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Substrate Heat for Bogs

I've been having to take things pretty easy lately, so I've been puttering
around with small, non-energetic activities. One of them has been converting
some of the amphibious plants back to terrestrial conditions in a hunt for
interesting "house plants". My aim was to try to replace more traditional
house plants with some of these to extend the decor of the tanks a bit. I
guess you could say I was successful enough to have to start all over - my
mother liked them enough that they're all over at her house now. (Sunset
Hygro, by the way, makes quite a handsome potted plant.)

So I thought to go a little further by using some of the empty smaller tanks
as bogs for Crypts and such. I'd certainly like to try to flower one. But it
occurred to me that maybe I shouldn't have slept through all of those
substrate heater classes after all.

The problem is my current environment. Circumstances at the first of the
year forced me to accept a converted basement apartment, and it has no
independent environmental controls (thermostats for heat or a/c). My
apartment's temperature is truly at the whim of the lady upstairs in the
house - and I do mean whims. I often don't know if I'll be wearing a jacket
or swim trunks on any particular day regardless of the _outside_ weather.
(Hooie! Betcha it'll be the only time I make *that* mistake!)

Since I don't believe some of these plants would be too partial to this
"freeze-parch" stress testing, I reckon I'll have to find a way to
_thermostatically_ control the substrates' temps.

Would a couple of you mind narrowing my research a little towards controlled
heating? Only to the most general topics, such as "Do the cable systems heat
things evenly enough, since their design aim is convective turnover?" or "Do
the reptile pads have a working range that would be acceptable for plants?"

I can find all of the specific answers - methods, product and model
comparisons, DIY, etc. - myself, but believe it or not the simple answers to
general questions can take forever to glean from an archive. Even just
answering those two questions would ease the burden a great deal in the
sifting process...


David A. Youngker
nestor10 at mindspring_com