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Thread: Cost effective, custom terraria

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    Hey, guys. I was wondering how many of you use terraria/growth chambers to keep the humidity high enough for your CP's. I saw someone had converted an old freezer to use as a highland Nep chamber.

    I grow orchids, and don't yet have a greenhouse, and I found that findng aquaria big enough for my liking gets expensive in a hurry, and the sizes aren't usually what I want, as I live in a small house.

    So, with my penchant for woodworking, I have been playing with building some custom grow chambers at a relatively inexpensive price. My first terrarium was built with plywood and marine epoxy paint, and is still doing well 3 years later (some inspiration from the ciclid growers I knew growing up--see plywood aquarium).

    Well, I found that my original design was much heavier/more labor intensive than I think is necessary for a nice, effective terrarium, so I am in the process of building two nearly identical terraria that are front opening much like cabinets. For that matter, you could use this process to make cabinets into terraria. These tanks are made of 1/4 inch plywood with cleats along all edges for stability--super light weight but rigid. Only the top and front will have glass, and the inside gets 3-4 coats of marine epoxy paint from here: Budget Bob's marine epoxy paint.

    I'm thinking about putting together a little step by step once I have these up and running and see that they work as well as my old terrarium, but I see no reason why this won't work. The biggest expense is the $60 for the gallon of marine epoxy paint, and you can make almost any size tank you can imagine. My first tank used marine epoxy to glue all joints, but these new ones are using polyurethane glue (like Gorilla Glue), which is cheaper and easier to use. We'll see how it goes, but I think this could be great!

    Does anyone else have any experience with making plywood CP tanks?

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    No but I garage sale and get 10 gallon terrariums (fish tanks) with out glass lids for about $5.

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    I have thought about building a terrarium in the past, one key reason fish tanks are not appropriate, is as you get larger, the glass gets thicker to withstand water pressure, this is simply not needed for our purposes, and the green tint of thicker glass can be distracting.

    If your looking for a cheap supply of glass containers that might be more suitable for terrariums, check out glasscages.com, they make terrariums and other types of containers for snakes and what not, in addition to some wicked nice fish tanks.
    \"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: \"Mankind\". Basically, it\'s made up of two separate words - \"mank\" and \"ind\". What do these words mean ? It\'s a mystery, and that\'s why so is mankind.\" ~ Jack Handey

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    Hi,

    I currently have four terraria housing approximately 40 CPs (10, 20, 35, & 55gal). I also have ~75 other tropical plants growing in my place, a few of which are orchids (Phals and dendrobiums). Recently, I wanted to purchase some larger plants that require high humidity and found myself in the same situation you are in--these plants are larger than the typical CP yet require somewhat high humidity (50-70%) and light.

    I bought myself a Juliana Grow Rack (see the following post on pg 2 of this forum: "Juliana Grow Rack," posted by "Waycool").

    Though I haven't set it up yet, it seems the perfect solution. It has metal shelving that are strong enough to support grow lights and hanging baskets. The shelving is removable which gives you extra space to hang larger plants, its on wheels so the whole thing is mobile, and has a clear zipper plastic covering that retains humidity but is not airtight (which is actually a good thing).

    You may also think about investing in a miniature plastic greenhouse (on this page, see "Does anyone have one of these," posted by "Laura25"). Though these are much bigger and may not be practical.

    Hope this helps.
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    Flip_Side_the_Pint's Avatar
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    I built a chamber out of ply and marine paint, its awesome! the front has a sliding plexi 'veiwing pane" and the top has a glass pane for the lighting. I uses silicone caulking to seal the inside and painted it all white for its reflective proporties.
    https://www.instagram.com/hull.jess/ (I post pics of my plants there)

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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Treaqum @ Mar. 14 2005,9:04)]No but I garage sale and get 10 gallon terrariums (fish tanks) with out glass lids for about $5.
    Yes, I have a few 10 gallons that I have converted to "verticals" for temporarily housing some of my orchid seedlings, but these just aren't tall enough when you are talking about orchids with 18-20" canes. Neps tend to overgrow 10 gallons in a hurry, as well, and I don't like the cluttery look of a bunch of 10 gallons (nor does my wife). So, the wood terrariums work well for me, as I can trim them out to make them look furniture grade, and I can make them any size I want (within reason).

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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (RamPuppy @ Mar. 14 2005,11:12)]I have thought about building a terrarium in the past, one key reason fish tanks are not appropriate, is as you get larger, the glass gets thicker to withstand water pressure, this is simply not needed for our purposes, and the green tint of thicker glass can be distracting.

    If your looking for a cheap supply of glass containers that might be more suitable for terrariums, check out glasscages.com, they make terrariums and other types of containers for snakes and what not, in addition to some wicked nice fish tanks.
    I agree that the heavy glass is usually overkill when it comes to a terrarium. That is why I am using typical single thickness glass for these bad boys this time. I'll post some pics when I think they look presentable.

    Plus, I like the fact that I can custom make the ventillation system with screen over the front glass--almost no fogging, and it provides some air circulation without dropping the humidity too much.

    The other thing is that I like to get double duty out of my tanks--I typically house some dart frogs in there and landscape everything to have my own little piece of the jungle.

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