Alright… finally a third report on the vivarium project. It is still a lot left to be done, I am still waiting for all the supplies from UK for one, but it is actually starting to feel like I am making some headway… This is what I have been up to the past two weeks. For starters dear husband and I spent about 3 hours (!) walking the aisles of Bauhaus (just like Home Depot, right down to the orange shelves – but German…) shopping for supplies for all the loose ends. I think we did quite well.

I wanted to install a floor inside the viv. that would not only raise the pots off the ground so they would not stand in water, but also would let water through and allow for better drainage. So I got some modular plastic flooring tiles used for patios and decks. They were pretty easy to assemble just by cutting to size with a hack saw and then locking the pieces together. I cut them just long enough so they would rest on the front and back aluminium frame, leaving a couple of centimeter airspace underneath. I used plastic plant saucers as center supports for extra stability. I will install a drain too, but that is coming from the UK…

Next, the cool air intake installation. We spent a long time in the bathroom supply aisle weighing our options. There are some really complicated contraptions out there, and they are nice and quiet, but also very expensive. So, we settled for a fairly simple model, that runs fairly quiet (at 33 dB) and wasn’t too expensive. Luckily I have one of those really old school vents in the orchid room. Basically just a square hole in the wall with a hatch you open by pulling a string. This vent was the perfect candidate for my cool air intake fan. We just removed the hatch and put the fan up in its place. Some plastic flex tubing will bring the cool air to the viv. at the other side of the room. Once the tubing went on the fan also ran even more quietly.

To give me something to mount the lights to, and to hide some of the equipment dear husband helped me build a wood frame for the top. Simple light weight construction, some L brackets to make the box and a few more attached along the sides so the frame could rest on the top of the aluminium frame with about a centimeter overhang. It fits beautifully and looks great. Next I put some rubber weatherstripping around the top frame, mainly to help hold the new top glass in place but also to create a weather seal. Easy and effective. The two glass sheets fit like a charm and will definitely stay put.

In preparation for the rain system installation and ventilation fans we put in two L shaped aluminum bars running the whole length of the front of the viv. One at the very top and one below the sliding doors. Here I can drill holes to mount the spray nozzles and fans when the time comes. I also think I have found a good way to attach the EpiWeb plant mounts. I got a box of black long nails, they are easy to attach and pull back out and you can barely see them once pushed in. I also played around a bit more with the EpiWeb branches. But I will probably move them around a few more times before settling on the look, then I will “plant” the moss. First I need to get the lights installed. Hopefully they will arrive this week because at least they are finally in transit. So, lights, ventilation, fog and rain system next. Stay tuned.

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PS! I edited this post to put all the photos in one place, it was bothering me how messy it looked before. What can I say, I’m a designer…)