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Thread: Small Terra Cooling. Has anyone tried this thing?

  1. #1

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    Small Terra Cooling. Has anyone tried this thing?

    Hello,

    I've been lurking around since I got the CP bug a few months ago, I've always found amazing and detailed information on pretty much any topic on this site. Great community, knowledgeable and friendly.

    That being said, I could not find any opinions on this particular topic so here goes...

    I'm trying to find an easy way(lol) to cool a very small terrarium. (18'' x 18'' x 18'')

    I found this product while googling. The Handy Cooler

    Now, please try to ignore the over-done web page and sales pitch, I too at first this thing was a piece of junk.

    After digging around and to my great surprise, I found tons of positive reviews of the thing.

    Amazon Video Review

    It seems to work on the basic ''swamp cooler'' method, but it's small, not that expensive (49.99$ on their website) and clean looking.

    You can even purchase an adjustable tube-mouth to connect to the device.

    So, would this work in cooling a small highland tank? (The tank also has an ultrasonic fogger hooked up to it)

    Thanks for any insight you may have!

  2. #2
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    If it's battery powered as a hand held device it probably doesn't have a duty cycle of more than a couple hours per day.

    Let's see - cellulose filter. You can go to the dollar store and pick up a pack of cellulose sponges 4-6 to a pack. A 45mm+ case fan and power supply for $20 or less (more if you let yourself get ripped off at Radio Shack). Some clam shell boxes that fruits and vegetables come in could be adapted with the help of a knife and duct tape to make a holder for the sponge. You'd have to come up with a water feed system but some plastic tubing and a pop bottle would work. Plus you can replace the fan when it goes kaput.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Hello, thanks for answering.

    It has a power cable also. (Comes with a usb power cable, AC is also available)


    Well, I know I can duct tape something together, that's not the point. Small apartment, no basement, I'm trying to keep things clean, out of sight and tidy.

    So, do these sort of ''swamp cooler'' or ''evaporation cooling'' methods successfully manage to bring down the temps (with lights off) of a small terrarium?

  4. #4
    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome to TerraForums!
    Are you talking about throwing that thing in side your terrarium? If so, I would say no, it will not work. Here is why: Swamp cooling takes water evaporation to cool, and the higher your humidity the less effective this is. That is why only us in the dryer climates use this to cool our house. So in order for this to work, you would need to have it suck fresh air from outside your terrarium (I assume you have an AC house so low humidity there) then through the pad and the cool air into the tank. But then you also need to have a vent on the opposite side where the warm air in the tank can be blown out. Here is a chart that shows effectiveness with related humidity levels.



    The other problem I have with this thing is that you just wet the pad *laugh* A typical swamp cooler on a house uses 50-200 gallons of water a day. Wetting that little pad is not going to put out cool air for very long. Swamp coolers usually have a basin of water at the bottom that is kept full by a float, and a pump keeps pumping water up over and through the pads so they are kept constantly wet.

    Hope this helps you.
    Andrew
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    Thanks Andrew.

    No sir, it would be outside the terrarium, blowing air inside. The terrarium is tiny, 18'' x 18'' x 18'' with a screen top (not fully closed). This would only be used to lower temps during nighttime/lights off.

    Back to the drawing board I guess!
    Thanks TF.

  6. #6
    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Seems to me the "normal" for this kind of request is something frozen sitting on top the mesh top so the cool air drops down into the tank. Your tank seems small enough that it could benefit from that.
    Andrew
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    Thanks again Andrew!

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    Greetings, and welcome to the forum! Since the area you need to cool is so small, why don't you use plastic bottles filled with ice? It's doesn't have the luxury of an automatic system, but it's easy and it works. If the outside environmental conditions change over the year, as they might in a basement, you can have different sizes on hand to get the temps exactly where you want them at night. Even if you plan to do something else later, with this method you can get started right away.

    I've been successfully cooling a small tank this way for quite some time, and I grew a N. villosa and a N. spectabilis successfully using this method. I used to have a Windchaser Personal Humidifer in the tank, which is a cheap very small ultrasonic unit. It was set to come on a few times a night for 15 minutes to up the humidity, and that worked very well, but when it crapped out I just went with misting everything heavily when I put the bottles in at night, and then again in the morning. The plants don't seem to notice. (I did see that Walmart had a similar small humidifier in their pharmacy section. You might want to look into that.)

    To do this you will have to leave room somewhere in the tank for the bottles. Fill them only 2/3 full to account for ice expansion. Pop them in at night, and put them back in the freezer in the morning. Do not let the portions of the bottles that contain the ice touch the leaves of the plants. Install thermometers at the bottom of the tank and at the top. There will probably be a difference in temperature of about 10 at the minimum temperature at night, and you can use that for placement if you have plants that have different requirements. Remember that the plants do not have to be at a minimum temperature all night, they just need to have a gradual temperature drop over the nighttime hours. Good luck!

    ---------- Post added at 09:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:45 AM ----------

    Just an addendum to what I said in order to be clear: The temperature difference of 10 that I mentioned would be between the bottom and the top of the tank.

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