only 1.5' tall, with 6 T12 tubes my neps were all pretty happy, even my drosera were all happy at that distance... 6'' though makes a ton of difference...

    i'd skip the plexiglass between the lights... go glass if you have to have something there...

    humidity should be one the smallest issues you have, its an easy fix

    as far as neps outgrowing the tank, it does happen but it doesn't happen quickly if your buying plants that aren't from mature cuttings...

    i've had neps for a very long time that havn't outgrown my tank yet...

    good luck!

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    @ Swords

    Yes I did see your reply over at CPUK, but you added even more helpful advice in this post than the great advice you already gave there so I am glad that you posted twice on the subject!

    I am glad to hear from both you and Cmm that Neps aren't out of the question, the cutting back necessity is something I am perfectly willing to handle in order to get the satisfaction that comes from watching a Nepenthes pitcher up. It is awesome watching the growth of a pitcher. I will have to take it slow to add Neps to my collection as I won't quite have the budget to buy many of them, but I will certainly look into getting some of those smaller growing ones you mentioned, swords. Sounds perfect for my situation.

    Now, an N. bical? SERIOUSLY?? I hope that the temps and humidity pan out that I can have an N. bical, that is my favorite Nep of all and I would be friggin' stoked to have one of those growing in here. It's probably one of the easiest plants to show friends and get them to say "WOAH! That IS cool!" even if they don't get CPs or even plants for that matter.

    I will keep you posted on the readings I get from my tank once it is finished and see if you think I can handle a bical and then if so I will pay any price to snag one of those! Booyaw!

    @ CMM889

    Depending on the setup I land, I may have a full 2' from lights to the base of my growing chamber. But I can stack pots to bring certain plants closer to the lights and make up that critical 6 inches if it happens that way. But ppl in the area keep giving away my best prospects for a growing chamber starter, so I may end up with something a foot and a half tall and will have all the light I need. About the plexiglass, you are absolutely right. It will bow and I am going to have to buy the glass for the divider between the plants and the lights. Yeah humidity without having to spray will be the question, but in the past my pots in standing water gave off enough local humidity and the tank more often than not had condensation because of the humidity so I think you are right. Easy to fix.

    With yours and Swords encouraging remarks I am looking forward to the Neps I can put in this tank. I am excited!

    Will keep you guys posted on the progress of the chamber.
    Odysseus
    Wife and I in the Netherlands. Sure miss living out there.

    My growlist
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  3. #11
    Odysseus's Avatar
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    Jan. 16th Saturday - Building my Growing Chamber

    Ok...through a compromise with my wife I have had to temper my plans down a bit, I am still stoked that she is allowing me to do this but this is much smaller than I had hoped. I have found a suitable structure for me to use. This is a simple entertainment center meant for TVs and DVD collections, but at $25 from a thrift store it was a cheap option for an initial structure. There will be plenty of growing space if I take advantage of it correctly.



    To summarize all my dimensions above: this is roughly 4 feet wide, 3 and a half feet tall, with only 15 inches of depth.

    I can either use this entertainment center setup to attach lights over some tanks, or I can build in some growing chambers with mirrors, glass, and waterproofing caulk. But, to be realistic, since this is just cheap particle board I wouldn't really want to invest too much work into it, so without changing anything, only adding lights, I am more likely going to just get some tanks to put in these spaces. Now, I can go with a big tank and one little one, or even:

    Three Tank Option:
    I could have three separate growing chambers with the potential for differing conditions. Here are the dimensions of the three spaces:

    Largest growing chamber: 23" tall x 29" wide x 15" deep
    Taller than wider chamber: 23" tall x 17-18" wide x 15" deep
    Long and low chamber: 14" tall x 31-32" wide x 15" deep

    The benefit here is that I won't have to do anything but work in some lights. I can easily find two tanks to sit in the top spaces. A tall 20 gallon and a larger 30-40 gallon. I wonder if 15 inches will be too shallow for those tanks to rest sturdily. But all in all, this setup is the fastest way I can get going and have plants growing in no time. The most difficult part will be the unique lighting dimensions, but 6-inch florescent bulbs can be attached all over the top if that is going to be the best solution.

    Then there is the....

    Big Tank Option:
    If find a way to support the structure without it, I could knock out that middle wall in the upper section and make use of the full 4 feet length. I am disappointed that I only have 15 inches of depth to work with here, but if I can make it 4 feet of space to spread out I could be ok with it. Plus the ease of placing 4 foot long tubes of lighting I could be fine with the lack of real shelf depth.

    Using the large space to grow several similar climate plants, and then using the small long chamber below as I have mentioned in the paragraphs above isn't a terrible setup either. Here are the dimensions if I did this plan:

    Largest growing chamber: 23" tall x 46-48" wide x 15" deep
    Long and low chamber: 14" tall x 31-32" wide x 15" deep

    So, any thoughts on which is better for this particular situation?

    One large growing space plus one small - or - not messing with a good structure and having smaller but three separate growing spaces?
    Odysseus
    Wife and I in the Netherlands. Sure miss living out there.

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  4. #12
    Odysseus's Avatar
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    Well things have changed since this last post. I was able to locate a large tank to use as my terrarium so I had to buy a whole new stand for it in order to accommodate its 4' length.

    My brother-in-law found this tank in a secondhand store for $50 which was tremendously low for such a big tank! Tank is 4 feet long and 17 inches tall about 15 deep.


    I cleaned it up and added mirrors to the back, sides and bottom. BIGGEST drawback to this tank is that stupid cloudy glass piece stretching the middle there.
    I wanted to cut it off but it is pretty well caulked on there and seems to give the tank its solid structure. I will just hope it doesn't cause too much light issues. I know, not ideal.


    So to accommodate the larger tank I got rid of the last entertainment center and found this one through an online classified from a local resident selling hers for $20.


    I tore this thing up! Sawed out the middle wall, took off the glass door and the roll-up wood slat cover and added three 2-bulb shop lights.


    The three shop lights hold 2 40 watt T12 6500K daylight bulbs. So with 6 total and closely setup over the tank, I expect the lighting to be fine.


    This is the finish product! Now all I need to do is buy some plants to fill it with. (Oh, I realize I didn't have the drawers back in place for the pic, but they are there.)


    I am so stoked to get back into growing some plants! I got to get myself a lid for this tank - plexiglass most likely - to keep the humidity in but other than that I am set to grow some CPs again!

    It has been almost 4 years since I grew any CPs. I started in 2003 and moved more and more and progressively downsized my collection until I had nothing left in the move to the Netherlands. Been back to the States for almost three years now and I haven't been able to convince my wife to let me grow again. Now she has finally warmed up to it and I feel VERY lucky she did!!

    Thanks for checking in on this. Looking forward to having plant pics some day. Have a good weekend all!
    Odysseus
    Wife and I in the Netherlands. Sure miss living out there.

    My growlist
    A list of beginner CPs

  5. #13
    swords's Avatar
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    Hey looks great! Six tubes will make Neps plenty happy. I'm getting back into Neps and orchids again after a couple year hiatus myself. I started creeping back into growing plants by collecting succulents like a madman for the last year or so and now I've decided I really have to get back to my first love montane tropical HL plants!

    If you want to get rid of the cloudy center glass you can try a very sharp box cutter blade against where it is siliconed in. If you can get into the silicone seam you should be able to get it out. It's not easy since pro built tanks are very sturdy and not intended to be taken apart, but I did so recently in a thread about aquarium to vivarium modification farther down on this forum.

    If you don't mind the glass being there but just want it clean/clearer try using straight lemon juice, straight vinegar or straight rubbing alcohol and rubbing on both sides with a couple clean cloth rags One wet one dry. Any of these three liquids are non toxic and pretty good solvents for cleaning glass. It may take a few stabs at it and some elbow grease but it should at least clear up at least a little bit.

  6. #14
    Odysseus's Avatar
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    Thanks Swords! It will look even better with some plants in it too. Ordered a few from flytrapshop.com just now.

    Thanks also on the advice for getting that stuff off, but whatever it is it's vile stuff. It is definitely mineral deposits from the water in the tank back when it was a fish tank....but after using STRAIGHT vinegar on it and a razor blade and all the elbow grease I could muster and getting no change at all....I gave up.

    If the top part had cleaned at all I would have put more effort to the bottom half that is hard to reach, but even when vinegar was left on it and then scraped as hard as I could there was no change. Those deposits are one with the glass now and I just can't get enough abrasion to scrape if off the glass. It acts almost like scratches on the glass even though it obviously is something else left on it.

    At any rate, do you think straight lemon juice or rubbing alcohol might have a better shot than my straight vinegar I used?

    (By the way, I scoured the nets looking for ideas of what to clean the tank with and found an old post of yours in fact that got me to use the vinegar in the first place. )
    Odysseus
    Wife and I in the Netherlands. Sure miss living out there.

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  7. #15
    swords's Avatar
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    I would imagine the bulk of it is on the inside - on the hard to reach bottom. If you can stand the tank open side down between two chairs or lay it on its back you should be able to get a little better friction on it than trying to reach under.

    If the vinegar didn't work alcohol or lemon may not work either. Too many years of sodium build up. There is a product called "CLR" (standing for Calcium Lime and Rust remover) which might be stronger than the three non-chemical products. You can get it any just about any hardware supply or home store in the cleaning supplies aisle. Just be sure to wear gloves when using CLR and wash the glass well afterwards with clean water. At work they clean the coffee maker with the CLR but that seems a bit dangerous to me - so I only drink coffee at home! LOL

  8. #16
    Odysseus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    At work they clean the coffee maker with the CLR but that seems a bit dangerous to me - so I only drink coffee at home! LOL
    Seriously, I wouldn't want to drink any coffee from that coffee maker...unless they clean it crazily well AFTER using the CLR....they are crazy to use it. Just deal with the coffee lines imo.

    I think I will try the CLR on this one section though. I would be afraid to contaminate my tank too much with residual chemicals that can harm my plants, but this is only a small part of my tank and I can get it free from residuals easier than if I had used CLR on the whole thing.

    Thanks again Swords.
    Odysseus
    Wife and I in the Netherlands. Sure miss living out there.

    My growlist
    A list of beginner CPs

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