How to Make a Humidifier for a Terrarium

Avoid frequent water replacement by selecting the largest humidifier possible.
Avoid frequent water replacement by selecting the largest humidifier possible. (Image: Alexander Den/iStock/Getty Images)

The best way to make a humidifier for your terrarium is to modify a cool-air room humidifier so that it discharges damp air directly into the habitat. Using a cool-air humidifier is better than using a warm-air humidifier, as the former will not raise the temperature of the terrarium and the latter will. While not all frogs and toads require humidifiers, some, such as poison dart frogs, benefit greatly from their use.

Things You'll Need

  • Cool air humidifier
  • Approximately 8 feet of 1-inch PVC pipe
  • 4-inch-to-1-inch PVC coupler
  • Two 1-inch 90-degree PVC couplers
  • Aquarium-safe silicone
  • Silicone dispenser (caulk gun)
  • Saw or PVC cutting tool
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Lamp timer

Engineering a Connection

Place the 4-inch-to-1-inch PVC coupler over the output tube or discharge of the humidifier. A 4-inch coupler should be able to cover the output tube of nearly any humidifier, but you can select a smaller coupler if you prefer -- just be sure it will completely encircle the output tube.

Load the silicone tube into the silicone dispenser. Raise the coupler slightly and apply a thin bead of silicone to the top of the humidifier where the coupler will attach. Press the coupler down securely.

Place an additional bead of silicone around the outside of the coupler-humidifier interface. This will help seal the connection thoroughly. Allow the silicone to dry for approximately 24 hours.

Assembling the Piping

Place the humidifier, now attached to the coupler, in its intended place. The best location for the humidifier is beside or behind the habitat where it will not be disturbed.

Measure the vertical distance between the coupler and the top of the terrarium, using a tape measure. Add a few inches to this measurement to provide some spare material in case you make a mistake on one end or have to alter the design as you assemble it.

Cut 1-inch PVC pipe to the length you arrived at in Step 2, using a saw or a PVC cutting tool. Insert one end of the cut PVC pipe into the coupler, but do not apply silicone yet.

Measure the horizontal distance between the top of the 1-inch pipe and the side of the aquarium with the tape measure. Add a few inches to this measurement to allow for fittings and for mistakes, and cut a length of the PVC pipe equal to your total, using the saw or other cutting tool.

Place one of the 90-degree couplers on the top of the vertical pipe, but do not apply silicone. Insert the horizontal pipe into the other side of the coupler as well.

Measure the vertical distance from the open end of the horizontal pipe to the top of the terrarium. Add a few inches to this total, and cut the third and final PVC section to that length.

Place the second 90-degree coupler on the open end of the horizontal pipe. Use no silicone at this time. Insert the final vertical pipe into the bottom of the 90-degree coupler.

Adjust the lengths of the PVC pipes as necessary to make the combined tubes strong and stable. You may need to remove some of the length of the pipes to achieve the best alignment. Once you know that the pipes are all the correct lengths and they fit together as you would like, disassemble the parts.

Apply silicone to the openings of all the couplers. Replace the pipes and couplers so that the entire structure is complete. Be sure all of the connections are tight. Allow the silicone to dry for about 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plug the humdifier into a lamp timer, plug the timer into the wall outlet, and turn on the humidifier. Without the timer, the humidifier will simply operate until you turn it off or it runs out of water. With a timer, you can set the humidifier to turn on for a predefined period of time, each day. For instance, you may want the humidifier to operate from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. every morning.

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