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Thread: Building my new Nepenthes habitat

  1. #9
    dboeren's Avatar
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    I'm just going to seal the drain with a piece of duct tape/gorilla tape, so it will be removable if I want to use the drain again. However, I'm not sure at this point where the drain goes...

    Additional lighting: Last night I found a standalone 24" fluorescent fixture lying around the house. I could add this without too much trouble, although I might need a small extension cord and I don't know if I'd need a hole for the cord to exit through. I really don't want to run the cooler much if at all though, it's pretty loud (as in out of adjustment). If I was going to use it with any regularity I think I'd need a repair guy to come service it.

  2. #10
    instigator thez_yo's Avatar
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    I agree with mobile: ideal Heli habitat too for sure. ..and you'd have the most droolworthy plants this side of the Tepuis!

  3. #11
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    How big is it? You might want to come up with some sort of drip pan to set it in, just in case condensation becomes an issue. I used one of those mini-greenhouse things as an indoor terrarium for a while and it dripped like crazy. My solution was to get an ABS liner pan for a dog kennel and use that, but it wasn't cheap. There's probably a better product out there.
    ~Joe
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  4. #12
    dboeren's Avatar
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    It's pretty heavily insulated, so I don't expect there will be any exterior condensation. These things were designed to sit inside a store and I doubt store owners would stand for a cooler that dripped all over the place. I'll keep an eye out though.

    Made a trip to Home Depot over lunch today and picked up a 2-outlet timer ($11) and a 28qt plastic tub ($5) to serve as a water pan. It just barely fits, and with four of them I could pretty much tile the whole bottom if I wanted. Right now it can remain open, but as my collection grows I could potentially expand to four tubs, drill a ton of holes in the lids, and the plants could sit on top the tubs while humidity wafts upward through the holes. In the beginning I'll only have a few plants so it's not a big deal yet. I'd like to get some more experience with beginner level plants like ventricosa, maxima, etc... before expanding too far - just in case things don't work as well as I'm envisioning.



    Anyway, I put in the pan with about 1" of water and left the fan & lights running. It's fairly quiet with the lid closed. I'm planning to check the humidity tonight and again tomorrow to see how it's stabilizing. I spilled some water and this confirmed that the floor is a little buckled. Water runs to the corners first which is away from the center drainage hole.

    Would a 12-hour period of light and fan be appropriate do you think? It's two 20-watt fluorescent bulbs in a roughly 5'x2' space. I'm thinking of starting the timer running 9am-9pm if that seems about right. This is inside the basement so there are no other lights except when we're down there.

    Edit: About Heliamphora... I'm still very new to CP's, maybe something to keep in mind for later. Currently I plan to start out with s few specimens of relatively hardy Nepenthes species and gradually build up to some more advanced ones over time as I build experience and confirm that everything is going well with my environment. But perhaps someday.
    Last edited by dboeren; 12-27-2010 at 12:15 PM.

  5. #13
    i dont do pots. amphirion's Avatar
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    12 hrs during the winter, 14 hrs during the summer. is probably the safest route to go concerning tropicals. you should also consider upping the number of fluorescent bulbs you are using: you basically want to place as many bulbs as you possibly can---CPs cant get enough light and that refrigeration unit is going to come in very handy .

    concerning light, i highly recommend the t5 high output lights....they might be initially expensive, but they are very much worth the cost and end up paying for themselves. i've realized that amount of money i spent upgrading my lights ended up being higher than if i had initially just purchased the t5s in the first place. that being said, if there are financial restrictions keeping you from doing so, just do with what you can.

    also line the sides of your interior with mylar.

    good luck! if this is done correctly, you might just have the most pimpest indoor terra setup in the states!
    " You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya
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  6. #14
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Oh, that is SO friggin' cool. I wonder if you couldn't redirect the refrigeration (since you don't seem to be terribly interested in using it in its conventional sense... are you?) to keep a cold water bath somewhere in there. You could then use the cold water to periodically pump cool mist onto your plants, which they'd surely love and you can use in place of actual refrigeration should temps get a little toasty, and even to Darlingtonia pots to keep their roots cool. Just a thought!

  7. #15
    dboeren's Avatar
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    Hmm, the fixtures built into the cooler are pretty built in, I'm not sure I can replace them easily. What would be the best bulbs be that will fit into a standard 24" fluorescent setup? Preferably something that's widely available so I can get it at Home Depot or Amazon? The bulbs I have now are I think T12's.

    I may be able to add a T5 as a bonus overhead light if it's compact enough, but probably not replace the built in stuff.

    Anyway, I have an extra 24" fluorescent that I can add pretty easily so I'll look into mounting that. Tonight I plan to clean the insides, tape over the drain hole, and set it up on the timer - it shouldn't be much effort to add another bulb as part of that effort.

    Is the only purpose of the mylar to be reflective? Would aluminum foil work just as well?

  8. #16
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dboeren View Post
    Is the only purpose of the mylar to be reflective? Would aluminum foil work just as well?
    I actually remember reading that foil doesn't reflect light very well because it more "scatters" it than directly reflects it. Mylar is the stuff of reflection and is the best you can do in terms of keeping the light bouncing around in there. Most are rated to reflect 98%+. I use space blankets in my rack, but I don't know how that compares between mylar and foil. I've just been too lazy to go pick up some mylar.

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