Trialling the new BiOrb AIR 30
I was very excited when BiOrb contacted me to see if I was interested in trialling their new BiOrb AIR 30. This is a smaller sized terrarium than the BiOrb AIRs you’ve seen in my earlier BiOrb AIR Trials (see my Miniature Orchid BiOrb AIR Trial, my White Orchid BiOrb AIR Trial, my Madagascar BiOrb AIR Trial, and my Long-term BiOrb AIR Trial). The older BiOrb AIRs I previously trialled are larger in size than the new BiOrb AIR 30 that I’m writing about today. The bigger BiOrb AIR is now known as the BiOrb AIR 60. I’ve not seen a current BiOrb AIR 60 yet, but I am very excited indeed to tell you about my new BiOrb AIR 30!
- BiOrb sent me this BiOrb AIR 30 in exchange for an honest review and feedback on their product.
- I chose my own plants and suppliers and I paid for all of the plants I’ve trialled inside my BiOrb AIR 30.
- I’ve never received a payment from BiOrb or Oase.
- I have not been told to say anything specific about this terrarium – this post was written by me in my own words, expressing my own personal thoughts and feelings.
- I received one new BiOrb AIR 30 in a box that’s exactly the same as customers receive when they order this terrarium online or in store.
- I don’t receive any commission from BiOrb or Oase (or any other company).
- Whether all of my readers choose to buy a BiOrb AIR 30 or none of you buy one, my personal finances are unaffected.
- I don’t hold any shares or have any financial interest in BiOrb or Oase.
- I don’t work for BiOrb or Oase.
- I’ve been trialling BiOrb AIR terrariums for over 9 years. I have never received any payment from BiOrb or Oase.
- None of my family or friends work for BiOrb or Oase.
- I am simply passionate about terrariums and terrarium plants, and I enjoy thoroughly trialling plants and products.
What’s included inside the BiOrb AIR 30 box?
- 1 x BiOrb AIR 30 acrylic terrarium with base reservoir and LED lighting
- 1 x misting module
- 1 x coir compost block (for growing traditional terrarium plants)
- 1 x bag of arid substrate (for growing cacti and succulents)
- 1 x planting tray
- 1 x capillary matting
- 1 x carbon filter cartridge
- 1 x remote control with AAA batteries
- 1 x bottle of Humidimist with spray nozzle
- 1 x 24V transformer
- 1 x mini bellows
- instruction manual
Everything you need to set up your BiOrb AIR 30 is included inside the box; the only thing you need to do is purchase the plants for your terrarium. Check out my Planting List for Terrariums and Bottle Gardens for ideas of stunning plants that will thrive inside your enclosure.
Differences between the BiOrb AIR 30 and my older BiOrb AIR terrariums
What size is the BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium?
The obvious difference between the BiOrb AIR 30 and the older BiOrb AIR terrariums that you can see in my earlier terrarium trials is the BiOrb AIR 30’s smaller size – this terrarium holds 30L. The original, larger sized BiOrb AIR is now known as the BiOrb AIR 60 – because it holds 60L.
- The BiOrb AIR 30 measures 47cm (just over 1.5ft) tall and 38cm (just over 1.2ft) wide.
- The opening or entrance to this terrarium with the mister in place measures 8cm (3.1 inches) by 6cm (2.3 inches).
- With the BiOrb AIR 30’s misting unit lid removed the opening is a little wider at 9cm (3.5 inches) by 6cm (2.3 inches).
- The diameter of the BiOrb AIR 30’s opening with the entire misting unit removed measures 15cm (5.9 inches) diameter.
How large is the access for planting the BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium?
Owners of BiOrb AIR 30 terrariums enjoy a 15cm (5.9 inches) diameter entrance at the top of the globe where they can introduce plants and decorations to their terrarium. This diameter is the size of the space for hand or tool access; the opening at 15cm diameter is the total manoeuvrability you have for arm and hand access to plant the BiOrb AIR 30. This is wider than the access and entry point for many of the bottle gardens and terrariums I’ve had over the years and the entry point allowed me to plant my BiOrb AIR 30 by hand.
I’ve not seen a new BiOrb AIR 60 yet, but I’m sure my old BiOrb AIR terrarium is the same size. My old BiOrb AIR has an entrance that measures 7.5cm (3 inches) by 15cm (5.9 inches) with the misting unit in place; with the misting unit removed my old BiOrb AIR’s opening measures 17cm (6.7 inches) in diameter – so there is just a fraction more wiggle room for adding plants and planting up these larger terrariums.
BiOrb AIR 30 remote control
The BiOrb AIR 30 comes complete with a remote control (and batteries) allowing you to more easily set up your BiOrb AIR 30 to provide optimum conditions for the plants growing inside your terrarium.
The earlier BiOrb AIR model had limited user interaction – which was mostly restricted to users pressing a button under the old BiOrb AIR model’s lid to trigger the terrarium’s lights to flash at different intervals to select the various humidity levels or fan speeds. Operating the older BiOrb AIR models sometimes made it difficult to adjust the settings for the terrarium’s humidity levels or fan speed, and it wasn’t easy to be absolutely certain of what setting you were operating your BiOrb AIR at, due to the need to interpret the flashes to understand the current state.
Unlike the older BiOrb AIR models, the new BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium comes with a remote control that makes it easy to adjust this terrarium’s settings. The functions on the remote control allow you to:
- Change the humidity setting to one of the three settings – desert, temperate, or tropical.
- Trigger the mister function.
- Adjust the brightness of the LED lights.
- Alter the length of the day/night cycle (the LED lights can be set to operate for 8, 10, 12, or 14 hours a day).
- Set the BiOrb AIR 30 to run in demo mode.
- Power the BiOrb AIR 30 on and off.
It’s fairly straight forward to follow the BiOrb AIR 30’s instructions and preselect your desired setting for your terrarium using the remote control. The BiOrb AIR flashes once to signify being set to arid mode with the lowest humidity level. There are two flashes to signify the BiOrb AIR terrarium has been preset to the temperate setting with medium humidity levels, and three flashes of the lights signify confirmation of the tropical setting with the highest humidity setting.
The BiOrb AIR 30 still has a physical button on the terrarium that you can operate to control the BiOrb AIR 30 should a situation arise where you’re unable to locate the remote or you run out of batteries.
NB: If no setting is selected within 5 minutes of the BiOrb AIR 30 being set up and in its ‘ready state’, the BiOrb AIR 30 will default to running the temperate setting – this is the middle setting and so is less likely to cause such a dramatic change in conditions for the plants growing inside the terrarium.
BiOrb AIR 30 LED lid indicator light
The BiOrb AIR 30 has a new coloured LED indicator on the top of the lid. The indicator has several functions:
- It flashes orange 5 times when the BiOrb AIR is turned on as it goes through a self-check, and then switches to green once the unit is ready.
- It flashes red if the plug isn’t inserted correctly into the lid or if something else isn’t correctly connected.
- It maintains a steady green light when the unit is operating normally.
Following short power cuts, my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium has retained the start time for its LED lights
The other significant difference that I’ve noticed is that the sunset/sunrise timer seems to have a battery backup. With my older BiOrb AIR models, if there was a power-cut or the unit was disconnected from the mains – even for just a moment – it would reset the 12-hour light cycle and start the LED lights to begin their sunrise (start) programme. This meant that if I suffered a power cut and the power came back on at 10pm, my older BiOrb AIR would reset itself and start in sunrise mode, meaning that the lights would begin their cycle and stay on through the night until 10am the next morning when the lights would turn off.
The old BiOrb AIR terrariums needed to be reset in the morning to ensure the 12-hour timer cycle ran from morning until evening. If you wanted to have the older BiOrb AIR’s lights run from 10am until 10pm then you needed to be at home with your BiOrb AIR at 10am to turn your terrarium on and start the 12-hour light cycle. With the earlier BiOrb AIR models it was a challenge if you endured regular power cuts but wanted your BiOrb AIR’s lights to run until 11pm at night – so you could enjoy your terrarium when you returned home from work. If you left the house at 7am to go to work and didn’t return again until after 8pm, it would be impossible to reset your BiOrb AIR to operate as desired unless you were at home (and also remembered) to turn the terrarium on at the right time.
I’ve had a number of very short power cuts since I got my new BiOrb AIR 30, yet the timer seems to have remained consistent and has run the pre-set day/light LED cycle with just a pause in operation while the power was off, but without needing to be reset to start the BiOrb AIR 30’s lighting at the desired start time. This is a massive improvement! I must emphasise that the power cuts I’ve had have been numerous, but they have only lasted for a few minutes at most. If I endure a longer power cut or my BiOrb AIR 30 needs to be reset following a short power cut, I will tell you all about it in a future update.
In the BiOrb AIR 30’s instruction booklet it advises to perform a master reset (by pressing and holding the power button on the remote control for 5 seconds or using the master reset button at the back of the BiOrb AIR 30 – under the rim of the lid) if the BiOrb AIR 30 is unplugged or without power for a week or more.
BiOrb AIR misting unit
The reservoir for the BiOrb AIR 30’s misting unit has a neater and improved design with an easier to fit cover – compared to the old BiOrb AIR terrariums.
When the humidity levels inside the BiOrb AIR 30 drop below the pre-set humidity range for the chosen climate setting (arid, temperate, and tropical) the terrarium’s misting unit will operate automatically sending out a fine mist of water vapour over the plants. There are three humidity settings to choose from:
- The arid setting (represented by an image of a cactus and two raindrops) has the lowest humidity levels and will trigger to operate the misting unit on fewer occasions than the other settings.
- The temperate setting (represented by two trees and four raindrops) offers higher humidity levels than the arid climate and is the middle humidity level, which is suited to temperate plants.
- The tropical setting (represented by a palm tree and eight raindrops) is the highest humidity level and will trigger the BiOrb AIR 30’s misting unit to operate more frequently. The tropical setting is ideal for humidity loving plants.
Like the earlier BiOrb AIR models, when the BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium’s misting unit is low in Humidimist and needs topping up, the terrarium’s lights will flash on and off to alert you, acting as a reminder to top up the reservoir for the misting unit. BiOrb recommend that you only use their Humidimist in the BiOrb AIR’s misting unit. Humidimist refills are available to purchase from BiOrb AIR’s website, as well as online and in selected stores.
How to water plants growing in the BiOrb AIR 30
The external water level indicator is a discrete feature which you’ll find at the base of the BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium. This clear tube will allow you to see at a glance how much water is in the BiOrb AIR 30’s base reservoir. There’s a marker at the side of the tube which shows the ideal water level for the reservoir.
If the water is below the recommended level on the BiOrb AIR 30’s water indicator, firstly – remove the BiOrb AIR’s misting until to give yourself the widest space to operate and then use a small jug or bottle to add water a little at a time. Pour the water carefully inside the BiOrb AIR, aiming towards the outside edge of the globe. The water will run down into the base reservoir below. The capillary matting will absorb the water from the base reservoir below and moisten the compost above. This provides an effective, automatic watering system for the plants growing inside the BiOrb AIR 30.
It’s better to be cautious when adding water and add no more than a cup full at a time, as you don’t want to add too much water and flood your plants. Check your BiOrb AIR 30’s water level indicator the day after watering and then top up again, if necessary. I find it easiest to use a small bottle to top up my BiOrb AIR’s base reservoir. Using a bottle makes it far easier to direct the water to the edge of the BiOrb AIR’s globe; whereas a glass or cup would be more difficult to manoeuvre and control.
How to remove excess water from the BiOrb AIR 30’s base reservoir
I intentionally poured too much water into my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium on the 10th October 2023. I must confess that I actually overwatered this terrarium to a greater degree than I expected – so do take care and add no more than a small glass of water at a time when you’re filling or re-filling the BiOrb AIR 30’s base reservoir.
It’s far better not to over-fill your BiOrb AIR 30’s base reservoir, but as I demonstrate here it is relatively easy to solve this issue should it arise by using the tube in water indicator to drain off the excess water into a bottle when the water can be tipped away.
BiOrb AIR 30 LED lights
The BiOrb AIR 30’s LED lights can be programmed to operate for 8, 10, 12, or 14 hours a day. It’s incredibly simple to do this – decide on your preference and press the corresponding number on your BiOrb AIR 30’s remote control. If you don’t register your preference the default setting is for the BiOrb AIR 30’s LED lights to operate for 12 hours a day. All of the day lengths begin with a sunrise and end with a sunset.
The colour temperature for the BiOrb AIR 30’s LED lights is 6500K and their brightness is 468 lumens. This terrarium produces a lovely light that’s very similar to sunlight.
How loud is the BiOrb AIR 30 while it’s operating?
I am a quiet soul. I intensely dislike the incessant whirring of terrarium fans. I don’t want to introduce any new products to my home that bring with them any irritating sounds. The first BiOrb AIR terrarium I got back in 2014 had a fan that was clearly audible if you were in the same room. The sound this older BiOrb AIR terrarium made was comparable with that of a laptop fan – the sound you hear when a laptop starts to over heat and the fan goes into over drive.
In 2017, BiOrb introduced a new BiOrb AIR with no audible sound that I could detect. I was absolutely thrilled with this upgrade for the BiOrb AIR, as the silent operation makes such a difference to my overall enjoyment of a terrarium.
I’m always eager to check for myself that any new terrariums are unobtrusive and quiet. When I put my ear up against the BiOrb AIR 30 and it’s plugged in and working and there are no other sounds in my home I can hear a very quiet and gentle ‘hum’. This is not a noise that you would normally notice – it’s only because I was so close to my BiOrb AIR 30 and listening that I could detect a sound. When I am in the same room as my new BiOrb AIR 30 I’ve never noticed the sound of this terrarium.
How does the BiOrb AIR 30 fit together?
When the BiOrb AIR 30 arrives in its box the LED lights and misting unit are all in place and your terrarium is ready for planting. I’ve taken the pictures below to demonstrate how everything inside the BiOrb AIR 30 fits together….
Planting my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium!
I planted up my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium on the 3rd August 2023. I’ve been reviewing this terrarium for a couple of months as I wanted to ensure that all the features were working effectively before I recommended this product. I will be running a proper trial of the BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium – so stay tuned for future updates!
The BiOrb AIR 30 comes with two types of compost – a bag of BiOrb AIR Earth Arid Mix for plants like succulents that thrive in arid growing conditions and a block of dried coir compost for plants that favour a moisture-retentive growing media.
I decided to plant traditional terrarium plants inside my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium – so I opted to use BiOrb’s coir compost. The BiOrb AIR Earth Arid Mix is ready to use from the bag and doesn’t require any pre-soaking; however, the coir compost is dried and will require soaking before use. Use a clean bucket (or trug) and unwrap the coir and pop your block of coir compost into the bucket. Add 1L of water if you plan to grow terrarium plants that aren’t especially thirsty or add 1.5L of water for plants that prefer more moisture in their soil. I added 1.5L of tap water to my coir block and left it to soak for half an hour.
When setting up your terrarium, remove the BiOrb AIR 30’s lid to give you the widest opening for adding the planting tray and your plants.
When deciding what plants to include in my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium, I chose terrarium plants that some of my readers have struggled with and sent me messages about. I’ve had so many messages from readers telling me that they have unintentionally killed Actiniopteris australis in a period from as little as two days to a week, so this was my number one choice of plant to include in the BiOrb AIR 30!
I’ve also had readers contact me because they have struggled with Selaginellas, and as Selaginella apoda was the species I found for sale at most garden centres I’ve planted one inside my BiOrb AIR 30.
I’ve not received quite as many enquiries about the other plants in this terrarium, but a number of readers have contacted me to say that their Pilea involucrata ‘Moon Valley’ plants only live for two or three weeks – so I’ve added a Pilea involucrata ‘Moon Valley’ and a Pilea cadierei ‘Ellen’s Silver’, which you might not have seen before. I planted the majority of the plants on the 3rd August 2023, but I added the Pilea cadieri ‘Ellen’s Silver’ and Asplenium fissum on the 27th September 2023.
If you’re wondering what to plant inside your terrarium or bottle garden, here’s a link to my planting list for terrariums, vivariums, and bottle gardens. If you want to find out more about the plants I’ve planted inside my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium, click here to see the planting list. If I add any more plants to this terrarium in future I will add them to this planting list.
I’ve got a lot of different types of terrariums inside my home, including bottle gardens and terrariums that are sealed and don’t require any misting whatsoever, as well as bottle gardens and terrariums filled with plants that must be misted by hand. Due to the number of terrariums and plants I have, hand misting is a time-consuming task.
None of the plants I’m currently growing inside my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium need hand misting – the BiOrb AIR 30’s misting unit provides the humid atmosphere these plants require, and all the water my plants need is available around the plants’ roots – thanks to the BiOrb AIR 30’s water reservoir. However, when my lovely husband has helped me with misting he has forgotten not to mist the BiOrb AIR 30 and has utterly soaked these plants, leaving my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium’s plants’ leaves weighed down with water for the entire day, on numerous occasions. This unnecessary soaking of the plants’ leaves will have been detrimental to most of the plants inside this enclosure, but they are all still alive at the moment!
I’ll let you know how the plants grow and how my BiOrb AIR 30 terrarium performs in my future updates…click here to see every article I’ve written about the BiOrb AIR 30.
If you want to purchase your own BiOrb AIR 30, here’s a link to BiOrb’s website.
If you’re interested in planting a terrarium or bottle garden, I hope my Planting List of Beautiful Vivarium, Terrarium, and Bottle Garden Plants will help you find some stunning plants.
More articles about terrariums, terrarium plants, houseplants, and indoor gardening……
To see my planting list of plants to grow inside a terrarium or bottle garden, please click here.
To view all of my articles about setting up terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
For more articles about terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To see my houseplant pages and view a wide range of plants to grow indoors, please click here.
For articles about houseplants, please click here.