An update on the LED Lights, Misting Unit, & Equipment inside my Tall Orchidarium

Tall Orchidarium equipment update

Welcome to the first update for my Tall Orchidarium!  I set up my Tall Orchidarium in November 2019.  This update reveals how the equipment inside my Tall Orchidarium has performed over the past 15 months (from November 2019 until February 2021).

If you would like to find out how the Angraecum and Aerangis species I’m growing inside my Tall Orchidarium grew from November 2019 to March 2021, please click here.

To discover how the Phalaenopsis species and the other orchids I’m growing inside my Tall Orchidarium developed from November 2019 to May 2021, please click here.

To see every article I’ve written about my Tall Orchidarium, please click here.

Here’s my Tall Orchidarium on the 1st January 2020. I am mostly growing Aerangis, Angraecum, and Phalaenopsis species inside this enclosure.

Custom build Tall Orchidarium, made by Custom Aquaria

I commissioned Matthew, from Custom Aquaria, to build my Tall Orchidarium for me.  I am absolutely delighted with the quality and finish of this new enclosure!  I am thrilled with my Tall Orchidarium!  Over the past year and a quarter, this enclosure and set up has been working exceptionally well for my orchids.  If you’d like to see my Tall Orchidarium being set up for the first time and discover more about this build, design, and set up, please click here.

Tall Orchidarium equipment

When I set up my Tall Orchidarium in November 2019, I used the following equipment:

  • A custom built Tall Orchidarium from Custom Aquaria measuring 140cm (4.6ft) tall, 95cm (3.2ft) wide, and 43cm (1.4ft) deep; constructed from low iron, toughened safety glass. 
  • A 3mm (0.1 inch) thick piece of rubber matting, cut to 105cm (3.4ft) by 47cm (1.6ft).
  • Two sets of Skylight Pro RP LED lights.
  • One set of Skylight Opti V55 LED lights.
  • A time switch for the lighting system.
  • An extension cable to power my Tall Orchidarium’s lights.
  • Enough CANNA Aqua Clay Leca balls to create a layer at the base of the Tall Orchidarium that measures 6-7cm (2.4-2.8 inch) deep.
  • Two short sections of plastic tubing cut to size.
  • Sufficient weed suppressant membrane to cover the base of the terrarium twice over, with enough extra material to form a lip around the outer edge.
  • MistKing Starter Misting System v4.0 with a ZipDrip Valve, and one extra single and double misting nozzle.
  • Two AC Infinity Multifan S1 80mm USB powered fans, for external air circulation.
  • One 8cm (3.2in) internal fan to circulate the air inside the Tall Orchidarium.
  • Inkbird IHC-200UK Dual Relays Plug Digital Humidity Controller/Hygrometer.
  • A large black bucket with a lid.
  • 45mm Suction Cup Wall Hooks.
  • Zip ties for organising the cables and tubing.
  • A selection of orchids, moss, and cork: please see my Tall Orchidarium Planting List for more details about these plants and information about the nurseries where I purchased my plants and materials.

Inside my Tall Orchidarium, I am growing miniature and small sized orchids, including plants from the National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis Species and National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum Species.  I’ve introduced some new plants to this enclosure after dismantling the planting from my BiOrbAir terrariums.

I’ve not added any new equipment to my Tall Orchidarium since this enclosure was set up in November 2019.

My Tall Orchidarium, as pictured on the 27th December 2020.

Tall Orchidarium misting unit

This picture shows one of my AC Infinity external fans, the one internal fan I have inside my Tall Orchidarium, and one of the nozzles for my MistKing misting unit.

I adjust the automated misting times inside my terrariums on occasion, depending on the health of the orchids, the humidity levels inside each enclosure, the temperature and other growing conditions.  On the 10th January 2021, the MistKing misting unit inside my Tall Orchidarium was set to operate every day to deliver a fine spray of water over my plants at:

  • 8am for 10 seconds
  • 10am for 10 seconds
  • 12am for 10 seconds
  • 2pm for 10 seconds
  • 3pm for 10 seconds

Water for orchids

I use a bucket as a reservoir for my MistKing misting unit.  The bucket is regularly filled up with rainwater (from a 400L collection tank) which I filter to remove any particles.  It’s necessary to filter the rainwater to prevent any risk of blocking the nozzles in my MistKing misting unit with any particles that are present in the water.

If for any reason I run out of rainwater, I have a reverse osmosis (RO) system which provides better quality water for my orchids.  I never use tap water to water orchids, as I find it detrimental for these plants.

Today I tested the purity (parts-per-million Total Dissolved Solids) of my tap water, RO water, and rainwater.  The results were:

  • Tap water: 235ppm TDS
  • RO system: 185ppm TDS
  • Filtered rainwater: 11ppm TDS

I’ve found that my RO system is becoming less effective at improving my water quality over time – the filter units in it are probably due to be replaced.  However, even when they were brand new, the RO water measured 85ppm TDS, so the far superior purity of the rainwater is much better for my orchids.

My Tall Orchidarium, as pictured on the 27th December 2020.

Tall Orchidarium fans

Here’s a view of my other external AC Infinity fan and one of the nozzles for my MistKing misting unit.

I favour AC Infinity fans, as I’ve found they’re silent whilst in operation, something which I value greatly, as I really dislike hearing fan noise.  At the time when I set up my Tall Orchidarium, I was able to purchase two AC Infinity fans to use for this enclosure’s external fans, but I was unable to source an additional AC Infinity fan to use as an internal fan; accordingly I purchased another fan online, which I use as an internal fan – to circulate the air within the tank.  The internal fan I’ve used is audible, which is regrettable, as I find audible fan noise very intrusive.

The fan at the top of this picture is my AC Infinity external fan, which draws air out of my Tall Orchidarium. The fan below is my internal fan, which is in constant operation, circulating the air inside the tank. This is not an AC Infinity fan and unfortunately it makes an audible noise as it operates.

If I had been able to purchase any additional AC infinity fans when I was setting up this enclosure, I would have purchased two fans, but as the AC Infinity fans were out of stock everywhere and I had no choice but to purchase a fan with unknown qualities; I knew I was taking a chance on a fan that may or may not be audible, so I opted to just purchase one fan.  As the plants inside my Tall Orchidarium have been happy with the air circulation provided by this single fan, I have left things as they are.  This might be something I change in future, depending on the health of my plants.

The internal fan I am using is audible but it is working effectively to circulate the air inside my Tall Orchidarium.  When I can, I will replace the audible fan with an AC Infinity fan.

My Tall Orchidarium, as pictured on the 27th December 2020.

Tall Orchidarium lights

I’ve been delighted with the Skylight LED lights I’m using inside my Tall Orchidarium.  Inside this enclosure, I am using these LED lights:

I’ve not experienced any problems whatsoever with these Skylight LED lights, over the past 15 months.  The Skylight LED lights operate silently, which is something I savour!  I am also using Skylight lights inside my Orchidarium and my Rainforest Terrarium.

Tall Orchidarium humidity levels

This chart sows the minimum, maximum, and average humidity levels for my Tall Orchidarium over the past year. You can see the humidity drop during the peak of summer when the temperature rises, but otherwise it remains quite consistent through the year. Note that in the last few months the humidity shows as being over 100% RH; this may be an issue with the sensor recording the humidity. I haven’t validated if that setting is accurate – although I have increased the frequency of misting in the terrarium over the last few months, so that may account for it. The large drops in minimum humidity levels in March 2020, May 2020, and January 2021 indicate periods when I’ve carried out maintenance on the tank and/or plants, which requires having the doors taken off; this results in a significant but temporary drop in humidity.

Tall Orchidarium temperatures

I don’t use a heater inside my Tall Orchidarium; this enclosure is warmed by the central heating in my home.  My radiator is on a thermostat which turns the radiator on if temperatures fall too low.

This chart shows the minimum and maximum temperature in my Tall Orchidarium over the last 12 months. You can see that the temperature is quite consistent, except for a spike during a particularly hot spell in the summer, and a slight reduction in temperature through the winter months (dropping to around 16C).

To see how the Aerangis and Angraecum orchids inside my Tall Orchidarium grew and developed from November 2019 to March 2021, please click here.

To see all of the articles I’ve written about my Tall Orchidarium, please click here.

Other articles that may interest you………..

For more articles about automated plant care, please click here.

To see more articles about terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

To see all of my articles about LED lights for terrariums, please click here.

To see all of my articles about misting units for terrariums, please click here.

To see all of my articles about terrarium fans, please click here.

Other articles you might like:

One thought on “An update on the LED Lights, Misting Unit, & Equipment inside my Tall Orchidarium

  1. Malcolm Storey

    February 19, 2021 at 3:50pm

    You just prompted me to retest my water:
    Tap water: 235ppm TDS (I get 190ppm – Bournemouth Water say it’s 270ppm)
    RO system: 185ppm TDS (I get 6ppm)
    Filtered rainwater: 11ppm TDS (I get 25ppm but it’s not filtered.)

    There’s definitely something wrong with your RO system! There’s said to be an ajustment tap whereby you can decrease the purity and reduce the amount of water wasted. Perhaps you’ve accidentally knocked this? (If you’ve got the same model as me, there will be a blue tap. Mine is aligned at 90 degs to the pipe. Not sure if this is the tap in question, but I can’t see any other)

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      February 19, 2021 at 4:05pm

      Hi Malcolm,

      It’s interesting to see your water quality. Thanks for your tips for the RO system. I’ve had problems with my RO system since it was installed; the quality of the water it delivers continues to diminish over time. I’m not focussing on fixing my RO system, as I am happy using rainwater. I live in an area that has very hard water, which may contribute to the problem.

      I hope this message finds you safe and well.

      Best wishes
      Beth

  2. Roy Thompson

    February 21, 2021 at 1:03pm

    I have 650+ ppm TDS tap water (horribly hard) and after RO it’s 0 (yes ZERO!) when the filters and RO membrane new and rises to about 15/20ppm over the course of a year when I change filters (15€), and 18/24 months for the membrane (25€). It’s a cheap 70€ RO unit from the DIY store so it’s not that. I suggest your TDS meter or RO unit is not working properly.

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      February 21, 2021 at 1:13pm

      Hello Roy,

      How wonderful that your RO water is 0; that’s great! Unfortunately my RO unit hasn’t ever worked as well as I hoped and this unit is becoming less and less effective; the fault is definitely within the unit. I have regularly changed the filters and membranes, which does reduce the ppm a little but not anywhere near as low as the ppm in my rainwater. I am so impressed with how effective your RO system is!

      I am very happy using rainwater for my plants; so I’m not investing any energy in repairing or replacing the unit.

      Best wishes
      Beth

  3. Roy Thompson

    February 21, 2021 at 5:44pm

    You are very lucky that you have rainwater then. Where I live rainfall is too sporadic. It’s not that it doesn’t rain much, but it’s unreliable. Not only that, the rain today was contaminated by dust in suspension as well, making it very muddy.
    Love your webpage, keep up the great work, it’s a source of both inspiration and highly useful information. Big thanks!

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      February 21, 2021 at 11:12pm

      Thank you, Roy. I am so happy that you find my writing useful and inspiring. I really appreciate your kind words.

      Here in the UK, we enjoy a fair amount of rain. I have had a large tank installed to hold the rainwater I’ve collected, which will allow me to supply my plants with water during times of drought. I expect during the spring and summertime I may have to be a little more careful with my water use, as I have a lot of plants, but during the autumn and winter months I have plenty of chances to collect rainwater.

      I am sorry that your rain today was muddy. I hope you enjoy a beautifully clear rain shower soon.

      I hope this message finds you safe and well.

      Warmest wishes
      Beth

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