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Ultrasonic Foggers or 'Mist Makers'

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#1 Guest_deetooarruk_*

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 08:03 PM

Hi Guys! Hope you and your torts are all ok!

Speedy (my hermann) has settled in well, he's eating well and (sort of) enjoying his viv (until I get some cash to make a table). He went out in the garden for an hour today and Billy (our cat) went for him, not in a vicious way, but a playful way, although Billy thinks Speedy's a toy for him! Speedy threw a tantrum because he had to go in, but soon I will have an outdoor run for Speedy....

Lesser to the point of the topic, should tortoise's shed their skin? I've noticed a couple of scales on his head becoming flakey and his legs can appear dry and his shell looks dry and dirty... Is this normal? He's got this really bad habit of sitting directly under the UV part of my combi lamp, and then falling asleep, either under the UV or the halogen part.

Most of the time when I get back from work he's asleep under the bark at the HOT end.

I've brought some sphagnum moss and now put two pieces in the viv, one at the hot end (on top of his bark) and a piece next to his cold end bark to help with humidity. I spray the viv floor before I bathe him as to allow the moisture to soak in.

Since I've done this, the humidity on the HOT end is around 25-40%RH @ 27-29C (bask.spot ~33-35C) and the COOL end is 40-60%RH @ 18-20C. It's still dropping as low as 18-27%RH at times.

More to the point of the topic, has anyone had any experience or does anyone use the ultrasonic mist makers (exo terra 'Fogger', also sold as 'Garden Pond Mist Maker') to increase the humidity? It's doesn't heat the water to create moisture as it generates ultrasonic frequencies to vapourize the water. It creates a 'cold mist'.

Before it goes anywhere near Speedy's viv, it's gotta be thoroughly tested by me (water temp, power consumption, mist temp, application suitability, etc...) I read that torts respond to low-frequencies (50Hz-1.5kHz) and I'm hoping the ultrasonic frequencies don't mess with Speedy's hearing :)

There's no intention of running this unit constantly, just to top-up the humidity if it drops dangerously low, less than 30-35%.

For anyone who's interested in Speedy's climate control system, I've included the advanced data page and last 2-day DegC/RH% graphs. The system I'm using for his heating/lighting is an Emerson E2 Building Management System used in Tesco Supermarkets to monitor/control the refrigeration system. It works really, really well, and with the 6-point temperature monitoring setup, I can get a very accurate picture of what the temp's are doing through the day.

Lucky boy, we sell the same system to Tesco for around £2,500!

TCCS News: The parts have arrived from France and I'm in the process of writing the program... 4-6 weeks in development, then test runs! Yay!

I've got to spend some time with Billy tomorrow, He's going to be 4 :)

Jay :)

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#2 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 07:29 PM

Hi Jay,

Wow!! Your set up sounds like it is being well monitored. :D

I will be interested to hear any comments on the 'fogger' it was something that my husband considered when Hettie lived indoors but I struggled to find whether or not it would be suitable and so eventually went for 'plan b' ... permanant outside home. :rolleyes: (also filled with data loggers :rolleyes: )

I can answer though, that yes, it is perfectly normal for torty to be shedding flakes of skin. As long as the area isn't inflammed or has any other signs of infection.

Paula x

#3 Guest_deetooarruk_*

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 10:29 PM

Thanks Paula, as much as I'd love to make Speedy a proper outdoor run, he's only going to be able to get a modified rabbit hutch for the next couple of summers, until we eventually move house.

I recieved the single-membrane fogger today, and it does exactly what it says on the box - creates a cold mist. Apart from soaking the sofa it what could only be described as a finger-high fog, I started testing this unit for suitability.

1. The unit uses low power (24 volt AC @ 1.2Amp), high-energy, ultrasonic vibrations, to which the water will be atomised via the high-energy ultrasonic sound waves. Great! No heat, no chemicals. So I put my finger in where the water was 'boiling'..... OUCH! The high-energy ultrasonic vibrations felt like I'd just got an electric shock! And I'm used to getting the odd 240volt shock at work!

So to use this it would need to be away from torty, completely out of reach of both water vessel and fogger unit. The unit needs to be in at least 60-80mm of water to function correctly (the cleaner the better, distilled is recommended, I used filtered tap). Built-in low water and overheat cutout systems. This model will shift 90ml of water an hour into vapour.

2. The mist created is very dense and of nano droplet size, and because there is no heating element, the mist remains at the ambient temperature. Being fully absorbed into the air/condensing on a cooler surface around 5-15cm from point of generation. The mist is very dense, almost resembling a heavy fog.

So I sniffed the vapour.... Well you got to.... It's only water vapour, isn't it???

When you smell steam from a kettle or pan of boiling water, it smells hot and clean. The vapour generated from the fogger smells electrical, or 'ionized', as well as cold. It actually made me feel a little light-headed.... wooooo

So, until I start to feel positive about this device, it's still under test. And I'd not recommend usage for torts, could potentially lead to health problems.

Jay :)

#4 Guest_Hettie_*

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 09:24 PM

Hi Jay,

Thanks for sharing that, I know in the past people have wondered about these foggers suitability for using with torts, it's good to have 'a man that knows' testing a system out! :D
I suppose when you use it on an open table and not in the viv your findings may be different again? It is difficult to control temperature gradient let alone humidity in a viv.
Let us know how you get on. :D
Relative humidity nearly drove me and Oz mad a couple of years ago... I'm sure when he his log in problems are sorted he will be very interested in your findings.

Paula x

#5 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 05:19 PM

Yes Paula is right i'm interested in these foggers but never tried one. If it was safe to use in an indoor tortoise set-up I think we would just want it to blast out some water vapour every so often to boost humidity temporarily.

I've looked at a couple of humidifier gadgets on the internet but never bought one as I'm not sure how much benefit they would achieve.

#6 Guest_deetooarruk_*

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 10:42 PM

Hi again Ozric....
Did you see my post in the introduce yourself forum?

As with my mini-test of the ultrasonics, it may work providing:
1. The water used was filtered (to remove chemicals/additives) and boiled (to remove harmful bacteria/hard minerals),
2. The water was changed every day for fresh. Not stored filter/boiled, filtered and boiled every day.
3. It was not used more that 5-7mins per hour, 1 membrane can create approx 10-25mm depth of fog at a rate of approx 90ml/hr. (pending operating conditions)

Reason 1:
Because there is no 'heating' element, any bacteria present in the water would easily be transported by the micron-sized water droplets into torty's atmosphere - not good as it could potentially give torty a lung/aspiration infection, hence the reason for filtered and boiled every day, including regular cleaning/disinfection of the tank the device sits in. :)

Reason 2:
Still with the smell of the fog!!! I cannot get over the smell of the generated fog!!! You have to get a cheap one-membrane fogger from maplin (I think it was 15quid) so you can play with it yourself. Mine is sat behind Speedy's spare BMS computer...

See, heating humidifiers work by generating steam through heat - not good for maintaining a temperature-controlled enviroment or for energy usage (time spent heating >1.0l @ 1-3kW of water everytime you require a RH% increase, and how long it takes to start producing steam).

I've narrowed it down to cold systems. Yes, there is a higher requirement for hygene, but it should work better in terms of: It's better to allow the heat lamp to heat up the surface and then spray the surface with cool mist to increase humidity. When the surface re-heats, the absorbed moisture will naturally evaporate and decrease humidity.

I do not recommended using a heat-based humidifier to increase humidity as well as the basking lamp as it may cause issues regarding overheating.

There is a larger system for around 120quid that is a small, high-pressure fluid pump that comes with small nozzles to atomize the water into droplets. But, 120quid?

There is an 'electronic' hand-held water sprayer (runs on batteries) by zoo med, called the motomister. Around 18quid... Should be easy to wire a timer into the trigger button.... Or there is another small, in enclosure zoo med one for 60quid...

As always, I'm opting for the self-build and total intergration with my system this saturday.

Any questions, simple or complex, just ask.

Jay :)

#7 Guest_Ozric_*

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 11:42 PM

Jay I'm really impressed with your technical know-how! I;m still not sure if this is the secret to humidity management indoors but its great that someone is giving it a go. But who could be bothered boiling water for it? No it would have to run on cold.

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