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Thread: best automatic watering terrarium design!

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    matopis's Avatar
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    best automatic watering terrarium design!

    Here is my set-up for an automatic watering system for my Nepenthes. This system allows me to go on vacation and abandon my plants! The main drawback is the unsightly nature of all the tubes. I elevated the plants just above the water line by using a grid which is sold as a cover for flourescent light fixtures. You can cut these up to size with clippers. There is about four inches of water in the tank.

    First get yourself a 55 gallon aquarium (used ones are easy to find on craigslist).
    I use two four-foot long T-8 fluorescent fixtures with (4) 32-watt bulbs.



    I collect rainwater off my greenhouse roof to fill the reserve water used in the tank. Since your water will be recirculating you want the original water to be as pure as possible.



    Purchase one of these digital timers for about $20. You can program them to turn on for as little as a minute, and you can set what days you would like to water.



    Purchase a submersible pump for about $20 and plug this into your timer. Make sure the pump is completely covered by water before you turn it on.



    I went to a hydroponics store to purchase many of these items. It is really useful to have someone walk you through the process. If you don't have one near you, there are sites like this one that have most of what you see here.
    Attach this special white tubing to the pump and seal the other end by folding it and tying it closed with string or a clamp. Use the sharp yellow poker to make a hole in the main water line (white). Insert one small black tube into the big white tube. This white tube is a special material that seals itself around the black tube so it doesn't leak. Run the small black tube to an emitter (the long pointed black plastic thing) and poke one emitter into each plant. Also shown is a scrap piece of grid which I set my plants upon.





    Here is a close-up of the individual black tubes that run from the white main-line to each individual plant.



    Here is a close-up picture of the emitters.


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    Grey Moss's Avatar
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    thats a great set up. But why do you have a terrarium when you have a greenhouse?

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    fantastic! I wanted to do something like this for over an yr now. thanks for showing your plans.

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    matopis's Avatar
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    this terrarium sits in my office, so I can day-dream for hours while I am supposed to be working! Plus the greenhouse would need to be heated, which would be terribly inefficient considering the number of plants I have.

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    This is a slick setup. I think that I may look at doing this for my terrariums. Thanks for the info.

    Cheers
    I consider every plant hardy until I kill it

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    matopis's Avatar
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    The terrarium has been flowing for about a month now. My biggest problem now is an algae bloom.
    I'd really like to avoid taking all of my plants out to clean the tank. I'm thinking I might need to develop an algae filter of sorts. Any ideas?

    Photobucket

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    Your one and only pest! Ant's Avatar
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    could you put something to block light on the shelf like plastic that fits around the plants?

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I recommend U. gibba and crowding the terrarium as much as possible. Even if you don't have stuff to grow - just make up some pots with bits of live sphagnum on top and use them to fill the gaps between your other plants. Once you have a fair amount of shade, algae will have a hard time growing unchecked. Put an aquatic or semi-aquatic plant in the bottom and it'll outgrow most algae easily. Like I said, U. gibba is a good one, but any Utric that will expand into open water can work as well. I like to put a mound of LFS directly in the water and throw stuff like D. prolifera and spider plant offsets onto it. At times, the bottom of my terrariums have been pretty much covered in floating, flowering mats of U. gibba, with islands of D. prolifera and various wet-loving houseplants on the sides.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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