Terrarium project suggestions needed
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:53 PM   #1
blue1delta
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Default Terrarium project suggestions needed

I want to build a terrarium table similar to this but with a flip top. Need advice on everything! I can have the table and glass custom built. I really need advice on what to line it with and lighting.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:22 AM   #2
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Sorta a neat idea, but I'm not sure you could do much with it outside of growing some moss...

Anyways, I imagine about the easiest would be to just drop in a bin (like a plastic kitty litter or dish washing tray) that fits the dimensions, keep all your substrate and such in that, and then just have a glass panel over it.

If you can have the edges of the bin flush with the glass (use weatherstripping or something), you probably won't have to do anything special with the desk other then cut out a chunk of the top. Otherwise, you'll want to make sure the desk is sealed/treated pretty well to prevent problems with humidity, etc.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:29 PM   #3
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I want the whole top to be a glass panel that lifts up on a hinge. I'm thinking of lining it with garden pond liner. I plan on having it 12" deep and maybe keeping fire belly toads in it. I like your "bin" Idea I think that could work for the water needed to keep the toads. I could cut a hole in the bottom drop in the bin and be able to remove it for cleaning. It would be mostly moss, but aren't there other options for plants at that height like small ferns? For the lighting I'm think flourescent grow lights along the sides. I'm planning on framing the glass top in 4-6 inches and that would be enough to hide the fixtures.

Any suggestions and comments are welcome!
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:17 PM   #4
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You're going to want to use fans for circulation and keep it sealed in plastic/glass. You don't want the wood desk getting humid.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:33 PM   #5
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Here's a small one that I built. I made the "bin" out of styrene and filled it with water to check for leaks.


Wardian1c by Rbotguy, on Flickr

Here's a lesson I learned the hard way with this one:

Terrariums work when the water evaporates, condenses on the glass and then drips back into the soil. When you have condensation on one side of the glass in the morning, the water level is about right. If the glass top rests outside the "bin" that the soil is in, the water will exit the terrarium and everything will dry out really fast.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:00 PM   #6
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If you end up going with mosses, ferns, or most tropical plants, you may not need to worry about lighting.

A lot of typical houseplants are tropical understory inhabitants, and can live with very low light demands (why they make good houseplants). So whatever light you are using to work on your desk, and the ambient lighting may be enough.

You may not even need to hinge the glass top, if you have it inset, and have the front edge accessible, you could just lift it up, while the back edge is 'penned in' by the inset.

See if you can check out some sewing machine tables- a lot of them have mechanisms for raising/lowering/flipping the sewing machine out of the way when not in use. If nothing else, it could give you some idea how to structure the desk so that the terrarium part doesn't get in the way of using it as a desk.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pweifan View Post
You're going to want to use fans for circulation and keep it sealed in plastic/glass. You don't want the wood desk getting humid.
Do I really need fans? I will have vents and have been considering running a fogger.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue1delta View Post
Do I really need fans? I will have vents and have been considering running a fogger.
on something sealed and viewed from the top, i would most definitely put fans in. otherwise, you'll be looking at condensation on the glass all day. the air circulation will help keep the glass clear.

very adventurous project. it should be really cool. at 12" of height, it's a bit low for most plants. especially after you factor in substrate and such. but there are a few mini's you may be able to keep.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishies_in_Philly View Post
on something sealed and viewed from the top, i would most definitely put fans in. otherwise, you'll be looking at condensation on the glass all day. the air circulation will help keep the glass clear.

very adventurous project. it should be really cool. at 12" of height, it's a bit low for most plants. especially after you factor in substrate and such. but there are a few mini's you may be able to keep.
any suggestion on fans?
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:45 PM   #10
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sorry, i completely missed this. computer fans should work very well. either 1 pc fan or 2 small laptop fans should work well
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:05 PM   #11
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They may not be necessary. You may want to make sure you have two vents to force the air through the who terrarium.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:25 PM   #12
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I am thinking of having 2x 2.5 gallon tanks that would drop into the bottom and could be removed for water changes. I think that will give me some humidity and increase the plant variety. Here is a very rough draft of the design. Remember the top will flip up on a hinge so i can lift the tanks out.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:54 AM   #13
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Also, keep in mind that there is a difference between ventilation and circulation. Most plants in a viv will appreciate some air circulation to keep the humid air moving around inside. Ventilation will help keep the glass clear, but you risk drying out the tank too much which might be detrimental for some plants (depends on your species selection of course).
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