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Thread: Providing adequate air circulation...

  1. #1

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    I've had a terrarium that has been successfully growing drosera and a couple of vft's for many months now. Everything I've read suggests providing some sort of air circulation for the tank, but none really mention how to provide this in a sealed terrarium (other then mentioning the use of a computer fan). I live in Albuquerque, NM where there is virtually NO humidity. Because of this, I keep the terrarium sealed almost always in order to keep humidity up, and although I've had great success growing my cp's, it seems having a fan or some sort of circulation would improve plant growth. So, here's my current setup and my questions:

    10 gal. terrarium
    3 18" fluorescent lights on roughly a 15 hour cycle
    2 drosera capensis
    2 standard VFT's
    1 Nepenthes Tobaica

    The top is completely sealed with glass panes.

    My questions:
    1. I'm considering putting a fogger in the terrarium and running it on a 15 minute cycle hourly. Would this circulate the air in the terrarium enough to be of any benefit?

    2. How does one utilize a computer fan in a terrarium? Do most people have the fan INSIDE the terrarium blowing in timed cycles? Or do they simply place the fan on top of the terrarium to blow across lights (this wouldn't do anything for air ciculation inside terrarium)

    I'm good with wiring and electronics, so I know how to set everything up, I just don't know how the heck to get any kind of air circulation in my terrarium.

    Thanks so much for any help.

    p.s. I've read a ton of stuff off this board and have learned so much, I'm glad to be a part of this community.

  2. #2

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    I'm in a similar situation right now. Right now I have a fan blowing over the top of my terrarium (where the small opening is) and so far it has been providing what I'm assuming is adequate air circulation. So I want to see what others say about this...

    I'm using two 18 inch tubes on my terrarium. Do you get good coloring in your plants with three? Also, are they cool white?

  3. #3
    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Hey guys,

    I can tell you what I do, and it works pretty good for my four terraria. Each of my terraria are "sealed" in the sense that they have fish tank covers that completely cover the top (but are removable).

    I don't have a fan blowing across the outside cover of my terrarium. This is meant to remove the heat produced by the fluorescent light ballasts. I find that the ballasts get so hot (compared to the rest of my room) that there is a sufficient ballast-environment temperature difference to allow for quick dissipation of heat (without using fan).

    I do have fans blowing inside all of my terraria to move the air around. This is indeed possible for most covered terraria. The cpu fans bought at radioshack have very thin wires that must be spliced to something with a plug (usually to an extension cord). Simply place the fan in the bottom corner of your terrarium with the cord running up the wall of the terrarium. This will produce a tiny opening in the top but I've found this has not affected humidity in the least. As for the fans themselves, I use a 20W for the 55gal, 10W for the 35 & 20gal, and 1.32W for the 10gal terraria.

    For me, having air circulate through the terraria is a must.....without it, fungal infestations almost always occur.

    FYI....This setup works for most CPs, and other tropicals such as various small epiphytic orchids, lycopodium, selaginella, dischidia, rhipsalis, alocasia, and polypodium ferns (among other terraria plants I have).
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

  4. #4
    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Oh.....and you're probably already aware that you should try getting the AC fans (instead of DC). This will allow you to plug them into your outlets directly (instead of getting an DC-->AC converter which is bulky and costs extra).
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by LLeopardGGecko
    I'm using two 18 inch tubes on my terrarium. Do you get good coloring in your plants with three? Also, are they cool white?
    3 18" tubes seem to work pretty well with coloration, but I think a fourth one would be even better. I'm using GE Plant and Aquarium bulbs that were packed with the ballasts (it's basically an under-the-counter ballast with a plant bulb that are sold individually (ballast and bulb) at home depot) which are a light violet color. I'm pretty sure I'm going to switch to a fluorex setup when I get some money though. The extra lumens and the condensed size make it look ideal for a 10 gal. tank.

    Thanks for your reply chloroplast. I'm going to try that really soon. It sounds like it would work great. When you say to put the fan in the corner, do you mean on the actual bottom of the terrarium? If so, I might have to rig some way for it to hang because I get puddles on the bottom of my terrarium from condensation that could potentially short the fan. Actually, I might just get some "eggcrate" for a bottom layer and have the fan resting on that. Let me know how you do it. Do you have any pictures of your 10 gal. setup by any chance?

  6. #6

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    Yes, I would like to see some pictures as well.

    As for my setup, I don't know how well an inside fan would work. I have about two inches of water all along the bottom of my terrarium circulated by my air pump, so there isn't really a place for a small fan. Perhaps I need to just keep my setup the way it is...

  7. #7
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    i dont use a fan at all. my terrarium is open-top so i guess that's good enough.

    it takes a gallon of water every 4 days in the humidifier to keep the humidity up with an open top , but when we go on a vacation i put 2 big clear rubbermaid container lids on top (about 26 inches long and 17 inches wide) and it keeps the humidity consistantly high and the gallon of water only runs out after about 2 weeks.

  8. #8
    chloroplast's Avatar
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    I also have ~1-2" of water and LFS at the bottom of my tank. I keep the fan from getting wet by placing it atop an upside-down circular plastic saucer (for plants). This keeps it above the water line and allows it to blow directly at the height level the plants are at. Don't use clay saucers because they'll grow fungi/algae.

    I'm experimenting with hanging the fan 1/2 way down the tank wall by taping the cord to the lip of the tank to make room for one more pot at the bottom of the tank (I'm always trying to find a bit more space to squeeze in another plant).

    This would also benefit the miniature epiphytic orchids, lycopodia, and rhipsalis (attached to fern/cork bark) I have hanging from the sides of the terraria which are typically a bit higher than the level of the fan in my other terraria.

    As for pictures of the 10gal, I'll try getting one posted as soon as I buy a digital cam (don't have one yet!).

    hope this helps.
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

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