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Old 05-11-2019, 02:43 PM
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Default Chandelier Terrarium - Need Help

Hey friends, I just built a terrarium inside a chandelier and I'm quite proud of it. This is my first ever build, it took me a year and a half. Photos/Video here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w9ey9a5fv...uv3Oj5qsa?dl=0

But I have a question. I'm getting mold. I've heard this happens but does it go away? will it take over my tank? do I need to clean it?

Also any other thoughts and observations are welcome. I have some basic Thuidium delicatulum (sheet moss form NEHERP) as well as some of their custom slurry mix growing on those branches in there. In addition I have two Dendrobium aberrans Orchids from New Guinea growing in there as well.

You can see the type of orchids here: https://andysorchids.com/picturefram...20-%20aberrans

I've only had the operations running for about 5 days. I'm afraid the orchids will die if I mist more than 2 times a day (already one small leaf has gone yellow on one orchid. But if I don't I'm also afraid the moss will dry out. I might just remove the moss and create the right conditions for the orchids as they are my priority. Any suggestions?

Humidity is a pretty constant 90%-99% so that's good. Temperatures range from 65-80. The mold scares me...any ideas with that?

Here is a link to some videos and photos of the whole thing. In the videos where I'm zooming in (unsteadily haha) its me trying to show you instances of mold. Sometimes you can tell sometimes you can't. I seem to have two types. A green/teal very low to the surface mold and a fuzzy white mold. Are these dangerous? I don't much mind them if they aren't, they add to the natural look but if they are going to take over and or kill my plants we have a problem. Help appreciated.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w9ey9a5fv...uv3Oj5qsa?dl=0
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Old 05-11-2019, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Chandelier Terrarium - Need Help

I'm sure you'll get lots of replies, but here's one that might be relevant sooner rather than later: running residential-type lighting in a condensing environment is a serious safety hazard.
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Old 05-11-2019, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Chandelier Terrarium - Need Help

Iím concerned with the fire hazard you will have misting near electrical components not meant to be wet. I worked for 3 of the major lighting companies in the past and itís not an if, but when those sockets will erode and start to short. They are not made to be in humid environments. If this is something you are intent on doing this, id remove all of the lighting elements and replace them with a water proof led light strip. With electrical connections outside the area where any water or humidity will be.

Or use outdoor Christmas lights and rig up a light for the plants outside the fixture.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: Chandelier Terrarium - Need Help

Thank you for your concerns. I feel pretty comfortable with my precautions. All electric is run through a built in GIF breaker and the lights are sealed and wet rated. I've also had a certified electrician sign off.

Any thoughts on the mold?
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Chandelier Terrarium - Need Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathanael View Post
Thank you for your concerns. I feel pretty comfortable with my precautions. All electric is run through a built in GIF breaker and the lights are sealed and wet rated. I've also had a certified electrician sign off.

Any thoughts on the mold?
I assume you mean a "GFCI breaker".

More on the safety: now I see a bead of silicone around the base of each lamp. What I don't see is any sort of water seal on the internal conduit of that fixture, inside of which is likely a wire-nutted pigtail leading to each lamp. That connection, too, will degrade from water (and mold?) exposure. The plastic sheath on much interior-rated electrical cable is susceptible to degradation and penetration by moisture, as well, although some (THWN, which I would expect to find in an exterior light fixture) is not. I suspect, perhaps, that an electrician may not have the foggiest idea exactly what conditions inside a terrarium are like.

I've replaced a few faulty GFCI outlets in my life, which is a few chances I would've had to be exposed to electric shock had I not noticed they weren't functioning properly. They're like seatbelts: often useful, but not so useful that a person should take unnecessary risks.

On mold: I don't purposefully grow moss, but I understand it likes to be really wet, and not too well ventilated. I do grow some orchids, and they mostly appreciate a break from water on a daily-ish basis, and mostly like a lot of fresh air. Mold will grow anywhere there is water, like in your terrarium, and some organic film, which is everywhere. In frog vivs, there's often a bloom of mold, and then it runs its course and declines or the cleanup crew brings it into balance. Sometimes it crops up from time to time.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: Chandelier Terrarium - Need Help

You may have taken further safety measures that I am unaware of, if so please share to ease our collective minds.

Can you please elaborate on the precautions you have taken to water proof the inside of the fixture please. As a former electrician I echo the concerns others have mentioned. I would not risk the safety of myself and my family on a GFCI working 100% of the time, they wear out, some are faulty, etc.

How do you drain the water out of the bottom?


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Old 05-17-2019, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Chandelier Terrarium - Need Help

Hey all, thanks for your concerns.

Yes, a GFCI breaker is correct. I actually have it running through two GFCI outlets, the control panel you see has everything running to that outlet on the left and then the whole white panel is plugged into the wall via an additional GFCI outlet.

I do have all the lights siliconed in place, I've also coated all the sockets in silicone inside. The outside I've painted and then coated with an exterior commercial grade clear coat to seal the paint coat.

All internal glass to metal elements are silicone sealed as well to help prevent rust. The water has a small drain in one side, it drains down into the gold designed globe you see suspended at the bottom. Inside is a water filter for .01 microns filtration, a small water reservoir to gravity feed the pump which then recycles the water back to the misters built into the top. Fans circulate the air to keep the orchids from rotting.

Mold continues to grow and its making me nervous though I admit its adds to the effect and looks quite beautiful. We'll see if it has a negative effect on the orchids or if it dies off I suppose.
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Chandelier Terrarium - Need Help

Iím glad to hear you did some further waterproofing.

As far as the mold goes, I think you are in a wait and see stage. It will probably go away on its own. Springtails also love to munch on it but I donít think that there would be enough of them in there to make much of a dent in it.


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