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By DoctorJohn
Posts:  2
Joined:  Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:01 am
#368385
Long time listener, first time caller. Returning to CP's after 18+ years on the road without a collection, and it's good to be back. Mostly I grow pings, flytraps, sundews and the occasional dewy pine. That said I'm always looking to branch out. Also I've had luck with TC, and have a strong lab background in wet chemistry to I also flask orchids and the usual plant-ey stuff that comes with the hobby.

In my climate (hot desert) it is ALWAYS hot. Our houses, no matter how you run the air, are warm -- like over 65F no matter what. For some plants I'd like to spread out to and join to my collection, I'd need a COLD terrarium. This is beyond dormancy, but for when my plants are actually active.

Has anyone ever tried out, or had luck with a terrarium that's cooled instead of heated while the lights are on, and the plants are growing and active? I've always wanted to add heliamphora to my tanks, but the cool night temperatures are hard to reach without active cooling of the terrarium.

What say you all? Is always being ambiently WARM just something to accept? Or can we do it "backwards" and cool a terrarium to grow temperate high-altitude CP's?
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By murrkywaters
Posts:  326
Joined:  Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:39 pm
#368387
I am in a similar situation. I've been experimenting with peltier devices in small insulated areas. I'd be curious to see what you come up with.

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By DoctorJohn
Posts:  2
Joined:  Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:01 am
#368406
My first inclination was to use the thermal inertia of a fluid in a double-walled terrarium that has a single wall in the "front" viewing area. The bottom and the other 3 walls would be filled with a circulating fluid kept at a constant chilled temperature like an anti-"sous-vide." I have a finite element modeler code around here from my doctorate, so I might just run a model and see how constant a temperature I can get and how much circulating chilled fluid is needed.

If I get a model together, I'll post some pictures of what it looks like over time. Liquid chillers that circulate cold fluids (water, glycol etc.) are not that exotic to get, and combined with some cool LED lighting it might get me where I'd need to go. Of course this means assembling fluid-tight glass work potentially around an existing aquarium which sucks. First things though, let's see if the CFD works out.
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By murrkywaters
Posts:  326
Joined:  Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:39 pm
#368407
My thought is to use a geothermal heat exchanger eventually, but I don't know how much longer I'll be out here so it might be a waste of time. I think maybe some long sections of pvx buried deep would do the trick as far as a large thermal mass being held at a constant temperature goes.

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By Z_Y
Posts:  44
Joined:  Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:19 pm
#368414
You can check out my recent project on chilling my growspace with an aquarium chiller: chilling-a-large-heliamphora-growspace-t48694.html

I only plan on using my system at night, but in the past I had one running for the daytime too because my fluorescent lights were hotter. I had a whole controller setup with a PIC uC that monitored temperature and adjusted the fan's duty cycle for the temperature I wanted during the day and night.

A compressor solution should be the most energy efficient. A double-walled setup might be interesting but I think it overcomplicates it. You'll have issues of efficient thermal transfer between the chamber and the walls, condensation, cleaning, and maintenance. A radiator should still be the best when it comes to moving heat around.

Some people have also gone the route of just buying a chest freezer, which should be the best in terms of efficiency and maintenance but not so good in terms of aesthetics.
By Huntsmanshorn
Posts:  582
Joined:  Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:32 am
#368415
DoctorJohn wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:09 am Has anyone ever tried out, or had luck with a terrarium that's cooled instead of heated while the lights are on, and the plants are growing and active? I've always wanted to add heliamphora to my tanks, but the cool night temperatures are hard to reach without active cooling of the terrarium.

What say you all? Is always being ambiently WARM just something to accept? Or can we do it "backwards" and cool a terrarium to grow temperate high-altitude CP's?
Wouldn't it be easer to just use the Heliamphora that can be grown in conditions you mentioned?
By SundewWolf
Posts:  2218
Joined:  Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:38 pm
#368421
making a terrarium out of a mini fridge kept on a thermostat seems to be an easy option. I have messed around with peltier coolers from ebay and then just gave up and grew my entire heliamphora collection in the basement. If I lived somewhere warm The fridge seems like the better idea, instead of screwing around with aquarium chillers or peltiers. Depends on how good your DIY skills are and how much you are willing to tweak around with it all.
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By murrkywaters
Posts:  326
Joined:  Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:39 pm
#368441
Peltier devices have the advantage of being a bit cheaper in the short term. The main limitation with them is volume. You can make a small volume very, very cold. Id limit it to a space no more than 20 liters. I'm pushing my setup, but I have some tricks. Coolers are much more efficient but imo are a lot harder to work with if like me you have limited budget and space. Aquarium chillers seem to be a middle ground.

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By murrkywaters
Posts:  326
Joined:  Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:39 pm
#368446
I think the problem has more to do with the desert heat. I'm going to agree with Jose here. Sometimes I have a hard time with my ac in the summer not being able to keep ambient temperature below 87° F even at full blast. Add the heat from the grow lights and you have a recipe for dead helis.

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By jose
Posts:  69
Joined:  Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:18 pm
#368458
Temps at or over 80 will kill helis.

There are reports that ciliata likes it hot though even as high in the 90 degree range. However this is confusing the definition of Nep lowland conditions with what “lowland” conditions are for helis therefore it would be easy for a grower with limited experience to kill ciliata. And all things considered, ciliata does great in normal heli conditions so pushing the envelope isn’t necessary
By hungry carnivores
Posts:  428
Joined:  Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:31 am
#368489
H. Collina seems to do well for me in my LL terrarium thing. I keep it between 75-85 and I'm getting nice leaf jumps from it (or pitcher jumps if that's what you call it). It is also fine with the lack of light. I had a brief mealybug problem and it braved through that too.

As we get to know our plants, we can make decisions about their putative altitudes in cultivation.
By jose
Posts:  69
Joined:  Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:18 pm
#368512
Yes helis surprisingly don’t need high light as some suggest but they are less colorful. For this reason most recommend high light. Good job on the collina!

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