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Old 02-12-2017, 04:19 AM
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Default 55 gallon orchidarium

Hi! Apologies in advance if I ramble too much, I get over excited

New to the hobby, but I've kept varying species of orchid and plants alive and thriving, and planted aquariums for some time now.

I'm building my first enclosure, and it will be pretty orchid/epiphytes specific, false bottom and small reservoir with some aquatic/emergent species.

I'll add some photos of the plant material I have, but my most pressing question at the moment is this large manzanita branch, and how to work it into this project. I saw it in my mind's eye covered with moss and creeping mini orchids, and running into the background somehow or over hanging the water...

I've included photos from a couple different angles, and as you can see, it doesn't fit in its current state, so I know it needs trimming/modification.

So I've come with the request for aesthetic assistance. I don't always have the most artistic eye for underlying structure.

I don't want to ruin the base material, so I'd love to invite feedback on how to cut and trim the wood, or if it should be omitted entirely, saved for a different project?

Here's the materials I am working with, and I don't mean to drift off topic, as I know my question is mostly aesthetics, but for contextualization -

1. Eggcrate background, with black GS/foam and hygrolon. I also have several large natural cork slabs and a couple small manzanita branches if needed.

2. In progress - fans, automated watering, false bottom. I have a fogger as well.

3. I have a 48 inch t5 fixture for light. I also have a 48 in finnex RAY 2 I could swap in place.
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Old 02-12-2017, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: 55 gallon orchidarium

Probably not what you want to hear.. but in a 55 with so little front to back depth... when you add a background you are likely to have 10" or less depth... it's gonna be tough to work that entire piece into it without it looking too large... I would cut it into several smaller pieces and work them in either vertically or horizontally...

You might be able to trim it down and make it fit in one piece... I just think it will be hard to work around etc and dominate the tank...

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Old 02-12-2017, 12:17 PM
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Thank you for the feedback! You might be right, that is a pretty narrow measurement as far as depth goes. I may have save it for another project. I'm not opposed to cutting it, if I can get the right look out of it though!

I see one possibility, I'll see if I can sketch it up and see what you guys think.
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Old 02-12-2017, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: 55 gallon orchidarium

One other thing would be to flip it so the branches are down into the tank.. then cut off the extra.. so it's diagonal into the tank.. still not sure it will fit tho

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Old 02-12-2017, 10:39 PM
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Default Re: 55 gallon orchidarium

With the dimensions of the 55, I have to 2nd the notion that a background would likely eat into too much space. You could go ultra slim with some spyra/hygrolon type wicking fabric skinned onto some eggcrate, or what I would do, is try to scape this like a nature aquarium, and use a flat solid color background on the outside.

Regarding the driftwood. I think the logical place to cut it is between where the central branch reconnects to the thicker base, while trying to keep the outermost branches attached to the base. I'd do a guide cut down the length of the branch towards the base, behind where the central branch comes forward, and then break them free by hand. Throws some moss or a plant over where the cut segment is, and they should be easier to get into a convincing root stump arrangement emanating out of one of the corners. Sorry if this is a really unclear and convoluted description. Here's a crappy drawing to better illustrate.

I'd make the cut from the backside of the piece, and then break them apart manually for a more natural finish.
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Old 02-12-2017, 11:37 PM
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Wow thank you for the advice, that sounds good! I'll try to visualize how you described it and showed it in the photo, thanks!!!
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:37 AM
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Thank you everyone for the input, I'm extremely grateful!
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:11 AM
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Default Re: 55 gallon orchidarium

I would go peninsula right down the middle. Short side background if the 55 is all you can fit and do. Then the depth, though still small, gets full utilization. On the short side "background" I would take 2"-3" and make a false wall to hide a fan (potentially two for upper and lower cross flow) and the drainage access. You could also cut small slits and have the fog come in from that section making the system very clean.

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Old 02-13-2017, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: 55 gallon orchidarium

Here's one of my favorite 55 gal tanks. He did a background along the back and still made it look really good with orchids. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/mem...heavy-viv.html
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