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Thread: Need to upgrade my Lowland Nepenthes area!

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    Need to upgrade my Lowland Nepenthes area!

    I'm about at that point where I need to expand my Lowland Nepenthes grow area and I'm looking for input to help me avoid possible problems. I'm currently growing them in Exo-terra 24" X 18" X 18" tanks, I've already had to cut a few vines due to height problems and now I'm getting close to the 18" horizontal limit. I'm not as concerned about the height as I am with the width, I really don't mind having to cut a vine but I'd like them to be able to grow larger overall.

    I would prefer to overbuild the next one so I have some grow out space but at the same time I can't get crazy. I will NEVER be able to sell my wife on the grow tent idea, even the really expensive fancy ones she will not go for so those are out. I also failed at convincing her to allow me to turn a room into a terrarium . Being in TX an outdoor greenhouse is completely impractical and when we looked into a sunroom it just doesn't make sense right now.

    So far the best option seems to be building a custom terrarium I'm thinking around 48" L X 24" D X 30" H, the extra height would be to allow for a 6" water reservoir. I could go much larger if there was a good pre-made alternative I have not thought of, but keep in mind she would not let me put a fancy tent up so I'm sure using one of those "shower" units would be out too. It will have to look nice in the end. Due to medical issues I really need front opening doors when I have "flare-ups" so reusing aquariums is not a good option.

    I'm open to all input at this point as I'm still in the early planning stages and construction will likely not take place until the late Spring. Right now I'm mainly concerned with the physical structure and will worry about the lighting/humidity/heating/whatnot after I figure out the structure.

  2. #2
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I'm considering cutting apart my glass tanks and using the panes to construct larger terraria from plywood and pond sealant, like they do for giant DIY aquariums. You really only need one glazed wall in a tank - the one you want to look through. Maybe a lid if you have something you need to keep shut in and can afford the light loss. My plan is to build a vertical cabinet (last time I really let the Neps do what they wanted, several pots hit the vaulted ceiling) with a sliding glass door behind light-tight shutters.

    If health/mobility is an issue, I suggest skipping the tent idea altogether. At the very least, don't get a walk-in tent - you have to keep an eye on the nooks and crannies or they get funky. There would be a lot of stooping and moving and cleaning entailed. If you have to go cheap, build a tabletop tent - one you can reach into, clean, take apart, etc. all from a comfortable standing position. Really though, if a tent is in your sphere of affordability, invest half that money into some tools and build something that fits your needs specifically. You can modify existing furniture if you aren't particularly handy. But the box design that aquarists use is about as dead-simple as you can get, so it should be a good place to start learning.

    Best luck,
    ~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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    The entire tent concept is a no go the wife just won't go for it.

    As for budget, well that's a bit open. I'm not a college student but I'm not rich either

    I'm looking into the wood vs all glass options now, the glass seems a lot quicker and easier but with a higher cost. Although I haven't looked up the price of the "special" paint you need for the wood either. If you get the glass from a "real" glass store and not a chain hardware store it would already be grinded down. So construction would only be an hour or so actually work time, now 4-5 days build time (due to 15m work, 1 day drying, 15m work, 1 day drying, ect.). The wood/glass hybrid would be a lot more actual work.

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    I went the route of an outside gh. they can be purchased cheap to get you started.......then I built a 36x36x36 chamber inside the gh which i can expand with hardly no effort. For just starting out maintaining a gh is difficult.....maintaining a chamber inside one....easy. main selling point........putting the plants OUTSIDE. lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpbobby View Post
    I went the route of an outside gh. they can be purchased cheap to get you started.......then I built a 36x36x36 chamber inside the gh which i can expand with hardly no effort. For just starting out maintaining a gh is difficult.....maintaining a chamber inside one....easy. main selling point........putting the plants OUTSIDE. lol.
    I've never thought of that. How are you heating and cooling the chamber? Down here I'm not sure it wouldn't just act as a mini oven inside a larger oven when the temps hit 105+ in the summer.

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    i bought one of those $20 temp controllers(if you need help wiring it i can help).......when i bought em they were only in celcius so was educational too. basically a radiator style heater with a fan sitting in front of it(both come on at the same time).......it's cold as hell outside and last i checked 28c in there so the heater doesn't even run all the time, actually efficient enough to cycle and i have a lp heater for backup/power failure only.

    last summer i only used an inline duct fan which only ventilated the chamber....got to nearly 120 in there for a short period of time......lowlanders dealt with it due to decent humidity without missing a beat. Did they enjoy it....no did they suffer....if so not enough to notice in the terms of growth. This year I will add a swamp cooler of some sort other than that in the winter i use t8's but once it warms up.....back to sunshine! umm humidity i just use a single pond fogger on a timer in a large half barrel of water. I had an extra sub heater so I actually heat the water that is humidified.

    chamber itself is a conglomeration of 2x2 frame and plastic....most of the material was surplus however for the winter I did buy a sheet of foam reflective insulation to make it more efficient/less costly on heating.

    perhaps the following year i will revisit cooling the entire greenhouse with veggies but this year it was not practical. i will post some pics later/tomorrow.

  7. #7
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    A small bucket of Pond Armor runs $75-$90, which is enough for 60 sq ft. Most of what I've read suggests one coat is enough but I plan to do two just to be sure I don't miss any spots. I'll be using fiberglass tape and/or aluminum flashing to reinforce the glass/wood joints. I already have glass so the biggest expense will probably be the marine-grade plywood, but I should have enough left over to build a matching sump and hood for my lights. The thing that's sold me on trying this method is that Pond Armor comes in a clear glossy coat; you can stain wood, concrete and foam before sealing it and have the color show through. Apparently, it even cleans like glass if you get it on in smooth layers, but I'll believe that when I see it.
    ~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//~

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpbobby View Post
    i bought one of those $20 temp controllers(if you need help wiring it i can help).......when i bought em they were only in celcius so was educational too. basically a radiator style heater with a fan sitting in front of it(both come on at the same time).......it's cold as hell outside and last i checked 28c in there so the heater doesn't even run all the time, actually efficient enough to cycle and i have a lp heater for backup/power failure only.

    last summer i only used an inline duct fan which only ventilated the chamber....got to nearly 120 in there for a short period of time......lowlanders dealt with it due to decent humidity without missing a beat. Did they enjoy it....no did they suffer....if so not enough to notice in the terms of growth. This year I will add a swamp cooler of some sort other than that in the winter i use t8's but once it warms up.....back to sunshine! umm humidity i just use a single pond fogger on a timer in a large half barrel of water. I had an extra sub heater so I actually heat the water that is humidified.

    chamber itself is a conglomeration of 2x2 frame and plastic....most of the material was surplus however for the winter I did buy a sheet of foam reflective insulation to make it more efficient/less costly on heating.

    perhaps the following year i will revisit cooling the entire greenhouse with veggies but this year it was not practical. i will post some pics later/tomorrow.
    I would be very concerned about the long term heating/cooling costing outcosting any indoor setup I could dream up. If your getting 120 in Virginia I don't want to think about what I would get down here in Texas.

    Photos would be great in any case, its a concept I've never thought of before and might be modifiable to work down here, I'd have to think about it. We have been trying to dream up an outdoor setup that would work down here but the price tags for the ones we think would work long term are $10K+ and for that money I can build whatever I want indoors and pay the heating/cooling until I die.

    Quote Originally Posted by seedjar View Post
    A small bucket of Pond Armor runs $75-$90, which is enough for 60 sq ft. Most of what I've read suggests one coat is enough but I plan to do two just to be sure I don't miss any spots. I'll be using fiberglass tape and/or aluminum flashing to reinforce the glass/wood joints. I already have glass so the biggest expense will probably be the marine-grade plywood, but I should have enough left over to build a matching sump and hood for my lights. The thing that's sold me on trying this method is that Pond Armor comes in a clear glossy coat; you can stain wood, concrete and foam before sealing it and have the color show through. Apparently, it even cleans like glass if you get it on in smooth layers, but I'll believe that when I see it.
    ~Joe
    By the time you add up all the costs of the wood it might be cheaper to go with all glass. Its been a few years since I've went to an actual glass store and ordered glass so this may have changed. Remember this box will never hold water so 1/4" or so would be thick enough. Just need to support the weight of the glass, the lights and anything else you hang on the glass.

    A well made hybrid wood/glass box would look a lot nicer thou. The more I look around the more I'm liking the full sized (think 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide) custom terrariums build into a wooden frame. So I'm leaning towards something like that. I don't need that much space right now but the extra cost to build something larger is not "that" much compared to the costs of building anything.

    A thread about waterproofing plywood you might find useful. http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/fo...ium&highlight=

    From a few places it seems the consensus is around 200-250g plywood becomes cheaper than all-glass. So sub 200 all glass over 250 plywood/glass, assuming you don't want a certain look and those random internet sources are accurate

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