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Thread: A Very Cheap and Effective Highland Terrarium

  1. #9
    Class 5 Nepenthes hoarder lance's Avatar
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    Nice setup! Yeah, starting with easy-to-grow Nepenthes like ventricosa is a must. Even with all the grow tips out there you still need those building blocks . What temps does it get outside at night? I would recommend having a fan duct suck the air from outside in at night if you get around 50*F temps at night. That will help a lot more if you decide to get true highland Nepenthes other then Ventricosa.


    In addition to growing plants, I design and build RC planes powered by Tesla batteries. Check out my progress at www.chargedplanes.com

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    Sundrew's Avatar
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    Thanks! I think this contraption is only going to be used in the summer, as nighttime temperatures here hover around 65-70F for a couple months. The rest of the year outdoor temperatures can be anywhere from 50-15 degrees, so I plan on using ducts later on in the year. For the times I can't, though, I want to have a simple, easily installed cooler. Hopefully, this terrarium expands to hold many more interesting plants! I also have a tremendous 75 gallon lowland tank to fill as well, but that one is much easier to manage.

  3. #11
    pebes's Avatar
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    looks great!!! good luck on the expansion of your collection.

  4. #12
    Sundrew's Avatar
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    Thanks, I think my ventricosa will soon have lots of interesting company!

  5. #13
    Sundrew's Avatar
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    A Little More Fiddling...

    So I had some more time today and I decided to add to my cooler. I did some fiddling, and I think this may be the final design.

    Here is the new and improved design. The most noticeable improvement is that I wrapped the box in insulation; this way the inside of the box will stay cooler and be more efficient. The diagonal baffle fell apart, and I decided I didn't need it. I made the cloth strips angle into the box so that they really cool the air inside the unit and elongate the time air blows past. I did this by moving the lower tray just inside the opening and securing the ends of the cloth with a few clean rocks. The top of the bottom tray has some spare insulation to keep the water from evaporating.

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    The fans are still just inside.

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    I put a lid on the top tray to slow down evaporation from the reservoir.

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    Now, the most important improvement I made was widening the gap on the other side of the terrarium that air flows out of. This way, the terrarium inside isn't as pressurized and it allows the fans to work much better, allowing for more air flowing past the cloth strips. I just took some extra insulation and used tape as a hinge. It flies open when the cooler kicks on.

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    The design is similar, but it is these small tweaks that make it better and better. Every degree I can drop counts. Unfortunately, it has been very humid today, so my tests have shown minimal temperature changes. However, I'm confident in this design.

    Of course, any comments, questions, or suggestions are greatly welcomed.

  6. #14
    pebes's Avatar
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    WOW! great improvements! what temps are you dealing with?

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    Sundrew's Avatar
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    I'm going to have to get a digital thermometer so that I can measure the moving air. However, I could get a reading on the cloth itself, which hopefully should be close to the temperature of the air. It dropped the temperature from around 80F to near 70F. At night, when it's drier and cooler, I think the cloth could be down to 65. I think that means I'll stick with intermediates.

  8. #16
    Sundrew's Avatar
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    Just a quick observation: for the cloth, use the cleanest water you have available. Because of my first version's dripping problem, I had begun using my usual rain water. Over time, this has gummed up the cloth with what I believe are microorganisms and just other gunk (it was pretty gross). This had severely hindered the wicking of the cloth. I washed it today and began using clean tap water, and it is wicking much, much better and will therefore cool my terrarium more effectively. Even tap water will leave some mineral residue, so be sure to rinse the cloth every few weeks for best results.

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