An update on the LED Lights, Misting Unit, & Equipment, inside my Orchidarium (part five)

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

Just over four and a half years ago (back in February 2017), I decided to build an Orchidarium to house some of my miniature orchids and supply my plants with automatic lighting, misting, and air circulation.  Inside my Orchidarium, the 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 fifth edition of my Orchidarium Update into three parts, each part focuses on a different aspect of this Orchidarium.  In this particular 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 from September 2019 to September 2021.

Discover how the Phalaenopsis orchids inside this Orchidarium have grown from September 2019 to June 2021, in a dedicated Phalaenopsis update that focuses entirely on the Phalaenopsis species that reside inside this enclosure.

If you’re interested in my Orchidarium, you’ll find every single article I’ve written about this Orchidarium, listed here.

Orchidarium Set Up

This Orchidarium is planted with ferns, mosses, and orchids.

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, an Inkbird hygrometer, AC Infinity fans, and Skylight LED grow lights, which all operate automatically (programmed using timers) to provide my plants with light, water, regulated humidity levels, and air circulation.

Orchidarium Misting Unit

Jungle Hobbies’ MistKing 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 has been both reliable and effective.  The misting unit works well with the 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 and my Tall Orchidarium.

Water for my Orchidarium’s Misting system

A look at the nozzles for the MistKing Misting Unit I’m using inside my Orchidarium. Pictured on the 2nd September 2021.

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 rainwater at regular intervals.  All of the plants inside this Orchidarium are misted with filtered rainwater, which I’ve collected from my roof.

The reason I use rainwater is that rainwater doesn’t have the salts that you find in tap water, so it’s much better for the plants.  Reverse osmosis water is also purer with fewer particles that tap water, but I’ve found that my rainwater is purer than the water from my reverse osmosis system.  I’m also not keen on transporting water around the country and I would rather use rainwater anyway.

It’s important to use pure water as this is more beneficial for the orchids, but also water with fewer particles is less likely to clog up or cause blockages in my misting unit tubes or misting nozzles.

Orchidarium Automated Misting Settings

On the 3rd September 2019, I changed the automated misting schedule to reflect the arrival of autumn; from then on the orchids inside my Orchidarium were automatically misted at:

  • 8.30am every morning for 45 seconds
  • 12 noon every midday for 15 seconds

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.

On the 10th January 2021, the misting unit was set to operate at:

  • 8am for 10 seconds
  • 9am for 10 seconds
  • 11am for 10 seconds
  • 1pm for 10 seconds
  • 3pm for 10 seconds

From time to time, the orchids inside my Orchidarium are hand-misted in addition to the regular daily misting.  Some orchid species require additional misting when they’re in bud; hand-misting helps to support these plants while they’re busy producing flowers.

Inkbird Hygrometer

This image shows one of my MistKing Misting Unit’s nozzles and the humidity sensor for my hygrometer. Pictured on the 2nd September 2021.

I use an Inkbird Hygrometer to control the external fan in the Orchidarium.  The sensor detects when the humidity levels rise above 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 levels fall 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.

I bought my Inkbird Hygrometer in 2017, back when I set up my Orchidarium for the first time.  By the start of April 2021, this product developed a fault and began to emit its loud ear-piercing alarm, regardless of the humidity levels inside this tank, so I removed this Hygrometer from the Orchidarium.

I can’t always purchase everything I need right away and there was a short delay of a few months before I was able to get a replacement.  I purchased a replacement Inkbird Hygrometer, which was installed inside my Orchidarium on the 29th June 2021.

Orchidarium Humidity Levels

This chart shows the minimum, maximum, and average humidity levels I’ve recorded inside my Orchidarium since September 2019. You can see a couple of places where the sensor tags didn’t report data properly, which throws the graph into disarray for some periods. But in general, the data collection has been reasonably consistent.

Orchidarium Temperatures

This chart shows the Orchidarium’s minimum and maximum temperatures since September 2019.

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 created 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.  My Jungle Hobbies’ light’s fan was activated at least every 20 minutes, sometimes every five minutes, to cool the lights during the wintertime and more often in summer.  My Jungle Hobbies Advanced LED Lighting System’s fan was far noisier than the combined noise from all of the fans and equipment that’s housed inside all of my other terrariums put together!

New Skylight LED Lights

I would not purchase the 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.  In March 2019, I finally had enough and I replaced my Jungle Hobbies lights with a new set of Skylight LED lights.  My new Skylight LED lights were set up and installed, on the evening of 8th March 2019.

A look at the Skylight LED Lights I’m using inside my Orchidarium. Pictured on the 2nd September 2021.

My Skylight LED lights are silent and work well – I’ve not experienced any problems with these lights in the two and a half years I’ve been using these Skylight lights.

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 throughout the year.

Orchidarium LED Light Problems

On the 9th January 2021, my Orchidarium’s LED lights turned off in the daytime, when they should have been operational.  I turned the lights back on again, but within an hour the lights had turned off again.  The lights weren’t hot and there was no obvious reason for the lights to have turned off.  On rare occasions, this has happened before – with the lights turning themselves off, but in the past they have remained on when switched back on again.

On both the 16th, 17th, and 18th January 2021, I experienced multiple problems with my Orchidarium’s Skylight LED lights turning off randomly.  Each time the lights turned off they were switched back on again, as thankfully I was in the room when each of these errors occurred.  However, every time I turned the lights back on again, the LED lights simply turned themselves off again!

On the 16th January 2021, I decided to leave the lights off for ten minutes before turning them back on again and this seemed to fix the problem; however my satisfaction was short lived, as these lights exhibited the exact same problems the following day.  On the 17th January 2021, when the same problem occurred, after switching the lights on again and watching them turn off again, I allowed a prolonged delay of around 15 minutes before turning the lights back on again, which provided me with another very short term fix.

However, on the 18th January 2021, when I removed the timer switch that was automatically turning the Orchidarium’s lights on in the morning and off again at night, my lights remained on without any problems.  The problems I experienced with my Orchidarium’s LED lights were all caused by an older timer; this problem was resolved as soon as the timer was replaced.

Other Orchidarium Equipment Problems

Orchidarium Fan Problems

This image shows my Orchidarium’s new AC Infinity fan and the sensor for my Wireless Sensor Tag. Pictured on the 2nd September 2021.

On Wednesday 21st April 2021, I realised that one of my Orchidarium’s AC Infinity internal fans had stopped working.  I purchased a new AC Infinity fan, which was installed on Thursday 22nd April 2021 – this just took a few moments to be added.

Misting Unit Leaks

This year, I had a bit of a disaster with the misting system in my Orchidarium.  Earlier this year, we redecorated the room that houses my Orchidarium; the chest of drawers that my Orchidarium sits upon needed to be moved away from the wall to allow for the painting.  Unbeknown to my husband at the time, when he moved the drawers back against the wall, he must have caught one of the pipes that runs from the pump and reservoir bucket to the misting nozzles.  This all passed under my radar and nothing seemed to be wrong at first, but in July 2021, I noticed that the water in my Orchidarium’s reservoir bucket was being used much more rapidly than expected, and upon investigation I discovered that one of the pipes had split and was spraying water out at the back of the unit each time the misting ran (several times a day!).  This incident resulted in a large puddle forming under the furniture; thankfully the water didn’t get into the electrics that control the lights and the pump/fans, so there was no significant damage caused.  I was able to replace the piece of damaged pipe with a spare off-cut of tubing I had left over from when I set up my Tall Terrarium, which fixed the problem!

Data Collection Problems

I’ve also had some issues with consistency and reliability of the Wireless Sensor Tags that I use to monitor the temperature and humidity inside many of my terrariums.  When I first set the Wireless Sensor Tags up, the CR2032 batteries would last 6-12 months, sometimes longer, with the tags set to record the temperature and humidity every 15 minutes.
However, this year, the CR2032 batteries have not lasted longer than 3-4 months, and some batteries ran out more rapidly than this.  After some trial and error, I believe this may be due to the batteries I’ve been using; I think it’s possible there may be some fake/low quality batteries being sold on Amazon, and these may be giving poor results in terms of power and longevity.
I’m going to try and overcome this buy buying batteries from another supplier and see if things improve.  Changing the batteries over for 10-15 Wireless Sensor Tags every few weeks is an extremely dull chore!

Orchidarium Planting List and Orchid Nurseries

My Orchidarium Planting List includes information on each of the plants that have been grown inside this Orchidarium.  Click on a plant to see links to every article I have written about that particular plant species and follow plants through their growth and development to discover more about them. 

I have 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 September 2019 to June 2021, please click here.

To see all of my articles I’ve written about 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.

For articles about terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

To see the build for my Tall Orchidarium, please click here.

To see how my Orchidarium was built, please click here.

To see every article that relates to my Orchidarium, 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.

Other articles you might like:

One thought on “An update on the LED Lights, Misting Unit, & Equipment, inside my Orchidarium (part five)

  1. Laura Urban

    November 7, 2021 at 2:04pm

    Hi. First let me tell you I LOVE your blog. It has been super helpful while I’ve been working on my terrariums the last couple years.
    But my question is, I was trying to figure out a light schedule that would allow for different blooming seasons but still provide sufficient light. I saw you reference that type of lighting schedule but I have been unable to find any posts that are more specific. Could you maybe point me in the right direction, if you do have a post referencing this?
    Thank you, Laura

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      November 7, 2021 at 2:50pm

      Hi Laura

      Thanks for your message. I’m so glad that you enjoy reading my blog. To answer your question on lighting, it all depends on the plant – some plants want to experience brighter light than others – just moving a plant nearer the light can induce flowering – you don’t always have to increase the time the lights operate. Changes in daytime and night time temperatures, and changes in misting will encourage many orchids to flower, while there are other orchid species that need continuous year round conditions that don’t change.

      To create different seasons, look at where your plant’s natural habitat is in the wild and then strive to create similar conditions in your terrarium. In the wild, seasons can be drier, wetter, colder or hotter, as well as changes in sunlight. Some of my terrariums’ LED lights operate on a fixed schedule that doesn’t change at all and the plants are very happy. I’ve used other terrariums to create changing seasons and shorter times when the lights operate and this hasn’t always been as beneficial for my plants as I hoped!

      My Orchidarium lights turn on at 8.30am and turn off at 10.15pm, every day.

      I hope this helps you.

      Best wishes

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