An Update on the LED Lights, Misting Unit, & Equipment inside my Orchidarium
In February 2017, which (as I write to you in September 2019) was over two and a half years ago, I decided to build an Orchidarium to house some of my miniature orchids, with equipment that supplied the plants with automatic lighting, misting, and air circulation. Inside my Orchidarium, this automated plant care is provided by a misting unit, a hygrometer, LED lights, and fans. This article is one of a series of updates for this Orchidarium. I’ve split this fourth edition of my Orchidarium Update into three parts, each part focuses on a different aspect of this Orchidarium. In this update, you can see how the automated plant care equipment has performed and find out what the growing conditions inside this Orchidarium have been like over the past year (from August 2018 to September 2019).
In my next update, I’ll show you how the Phalaenopsis orchids inside this Orchidarium have grown over the past year (from August 2018 to September 2019) in a dedicated Phalaenopsis update that focuses entirely on the Phalaenopsis species that reside inside this enclosure.
Following on from my Phalaenopsis update, in my next Orchidarium update, I’ll share my photographs showing you how the rest of the miniature epiphytic orchids, the ferns, and the other plants, inside this Orchidarium have grown and developed, over the past year (from August 2018 to September 2019).
If you’re interested in this terrarium, you’ll find every single article I’ve written about this Orchidarium, listed here.
Orchidarium Set Up
Right, back to this Orchidarium and its equipment. If you’re interested in seeing this Orchidarium from its inception, you can see my step by step guide showing how my Orchidarium was created, here.
Automated Plant Care
Inside this Orchidarium, I have an automated misting unit, a hygrometer, fans, and LED grow lights, which all operate automatically to provide my plants with light, water, regulated humidity levels, and air circulation.
Orchidarium Misting Unit
I am still using the same Jungle Hobbies’ MistKing misting unit that I purchased in the early part of 2017, when I first set up this Orchidarium. I’ve not had any problems whatsoever with this MistKing misting unit, it’s been reliable and effective. The misting unit works well with my bucket reservoir I installed when this Orchidarium was first set up. I’ve been absolutely delighted with this misting system – I’d recommend it. I like this misting system so much that I purchased the same MistKing misting unit for my Rainforest Terrarium.
Water for Misting systems
All of the orchids inside my Orchidarium are misted by my MistKing automated misting system. The bucket which forms the reservoir for my misting system is filled with reverse osmosis water at regular intervals. All of the plants inside this Orchidarium are misted with reverse osmosis water, which is collected from my reverse osmosis system.
The reason I use reverse osmosis water is that this water doesn’t have the salts that you find in tap water, so it’s much better for the plants. Reverse osmosis water is purer and contains fewer particles, so it’s less likely to clog up or form blockages in my misting unit tubes or misting nozzles.
Orchidarium Automated Misting Settings
Since my last update which I published in August 2018, I have adjusted this Orchidarium’s automated misting schedule, from the original setting when the misting unit operated at:
- 8:30am every morning for 1 minute and 30 seconds
Then, on the 8th September 2018, I changed the misting schedule to operate every day at:
- 8:30am every morning for 1 minute
- 12:30am in the middle of each day for 20 seconds
On the 18th of March 2019, I adjusted the misting schedule again, this time to add an additional mist in the middle of the day:
- 08:30am every morning for 1 minute
- 11:00am every morning for 15 seconds
- 3:00pm every afternoon for 15 seconds
Finally, on the 3rd September 2019, I changed the automated misting schedule to reflect the arrival of autumn; so that this Orchidarium is now automatically misted:
- 8.30am every morning for 45 seconds
- 12 noon every midday for 15 seconds
The plants inside my Orchidarium were also hand misted, with the most attention paid to the Restrepia and Masdevallia plants, which need to be kept more consistently moist.
I have set up two fans within this Orchidarium, both are similar to the type of fans that operate inside computers. One fan has been set up to draw fresh air into the Orchidarium (which will have the effect of reducing humidity) this external fan is connected to a hygrometer, so it only kicks in when humidity is high. The fan and hygrometer work together to effectively to maintain a constant humidity level between 85% and 95% inside this Orchidarium. The other fan runs constantly, circulating the air and creating constant air movement inside this Orchidarium.
I use the Inkbird Hygrometer to control the external fan in the Orchidarium. The sensor detects when humidity increases past 80%RH, and that triggers the power to start up the top fan, which draws humid air out of the Orchidarium, and brings in fresh air via the grille below the doors. Once humidity drops below 75% RH, the fan cuts out again. This system means that humidity remains reasonably constant within the tank, and doesn’t build up to the point where mould and fungus might start to become prevalent.
On the 26th August 2018, a loud, high pitched alarm sounded from the Inkbird Hygrometer inside this Orchidarium. The alarm was triggered by excessive humidity levels of higher than 100% inside this Orchidarium. The ambient humidity within my home on the day that the alarm sounded was particularly high at 65%RH – this reading was much higher than usual – a consequence of the inclement weather outside. This combined with the moisture from the automated misting provided by my MistKing inside my Orchidarium, and on top of this, the additional hand misting carried out that day had raised the humidity level inside this Orchidarium to over 100%RH, causing an alarm to sound. To counteract the humidity, I opened the doors to my Orchidarium, to allow the moist air to escape and reduce the humidity levels. Within a short while, the alarm stopped and all was well in the world again. If you experience an alarm sounding from your terrarium, try opening the doors to reduce the humidity and hopefully, your alarm will stop ringing, too.
Orchidarium Humidity and Temperature
A number of readers had questions about how I monitor the growing conditions inside this Orchidarium and inside my other terrariums and what equipment I use to record this data, so I wrote this article about how I track temperature, humidity, and light conditions.
LED Grow Lights for Orchids
When I built this Orchidarium in the early spring of 2017, I purchased a Jungle Hobbies’ Advanced LED Lighting System to provide the lighting for this enclosure.
Jungle Hobbies Advanced LED Lighting System Problems
One of the most irritating things about the set up of this Orchidarium, was the loud noise that this Orchidarium’s Jungle Hobbies Advanced LED Lighting System’s fan made. The average temperature of the room where this Orchidarium is housed is 19C (66F), which meant that the Jungle Hobbies Advanced LED Lighting System’s fan was in regular operation while these lights were turned on. The Jungle Hobbies’ light’s fan was activated at least every 20 minutes, sometimes every five minutes, to cool the lights during the winter and more often in summer. The Jungle Hobbies Advanced LED Lighting System’s fan was far noisier than the combined noise from all of the fans that are housed inside all of my other terrariums put together!
LED Lighting Schedule
Since I set this Orchidarium up in the early part of 2017, this Orchidarium’s LED lights have turned on at 8.30am and turned off at 10pm. Some of my other terrariums have light schedules that change to give different lighting for different seasons, but this Orchidarium’s lighting schedule has remained the same all through the year.
Accidentally Leaving the LED Lights Off
At around 9pm, on the evening of Wednesday 19th September 2018, I turned the lights off inside this Orchidarium. I had intended to turn the light off for a period of around five minutes or so, at most, and then turn the light back on again, but I was interrupted and my focus was distracted. The result was that I ended up leaving the Orchidarium’s lights turned off, until long past 10pm – the time when the light inside the Orchidarium would have automatically turned off. I rarely turn this Orchidarium’s lights off, so when I came back into the room and saw the lights off, I didn’t notice that anything was amiss, as I expected the Orchidarium’s lights to be off at this time, as it was later than 10pm. So, unfortunately during the following day – the daytime of Thursday 20th September 2018, the Jungle Hobbies’ LED lights were off and the plants inside this Orchidarium only received the natural daylight that this Orchidarium’s room receives, which is very, very low light – you would need to turn on a light to read.
I realised my mistake on the evening of Thursday the 20th September 2018 – by 8pm the lights were on and turned back onto their automated setting. However, this period of lower than expected light, negatively affected the plants, I noticed on Thursday 20th September 2018 that both the Phalaenopsis taenialis and Phalaenopsis deliciosa var. alba, specimens that reside inside this Orchidarium had all aborted their flower buds. While a number of the Phalaenopsis plants, namely Phalaenopsis deliciosa, were displaying yellow leaves. This error was entirely my fault – this was unrelated to the other problems I have experienced with this Jungle Hobbies LED lighting system.
New Skylight PRO RP LED Lights
If I had the chance to start over and create this Orchidarium again, or the opportunity to set up another terrarium, I would not purchase these Jungle Hobbies lights again, as the fan noise for these lights is just too annoying. Thankfully, I have been delighted with the lighting system that I purchased for my Rainforest Terrarium. Due to the noise of this Jungle Hobbies’ lights’ fan, I was contemplating either dismantling this Orchidarium and moving this enclosure into another room, one which is used less often, or selling my Jungle Hobbies’ LED lights. In March 2019, I finally had enough and I replaced my Jungle Hobbies lights with a new set of Skylight PRO RP LED lights. My new Skylight PRO RP LED lights were set up and installed, on the evening of 8th March 2019.
Skylight LED Lights Temporary Glitch
On the 2nd September 2019, I noticed that my Orchidarium lights had not turned on automatically. Unfortunately, I only realised that this Orchidarium’s LED lights had not turned on, sometime after 3pm; so my plants had been in semi darkness for over 7 hours – when they should have been in light. Some of my orchid species are very sensitive. Experiencing a dramatic change in growing conditions such as this, can cause these plants to abort their flowers or trigger a plant’s health to decline.
I don’t know the cause of this glitch with this terrarium’s automated lighting, I suspect that it is related to the internet system I have set up to trigger my Orchidarium’s lights to operate automatically. Although my Rainforest Terrarium and my other terrariums that I have set up to operate automatically in a similar way were unaffected – their lights all operated successfully.
Orchidarium Planting List and Orchid Nurseries
I currently have the following plants growing inside this Orchidarium:
- Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta
- Barbosella dusenii
- Chiloschista lunifera
- Deinostigma tamiana
- Dendrobium moniliforme
- Dinema polybulbon
- Humata heterophylla
- Humata repens
- Leptotes bicolor
- Leptotes unicolor
- Masdevallia decumana
- Oncidium hians
- Pellaea rotundifolia
- Phalaenopsis appendiculata
- Phalaenopsis celebensis
- Phalaenopsis deliciosa
- Phalaenopsis deliciosa var. alba
- Phalaenopsis finleyi
- Phalaenopsis honghenensis
- Phalaenopsis lobbii
- Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia
- Phalaenopsis lowii
- Phalaenopsis malipoensis
- Phalaenopsis micholitzii
- Phalaenopsis parishii
- Phalaenopsis parishii alba
- Phalaenopsis stobartiana
- Phalaenopsis taenialis
- Phalaenopsis thailandica
- Phalaenopsis wilsonii
- Pinguicula hybrid
- Restrepia citrina
- Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’
- Restrepia sanguinea
- Restrepia seketii
- Schoenorchis fragrans
- Schoenorchis scolopendria
- Schoenorchis seidenfadenii
- Schoenorchis tixieri
- Stelis muscifera
The Orchidarium Planting List includes information on each of the plants that have been grown inside this Orchidarium – you can click on a plant to see links to every article I have written about that particular plant species. I have also listed all of the nurseries and suppliers that I used to purchase all of my plants, mosses, and cork for this Orchidarium, at the bottom of this planting list. You can see the full planting list for this Orchidarium here.
To discover how the Phalaenopsis orchids inside this Orchidarium grew and developed from August 2018 to September 2019, please click here.
To discover how the ferns, terrarium plants, and the other orchids inside this Orchidarium grew and developed from August 2018 to September 2019, please click here.
To see the next update on the equipment inside my Orchidarium, please click here.
To see every article that relates to my Orchidarium, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you…………..
To see a much longer planting list that features orchids, ferns, and other plants, that can be grown inside bottle gardens and terrariums, please click here.
To see how my Orchidarium was built, please click here.
To see how my Rainforest Terrarium was set up, please click here.
To see my Madagascar Terrarium after it was first set up, please click here.