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Old 08-18-2019, 07:17 PM
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Default Best monitors

Stuff seems to be evolving fast in this hobby. What is the best humidity and temperature equipment these days, and what are the best ways to automate their control?
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Best monitors

There seem to be a small handful of people using raspberry pi or arduino to control viv equipment. There aren't any viv controllers marketed currently AFAIK.

Most folks seem to be decidedly no-tech. Gauging humidity by watching viv inhabitants and adjusting through misting schedules and ventilation works well. Among the more common humidity threads here seem to be those regarding newer hobbyists freaking out over aberrant hygrometer readings.

IR temp guns are ideal temperature monitors, and controlling temp by controlling ambient temps is effective.

My reef and planted tanks run Neptune Apexes (Apices?), but frog vivs are so much more set-it-and-forget-it that controllers are just a novelty (my opinion, which is sure to offend someone ).
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Best monitors

Issue with hygrometers are that most of them are not good enough for high humidity area. Doesn't matter where you will place the sensor, with enough time it will not work anymore right. It would help to get semi-professional sensor like from Polyga, but to expensive for just a normal hobby.

For temperatur you could use something like Lucky Reptile Thermo Control II. You could run a heating element with it or cooling fans that go on/off. Also you can control the time for light on/off.
If you have a big rack, go with the arduino/raspberry pi variant(alot cheaper).

Otherwise I agree with @Socratic Monologue.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Best monitors

Thanks guys!
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socratic Monologue View Post
My reef and planted tanks run Neptune Apexes (Apices?), but frog vivs are so much more set-it-and-forget-it that controllers are just a novelty (my opinion, which is sure to offend someone <img src="http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />).
How difficult are reef tanks, by the way? They have always sounded like a separate level of intense.

I've thought about making some kind of raspberry pi setup, mostly for the fun of learning, but I'd have trouble seeing it through considering, as you said, that it's not really necessary for this hobby. (And less so still for the dedicated-terrarium hobby.)
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: Best monitors

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How difficult are reef tanks, by the way? They have always sounded like a separate level of intense.
There is a learning curve that can be pretty steep depending on the skill set you bring with you. People who get a reef tank to look at the pretty colors might get in over their heads in short order; folks who want a small challenge of their patience and have a decent grasp of basic biology and chemistry should find a reef fairly simple and quite rewarding. I haven't been without a reef tank since I started keeping one the mid '90s.

They are also not for the faint of wallet -- it is not at all difficult to spend $100 a gallon for equipment and livestock -- though DIYing can offset that quite a bit.
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:21 PM
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Default Re: Best monitors

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Otherwise I agree with @Socratic Monologue.
Me too:

Monitoring moisture requires no instrumentation. Just use what came to you at birth, plus common sense. All fogged up glass, melting plants, and constantly overflowing drains or soggy dirt is way too wet. Wilting plants, crispy dirt and zero drainage is way too dry. Those are the sideboards. Go ahead and zig-zag around some between them; it's better to do that than it is to run perfectly straight down the center. I accomplish this with "moderate" (not quite enough to satisfy all my plants' water needs) daily misting, and several times per month heavy substrate & brom-cup watering (enough to fill up my false bottom and get a little water running out my drains).

Monitoring temperature is best done at a couple times of day (e.g., 8 AM, 3 PM, and 9 PM) once you're planted up and "cycling in", checking spot temps in several locations around the tank. E.g., atop a dry leaf on the litter layer, on a patch of bare moist substrate, on a mid-height branch or perch, at the base of a high-mounted brom, and on the upper leaf of a high-mounted brom. Find the absolute coldest and hottest spots, and also try to determine the temps of the main area actually available for your animals' use. The former will inform you what's basically possible in your room. If you like those more than you like what the main area gives, well, you need to modify something about your tank setup. Never forget, heat kills, and most things can take - or even prefer - more cool than you think.

An IR temp gun is the only tool for this temp work. Relying on just a single probe with a constant single reading is, frankly, stupid. When you're starting, go ahead and just write down what the temp gun shows you - use columns for the times of day, rows for the spots, and put the temp values in the cells, or whatever arrangement you like. Half a week of this and you're dialed in for the rest of the season. Repeat this exercise spring, summer, fall, and winter - values will change a lot. The relationship between temps and RH is strong. Dry air changes temp fast, and tends to run cool. Humid air changes temp slower, and tends to run warm, unless you have good ventilation, in which case it can help cool you down.

A tank with good ventilation and some size to it will display a surprising range of values in space and time. That's a good thing. My biggest tanks have spots with lows in the mid 60s and other spots with highs in the upper 80s. (For what I keep, dry-skinned thermo-conformers, these are species-appropriate temps). My coolest DTH spots never exceed about 77F.

I vastly prefer letting the animals choose the spots that suit their needs, over trying to exactly nail something specific and fussing over how long to keep it there, how fast or slow to ramp up/down, etc. That shit will drive you nuts. Some people just love their controller gadgets. Not me. I do things like swap the bulb wattage, raise or lower lights, mess with misting times/durations/frequencies, cover or expose more screen area, etc. etc. to tweak heat gain and loss, and evaporation rates. Keep it between the sideboards, let the animals have - and make - some choices, and you'll be fine.

I think this is important enough to repeat - by "let them make choices" I mean, e.g., don't force an animal to stress out by having to choose between a) exposure security and b) preferred temps - offer them warm and cool, dry and humid hides and activity zones. This is another advantage of bigger tanks - more room for options and gradients.

Good luck!
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