Mushroom Incubator Plans

Keeping your jars at a optimum temperature while they colonize is quite desirable. It can greatly increase the colonization time of your jars. In doing so, it help cut down on contamination by giving contaminants less time to get a foot hold in your jars.

The following are instructions for building a simple but effective incubator chamber.

To build this chamber you will need the following supplies:

  • Styrofoam Cooler
  • Fish tank Heater
  • Temperature Gauge
  • Plastic Juice/Water container with lid (preferably screw-on).

Find a juice or water container that the fish tank heater will fit inside of.

Now you have two options.

  • You can design your fish tank heater / container to fit completely inside the cooler.
  • Or, you can cut a hole in the middle of the cooler lid and insert the water jug into this.

The last design option provides easy access to the fish tank heater temperature adjustment knob and makes toping up the water level in the jug simple. The downside to this option is it looses a lot more heat, causing you to have the fish tank heater set at a higher heat level to maintain the same temperature level inside the cooler. If you decide not to insert the jug into the lid, ignore the next paragraph.

Start by cutting a hole in the center of the cooler lid. You will use this hole to insert your container in, so make sure you cut it precisely to the size of your jug. TIP: Cutting the hole smaller than required, and then adjusting it to the size of your jug (fish tank heater container) by shaving small amounts of foam off at a time works best. You then want to insert the jug into the hole until there is a small amount of the jugs lip showing. Note: Buying a slightly tapered jug works best for this technique. You will also want to provide added support to the foam lid as your jug may be heavy enough when full of water to break the lid if you leave it without structural enforcement.

Take the lid of your jug and cut out a hole that matches the shape of the fish tank heater so that you can insert the element end of the heater into the jug yet fasten the heaters locking clamp to the outside lid lip area.

The next hole you cut is in the cooler lid for the temperature gauge. The choice for it's location is yours, but make sure you place it where you can read the gauge easily. Once you have inserted the temp gauge into the cooler lid, glue it into place with glue gun or silicone.

Fill the jug with water, plug in the fish tank heater, adjust the temperature knob over time, and your chamber is now ready for use.

When you chamber is finished, it should look something like this design blueprint shows:

A mycologist sent these photographs of a finished incubator.

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