Advise needed on using a fan in enclosure

Discussion in 'Enclosures And Supplies' started by broderp, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. broderp

    broderp Avid Member

    I have been fighting a battle with humidity every day in my terrarium that is filled with live plants. I have removed plants, trimmed plants back, raised and lowered them but the end result is the same High humidity (80-90%) for hours that will not dissipate.

    I installed this at the top of the terrarium sucking out air, forcing air flow:

    I have it running 12 hours a day but it struggles to lower the humidity.

    I have been running some test with a 12VDC fan inside the terrarium towards the bottom. I have it running at 9VDC and it will remove the humidity as well as dry up any standing water at the bottom fairly quickly.

    Does anyone else use a fan in such a capacity and what orientation works best for you?

    Does a Horizontal direction across the bottom provide better air flow than a vertical one that pushes air into the bottom?

    Does the breeze pose any issues with a cham? I will only have it running during the day and eventually tie it into my controller so it only comes on when the humidity has reached a certain level.

    I will also need to shield it from water, as well as make sure my Cham can't get into it if he falls. (Gee, that's a scary thought :unsure:)
  2. RcManChild

    RcManChild Member

    Hey @broderp,

    What humidity readings are you getting...

    as long as there is no stagnant air I dont see the issue...

    maybe turn on the fan for 5-10 before sleep.

    be cautious though, as that means whatever temperature the air is outside of the enclosure will be pulled in.
  3. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    I used a computer fan that turned on for several hours each night, but i pointed it across the bottom to dry up water stuck in spots. It didn't bother him at all and didn't really cause a breeze. You have a glass enclosure though don't you? If so, maybe give screen a try?
  4. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    I think all that would matter is if he A) hates the fan B) humidity gets too low. Otherwise i can't imagine it'd cause any health problems.
  5. carol5208

    carol5208 Chameleon Enthusiast

    I would get a screen cage!
    Nursemaia likes this.
  6. broderp

    broderp Avid Member

    I hope you guys can follow this: :coffee:
    • I'm misting for 1 minute, 3 times a day. (which some say isn't enough).
    • Start humidity varies in the morning as it typically matches the house humidity. Lets just say 50%.
    • The first misting is at 7:45 am and the humidity can go up to 90% within a few minutes and stay there.
      • If I use the fans, the humidity drops slowly down to about 65% before the next misting at 12:45 pm.
      • If I don't use the fans by the next misting the humidity is still in the high 80% range.
    • This has one of two affects:
      • If I use fans, I can manage to swing the humidity down and back up thru out the day eventually leaving it low (60%) by lights out even with the 4 mistings.
      • If I don't use fans, and mist 4 times for one minute, I will have 95% plus humidity, a small pool in the bottom of the terrarium.
    5-10 minutes before bed time is not any where's near enough. I never had this issue when I had all fake plants. (and the eye washing thing aside - I didn't know, my other cham was very happy)

    I've been testing the fans for the last 3-4 days, and it doesn't seem to bother Sherman at all. The fans are off at bedtime so he sleeps soundly.

    I sure hope so. Humidity range is between 60-70% with the fans (give or take a high spike occasionally)

    Not an option at this moment. :( I've toyed with the idea of removing a glass panel of the terrarium, but can't seem to bring myself to do it and possibly break it. Going to a screen cage would mean I would go larger (go big or go home right?) but it's not just the cage cost, I would need to factor in such things as the new accessories I would need, new plants, new lighting, a new base to rest the terrarium on, new wall to build (the one I have not cost me about $75 to make). It all adds up.

    I'm also still not sold on screens. I don't like the way they look. Glass is classy, elegant and looks like a piece of furniture. Mesh screens sag, and look, well like a box made from window screens. It's just my preference I know. But it's a factor I also consider.:rolleyes:
  7. jamest0o0

    jamest0o0 Chameleon Enthusiast

    i agree with the glass looking better. There is always the dragonstrand clearsided atrium route. It has screen on the side and top with the front being see-through. looks pretty nice.
  8. PJK

    PJK Established Member

    Glass is a realistic alternative to screen, but you are going to be very fastidious in your maintenance and cleaning, it is a quick route to a URI if it gets stagnant in there
  9. RcManChild

    RcManChild Member


    I'm confused, are you worried about the humidity too high?
    or are you worried about the stagnant air?

    If you are just worried about the stagnant air the fan on for 15 minutes every couple of hours will be fine. That should be enough to prevent a URI.

    Do you have any pics of the updated enclosure?

    Do you have varied humidity levels? aka 90% in one area but say 75% in another?
  10. broderp

    broderp Avid Member

    I've been eye ballin' those, but I'm mot convinced the screen will hold up to my cleaning. I have another thread devoted to wanting to get info on the thickness and material used on these cages.

    Yes I know, and I clean almost daily. If I see water, I definitely clean.

    I'm worried about both. I know Chams com from humid parts of the world, but unless I'm wrong, it's not swampy wet and muggy. :confused:

    Terrariums are suppose to have airflow and all that good stuff, but in my mind the fact that the humidity stays so high inside makes me feel I'm not getting good air flow.

    I've asked several times about humidity, Should it vary over the course of a day or is having a "target humidity" say at 70% and holding it the idea? I've never received a good answer on that to I have been varying the humidity as best I can ..50% to 70% back down to 60% over and over thru out the day. :confused:

    Also to answer your question, the reading I'm getting is somewhat in the middle of the terrarium I have sensors at the top (basking) and in the center. I'm measuring this and controlling it based on the middle sensor.

    I will post a newer picture and give you actual 24 hour variance readings from my upper and lower sensors when I get home.
  11. Tackett

    Tackett New Member

    Before I get drastic here, what's the RH in the room where the enclosure is? That will make a drastic difference on how we tackle this.

    I would bet that the RH of the room is sky high, have you checked?
  12. broderp

    broderp Avid Member

    Here are the stats and picture of enclosure. (Just took it when I came home so this IS current) Sherman was in the process of putting his pajamas on and getting ready for bed.:p
    The image also shows the current airflow I have that helps maintain the temps and humidity listed.

    Fan 1 is in the upper right hand corner blowing air out, Fan 2 is at the bottom forcing air over the water that pools from misting. As you can see, it dries up all water, but keep in mind I only mist for 60 seconds, 4 times a day.

    • Temperature
      • 72.0 (min)
      • 77.1 F (max)
    • Humidity
      • 61% (Min)
      • 66% (Max)
    • Temperature
      • 72.1 (min)
      • 85.5 F (max)
    • Humidity
      • 48% (Min)
      • 68% (Max)
    • Temperature
      • 69.9.0 (min)
      • 78.6 F (max)
    • Humidity
      • 62% (Min)
      • 84% (Max)
    #12 broderp, Apr 20, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  13. Andee

    Andee Chameleon Enthusiast

    How are you measuring humidity? Do you have the device link at all? The only thing I would worry about with the short mistings in the glass cage, is making sure he cleans his eyes really well a couple times a week. But that can easily be done by getting him used to outside mistings, or taking him into a shower.
  14. broderp

    broderp Avid Member

    I use this:

    You can see one of the sensors in the top left of the terrarium. Not sure what you mean by having the "device link". ? My concern is also with the eye washing. I honestly had never heard of it until a few days ago. I believe I have a decent balance as is, but if I need to extend the misting to over 1 minutes, then I will be struggling again with standing water and I'm not sure the fans I have will suffice. Hence my posting.
  15. Andee

    Andee Chameleon Enthusiast

    That's what I wanted... *frowns* I would definitely continue with the fan. There is nothing wrong to me in my opinion with it as long as it doesn't cause it to be cold. Definitely rely on showers for eye washing, it works for me.
  16. broderp

    broderp Avid Member

    Thanks for the input. I will try this weekend with a 2-3 minute misting to see how the system recovers. Maybe it will work, or may be not. I may have to program the mister for 4 short mistings during the week and maybe 3 longer ones on weekends (or some combination of) to see.

    I plan on hooking up the fan to my humidity monitor for automatic operation if this works. (to only come on within a certain range of humidity, as opposed on all day and off at night via me unplugging it)
    Andee likes this.
  17. Tackett

    Tackett New Member


    You have two options to lower it, both are going to be not fun.

    1: check to see if the sides of the tank are plate glass or tempered. If plate, continue with below plan. If tempered, abort. You can check a couple ways. First feel the edges of the glass if you can find them. Tempered glass has smooth edges and plate will have tiny ridges. Second, look and see if they are labeled, it will be very tiny. Third, and most efficient, grab a pair of polarized glasses, set a tablet, smartphone or something else with a screen behind it and see if it has any darkened areas. If it looks like anything but totally clear glass, it's tempered. Do not attempt to drill tempered glass. It will shatter. If you can confirm that both sides are plate glass then continue

    1: buy another fan.
    2: buy a 3" diamond hole saw (yes I'm aware the fan is 5")
    3: obviously move the chameleon and everything out temporarily.
    4: drill a 3" hole in the middle of each side. Like this dude does:

    5: use some screen and cover the outside of the holes and mount the fans. Make sure the fans point the same direction. One fan should be blowing air in, the other should be blowing air out.
    6: buy a humistat, this one is effective:
    7: put the probe inside in your most humid zone, and hook your fans to it.
    8: put him back in.

    That will keep the humidity lower much more effectively than one or two on the top.

    Your other option is to dry the daylights out of the air in the room with a dehumidifier. Areas of low concentration always move toward areas of high concentration, so the lower you can get the surrounding humidity the more humidity will be sucked from the tank.

    That's my .02
  18. broderp

    broderp Avid Member

    Wow, thanks for the input. The terrarium is plate glass if I recall. I'm not sure I would be willing to drill the sides. That's a mod you can never go back from. However, drilling a few 3"-4" holes on the back panel may increase air flow, so the idea is viable. I'll need to think on it.
  19. RcManChild

    RcManChild Member

    While @Tackett idea is good... DO NOT USE THAT METHOD OF DRILLING THE GLASS.....

    I did that with mine and it did not go smotth at while, luckily it was on the bottom of the tank so no one will see it...

    Basically you need something on the other side of the glass to support the glass, otherwise once you drill through to where there is very little glass left it will crack/break rather than drill right through....

    If you do this put a couple of 2x4's or some sort of wood directly under neath the glass where you're drilling... Also make sure it is supported.....

    The hole saw I bought came with a guide which was very handy...
  20. Tackett

    Tackett New Member

    I've literally drilled probably 50 aquariums exactly this way without a problem. You just can't put any pressure on the glass more than the weight of the drill.

    It's incredibly easy.

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