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Perlite: what’s the benefit?


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#1 Jrotten

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 12:00 AM

I’m building a new fruiting chamber for things besides cubes. It’s a 20 gallon storage bin from Lowe’s. Not the clear sterlites, it’s a craftsman, Home Depot would sell it as Husky. It has an aquarium heater and an aquarium air pump with two air stones, led light, and will have 1 or 2 computer fans to do full air exchanges. It will probably just run on timers once it’s dialed in.

I don’t want to cut the bin for fans until I decide on 1 or 2. Where I’m stuck is whether perlite actually creates any benefit over just a few inches of water in the tub? Other than a place to set a tray which I can do with a couple of bricks and a wire shelf, what does perlite actually provide? With just water RH stays pegged up near 100%. Will the perlite help keep that lower or more manageable? Will it help diffuse air from the stones? I need to look and see if my heater can even be used with rocks.

Somebody help me out please!

#2 Arathu

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 06:47 AM

Perlite radically increases the wetted surface area from which evaporation takes place....lava stones work well too.....

 

Yep I also used a free standing wire rack like used for cooling cookies/baking in a 40 gallon aquarium/terrarium just sitting in a pool of water a few inches deep.....

 

If the water is beading up on the walls of the tub/FC the humidity is where we want it........depending upon species of course......

 

It takes some dialing in and good notes especially if you're changing or experimenting with various species and strains.....fruiting is surely a challenge in many cases..

 

Just my two cents......I always have a couple of spray bottles handy for boosting RH too.

 


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#3 Jrotten

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 10:23 AM

Do you have fans on that terrarium or are you manually fanning?



#4 Arathu

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 12:25 PM

Manual fanning as the headspace above the subs is significant....fan a couple times a day..... maybe....

 

3 glass segments for cover and adjust the space between one or both openings...LED grow light on the top...works like a charm...

 

40 gallon aquarium with red lava stones and just enough water saturated with sea salt to cover the stones......trays or racks sitting on/slightly above the rocks.......

 

Mushroom city...


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#5 clumsy

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 12:36 PM

DonShadow said here:

 

Hey folks, I just want to point out that I'm starting to think that in a fruiting chamber equipped with an air pump, or a chamber that is ported for constant FAE (like a monotub) the duration of fanning is more important than frequency. Because we have fresh air pumping in constantly, fanning is mostly done to initiate pinning. With that said, I've recently seen much better result in my FC after dialing back the frequency of fanning. I'm down to 3 fan cycles at 3 minutes each every 24 hours (spaced evenly). After making the switch I've noticed more consistent pinning and better looking fruits.

 

My best results have been achieved with 3 minute cycles four times daily, but even then I notice that the caps look a little stunted and dry. I think the ideal solution would be to increase the duration of each fanning cycle slightly, while reducing the total fan cycles. My rationale is that each cycle completely wipes out our RH, and it takes a good while for it to come back up, causing the pins to be malformed. Increasing the duration of the cycle encourages more evaporation, but the time required to return to ideal RH is the same, so less likelihood that the fruits will come up dry and poorly formed. I'll continue to mess around with this and report back what I find.

 

This was, no doubt, using his Shadow Box, which features FAE that flows over wet perlite. So wet perlite may not provide sufficient humidity in some high-flow situations.


Edited by clumsy, 08 August 2020 - 12:37 PM.

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#6 Jrotten

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 12:54 PM

Yeah I was talking a bit with Don in the Semperviva/Hoog thread and after finally getting pins I agree at least for them. The bigger humidity drop seems to be the trigger we’re looking for at least there. A similar FC on the other site for pans that used the same strategy. It’s these two ideas I’m trying to combine to fit my personal circumstances. FAE, humidity, temperature, and light I feel I have nailed down. The most efficient fanning (or just not blowing that part) is a little less obvious.

#7 YoshiTrainer

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 04:04 PM

Besides everything you gents have stated, I think the salted perlite also keeps mold from forming in the standing water produced from the condensation on the walls, spraying, etc.

#8 clumsy

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 09:04 PM

My improved ShadowBox is made of plywood, 1.5" PVC pipe, and 1/4" glass. The fans (two) blow out, not in, per the ShadowBox design. The sucked air enters via the 1.5" PVC which has holes drilled in it for humid air dispersion. The intake end of those pipes goes to a water reservoir in back, where there are a couple of ultrasonic atomizers. Hopefully, this will allow unlimited FAE without the humidity drop. The trickiest part of this design is sealing air leaks so most of the inflow is via the pipe.



#9 p2p

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 11:07 PM

There should be a different fan setting for pinning and fruiting cycles.

 

For fruiting, doing very brief air exchange cycles throughout the day would reduce any issues with the fruits drying out.

For example, It would be safer to do 12 air exchange cycles @15-20 seconds each than 3 cycles @3 minutes each.

RH drop is not as big and the humidity returns quickly to the desired level.

 

Also, computer fans have different velocity. Using a fan that produces a gentle air flow is always better than a hurricane fan designed for cooling computer chips.


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#10 Jrotten

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 12:14 AM

The design matters as much as the fan though.  My original system which Iove except it's outside and it was 101 today requires a very powerful squirrel cage type computer fan, but what it produces in the chamber is a very indirect positive pressure where I can adjust the humidity level of the incoming air pretty accurately up to 100%.  At the moment I'm struggling to dial in a 120mm fan running it on 12v and 5v but I really should have given myself a chance to let the humidity controller acclimate before I started messing with intake.

 

My improved ShadowBox is made of plywood, 1.5" PVC pipe, and 1/4" glass. The fans (two) blow out, not in, per the ShadowBox design. The sucked air enters via the 1.5" PVC which has holes drilled in it for humid air dispersion. The intake end of those pipes goes to a water reservoir in back, where there are a couple of ultrasonic atomizers. Hopefully, this will allow unlimited FAE without the humidity drop. The trickiest part of this design is sealing air leaks so most of the inflow is via the pipe.

I do this with a fan and a filter, then a hose, then a 5 gallon bucket with a 5 disk fogger, then a hose to the FC.  It's basically positive pressure HEPA filtered.  Growing in any sort of tub or tote that isn't being used as a tray is completely new to me and honestly I have little interest in growing cubes and no experience growing anything else so this will be interesting! lol


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#11 Arathu

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 07:13 AM

We can, of course, get completely insane with it......so if I have my way this little unit right here will become my baseline......a solar powered fully automated, environmentally controlled, below ground grow chamber.......six of them would be even better but I'll need a delivery truck and go full time if I start doing things like this. You never know. I'm getting pretty good at growing the gourmet species and I'm hoping to find a niche market in the medical species.

 

mushroom house.png

 

This may very well come to fruition in the near future in fact......

 

 

 

small_GEDC8135.jpg

 

So this baby right here, one of my PLC's, runs from, senses, and switches all low voltage (24 VDC), will use RS485, Ethernet, and USB communications, has dedicated D2A and A2D channels, multi-I/O and is expandable. I envision stand alone systems that don't even need basic grid tie at all. I will need to rent a backhoe and a concrete mixer though.....hahaha I need to build a soaking pit for my log cultures too...

 

 

 

I'm thinking post apocalyptic Mad-Max mushroom farming.......peace would be cool but then again, one way or another, it WILL be peaceful around here at least.........

 

 

Well, well, well, it's our little mother. That there is Cundalini, and Cundalini wants his hand back.

 

 

......AND......many folks will need nothing more than an aquarium/tote with perlite and salt water......fanning twice a day...........I've also had good luck with TV's towel humidification that can be maintained soaking wet by wicking action alone. There are MANY routes to follow based upon individual requirements and needs.......

 

In fact I've grown mushrooms in a filter patch bag, invitro in jars too, and done nothing to them at all.......and outdoor beds and log cultures basically require watering and harvesting after the initial work......

 


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#12 Celestialexplorer1

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Posted 07 September 2020 - 11:06 AM

FF0985F7-7DB7-4A0D-BBB7-B16563BCE449.jpeg

59DE0424-F22F-48A4-9393-F7817A1909CA.jpeg

This FC works very well for mexicana but a lot of people use it for Pans. For some reason I just can’t get it to work for pans. It has two pumps with 4x 8in stones and 4x 4 in stones and a heating pad underneath keeps it at 78-79. Has a pc fan on a timer for air but the two air pumps provide a lot of air exchange as well. For pans I just started using this
08943D85-6715-4D21-A21D-5B98C88E9FE1.jpeg
It’s main function is evaporation and works like the JOC pan tek with a fogger and fan on a timer. The fan sucks dry air through the filters. Still need some dialing in though

Edited by Celestialexplorer1, 07 September 2020 - 11:07 AM.

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#13 ilikethings

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 06:30 PM

I know many more experienced folk will likely disagree with me, but in my limited experience with perlite, i.e. placing a 2 inch layer of perlite in bottom of fruiting chamber with substrate pans (the literal containers--not the species) on top did not improve my yields at all.


Edited by ilikethings, 16 September 2020 - 06:43 PM.

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