THE DUAL CHAMBERED TERRARIUM
THE AIRTIGHT AQUARIUM LID (TOP)
(For a standard 10 gallon aquarium)
24" X 14 1/2" outside dimensions
21 1/4" x 12" inside dimensions (dimensions variable).
The frame can be made of flat (unwarped) 1/4" thick
board or 4 wood strips connected by screws.
The wooden lid frames' inner rectangular cutout must be
LARGER than the top of the aquarium. Clear
polyethylene plastic film is tacked to the underside (or
upper side) of the frame so that the frame holds it tightly
onto the aquarium top. The frame essentially hangs by the
plastic film. A simpler alternative is to cover the aquarium
top with saran wrap or something similar. The most
important point to be stressed is that the aquarium must be
sealable with no air leaks, for humidity retention.
THE SPRAY SHIELD/CHAMBER PARTITION
(for a standard 10 gallon aquarium)
Use 1/8" thick clear acrylic (Plexiglas) window insulation
available at most hardware stores. Have it cut around 15"
x 18" (dimensions may vary - check the aquarium first). A
loose fit is good as long as the cakes are protected from the direct spray.
DUAL CHAMBERED TERRARIUM
The mushrooms get water from 2 sources; the substrate
they grow on and the air that surrounds them. The
surrounding air must be highly humidified. The fungus
needs to bathe in a shroud of floating water molecules.
100% humidity is where there is the maximum number of
water molecules floating amongst the air atoms. The dual
chambered terrarium easily achieves these conditions.
It all starts with the spray from the hand sprayer. The first
rule is to never directly spray the fungus. This initial spray
is comprised of water droplets that are giant ponds of
water in relation to the fine mycelial networks of the
fungal threads. In culture, the droplet of water will drown
the micro world of the fungal structures and thereby inhibit
or contaminate growth. But the airborne molecularized
water floats into the fine structures and gives the fungus
humidity as needed. Molecularized water is another way
of describing water that has evaporated into the air.
The spray that comes out of the spray bottle must be
molecularized for the fungus. The spray shield and the
primary chamber accomplish this. The primary chamber
receives the initial spraying. As the spray strikes the
shield, it is broken down into a finer mist which flows
around the sides of the spray shield into the secondary
chamber where the fungus is bathed in the fine humidity
safely away from water droplets. In a matter of time, this
humidity will condense out onto surfaces inside the
terrarium and drip down. The spray shield is slanted and
therefore acts as a drip shield and roof, so the more
condensation the better.
First, before placing the cakes into the terrarium, spray all
the inside surfaces of the terrarium, including the spray
shield and lid. Insert the fungus cakes and put the spray
shield and lid in place. Then, slightly lift up the lid and
insert the nozzle of the water spray bottle in between the
lid and the top of the aquarium and vigorously spray
downwards into the middle of the shield. After about 5
seconds of spraying, immediately withdraw the sprayer
nozzle and let down the lid to seal the swirling mist inside
the terrarium. Come back after a few minutes and give it
another spraying if desired and a third if the terrarium is to
be left untended until the evening. To maintain a high
humidity try to spray 2 times a day, and the more
the better. Compensate for a lack of spraying during the
day by spraying several times in the evening. Make sure
that all the inside surfaces of the terrarium are foggy or
dripping with water. This in itself helps generate humidity.
It has been seen that mushrooms will grow in a
properly set up dual chambered terrarium, with only
one good spraying a day - and even less than that!
Each time the terrarium is sprayed, the fungus should be
ventilated. To ventilate, take off the lid, and while holding
the spray shield vertically, fan the chamber with a piece of
cardboard, and then spray as above. Also, the water that
collects in the bottom of the terrarium must be siphoned
out (prevents bacteria buildup). This can be easily done
using a rubber bulb battery filler (auto parts store) or a
rubber bulb type enema bottle.
Expose the terrarium to normal room light (indirect
sunlight). A small low wattage fluorescent plant light will
make the phototropic mushrooms grow upwards. Leave it
on all the time if desired.
The main rule is to not heat the dual chambered terrarium.
Any direct heating works against the humidification and
adds a drying influence. Do not use heating cables, heat
pads or blankets. Don't shine light directly down into the
terrarium. Keep any plant grow light (low wattage only) a
safe distance from the terrarium. These fungi grow well at
60 degrees Fahrenheit. PF has even seen them growing
perfectly at temperatures cooler than 60 degrees. They
grow slowly when they are cool. When warm or at heated
room temperature, they grow very fast. Strive for a
growing temperature between 65 and the upper 80's. A
too hot terrarium will result in lots of spreading mycelium,
but no fruiting.
SYMPTOMS OF LOW HUMIDITY
When the humidity is a bit low, but not low enough to
stop fruiting, the mushrooms can have fuzzy white
mycelium growing on the tops of the caps. When this
occurs, the cap looks like it has a crown of white hair.
This is not contamination. This white fuzzy mycelium is
perfectly good and does not detract from the mushrooms
Deformed, convoluted, and withering mushrooms and
primordia are signs of low humidity. For the best growth,
the humidity has to be very high.