Yes you heard me right, yet another rain system upgrade… I have actually been wanting to simplify the watering setup I have for quite some time now. I basically wanted to take out the drip system and expand the rain system instead. Yes, admittedly I am a perfectionist and a little bit of a paranoid over achiever, but I actually have several really good reasons for doing this.
First of all, I really would prefer to use just one system as originally planned. But I have also been a little worried about the contamination risks (fungus etc.) of running a closed system of water. The pump for the drip system needs to be submerged and when it runs it pushes a lot of water quickly, so I needed to keep the 25 liter drain collector half full in order to feed the pump and collect all the runoff. A container with standing water (for days at a time) that is cycling through the viv. several times a day. Hmmm…. asking for trouble that is… The rain system on the other hand pulls pure clean RO water from its own 25 liter tank, expelling the excess into the drain which is emptied when full. Easy as pie.
I only installed the second drip system because I wanted a moss covered back wall. Moss is rather finicky, wanting more consistent moisture than the orchids, so the drip system was supposed to water the back wall while the rain system would cover orchid mounts. In theory this sounded like a great idea, but in reality it was a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps the drip system works better in less tall vivariums, and where you mount plants directly onto the back wall. Well, it did not work very well in my 160 cm tall vivarium. The drip only travel inside the EpiWeb back wall for about 30-50 cm, or until hitting the first obstruction, in my case a mounted orchid on an EpiWeb block. From there on the water just drips down to the orchids below or the floor, leaving the lower half of the back wall dry. So now that I have given up on the back wall moss project – moss grows fine on the orchid mounts creating the natural illusion I was after anyway – the system is basically obsolete.
I dismantled the drip bars and luckily I had saved the thin sliver of EpiWeb I had cut off at the top to fit the drip pipes so I could just pop them back in now. You barely notice them once in place. Next I assembled 12 more rain nozzles and begun building the extensions. I already had pretty good coverage on the top third of the viv, so I put most of the new nozzles on a new water line accross the middle of the viv attached to the back wall. I had already run the line for two nozzles a few months ago so it was pretty easy to just extend out from the center. Half the nozzles are pointing up and the other half down, that way I cover the entire back wall. I added one more nozzle to each side on the top bar to cover the corners better and the last two new nozzles went in on the side walls.
While still in work mode I also took the opportunity to do a little spring cleaning in viv. Twice a year I take the subflooring out and clean both the floor and the floor tiles well with soap and finish by rinsing with a bleach solution. Not the most fun job, but well worth the effort. A clean growing area promotes healthy plants!
So, here is the result… I have ten nozzles on the aluminium bar across the top, another ten running across the middle of the viv (five pointing up and five down), there are three more nozzles in the front under the sliding glass doors that cover the plants standing on the vivarium floor, and finally I have two nozzles on the right side wall and one on the left side wall. A total of 26 nozzles, and it is looking soo good! When the system runs the whole vivarium fills with a superfine mist that looks almost like fog, and the pump is soooo quiet! I am so pleased with this. Now I just have to dial in the intervals again, but that is the fun part.