The Economy Semi-Automated Terrarium

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By Nan (Nanook) on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 04:41 pm:

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Ok...if youíre like me, then you like to do things with fashion, especially grow shrooms. This led me to devise this new terrarium, which is basically a mix of a lot of other techniques, including many from the hawk tank (Iím just restating all of them in one method). Anyway, I tried the tupperware shit, and it worked fine, but it was ugly and I took too much pride in my shrooms to let them grow in a shitty rubbermaid shack, so i made them a nice little glass mansion. Here we go...

Needed Stuff:

An aquarium. Choose your size depending on how much you grow. I use a 10gal...I wanted a 20gal but they cost $50, and 10gals cost $10.

A hood for the aquarium, you know, the cover with the built in light sockets. And you'll need a bulb, too (get a blue one, shrooms like blue).

An aquarium air pump (cheapest kind possible, unless you want to spend a lot). Get some air pump hose, too.

An aquarium thermometer (the kind that stick to the glass). Any thermometer will do, obviously, but if you want to be elite then get one of these.

A bag of perlite (or as many as it takes to get a 2in layer across the bottom of the tank). For a 10gal you will need one bag...

Some sort of filtering material (coffee filters will do).
A small tupperware box just big enough for the air pump.

Black construction paper (if you get a lot of fat asses, then cover the sides of the tank with the paper).
Hygrometer (not needed unless you -really- want to know the exact conditions in your tank. if your gonna get one then get a good one from a cigar shop).

Bunch of hardware cloth (for cakes' stand, and make sure the squares are ½ inch wide.)

An electronic timer (for the light and pump). I donít use one of these...too much $

Heat pad.


Soldering Iron (or an ice pick and a lighter).
Duct Tape
Go ahead and slap that thermometer somewhere on the side of the tank.

Go ahead and put your air pump in the small box, and mark where you will need to make holes to run the hose(s) and power cord out of the box. Go ahead and make the holes for the hose (depending on how many hose ports your pump has). For the cord, just burn a little crack where the lid shuts, jam the cord in there, and shut the lid and see if itís tight. This saves you from burning a giant hole to fit the plug through. Now that you have all of those holes, focus on the top of the box and poke about 10 or so holes within a 1.5-inch radius of each other. This done, take a coffee filter, place it on top (outside of the box) of the holes, and tape it down with the duct tape (donít tape over the holes, tape around them). Now, put the pump in, connect the hoses, run all the hoses/cords through their holes, seal any extra space surrounding the hosesí/cords, close the box, and tape it up around the edges to seal it if necessary. Now you have your pump in a filtered box so it will pump only clean air.

Dump your perlite in to make a 2-inch thick layer. If you want to set your cakes directly on the perlite, then youíre done with this, but I donít suggest that at all. Better, take the hardware cloth, measure a piece the size of the bottom of the tank, and add 5 squares (2.5 inches) to all sides. Now, bend down the 5 squares on each side to make feet to the stand (you will have to make 4 cuts to do this, but I hope you can figure those outÖnot hard). The stand will be 2.5 inches high, thus standing .5 inches above the perlite when you put it in the tank. If you really need help doing this, go look at the mmgg. Now you will be able to set your cakes on this stand without covering up any perlite, allowing optimum humidity.

Put the blue light (or lights, some tank hoods have 2 sockets) in the hood, and put the hood on the tank. Now, most tanks have two holes in the top just the right size for the air pump hose (if yours doesnít, then do some surgery with the soldering iron). Run your hose (or hoses if your pump had two ports, which is ideal, cause you can either use a connector and have one doubly strong air input or two air inputs on opposite sides of the tank) through the hole(s). Also, you will need to find a place on the hood to do the same thing that you did on the top of the pumpís boxÖpoke the holes and cover with a filter. This will allow the CO2 to escape w/o contams getting in.

When time to use, add a ¾-inch layer of water to the perlite. You donít want to drown the perlite. Also, pour the water down the side of the tank, not in the middle of the perliteÖ

Now you have a semi-automatic terrarium. All you have to do is turn the light on/off and add water every week or so. If you want an almost fully automatic terrarium, then hook up a timer to the light, but thatís expensive and would kinda ruin the "economy" aspect of this setup. For fully automatic get an ultrasonic humidifier with a timer hooked up to it. Donít do that tough, perlite is so much better and economical.


About a day before you birth your cake, get the water (3/4-inch layer) in there, and start running the air pump. Do this to make sure everything works and you have the right conditions. You want 70-75 degrees with 98%-100% humidity. Birth your cakes and put them in their mansion. Keep the light on all day until you see pins, and you could even leave it on at night as well.

Once you get pins, reduce light to say 3 hrs per day (thatís good I guessÖ). Also, you can raise the temps to 80 degrees or so by putting a heating pad under the terrarium set to the lowest setting. This will a) get the shrooms to grow faster and b) keep the humidity up and cause lots of condensation on the sidesÖ.thatís real good.
Harvest and enjoy.


If you are getting PF fat-asses, then cover the sides of the terrarium with the black paper, so the light will Ėonly- be coming from above the cakes. This will drastically halt fat-assism.

If it is so damn hot where you live that your terrarium is 80-85 degrees just at room temperature, then you should put your fully colonized jars in the fridge for a few hours before putting them in the shroom mansion. Thatíll get their asses in line to fruit.