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Old 04-26-2019, 02:14 PM
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Default Mist or don't mist plants?

I definitely struggle with humidity. I live in the desert, where our current humidity is around 6-10%. I've placed glass inserts over the top of my exo-terra, leaving a few gaps for ventilation, and gotten on a routine of heavy mistings once at night and once in the morning, which bumps me up past 80% for a few hours before it falls back down to 60%. This is going to be for a gecko, not dart frogs, so heavy misting with a drying out period to 60% is what they need.

I've been maintaining that for about 3 months now, just with a few hardy plants like pothos in there to get the viv started. I figured it was time to finish getting the thing planted, and was given a lot of cool little species as a gift to make up for an order that was lost in the mail. When I looked up care guides for theses plants, I found that a lot of them say to NOT leave water on the leaves. Granted, most of those are houseplant care guides, but now I'm worried. The pothos and fittonia have loved getting nice and soaked twice a day.

I've got creeping fig, marcgravia, and episcia (flame violet). Are these care guides bonkers? Will I be fine to keep misting everything to high heaven? Is it more a factor of leaf scorch, which I imagine is hard to do with LED lights in a terrarium? Will getting a fogger, rather than using a spray mister, make a difference due to the finer water droplets? Very confused on what to do here. I certainly can't use these as houseplants, because again, desert apartment, and the tank needs twice daily heavy misting to keep humidity up at 60%. I know from the past few months of struggling that if I cut back, I'll drop down to 40% pretty darn quickly.

All advice is appreciated.
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Old 04-26-2019, 02:31 PM
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Leaving water on a leaf is a longevity issue. Will it have dissipated in 2-3 hours or will it be wet all night? There is where your problem lies.
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

It dissipates within a few hours, given how dry it is here. I imagine it evaporates much faster during the day than at night, but I've never woken up to water still lingering on the plants.

That's where I'm confused though. Don't most dart tanks have misters and foggers going every few hours? Doesn't that create almost constant moisture sitting on the plants?
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Old 04-26-2019, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

Misting has no use in my opinion. I spray water 3x a day for +-12 seconds, if you want a dry season spray +-5 seconds 3x a day... your tank can be dry, make sure there is always acces to water (pool) for your frogs if they want water. Also make sure have have a big leavelitter in your tanks, there they also will find dry and wet spots.

This is how I do it for almost 10 years now.
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Old 04-26-2019, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

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Originally Posted by Tijl View Post
Misting has no use in my opinion. I spray water 3x a day for +-12 seconds, if you want a dry season spray +-5 seconds 3x a day... your tank can be dry, make sure there is always acces to water (pool) for your frogs if they want water. Also make sure have have a big leavelitter in your tanks, there they also will find dry and wet spots.

This is how I do it for almost 10 years now.
The tank isn't for frogs, it's for a gecko.

So you don't mist, but you spray water 3x a day? How is that different from misting? Am I getting my terminology mixed up? I spray twice a day until everything is moist, it dries out and humidity drops to 60%, repeat at night.
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Old 04-26-2019, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

Greetings,

Very few plants want moisture constantly on their leaves. Constantly wet leaves are more prone to fungal problems and the film of water can interfere with gas exchange.

You don't need to mist for very long to raise humidity. Maybe you could mist more frequently for shorter durations? In my large open-topped viv I mist ~twice an hour for 6 seconds (during the day). I have 1 longer mist in the morning and one in the evening (and a very long mist twice a week).

Last edited by kimcmich; 04-26-2019 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

You'll get a thousand different responses for what mist durations to use. You really have to feel your way through it yourself I believe. I personally do a long mist in the morning(~1 minute) simply to water the vast majority of the plants in the tank so I don't have too. I like things lazy like that.

Are you sure your entire tank has the same humidity levels? I know mine has a much higher humidity at the bottom than it does at the top. Which imo is a good thing as it gives the inhabitants a gradient to pick their favorite areas for the humidity feels.

Perhaps your tank just needs more plants to maintain a humidity higher?
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

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Originally Posted by HawpScotch View Post
Are you sure your entire tank has the same humidity levels? I know mine has a much higher humidity at the bottom than it does at the top. Which imo is a good thing as it gives the inhabitants a gradient to pick their favorite areas for the humidity feels.

Perhaps your tank just needs more plants to maintain a humidity higher?
These are my thoughts, too.

Having more plants in the viv will even out the humidity highs and lows (more so the lows), since the water will be evaporating off more surface area, and presumably plant transpiration will contribute to humidity as well.

If you provide your gecko (crested, or the like, I assume) with a couple moist-ish hide spots (cork tubes are good for this, as are massed plants), it will preferentially hang out there if it wants to avoid the low humidity periods. Really dry geckos will bury in substrate (I wouldn't promote this behavior on purpose, though).
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:15 AM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HawpScotch View Post
Are you sure your entire tank has the same humidity levels? I know mine has a much higher humidity at the bottom than it does at the top. Which imo is a good thing as it gives the inhabitants a gradient to pick their favorite areas for the humidity feels.

Perhaps your tank just needs more plants to maintain a humidity higher?
Yes, the top of the tank is much drier than the bottom. There are multiple cork tubes and flats throughout the tank at various levels to provide hides in the humid soil at the bottom for shedding, or up higher near the vents to dry out.


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Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
Having more plants in the viv will even out the humidity highs and lows (more so the lows), since the water will be evaporating off more surface area, and presumably plant transpiration will contribute to humidity as well.
Holy crap. I honestly didn't even realize more plants would add to the humidity. It's very sparsely planted right now,so what you're saying totally makes sense.

Thank you both for that lightbulb. I think that's my missing puzzle piece. Right now the soil and wet background are contributing the most to my humidity, which I suppose requires more misting than having a heavily planted tank. Thankfully the gecko (a leachie) won't be going in for a long while, so I'll have some time to see how the levels even out once it's fully planted and things grow in.
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Old 04-27-2019, 03:50 AM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

Glad you've got some time to iron out the details. I'm sure you'll get it dialed in.

As you add more plants, do consider that a leachianus is going to be extremely hard on plants. Likely the Fittonia and Episcia are going to be best removed once your gecko gets some size on it -- my little 200 gram Nu Ana beats up on her plastic plants pretty hard...
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Old 05-05-2019, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: Mist or don't mist plants?

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Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
Glad you've got some time to iron out the details. I'm sure you'll get it dialed in.

As you add more plants, do consider that a leachianus is going to be extremely hard on plants. Likely the Fittonia and Episcia are going to be best removed once your gecko gets some size on it -- my little 200 gram Nu Ana beats up on her plastic plants pretty hard...
I too am starting up a vivarium for Leachies, hopefully in a year or two I will be able to put them together in a 36"x18"x36" planted viv. I already have the leachies in grow out tanks that have a potted plant in them, (4months old & 1 yr old). I am taking my time looking for large trunked sturdy plants that will be able to take the abuse. It's going to be a fun learning curve. I hope to get the viv built in the next couple months and then well see what can handle the temp and humidity at least. I too live in the desert, Tucson.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:15 PM
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I too live in the desert, Tucson.
Hey, I'm up in Phoenix! Did your leachies come from any of the breeders in the state or did you purchase online? I'm planning on picking mine out during show season this summer.
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