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By NightRaider
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Joined:  Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:01 am
#386354
I think I've just finished my 15 gallon "easy" heli terrarium build and just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts or advice on things to change before I start searching for plants, expensive as they can be.
Details:
  • Lighting: Spider Farmer sf-300 mounted along the back wall, roughly 12" above the false floor and on a 12-14 hour photoperiod; I've also included the manufacturer's PPFD map for reference.
  • Fans: (2) 80mm pc fans mounted along the top and offset horizontally so as to create a circular flow of air; 1" gap behind to allow sufficient intake.
  • Humidity: Currently supplied by evaporation of distilled water in/under the egg crate floor. With fans running, roughly 65-70%; approx 80% without. 3 of 6 vents are closed, so this can be adjusted still if need be.
  • Temperature: 76-77° day (with lights on), 70-71° at night.
  • Misc: Tank dimensions: 15 gallon (24"x12"x12"). Mylar wrapped around back and both sides currently, may wrap front later. Plan is to top water and keep the water level in the bottom below or very low on the pots.
Note that I only plan to grow the easier varieties in this: nutans, heterodoxa, minor and their hybrids. When I start wanting a sarracenioides or these get too tall, I'll build a bigger terrarium with a humidifier, cooler, sensors, RPi automation and the whole shebang. That being said, my biggest concern at the moment is obviously the temperature drop. I couldn't find detailed information about the temperature drop requirement for the more tolerant varieties so I don't know if this drop is enough or if I need more. If absolutely necessary I could drop ice packs in but I'd obviously prefer automation if possible. My only other thought would be a peltier, but outside of cutting a new top panel I'd have no way of mounting one, assuming it could even cool that much volume in the first place. As for humidity, I think it should be in a good spot right now provided I stick to those specific varieties. Note that I plan to keep helis toward the back and have a ceph and/or some intermediate nepenthes in the front (hence the light gradient and second fan for extra airflow), so I don't want to go too much higher with humidity than where it's currently at. Of course for the helis, I would bag them until they acclimated to the lower humidity. All that being said, I just want to make sure I can do what I'm trying to do here since this is my first attempt at a terrarium and helis and cephs are known for being fussy with their conditions and I'd really rather stick to only killing cheap sundews if possible.
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By Nepenthes0260
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#386361
Wow, firstly, that's a beautiful setup!

60-75% humidity can be a tad low for some helis for when the fans are running. I would highly recommend using an ultrasonic humidifier available on Ebay routed into the setup with PVC-
https://www.ebay.com/itm/124269605603?h ... SwcK5fGGNs

You can set it and the fans both on the same timer and it should keep humidity up while the fans are going. I was having issues in my heli chamber with the same thing a while ago and those humidifiers work great. Even better, I noticed that the added humidification cools down the setup slightly.

Also, H. sarracenioides is a relatively easy species, just very slow. It's surprisingly tolerable to lower humidity conditions since it is so woody. It and H. purpurascens are just very slow growers for me though. H. folliculata is also a super easy species, more vigorous than any minor or (true) nutans has even been for me!
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By NightRaider
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#386363
Thanks, I'm really happy with how it turned out considering it was pretty spur of the moment and mostly made from stuff I had just laying around anyway. And I'll be completely honest, I was actually hoping you in particular would see this after seeing your incredible plants and setups. And of course I'll definitely keep that in mind about the humidity, though first I might try closing off another vent or two just to see if I can hit gradient closer to 75-90% for right now unless I get my hands on a more expensive one that I don't want to take any chances with. If not, I actually have a humidifier laying around too that I planned to do that exact thing with if I felt I needed it; I just need to check to see if it's a cool mist first. If not, I'll pick up one of the ones you linked since they're much cheaper than the Crane ones I've seen used elsewhere. Also that's some great information about the species and I really appreciate it, since nearly all of the information I could find was either extremely generic or limited only to the most common types, namely minor and heterodoxa x minor.
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By Nepenthes0260
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#386435
NightRaider wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 4:21 am Thanks, I'm really happy with how it turned out considering it was pretty spur of the moment and mostly made from stuff I had just laying around anyway. And I'll be completely honest, I was actually hoping you in particular would see this after seeing your incredible plants and setups. And of course I'll definitely keep that in mind about the humidity, though first I might try closing off another vent or two just to see if I can hit gradient closer to 75-90% for right now unless I get my hands on a more expensive one that I don't want to take any chances with. If not, I actually have a humidifier laying around too that I planned to do that exact thing with if I felt I needed it; I just need to check to see if it's a cool mist first. If not, I'll pick up one of the ones you linked since they're much cheaper than the Crane ones I've seen used elsewhere. Also that's some great information about the species and I really appreciate it, since nearly all of the information I could find was either extremely generic or limited only to the most common types, namely minor and heterodoxa x minor.
Oh thanks lol! I’m glad I could be of assistance.

I’d say 75-90% would be ideal for most helis. If you don’t have a lot of air movement you don’t need a ton of humidity, but if you do have a lot of air movement I would highly recommend a mister. Be careful if you have low/no air movement and keep them very wet though- they can be prone to rot!

I think the reason why H. nutans, H. heterodoxa, and H. minor are considered the “easy” species is because back in the day taxonomists called everything those species. For example, they even used to call H. exappendiculata a form of H. heterodoxa! :lol:

In my experience, the true forms of minor, het, and nutans haven’t really been easy. The “Nutans Giant” taxon is very vigorous, although that one is a hybrid with glabra. H. exappendiculata, H. folliculata, and H. neblinae are some easier species that I don’t think get the attention they deserve. On the other hand, H. collina and H. glabra have proven to be a little tricky. H. minor var. Pilosa is just extremely slow, much slower than sarracenioides.
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By NightRaider
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#386491
Nepenthes0260 wrote:I’d say 75-90% would be ideal for most helis. If you don’t have a lot of air movement you don’t need a ton of humidity, but if you do have a lot of air movement I would highly recommend a mister. Be careful if you have low/no air movement and keep them very wet though- they can be prone to rot!
I've been playing around with opening and closing vents and hit a point where with fans on 24/7 I'm seeing 76% humidity during the day and 95-100% at night, but it seems like it's almost entirely dictated by the top vents which means holding in more heat as well. Though this has unexpectedly allowed me create a larger temperature drop by leaving open 2 side vents without losing any noticeable amount of humidity, giving me 80-81° during the day and 69-71° at night. I'll play around with this some more of course to see if I can get a day humidity over 80%, but on your recommendation I probably will move to a humidifier and pick up a Sonoff th16 switch for exact humidity control. Like I mentioned in the OP I'm trying to fit this in a pretty narrow range of conditions where I can potentially keep a couple cephs/neps in the same tank for the temperature drop (and also I can't afford that many helis lmao), but if you think it can't be done without helis suffering from low humidity or the others getting hit with fungus then I'll absolutely defer to you and pump the humidity up and do helis exclusively.
Nepenthes0260 wrote:In my experience, the true forms of minor, het, and nutans haven’t really been easy. The “Nutans Giant” taxon is very vigorous, although that one is a hybrid with glabra. H. exappendiculata, H. folliculata, and H. neblinae are some easier species that I don’t think get the attention they deserve. On the other hand, H. collina and H. glabra have proven to be a little tricky. H. minor var. Pilosa is just extremely slow, much slower than sarracenioides.
That's actually really interesting since I was basing minor specifically being easy at least partially on what Matt has posted here in the past. I guess that's just further proof that experiences with the same species can differ dramatically between even experienced people for no apparent reason. In any event I'm glad to know I don't have to stick to those few, since nutans is the only one of the big three that gives me that "I need it" feeling whenever I see one.
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By Nepenthes0260
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#386559
NightRaider wrote: Wed Aug 11, 2021 7:31 pm
Nepenthes0260 wrote:I’d say 75-90% would be ideal for most helis. If you don’t have a lot of air movement you don’t need a ton of humidity, but if you do have a lot of air movement I would highly recommend a mister. Be careful if you have low/no air movement and keep them very wet though- they can be prone to rot!
I've been playing around with opening and closing vents and hit a point where with fans on 24/7 I'm seeing 76% humidity during the day and 95-100% at night, but it seems like it's almost entirely dictated by the top vents which means holding in more heat as well. Though this has unexpectedly allowed me create a larger temperature drop by leaving open 2 side vents without losing any noticeable amount of humidity, giving me 80-81° during the day and 69-71° at night. I'll play around with this some more of course to see if I can get a day humidity over 80%, but on your recommendation I probably will move to a humidifier and pick up a Sonoff th16 switch for exact humidity control. Like I mentioned in the OP I'm trying to fit this in a pretty narrow range of conditions where I can potentially keep a couple cephs/neps in the same tank for the temperature drop (and also I can't afford that many helis lmao), but if you think it can't be done without helis suffering from low humidity or the others getting hit with fungus then I'll absolutely defer to you and pump the humidity up and do helis exclusively.
Nepenthes0260 wrote:In my experience, the true forms of minor, het, and nutans haven’t really been easy. The “Nutans Giant” taxon is very vigorous, although that one is a hybrid with glabra. H. exappendiculata, H. folliculata, and H. neblinae are some easier species that I don’t think get the attention they deserve. On the other hand, H. collina and H. glabra have proven to be a little tricky. H. minor var. Pilosa is just extremely slow, much slower than sarracenioides.
That's actually really interesting since I was basing minor specifically being easy at least partially on what Matt has posted here in the past. I guess that's just further proof that experiences with the same species can differ dramatically between even experienced people for no apparent reason. In any event I'm glad to know I don't have to stick to those few, since nutans is the only one of the big three that gives me that "I need it" feeling whenever I see one.
Yeah, 80 may be a bit too high for helis haha. Of course there is H. ciliata which will tolerate that (as it occurs in the “lowlands” below the tepui) along with true heterodoxa. But lower temps should be better for a wider variety of species.

I think a lot of heli hardiness also depends on what clone people grow. For example, I have had a Wistuba minor for 2.5 years and it has barely grown at all, and maybe divided once. On the other hand, I have another minor clone that grows like mad and flowers regularly.
Growing right alongside each other. I’ve heard that the same thing happens with H. ceracea. Also TC may have something to do with it, because TC obviously messed up Wistuba’s H. elongata.
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By NightRaider
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#386561
Yeah don't get me wrong, 80 was basically the absolute upper limit of what I was considering acceptable. Hence why I think the humidifier may be more necessary now if it has any cooling ability at all, since without an actual cooling mechanism the lowest the temperature can really drop at night is room temp. My thinking is if I can get a similar 10ish degree drop but with a bit lower average temp then that would make me feel a little more at ease. In any event though I think I probably have conditions close enough now I can start looking for a couple plants, I'll just need to keep an eye on them while tweaking conditions a bit long-term. (Tbh now that I'm thinking about it, adding refrigerated distilled water or a few ice cubes to the humidifier reservoir at night might not be the worst solution short-term. I'd think surely I could at least get a bit of a drop that way, anyway.)
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By Nepenthes0260
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#386632
NightRaider wrote:Yeah don't get me wrong, 80 was basically the absolute upper limit of what I was considering acceptable. Hence why I think the humidifier may be more necessary now if it has any cooling ability at all, since without an actual cooling mechanism the lowest the temperature can really drop at night is room temp. My thinking is if I can get a similar 10ish degree drop but with a bit lower average temp then that would make me feel a little more at ease. In any event though I think I probably have conditions close enough now I can start looking for a couple plants, I'll just need to keep an eye on them while tweaking conditions a bit long-term. (Tbh now that I'm thinking about it, adding refrigerated distilled water or a few ice cubes to the humidifier reservoir at night might not be the worst solution short-term. I'd think surely I could at least get a bit of a drop that way, anyway.)
When I was making this setup-new-hl-setup-t43866.html I noticed that the humidifier made a surprising difference in temp. When it was going it made at least a five degree temp dip with the fans at the same time. I've also noticed that if temps remain cool (60s-low 70s) constantly, helis, HL neps, and South American dews don't need much of a cool down, but if they get close to 80 in the day you're definitely going to want considerable nighttime dips. Of course it also depends a lot on the species, but I'm growing N. diabolica in around 62 degrees constantly and it seems to be doing relatively well (for diabolica, at least :P).
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By NightRaider
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#386636
Yeah I'm definitely adding the humidifier since I finally found that the unbranded one I had laying around seems to be a cool mist, so I'm hoping that plus more open vents pushes things down to low 70s daytime and mid-high 60s night. After I get that set up then I'll reevaluate. Worst case I can cut a new top panel and throw a peltier together to push it down another couple degrees if it seems necessary, but I'm trying to keep this as neat and presentable as I can and I'm not expecting to need it anyway. Also I'm glad you mentioned HL neps here since I considered picking one or two up at some point to keep in there until I can afford/have space to make something bigger for them, but again hesitated because of the whole cooling thing being seemingly impossible to cleanly solve at a small scale.
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By NightRaider
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#415070
I'm exercising my OP privileges and necroing this thread for a final update. For the better part of a year, this terrarium served its purpose very well. It ended up successfully growing several heliamphora, a ceph, some intermediate and highland nepenthes, a few section Orchioides utricularia, and what felt like as many drosera as I could cram in it. However, all good things must come to an end, and today I finally had to send it off to live on a farm across town. With that said, I wanted to make a final post in case anyone runs across this while attempting something similar in the future.

While most aspects remained the same as described in the OP, I did have to change a couple things. I ended up rigging up a humidifier using a dishwasher drain hose which gave me 90% day/100% humidity nights. Because of how the humidifier was made I had to let it run constantly, but I eventually managed to constrict the output, rig up the 2 80mm fans, and vent the lid the right amount to consistently hold the right humidity level. My temps ended up being roughly 72°F day/65°F night after that, and most plants seemed not to mind the lack of a significant drop. However, I can't rule out it being a factor for my underperforming D. villosa, H. minor Burgundy-Black, and N. jacquelineae. On the other hand, H. collina and ionasii, D. riparia, U. longifolia, and the ceph went gangbusters to make up for it.

I wasn't sure what the proper watering schedule would be at the time, and my water tray ended up springing a small leak partway up that I never fixed which meant bottom-watering wouldn't hold for more than a few days. That said, I eventually settled on top-watering every plant and upping the tray's water once a week which seemed to work out just fine. Because of the water leak, I ended up having a small amount of water in the eggcrate floor at all times which led to some harmless but ugly algae growth, so I would have to recommend not letting the floor stay mildly flooded like I did. Another recommendation would be to check for star moss before adding any new plants. Some rode in on the riparia and eventually ended up in what felt like half the other pots in there.

Some (admittedly poor quality) final pics I took before deconstruction:
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