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My orchidarium 'How To'

This is a discussion on My orchidarium 'How To' within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; My first orchidarium was a small 29 gal fish tank. It has a false bottom ...

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  1. #1
    MikeWA's Avatar
    MikeWA is offline Senior Member
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    Default My orchidarium 'How To'

    My first orchidarium was a small 29 gal fish tank. It has a false bottom so there is always about 3 in of water below. The sides and bottom are made of egg crate and have foam on them. They are covered with a mix of Peat.

    The peat is mixed with a concrete bonding agent found in most large chain hardware stores. This makes a peat paste that is spread on the walls and floor. It takes about 2 weeks to harden but it is waterproof and holds the peat together but also allows the peat to wick and hold water.

    I have a pump hidden on the inside of the tank that pulls water from the false bottom and pushes it up into a hub that sends it out to 5 small hoses used for drip systems where the water flows down the walls.

    http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134614

    I made the hood out of some extra bamboo flooring I had and lined the interior with aluminum foil. I then purchased a cheap light fixture and wired it to a plug. The lights or bulb compact flourescents.

    http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134606

    The fan is a computer fan purchased from Radio Shack.

    http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134607

    The fan needs other parts to work. It's very easy to wire. I wired my fan to a dimmer which will slow down fan speed but that is not necesary. The wiring is enclosed in a plastic box.

    http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134612

    You need a voltage adaptor that converts 110 power you have in your house to what your fan needs. The volts must match the fan speed and The people at Radio Shack know all of that so don't be shy about asking.

    http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134617

    Now, I made fake roots for the walls and floor like a jungle floor. I mixed some mortar with the concrete bonder and peat. I rolled them and stuck them to the walls. After they dried, I used a product called Patio Paint. It comes in small bottles and is waterproof. I got them at WallMart.

    http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134616

    Terrarium hood http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134611
    Whole terrarium http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134619

    Open waterside in Terrarium
    http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/View...585&p=69134618

    I think that is about it. Now, after having this terrarium for almost 2 years I would not do the 'Wet Wall' again. Algae forms too easily on the peat where the water is always dripping. What I would do is get an ultrasonic fogger instead and hook it to a timer. The fan should be pointed at the front of the terrarium to stop it from fogging up.

  2. #2
    RSJ
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    Default

    I've been thinking about a fogger too. I saw one in a bonsai dealer's shop that was awesome and decorative, but they were charging a fortune. Where do you find these?

    RSJ

  3. #3
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    yup. thats the info, allright.

    i have to say that im *slightly* disappointed that it *wasnt* a flashback. cuz as we all know, flashbacks are fun!

    thanks for the info (again), mike!

  4. #4
    JB_Orchidguy's Avatar
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    KiskA$$ tereium you have there Mike. Very cool. I would love to build one on just a little larger scale, and grow csome ghosts and other things I can't keep in my GH. Very interesting. I love the idea to use the peat and morter to make the fake roots on the back wall. Fabulous!! Job well done there. More creative than I could have ever been.

  5. #5
    MikeWA's Avatar
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    I was not the one being creative. All those ideas came from months of research on a terrarium forum. I am the type of guy to research stuff to death before I buy or build it.

    Now, I am currently in the process of building two very large orchidariums. These are corner cabinets I salvaged off a job. They are two feet wide on each side, 8ft tall and they have glass doors in the front. I am coating all the plywood inside with a product called Redgaurd. It's found at boxstore and it's what I use to coat my shower basins, soap caddies and benches with in showers. It's fully waterproof and waterbased. It takes several applications but is well worth it.

    For humidity I think I am leaning toward the Sunbeam ultrasonic humidifier. I can vent the vapor to the top and have it blowing down. I have not decided on lights. I might have compact fluoros running down each side for light but have not made a decision on that.

    I was thinking of coconut fiber for the walls or I might use that peat mix again.

    I will try to get a camera soon and take pics of my progress on the large orchidariums.

    Thanks for the compliment. It is fun to build one of these

  6. #6
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    LJA
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    Wow, Mike.

    That is *damned* impressive. You and PeteMC should get together and do some custom work--between the two of you, I'll bet you could sell the things for beaucoup bucks.

  7. #7
    MikeWA's Avatar
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    I think shipping would be a killer, Louis!

  8. #8
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    Default Light Meter question

    Im in the process of buying an Grand Cayman orchidarium as my collection is getting to be a bit large. Living in an apt in NYC, I was wondering if you can recommend a sturdy light meter to go with my orchid display. Appreciate the help.

    Thanks

    David

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