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Really, really, really, really, really, really...

  • Thread starter monkeyman
  • Start date
Can anyone give me directions on how to build an
indoor greenhouse/wardian case/orchidarium?
What supplies do I need? Where can I get them?

Hi Mike, I'm building a new lowland terrarium this week since I have the week off from work. I will photograph each step and post the instructions on my homepage (jurassic-gardens.com).

I'm building an enclosure that will be 6 or 8 feet long 6 or 7 feet high and 4 feet deep ( must buy the same amount of materials for either the smaller or larger size 20 2x4s, 5  8ft x 4ft fiberglass panels, possibly plywood panels on bottom and back for extra support-the thickest fiberglass panels don't need the extra support but it is the most costly panels and hardest to cut. It will have a two panel sliding shower door for access instead of the storm window I used on my DIY highland tank. I brought the shower door home last night it's 5 feet high x 5 feet wide. Menards hardware store has this sliding door for $40.

It's a fairly easy process. Using 2 x 2s or 2 x 4s build a frame the size of the tank you want then cover the sides bottom and back with fiberglass tub & shower wall material (which is of course waterproof) then use waterproof caulk (or clear silicone) in all places where the wood and fiberglass meet to seal it up tight.  Attach the style of access window or door that you desire and seal the meeting edges of that up with caulk then attach a sheet of plexiglass ontop and place your lights ontop, voila! A growing chamber! It's easier if you can see it illustrated with photos, but if you have a powerdrill,  jig saw and a weekend you can build an indoor greenhouse no sweat.
Ok, you will sweat! It's work but actually rewarding work!  

PS don't forget that you will need to build some shelves/stackable benches to set your plants on and remove levels as they grow. I'll show you how to do that too.

Instead of wood, you can go a cheaper route and use PVC piping(which also has three-way connectors for the corners) and then use rolled plastic or mylar for the "walls". The PVC should be at Home Depot, Lowe's or the equivalent.


Thanks guys, I searched everywhere and and couldn't find anything.

I used cheap 2x4s and plastic. its ugly but it's in the basement. Very cheap.

Don't I need extra stuff?

hi / lo thermometer
It depends upon what you are growing.
My highland chamber has a humidifier and fan (and an air conditioner in summer to get the 50*F night time temps when it's 85*F outside) to keep temps down and humidity up (both devices are attached to humiditstat and thermometer) but for my lowland tank I'll use a water pump in a tub of water in the bottom of teh tank under the benches and beneath the entire terrarium enclosure I will have aquarium heat mats which will raise the temps in the tank to the 90s during the day and go off when the lights go out so the temps will drop to the 70s at night.
Looks like I'm gonna end up[ "cheating" on this one because I went to buy the wood and paneling and there was a full molded tub & shower with a tiny blemish in the finish marked down from $220 to only $75 so I ended up buying that instead of the materials to DIY cos this was prebuilt all I had to do was lug it up the stairs, take the door off and bring it in. I will still put some kind of decorative paneling on the outside so I don't have what looks like a bathtub full of plants in the living room!