DISPLAY UNIT Air & Water: Individual or Communal?

Stoic

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
19
DISPLAY-UNIT Air & Water: Should I go with Individual or Communal systems?

I'm building (currently planning) some tarantula displays which will be wall units containing approximately 17 specimens each. My goals are to achieve maximum aesthetics (these are going in my office at work) with minimum maintenance (I'm busy/slightly lazy), which makes air flow and water my primary concern.

Air Flow
How do tarantulas respond to a communal air system in which air is moved (sequentially) from one enclosure to the next? This would definitely be easy to implement (while keeping things aesthetically pleasing) with a couple standard 80mm fans, but I've never tested this method myself. Could HEPA filters solve this problem?

Another thought would be to pump air in through the substrate via tubes or pipes (such as with aquariums), to achieve positive air flow. Moving enough air without a big/noisy fan/pump could be difficult, but this would afford the most aesthetic flexibility due to the inflow being partially/completely subterranean. Are there any other creative airflow ideas I'm overlooking?

Water
Same as above; what effects would a sequential water system (i.e. one large, shared water dish) have? My main concern would of course be the increased health risks (parasitical outbreaks, etc.) to multiple specimens simultaniously, but it would be a huge step towards making the unit (relatively) maintenance free. Is this a bad idea?

While we're on the subject of water, I'm about to begin testing various automated misting systems. I'm definitely leaning more towards a pump/timer based system rather than a gravity fed system. What has been used successfully?

I'm thinking that with a constant water supply, live plants and powered air flow I could keep enough "good" critters alive to cut down on the infestation and mould factors. Does this biosphere theory stand any chance of success?

I'm sure the majority of you are sick of keeping your collections hidden away in plastic containers; I obviously am. After I get all the kinks worked out, in one way or another I'll be sharing the results.

My next project is likely to be a better method (than a syringe) for watering thousands of individual spiderling vials. If you've got any input on this, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks,
Zach Maier
 
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Alice

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
976
hm interesting plan...

about the misting system: depends on what kind of ts you want to keep. obviously, grammostola and brachypelma species as well as a lot of other ts (gbb, any pterinochilus spec.) would be very unhappy about the misting.

about mold: i have tried keeping some species very humid, with live plants and springtails etc.. it didn't work very long, sooner or later, mold and mites turned up, and i had to clean out everything and make it drier.
unfortunately, the springtails and other beneficial bugs died off in all the dry tanks. but i figured: better a happy brachy than springtails and a t that hangs out on the walls because she hates wet toes.

about the communal water system: don't do it! one case of nematodes (and sometimes it just happens, not only with wc specimen), and you lose all the ts. i just wouldn't want to risk it. also, food boluses could block it up. many of my ts deposit the leftovers of their prey in the water dish.

the airing system could be a stress factor. as ts have chemo receptors, they might get stressed from 'smelling' other ts all of the time. i say might, i have no experience whatsoever with this kind of ventilation setup, so it's possible they just don't mind. i wouldn't ventilate through the substrate, though - i think they could mind the disturbance or percieve it as a threat.

just my thoughts, i havn't done anything like that yet. i use glass display tanks for all my ts, with seperate water dishes, and mist the arboreals about twice a week. it's a bit more work, but it's ok for a collection of less than 20 adults. i'll have to think of something else maybe when my slings grow up though.{D
 

DrAce

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
768
Communal Problems

Hiya,

Great idea. I really do like it, BUT...

I think a single HEPA filter input being split and ducted into several inclosures would be the way forward on that one. It would help you maintain different humidities for the different spiders - a single inlet being ducted from enclosure to enclosure would likely share humidities through the enclosures. Also, HEPA filters BETWEEN enclosures would result in excessively high back-pressures of air... you need a certain positive pressure to make them work, and the additional pressure of them all would likely be excessive for the first enclosure.

As far as water, I'm inclined to also split it, but you may want to consider having a central drainage line which could be stop-cocked... so they all drain out when you want to completely change the water. And maybe a hidden float-ball water gague, connected to a water supply (I can draw a picture of the thing I'm imagining, if you want). That will ensure separate water supply, constant water supply, and the ability to change the water when required.

Those water-fog machines would be a good way of getting humidity up in the enclosures you want it in.
 

Stoic

Arachnopeon
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
19
I'm beginning to think the way to handle airflow (with simplest construction and best glass integrity) is to use an air duct spanning each of the enclosures. I could install nozzles/vents to push fresh air downward into each individual enclosure.

I'm planning to stack these enclosures 4 high, so I could easily maintain 4 unique environments per display. Misting nozzles could of course be turned off for certain specimens, and hopefully have their output adjusted for the rest.

I can give up my miniature rivers with live fish, but I'd still like to keep all of the water levels the same. This would help give the appearance of connectivity and continuity between the enclosures. Gauges, daily automated over-fillings, and ellevated drain tubes could all potentially be viable solutions.

Zach
 
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