33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread - Dendroboard
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-07-2018, 04:03 AM
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Default 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

I will be using this thread to document the construction of my 18 x 18 x 24 terrarium. It is an old exo terra that Ive had sitting around since around 2006. The plan is for it to house primarily miniature orchids, and someday maybe some thumbnails.

Main purpose of this thread is to get feedback, so if you see me doing something wrong, let me know!


Working on the layout


Top down view


Attaching the Hygrolon with gorilla glue after foaming with GS.


The gorilla glue came through the Hygrolon in some areas. It was very tricky to get the thickness just right. Might cover these areas when I cover the GS, but Im still undecided. The glue looks worse in pictures than it does in person.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:02 AM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Please inform me: what are GS and Hygrolon? Where can you get the latter? Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

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Originally Posted by alsofaac View Post
Please inform me: what are GS and Hygrolon? Where can you get the latter? Thanks!
GS is expanding insulating foam sealent, brand name "great stuff".

The Hygrolon I picked up from Glass Box Tropicals. I've never used it before, but I have high hopes after seeing some of the vivs here on dendroboard.
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Old 06-09-2018, 02:00 AM
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Very cool! Can’t wait to see it all done!

What species of orchid are you planning on putting in there? Any favorites?
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

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Originally Posted by cactusdan View Post
Very cool! Cant wait to see it all done!

What species of orchid are you planning on putting in there? Any favorites?
Thanks! Hoping to apply the coconut fiber mix to the exposed GS tomorrow.

I've been researching mini orchids for a while now, and noticed recently that my list of candidates is dominated by Pleurothallis species. No individual favorites yet, but I'm sure i'll have an answer for you after I start planting.
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Covered the GS in coconut fiber mix today. That part was easy.
Also started trimming the silicone today. That part was not so easy! Here's a pic of the right side of the tank, all cleaned up. The left side still needs some work.



This step has definitely been the hardest and most time consuming step yet!
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Finished trimming the silicone. Here's a full tank shot showing the two hygrolon wicks that sit in the drainage layer. The background has two large pieces of hygrolon attached to it (the bottom piece extends about half way up the back). I was unable to keep it a single piece due to wanting to attach the large cork tube directly to the glass. Hygrolon allegedly wicks water to a height of about 12", so keeping it a single piece probably wouldn't have done much anyways.



I filled the tank with a 2.5" layer of clay pellets and covered them with substrate barrier. Pretty happy with how everything has turned out so far. Hoping to get some glass cut for the top as soon as possible.

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Old 06-11-2018, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Test your substrate barrier. Most of them don't pass water through. In fact, with some you could form a bowl, fill it up, and it will remain drip free for as long as you feel like checking it.

Fiberglass screen mesh is unsurpassed for a substrate barrier.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

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Originally Posted by Pumilo View Post
Test your substrate barrier. Most of them don't pass water through. In fact, with some you could form a bowl, fill it up, and it will remain drip free for as long as you feel like checking it.

Fiberglass screen mesh is unsurpassed for a substrate barrier.
Thanks for the heads up! I'll definitely check to make sure it is permeable.
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Tested the substrate barrier, and while it does drain, it does not drain very well and requires quite a bit of water to build up before it starts to slowly drip.

I have some extra no-see-um netting I bought for vents. Can this be safely used as a barrier?
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

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Originally Posted by amac View Post
Tested the substrate barrier, and while it does drain, it does not drain very well and requires quite a bit of water to build up before it starts to slowly drip.

I have some extra no-see-um netting I bought for vents. Can this be safely used as a barrier?
It would probably rot. Screen mesh has a fiberglass core that won't rot. It's been being used in vivariums and in reef tank construction for years, and is tried and true.

Contact your vendor and ask for, no...demand, your money back from this completely worthless product they obviously never tried. Calling substrate barrier completely useless is not feedback. No brand names or vendor has been mentioned. Further, several independent test by different people, have proven this to be a fact... It will NOT perform the duties it is being sold for! I challenge any vendor to prove otherwise. I challenge all vendors to be the shining star that refuses to sell this harmful product. Step up to the plate and begin selling screen mesh as weed block. Buy it by the roll, and sell it in portions, and your profit margins will rise. Every way you look at it, screen mesh is a superior product for all involved.

I'm going to come right out and say it. Screen mesh will drain water HUNDREDS of times faster than any weed block manufactured.
Encyclia and serial hobbiest like this.
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Last edited by Pumilo; 06-11-2018 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 06-22-2018, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Switched the substrate barrier to screen mesh (thanks to pumilo!) and added ABG substrate. I also filled some cork tubes with orchid bark, ABG substrate, and plugged the ends with Sphagnum moss, and used the cork tubes to tier the substrate. I am really happy with how it turned out, unfortunately it is really hard to get a good picture right now due to poor lighting. Planning on ordering a 16" X 13" LED 10W spotlight panel from Spectral Designs.





Also had a glass lid cut, 17"x14", which gives me 3" for ventilation. Still trying to figure out how I want to divide it up, or if I even should. Anyone have any thoughts? I'm leaning towards a 1" vent in the front and a 2" vent in the back.
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

I like having the vent in the back so that I get diagonal air movement across the whole tank. If you put the vent in the front, it will help with condensation, but will leave lots of "dead air" space in the back. I have never tried splitting it up. An internal recirculating fan can help with both internal air flow and condensation. You can always add one of those if you are not happy with your decision.

Mark
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Looks good to me. Not sure how far up the Hygrolon will wick water from the drainage layer, but it holds water beautifully when misted. Thicker layers draw water up better. It will probably keep the area of substrate that touches it very wet, from the water wicking out into the substrate, unless you put something waterproof between the substrate and the Hygrolon. Just plant stuff there that likes really wet roots, or don't plant anything in that section.
Be aware that anything planted in Hygrolon cannot be removed without cutting either the Hygrolon or the roots, the roots won't just pull out. I've tried.
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Old 06-23-2018, 03:39 AM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

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Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
I like having the vent in the back so that I get diagonal air movement across the whole tank. If you put the vent in the front, it will help with condensation, but will leave lots of "dead air" space in the back.
Yup, this is exactly why there will be a vent in the back. Just trying to figure out if I can throw a vent up front too. I'm hoping it wont reduce the air flow from the vents under the door, reducing the diagonal draft through the tank, but I suspect it might. Could be why I can't find any examples of vivariums with double vents, but I figured I would try it. It is not a hard problem to solve, as vents can always be covered or moved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
Looks good to me. Not sure how far up the Hygrolon will wick water from the drainage layer, but it holds water beautifully when misted. Thicker layers draw water up better. It will probably keep the area of substrate that touches it very wet, from the water wicking out into the substrate, unless you put something waterproof between the substrate and the Hygrolon. Just plant stuff there that likes really wet roots, or don't plant anything in that section.
The Hygrolon ends just above the substrate layer, except for two wicks that extend down to the drainage layer. I placed a couple layers of the weed block I had original planned on using as a substrate barrier vertically between the Hygrolon wicks and the substrate. It's not completely water proof, but it is something. Hopefully this keeps the substrate from getting too damp. Like you said, I can always plant stuff there that likes it wet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
Be aware that anything planted in Hygrolon cannot be removed without cutting either the Hygrolon or the roots, the roots won't just pull out. I've tried.
Given how tall the tank is, I never planned on having the Hygrolon pull water more than half way up the back of the tank. I am however hoping it holds water as well as you say! Thanks for the tip about the roots. Hadn't really thought about that, but it makes sense that they would really weave their way into it.
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Finally added some plants.


Pleurothallis grobyi 'Small'
Dryadella cristata
Masdevallia nidifica
Peperomia emarginella 'Ecuador'
Pyrrosia nummularifolia
Lemmaphyllum microphyllum
Lemmaphyllum microphyllum 'Small Round'
Davallia parvula

Also ordered a Restrepia brachypus, but I felt the specimen I received was way too big for the terrarium. Going to try a pot it.
Geckoguy, Yazz, duke and 3 others like this.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

wow, looks great! looking forward to seeing this one filling out. Have you any ideas for more plants?
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:22 PM
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I really like the whole scape thing, well done.
Maybe I missed it but Where did you get the wood from?
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Old 07-21-2018, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

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Originally Posted by DTB View Post
wow, looks great! looking forward to seeing this one filling out. Have you any ideas for more plants?
Thanks! I have a few more orchids in mind, such as Dryadella zebrina, but I'm waiting to see if I can keep these alive first. I'm definitely going to add some more Pleurothallis grobyi and Dryadella cristata, as I like the way they look and I feel tanks look better when they don't have too many different species.

Quote:
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I really like the whole scape thing, well done.
Maybe I missed it but Where did you get the wood from?
Thank you! I really enjoyed the scaping part of the construction. Very different than the rocks I'm used to using with reef scaping, but a lot of fun.
I purchased the cork tubes, ghostwood, Hygrolon, and substrate from glassboxtropicals.

Last edited by amac; 07-21-2018 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

Any updates on this ? I'd love to see it all grown in
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Old 04-17-2019, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: 33-gallon Mini Orchid Build Thread

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Any updates on this ? I'd love to see it all grown in
Would appreciate an update as well! Looks like he was active a couple weeks ago, so hopefully he will offer up some update pics and/or follow up information.
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