Marx2k's Pickle Jar Heater Tek

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Marx2k's Fruiting Chamber  -    
MMGG Bubbler -   MMGG
Jar Incubation  -    

By Marx2k (Marx2k) on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 02:24 am:

by the way, I just got a digital cam (really shitty one) so here is a pic of the actual jar I was talking about...
Pickle Jar OF THE GODS

By Marx2k (Marx2k) on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 11:27 pm:

Here is what my friend did today as she was thinking about this thread and she decided to go one better. She took a large pickle jar (since glass transfers heat better than plastic), she drilled a hole in the lid and dropped in a 10" 100W fish tank heater through it... the only part of the fish tank heater not touching water is the dial and top electronics (basically, the only part not supposed to touch water). She then drilled another hole and let in air piping that goes to an air stone. She also drilled one more hole for output of moist, warm air. In fact, without even closing this post, Im going to draw a picture of it and upload it to you folks. This is the best humidification/aeration method she's found so far. Beats the guesswork of humidifiers. Beats soggy messy disguisting perlite by the ton. The heat/air stays on all day and is whisper quiet and costs pennies/month.
Look At My Pickle!

By Delta25 (Delta25) on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 12:45 am:

I have been looking into this alot as of this post seems the way to go for air exchange heat and humidaty Any recomendations on what type of pump to use

By Marx2k (Marx2k) on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 02:16 am:

I use whisper air pumps made for 10 gallon tanks. One works well, two is almost too much.

By Nanook of the North (Nanook) on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 03:58 am:

Looks great! Remember, you don't need a bubbler when these heaters are used for Incubation of jars (the bubbler is only needed for fruiting)

By C K (Phrozendata) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 07:45 am:

I'm finally going to get a fish tank heater tommorow. I want one that I can use to heat a incubation box to 85-86 degrees. What should I look for? The extent of my knowldge so far goes that I should walk into the store, ask for a fish tank heater that is thermostatically controled (will stop heating when warm and start again when colder) and one that is submergable. Advice?

By Nan (Nanook) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 08:51 am:

Sounds good to me. You want a submersible fish tank heater, it's standard aquarium tek and this time of year pet stores are stocked with them. There are at least two sizes, or capacities...

A 50 min watt heater is required for an incubation chamber that can be covered and/or insulated against cold temps. You can always turn down the thermostat on a higher capacity model, and some reserve capacity does not hurt if you incubate in an uninsulated rubbermaid (as opposed to say a styrofoam cooler).

Keep an eye on the jars for these heaters: you have to keep them topped up. They can cook their water off, overheat, and crack. Use as big a container as possible, glass transfers heat better than plastic. And fill it with de-ionized, distilled, or reverse-osmosis water... As water evaporates it leaves the impurities behind. Crusts of mineral salts will grow on the heater tube and in the jar if you use cheap water. Contams grow on these deposits. They also reduce heating efficiency.

Use purified water to top them up, and you can add a few drops of drug store "Tincture of Iodine" (first aid section) per liter of refill water to keep the pickle jar heater sanitized.

By Hatcher (Hatcher) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 10:28 am:

I spent the time and bucks early on on a submersible heater/rubbermaid/wire rack/thermometer. Even stuck w/half-pint jelly jars at the time, found it not worth the effort. My journeyman opinion..just juice 'em and let 'em go. If you don't have wide-mouth half-pints, get them. They colonize in one-third the time, plenty shorter than the time it takes to get two flushes from newly birthed cakes.

By C K (Phrozendata) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 05:39 pm:

Yes, I have a styrofoam cooler. I will be using a pickle jar with reverse-osmosis water. The jar will be glass. One liter pickle jar. The hole that I cut in the lid do I have to overly worried about the size? Should the heater just scrape by? Also, will the heating water evaporate outside the jar and cause condensation on my cooler/jars. I know one I put a mug full of steamy hot water in my incubator to raise the tempurature. It did that, and, caused a lot of condensation on the lid, sides, and caused all my 1/2pint jars to get wet. I dont want to get my filter discs overly wet. Thank you for your help, Nan, you seem like a very experienced and intelligent guy.

By Marx2k (Marx2k) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 06:44 pm:

if you have concerns about moisture dripping on your cakes, use a drip shield.

By Nan (Nanook) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 06:51 pm:

Use the biggest glass jar you can get\fit. The larger the hole you put in the lid, the more exposed surface area of warm water, the greater the humidity. It don't take much of a hole.

You can get condensation on the jars if the jars are cool and the incubator is warm. The incubator should not be all wet inside. If you get too much humidity, seal off more of the jar lid to cut down evaporation.

By C K (Phrozendata) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 07:09 pm:

How much humidity would something like this give off? I'm going to be using this in a cooler with no perlite. Would it be enough to ensure my filter covered jars dont dry out?

By Hatcher (Hatcher) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 07:28 pm:

The best ideas I've seen for heating jars to speed colonization employ "dry" heat, e.g., heating pads or 'dog house' heaters, simply placed on top of the jars. I imagine you'd have to play with it a bit, maybe use two, top and bottom, in a box or cooler, w/spacers probably, or put 'em on a rheostat. Be worry and maintance free. Personally, my wide mouth half-pints go fully in plenty of time at room temperature, but if jelly jars were all you could find, it might be worth the effort.

By Marx2k (Marx2k) on Saturday, November 03, 2001 - 08:03 pm:

I would seriously warn AGAINST using a heating pad. I would warn AGAINST putting direct heat onto the jars. This gives very uneven heat throughout the jar. Stick with the fish tank heater idea, it works the best in any situation

By Nan (Nanook) on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 12:33 am:

CK it puts it right in line at 80% - 90% with a 50 watt. In the cooler months with drier air the jar does prevent substrate from drying excessively, especially filter tops a-la 9er Tek. Polyfill looses less moisture, and you can always pop a foil cap loosely over a filter top, and Polyfill, to keep the lids dry and reduce the air exchanges in dry air.

Keep the incubator Sanitized, slimey Bacteria and Yeasts breed in these incubators too

I have seen jar incubators in styrofoam coolers. Pints were incubated in 2-1/2 inches of saturated table salt solution... Contams don't grow in saturated sodium chloride solutions. The submersable aquarium heater was placed in the salt solution (salt-water grade submersible heater $$) Temp set to the Mid 80's and the jars sat in the warm water bath with foil covers on.

There are lots of good ways.


By C K (Phrozendata) on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 06:19 pm:

A few more questions:
1. If I plan, later, to turn this cooler into a terrarium can I used a rubbermaid box as a incubator? What works best?
2. I have a tin foil lid covering the top and it seems to let out some condensation that slow builds on the side walls. I am worried that this might build up on my jars tape and filter discs and possibly the dry verm layer. Should I be worried?
3. At the moment it is position in the exact center. I have two different thermometers in there. One displays tempuraturs of 90+ while the other shows me tempurature of 88ish. Could it just be the percision? I am still tinkering to get the proper tempurature.
4. Sometimes I hear it and it turns on and off really quickly like it cant decided if it should heat or not. It stops a little while after I open the lid (and the tempurature goes down?) Would it keep on doing this if I wasent there to save it? Or would it finally come to a decision? Should I be worried it might break itself?

By Nuecrew (Nuecrew) on Sunday, November 04, 2001 - 07:42 pm:

Sounds like the thermostat in the heater is right on the line between +/- when you hear it make that sound. Remember those heaters are engineered for heating large volumes of water.