I just built this terrarium out of a sheet of acrylic that I had lying around. I know itís small, but it was a fun project to do, and it will work for the plants Iím growing at the moment. Itís in an east facing window, so it will get morning light from 6:30ish til noon (in the summer), with ambient sun in the afternoons. I have supplemental lighting for the rest of the day and into the winter, and Iím hoping itíll do, at least for now. I have two 40 watt CFLís that each put out 2600 lumens at 6500 K.
I believe that nighttime temperatures will be ideal for the highlands I have in it, as well as the Drosera species from China. My only issue will be heating it in the winter days, as the temperatures near the window will cool off substantially.
I have two computer fans facing inward for circulation, and I was wondering if most people keep their fans on during the days, and turn them off at night? Iíve been running them during the day, and shutting them off at night (on a timer) as that is what makes the most sense to me. Just wondering what other terrarium growers do.
I have moved some highland seedlings to the new terrarium, and I have a cloth window-shade that I will leave up for a number of days to acclimate them to sunlight.
Also, being acrylic, I plan to hang smaller plants that need more light from the top if and when necessary. Any concerns or feedback are welcome and appreciated.
I hope you're prepared for those lights to warp the heck out of the top of the terrarium. As nice as it looks, that'd be a shame.
carnivorous plants of the world -- unite!
That was my thought as well. Even though CFLs have a much lower heat output, I expect it will still become an issue in short order.
"Blessed are the crackedÖ.
For they are the ones who let in the light."
hey i like it. It reminds me of my own tank except I use a 20 gallon fish tank and only my lid is made from acrylic with the lights and fans built into it
It now has three lights and little cooling fans installed between each one. my lights are 30w 6500k cfl and one 18" linear florescent
oh yeah, my fans are one timers too and turn off at the same time as the lights.. It seems to work just fine for me.. I thought the fans might reduce humidity too much and reduce dew production but all my plants seem to be doing good if not better than before since the new airflow seems to stabilize the temp very well. it used to get hot as hell in the afternoon because its in the window but now it never gets above 90 degrees and seems to hover around 85 or so
Yikes, I never even thought of that... Hmmm, maybe I will try to put something together to brace the acrylic. Thanks everyone. Would I run into the same issue with more acrylic? Simply because I could do another layer or two of acrylic on top of the terrarium with Mylar sheeting in between. Or is this simply a lost cause when it comes to acrylic?
You need to keep the acrylic from getting hot. That's what will warp it. So maybe you could add a sheet of glass on top, and prop it up on legs of some sort so there's airflow between the glass and the acrylic. Or, if it's not too hard to take the terrarium apart again, remove the top and replace it with glass.
Yes, I considered doing a glass top, however, the bulbs I bought are longer than the dome reflectors, so I ended up cutting a 3" hole in the acrylic beneath each bulb so that they hang into the terrarium. I don't have a diamond hole saw (maybe I should invest in one), so I'm stuck with acrylic at the moment. At least there's circulation around the bulbs themselves. The heat is not trapped between the reflectors and the pane of acrylic.
Just an update. Have a few different orchids and carnivorous plants in the terrarium. Acrylic warping hasn't been an issue. I'm looking forward to the weather cooling off for my Nepenthes and orchids. Enjoy!
what does the temperature stay at with the fans going?