My first terrarium project and grow shelf renovation (sorry, long read)
This is part of my larger project to renovate my grow shelf once I move into my new apartment in a few weeks. I've been wanting to put together a highland terrarium for awhile now. With the Wistuba group order at flytrapcare forums coming up and me being worried about the few highland plants that I have now, I decided to go ahead with the build. I guess this will be a record of my progress/ a place for me to ask advice and recommendations. It'll also explain my thought process through the entire project. Maybe it will help out some other beginners later on. First things first, here are my plans.
Currently have Nepenthes singalana x dubia, Heliamphora minor, Cephalotus, with Drosera graomogolensis and Drosera camporupestris on the way (thanks WolframOmega)
Want to get: Heliamphora heterodoxa x ionasi, Heliamphora heterodoxa (Gran Sabana), Heliamphora nutans (Giant form), Heliamphora pulchella (Chimanta Tepui, Venezuela), Heliamphora hispida (Cerro Neblina, Venezuela), Nepenthes lowii (Gunung Mulu, Borneo), Nepenthes inermis (Gunung Gadut, Sumatra), Nepenthes hamata (clone 1?), Nepenthes rajah x mira, Drosera spiralis
Some of these plants are relatively easy to grow, some aren't. I'm not committed to any of them. Luckily most would be coming from the Wistuba group order, meaning that I can probably build the terrarium before the order is due and see if my conditions are good enough for the more difficult species. I'd consider myself a relative beginner, I have several nepenthes but they are all easy growing and are more than happy on my windowsill. I don't want to jump into getting a Hamata and end up killing it. Now on to the terrarium itself.
Terrarium: 20 gallon glass aquarium that I got during petco's dollar per gallon sale, glass top with divider and plastic cutout on the back for pipes, filers, ex. This will definitely be too small for some of the nepenthes when they get older, luckily the species I want to get are slow growing and should stay happy in here for awhile. Once they get too big, I'll move them into a 55 gallon or larger terrarium and leave this just for the Heliamphora (hopefully they'll be more acclimated to my conditions by then).
Lighting: I haven't decided on this yet. Currently thinking either two 2 bulb 4 ft T8 fixtures (normal ones from Lowe's), two 2 ft Sunblaster T5HOs, or 2 TaoTronics E27 LED growlights (not a fan of the weird colors though). Of course the issue is providing enough light for the Helis while not giving the Nepenthes too much light, and heat. Any recommendations will be appreciated.
Humidity: Being that the plants from Wistuba will probably be fresh out of TC, I need to give them as much humidity as possible until I can acclimate them. I'm going to go with the standard egg crate light defuser false bottom with some live sphagnum between the pots. However, I'll probably need even more than that, especially since home heating during the winter sucks the humidity out of the air. . Although it would be kind of expensive, I'm tempted to hook up a Zoo Med Hygrotherm to a regular ultrasonic humidifier so I can have complete control over day/night humidity levels (and maybe heating and cooling later on).
Heating and cooling: This is a seasonal problem. From September to mid May, it shouldn't be a problem to give my plants a nighttime temperature drop if I have the terrarium near a window. I am a little worried about possibly needing to have some extra heating during the middle of winter, things can get a little cold. During the summer, the problem will be cooling. I'll have a small USB powered computer fan to blow across the top of the terrarium between the glass and the lights to carry away any extra heat and provide ventilation. Hopefully this can keep daytime temps below 85f (max, would prefer 80) in the tank. Nighttime temp drops will be harder though. I'm going to experiment with adding frozen ice packs/water bottles. If that's not enough, I'll add a window air conditioner.
That's it for now, I'll be spending the next two weeks before I move thinking about what I need to buy. Any thoughts would be appreciated (also sorry for the long read)