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Hi there, long time lurker new time member. live in Alabama around the Gulf Coast and Birmingham areas. Going to school for Elec engineering. Growing Many Drosera, Sarracenia, and Dionaea. I currently have a 10 gallon aquarium converted to a terrarium. I currently have two issues at hand. Lighting and temp control.

1. Lighting- The plants in the terrarium require 900-1100 foot candles of light and I'm trying to Squeeze this into the aforementioned 10 gallon terrarium. The plan is to use 2 of the Fulham Workhorse 5 ballasts to power 8 F15T8 flourescent lights. 4 of the lights are along the bluer end of the spectrum and produce 700 lumens each, and the other 4 are on the red end of the spectrum which produce 595 lumens each. Giving a grand total of 5180 lumens. The lights will be approximately 5-7 inches away from the plants, and the surface area is approximately a square foot. My question is, is this enough lighting?

2. Temp. Control- The plan would be to place in the terrarium, a mechanical thermostat, that turns on a fan essentially keeping the area cool. Using a mechanical thermostat would save on electricity simply because of the way a mechincal thermostat works, (it reaches a target tempurate and closes a circuit) turning on the fan until the area is back to normal temp. My concern would be that condensation and bare wiring do not mix, so would this work? Or would a digital thermostat work better? Need some feedback quick, plants are getting leggy and droseras are not producing dew and are greenish. If you know of a better way and some products please post in reply if it's not to much to ask. Travis Teal
Welcome to TF! I'll let the experts answer these questions. This is my terrarium:


...and the results thereof:

What about, if you used a mechanical thermostat similar to what is used in an aquarium heater? Water resistant (you can't submerge the tops of them, they stick out) and functions the same way, when the water hits a certain temperature, the heater kicks on until it reaches the target temp (for mine it was 82F). I bet you could create something to run your fan using an aquarium heater thermostat and say a CPU fan from a PC. Just an idea, as I am not good with electrical, but it seems that it might work. Also, the inside of aquarium heaters tend to get condensation inside, so there must be something that protects the inner wiring.

Your lumens are a little low, 10k or more is what I've been told. I'm using a HPS bulb that puts out over 20k at 24 inches from my plants (I think it's a bit too close to be honest) but the problem there is the heat - which wouldn't work for a 10 gal aquarium. Also, HPS is the wrong spectrum really, but the Metal Halide (blue light) bulbs have half the life of the HPS (red) and reduced lumens (but still in the 20k region).
Have you considered the CFL's? You might be able to create something that would fit that small of an aquarium better with more lumens, but I'm not entirely sure.

This is my lighting set up, 250w HPS, approx. 24 inches from plants - cost to run 12 hours a day $15/month (approx.):
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Jim scoot what numbers are you running? What kind of bulbs and lumens? Ill post a pic of the setup. Im into naturalistic looking setups. Yours looks like its not pulling much power but will optimal results, Im definitely impressed. Travis.
Ash, $25 seems high. Perhaps you want to invest in different lights... My entire setup runs for about $200 a year, and that has six threefoot T5s plus fans.
That's what I estimated, I may be off - I'll know when I get my next bill for sure.

However, National Grid has some of the most expensive by the kWh power I've ever seen. My last bill was for $106.88 (electric usage only, I have gas on the same bill but I"ve already deducted that total bill was like $146 something) which was for 29 days - we used 707 kWh in those 29 days. This was prior to new lighting system.
So I figured it at $0.15/kWh.

ETA: Yes my math is wrong (not a surprise) It's about $.45 to run it for 12 hours a day. So, round up to .50 (lets face it with taxes and fees and such) and $15 to run for 30 days, not $25. So yearly, about $180 (give or take due to 31 days or February).
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