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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

For a while I've been working towards the creation of a small 10 gallon desktop terrarium that had many environmental needs built in. I see many systems, small or large, that need other devices which take up more space than the terrarium itself. To work on my idea I used a 12x12x18 exo terra.

There were some of my issues for design.

1. Internal cool lighting which would allow plant growth, but not heat up the air in the tank. For this I used seven 9.5inch old style 12v waterproof LED strips. Unlike the newer LED lights that are brighter, but make more heat, these stay cool and 7 of them give me more light than a 14w CFL. Since they are inside the tank, I don't need a huge light fixture above the tank. Also since they are not hot, the frogs can't burn themselves.

2. I also wanted blue night lighting to simulate moonlight and help the vegetative state for plants. This was resolved as part of my air circulation system.

3. Having air flow through the tank was an issue since I didn't want to have stale air in the tank, creating bacteria. While internal air-circulation was considered, it sometimes allows for bad air to simply build up in the tank. I also wanted to ensure the temp in the tank was the same outside the tank. So I got a cheap laptop cooling system that uses three 5v fans with blue LEDs built into them. The air get sucked in from the top and blown out the front vent on the tank. In the future wire mesh will reduce the circulation I'm getting now, which is enough that I can feel the air coming out the front.

4. Keeping the tank humid was a big issue. Air flow to the outside reduced this. But a quick heavy rain every now and then would keep things damp and clean off the plants. So using a spray pump and four misting nozzles, I build a system to suck the water from the bottom of the tank and recirculate it at about 3GPH. The result was loud and now as fine a rain as I hoped, but still better than nothing.

Anyway watch the video and see what I built after Christmas. Happy New Year!
 

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I'd be more concerned about spreading bacteria and other funk by recycling your false bottom water back into the tank than internal air circulation. All you are doing at this point is taking bacteria loads and making them airborne. It's a super cool idea though!!

Where did you get the led strips? Those are pretty cool.
 

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You aren't concerned about spraying water that has been filtered through bacteria, rotting bugs, and frog poop, over your frogs?
 

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Using drain water to water your plants is a good idea, but for frogs it seems a bit "dirty"
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses. Any of you have solutions? I was thinking the water could be pulled from a reservoir. Or there needs to be a localized filtration system such as with aquariums. I'm open to suggestions. :)

I got the light strips for 26 cents each and the laptop cooler for $1.50 @ dinodirect.com. I think whatever deal I got ended once they fixed whatever server problem gave me the deal to begin with.
 

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Your safest, cleanest option would be to pull your misting water from a reservoir of clean water and let the waste water drain into a waste bucket. In order to properly and safely recirculate, you would need very good particulate filters to remove bits to prevent your misting heads from clogging, bacterial filters to remove/convert ammonia and nitrites and remove smell etc., and also something to take care of bacteria from going through the frog poop, dead bugs, etc. That particular component would most likely be pretty expensive. You could look into a UV sterilizer big enough to do a one pass, complete kill, or perhaps an ozonizer/ozone generator. An ozonizer would require charcoal changes every month in order to be safe around you and your frogs. A UV sterilizer would require the expense of a new bulb every 6 months or depending on manufacturer recommendation.
 

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I don't think those LED strips are gonna put off the right spectrum.
Just a guess tho cause it isn't very bright at all compared to my bulbs or LED bulbs I have seen.
My CFL bulbs are 23w yet most 100w incandescent equivalent CFL bulbs are 26w

Maybe someone with more light expertise can shed some light onto this...
 

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You could use the run-off water to water outdoor plants and use clean water to mist the frogs. I always use my old aquarium water to water my potted plants outside.
This is a good way to spread exotic pathogens into the local fauna. Run off water should be sterilized with bleach before disposal.
 

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This is a good way to spread exotic pathogens into the local fauna. Run off water should be sterilized with bleach before disposal.
Never thought of it that way. Do you know of any aquatic pathogens that could harm local fauna? I can only think of ich and mycobacterium marinum, both of which occur in local fauna anyway. Ich can only occur if live fish are present and fish tuberculosis only affects fish and humans (as far as I know), and I'm miles away from any water source. I'm just curious as to what I could have possibly introduced. I've never used terrarium run-off though, which would probably harbor more pathogens than aquarium water.

Oh and Konton, you could use a filtering layer and an in-line UV sterilizer to reuse the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here's another video to demonstrate the lights work fine. I also show if I use a reservoir it gets sucked out at 8GPH.


Since it's not mist, but rain, I think there is less of a clogging issue, but still important to create a filtration system. Right now I'm considering making a riparium out of this tank. At least until I solved all the kinks what would make it imperfect for animals. Thanks for all the suggestions!
 

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I'm thinking if you run a false bottom of hydroton, you might be able to get the nitrosoma and nitrobacter colonies to grow and break down the ammonia for you. Then you can run the water through a pre-filter and allow it to catch any of the physical debri so your "rain" heads won't clog.

The water shouldn't be extremely septic if there's constant circulation and the proper set up right?
 

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the leds may be bright enough to keep some stuff alive and well but without details on what they are or par numbers we wont know how well they really work. they may feel cool but no lighting is perfectly efficient and leds dump heat like anything else. if anything those will give off more heat per unit of light than the higher powered leds you see because they are less efficient. it is my understanding of the current state of things that the most efficient leds currently available are the cree xmls. i also agree that recycled water will clog up your mist/spray heads. the water that circulates through my viv starts out as ro/di water but after going through the water course and into the false bottom and down into the sump it becomes nicely tea shaded with some fine particulates.my solution to this is to mist with ro/di water and have the sump overflow into a drain. hopefully all this works out well for you. keep us all updated with how it all runs.
 

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Can't argue with your ingenuity, but I would just change the water source and go with it; you can always change out the lights if they don't work.
Brian
 
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