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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-13-2019, 02:24 AM
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Default My Orchid Vivarium.

Been working on this over the last few weeks, finally came together yesterday. Everything is fully automated, lighting, misting, and fans. So far everything is great and it has yet to get too saturated or too dry. The fuzzy stuff is the dusk moss mix.

Current plants:
Masdevallia nidifica
Dryadella cristata
Dryadella pusiola
Psychopsiella lemminghei
Lepanthopsis astrophora

Hope you enjoy.

Last edited by astrophora; 07-13-2019 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:29 AM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astrophora View Post
Been working on this over the last few weeks, finally came together yesterday. Everything is fully automated, lighting, misting, and fans. So far everything is great and it has yet to get too saturated or too dry. The fuzzy stuff is the dusk moss mix.

Current plants:
Masdevallia nidifica
Dryadella cristata
Dryadella pusiola
Psychopsiella lemminghei
Lepanthopsis astrophora

Hope you enjoy.

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That looks fantastic!
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:34 AM
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That looks fantastic!
Thank you

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Old 07-13-2019, 03:17 AM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Is the background a cork bark mosaic?

What kind of wood is the piece of wood making the slope?
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Old 07-13-2019, 03:29 AM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

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Is the background a cork bark mosaic?

What kind of wood is the piece of wood making the slope?
The background is 2 roundish cork slabs and the gaps are filled in with smaller pieces of cork. The gaps between the smaller pieces are filled using silicone and peat moss, as is the very top between the end of the cork and the top of the terra. The slope is also cork, a very large cork round. I cut the end at a 45 angle then glued it to the background. It was actually the scrap piece of a much larger round after I cut it, but I realized it fit perfectly. It doesn't look much like one because I applied the Dusk Moss Mix to it. I honestly love how it looks currently, but in 2 months it'll be covered in moss.

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Old 07-13-2019, 03:33 AM
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Direct your fan at your limminghei. If you don’t have frogs in there I’d hit it with hydrogen peroxide every so often too. That species is a bitch. I had about a dozen big ones I imported from Brazil that were great. Flowered and grew nicely then failure to thrive.

Thankfully I did an outcross of an unrelated plant. Prior to Matt at Ten Shin in Taiwan producing and wholesaling them in the US, the only ones that would appear would be from Floralia. To which, I’m entirely sure that’s where all the seedlings in the last couple years were from parents of Floralia origin. If you got one from Gold Country Orchids or Exotic Orchids of Maui, it was my outcross. Hopefully these are less a pain in the ass to grow long term.

Good luck with it! I want one in my tanks. Will try one out this weekend.
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

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Originally Posted by astrophora View Post
The background is 2 roundish cork slabs and the gaps are filled in with smaller pieces of cork. The gaps between the smaller pieces are filled using silicone and peat moss, as is the very top between the end of the cork and the top of the terra. The slope is also cork, a very large cork round. I cut the end at a 45 angle then glued it to the background. It was actually the scrap piece of a much larger round after I cut it, but I realized it fit perfectly. It doesn't look much like one because I applied the Dusk Moss Mix to it. I honestly love how it looks currently, but in 2 months it'll be covered in moss.

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What about the piece that's y-shaped? That piece looks really neat
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:02 PM
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What about the piece that's y-shaped? That piece looks really neat
I'm actually really grateful how perfectly that piece fit together.

It's two different pieces of ghostwood. One is a straight, about 14 inches or so, and the other is a piece from a 3-pack of ghostwood accents. Two of the accents were garbage, they didn't match the color or size of the straight at all. The third one, however, was perfect, one of the ends sat on the straight just right and made for an awesome Y piece (refer to images). I just used gorilla glue to join them. The images show where I was originally going to put them together, but it still captures the concept of how it fit.

I planned on joining pieces from the beginning as I prefer this much more than a typical ghostwood branch. Branches have way too many separations and don't look like anything you'd find on the jungle floor.

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Old 07-13-2019, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

I love the way the y branch turned out. Thanks for showing how you made it
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:39 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Disregard this comment.

Last edited by astrophora; 07-13-2019 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Very nice tank. I have several orchids I just put into a new build. Was thinking of doing an orchid only exo. Keep us updated as everything grows and develops.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:37 AM
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Very nice tank. I have several orchids I just put into a new build. Was thinking of doing an orchid only exo. Keep us updated as everything grows and develops.
Thank you!

If you have the money and resources I think an orchid exclusive vivarium is a great thing to have. Most minis that work well in vivs come from Ecuador, where they grow in the wild together, so they work so nicely in a tank together. You can really add a lot of color and pattern with minis, and they take up so little room.

Larger orchids can go great in larger vivs, but I don't prefer mixing them with low-light, cool growing minis.

I'll keep it updated!

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Old 07-14-2019, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Update:

I've pretty much narrowed down the nighttime cooling factor. For a nighttime temperature drop, my idea was to cool using evaporation, but the challenge was finding the right interval for misting duration and frequency.

As of now I have it down to 3 seconds every 4 minutes. One fan runs constantly, which acts as the evaporator. A second fan runs for 4 minutes on, 15 off, and its job is to dry out any heavy wet spots that may have built up over the last few mistings.

So far I've gotten it down to 66 from a starting temperature of 72, and maintained that pretty well. This was testing during the daytime, however, and I have every reason to believe that I can easily achieve a 10 drop during the night. Humidity is maintained between 85%-95%.

Whether this will be a greenhouse for mold and fungi is something I will find out in time, but I fully believe that with the constant fan and adequate ventilation in the top, none will form. Im more worried about the plant roots getting soggy than I am mold growing. Besides, springtails seem to enjoy mold.

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Last edited by astrophora; 07-14-2019 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Trichosalpinx chamaelepanthes.

Probably won't update for another week or two.

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Old 07-14-2019, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Give us updates as it grows! I want to see the moss grow in.

I noticed you didn't mention any inhabitants. Is there a particular species you're putting in? Or leaving it uninhabited? It looks pretty, either way. Clearly you put thought into the planting.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:10 PM
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Give us updates as it grows! I want to see the moss grow in.



I noticed you didn't mention any inhabitants. Is there a particular species you're putting in? Or leaving it uninhabited? It looks pretty, either way. Clearly you put thought into the planting.
I will provide updates, and thank you! I did put a lot in, it was my first vivarium and I wanted it to look as nice as possible. I'm ecstatic about how it came out.

As for inhabitants, I'm definitely considering thumbnail darts. A user on a *different site* offered to raise a group of R. variabilis for me, at a really good price too, and later down the road once I've filled it in with orchids I'll probably take a chance on them. He has a bunch that breed like crazy and said he could raise a group of tads if I was interested. I want to let the moss grow in, as well as get an established springtail and isopod culture. I have springtails in right now, but they're nowhere near being acclimated yet. Isopods will come later.

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Last edited by astrophora; 07-14-2019 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:19 AM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Great ideas but maybe a word of caution on the Psychopsiella lemminghei. Really a tough plant but prone to rot if it doesn't get a drying out. I used to grow then in a greenhouse and had problems with them there too.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:24 AM
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Great ideas but maybe a word of caution on the Psychopsiella lemminghei. Really a tough plant but prone to rot if it doesn't get a drying out. I used to grow then in a greenhouse and had problems with them there too.
That's what I'm finding out, unfortunately. I really like it in the Y of the ghostwood too, I think it's perfect there, but I don't think it'll last long with my setup. Guess we'll just have to wait and see. If it doesn't work I'll put a bulbophyllum there, one that has a similar structure (small, round and very close to the mount) but im really hoping i can make it work.

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Old 07-15-2019, 12:42 PM
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Quick update: the live sphagnum isn't much alive anymore, and since it isn't properly dried, it doesn't retain much moisture. I like the tank looking as green as possible, but there's nothing I can do about it. I'll be replacing it with dried sphagnum that can actually hold moisture.

As for misting, I did a 2 second mist every 4 minutes during the night and the temperature never reached above 65. The lowest was 63.5. I would say that's rather successful, though getting it to 62 is definitely a goal. The only issue that came up was trying to keep the area opposite of the mistking damp during the night, since a 2 second spray is not enough to properly layer water, especially with a fan blowing. Other than that, it kept the tank cool without making anything too soppy. Might try a 3 second duration soon.

Last edited by astrophora; 07-15-2019 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:20 AM
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Looks great. Would you mind sharing more details on your fan set-up?
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:28 AM
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Looks great! I am just about to start constructing my orchid Vivarium as well (the parts have really all arrived at this point).

How did you construct the drainage area? False bottom with egg crate? Or hydroton?

Thanks!!
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:42 AM
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Looks great! I am just about to start constructing my orchid Vivarium as well (the parts have really all arrived at this point).

How did you construct the drainage area? False bottom with egg crate? Or hydroton?

Thanks!!
I used a product very similar to hydroballs for the drainage. I then cut a pvc tube (1/2" diameter) and edged one end so that it wouldn't sit perfectly flat, and water could enter it. I then figured out where it would go through the screen, and cut a very small hole through it, then shoved the pvc through the cut in the screen and piled on the substrate.

I made my drainage layer extra deep and I'm glad I did, but if you're planning on planting substrate-based plants then I wouldn't recommend it. Also, before filling the tank with substrate, I put a piece of tape over the pvc so none of it could fall through.

On amazon I bought a 150mL syringe with a tube on the end so I could siphon water out if needed. I don't think I'll ever have to, I find myself putting more water in than out, but it's there for that too.

Hope this helps, if you have any other questions feel free to ask!

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Last edited by astrophora; 07-16-2019 at 02:27 AM.
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:43 AM
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Looks great. Would you mind sharing more details on your fan set-up?
Yeah I'd be happy to, but what exactly are you trying to find out?

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Old 07-16-2019, 05:02 AM
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It looks really nice, I am hoping that you will keep us posted with new photos.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by astrophora View Post
I used a product very similar to hydroballs for the drainage. I then cut a pvc tube (1/2" diameter) and edged one end so that it wouldn't sit perfectly flat, and water could enter it. I then figured out where it would go through the screen, and cut a very small hole through it, then shoved the pvc through the cut in the screen and piled on the substrate.

I made my drainage layer extra deep and I'm glad I did, but if you're planning on planting substrate-based plants then I wouldn't recommend it. Also, before filling the tank with substrate, I put a piece of tape over the pvc so none of it could fall through.

On amazon I bought a 150mL syringe with a tube on the end so I could siphon water out if needed. I don't think I'll ever have to, I find myself putting more water in than out, but it's there for that too.

Hope this helps, if you have any other questions feel free to ask!

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Thanks a lot for the info, that is all very helpful!

Have you been purchasing your orchids potted/barerooted (to help make the transition more easily to the vivarium)?

I ask because I have a few that are mounted on various pieces of wood/etc that would likely be great in my terrarium, but it makes me nervous to removed them from the mount (and I also dont know if I like the idea of putting a bunch of already mounted orchids in the terrarium, but I guess time will tell what I end up doing haha).

Thanks again and your vivarium looks great!
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by orion141 View Post
Thanks a lot for the info, that is all very helpful!



Have you been purchasing your orchids potted/barerooted (to help make the transition more easily to the vivarium)?



I ask because I have a few that are mounted on various pieces of wood/etc that would likely be great in my terrarium, but it makes me nervous to removed them from the mount (and I also dont know if I like the idea of putting a bunch of already mounted orchids in the terrarium, but I guess time will tell what I end up doing haha).



Thanks again and your vivarium looks great!
Just depends, I don't really worry about it too much. Most small vivarium sized orchids aren't in bloom when you purchase them, and if they are, they're frequent bloomers so they're fine to transfer. They generally aren't physically attached to the mount either. The issue is when orchids come with their roots already growing flush against the mount, and you have to be careful when removing them. Even so, it's not hard to remove the roots, and as long as you aren't ripping the plant off it will be okay. Just make sure they're wet before trying.

You will have dying leaves 99% of the time after moving an orchid. They'll always get worse before they get better, but if you keep up the proper care, they'll come back quickly.

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Old 07-16-2019, 09:40 PM
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Yeah I'd be happy to, but what exactly are you trying to find out?

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I have a couple of swampy tanks that I wanted to more airflow in and was curious how you were doing it. Computer fans? How you are wiring them? Fans in the tank or are they just blowing through the screen on top. Sorry if I missed this info in the thread, but I didn't see it.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:02 PM
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I have a couple of swampy tanks that I wanted to more airflow in and was curious how you were doing it. Computer fans? How you are wiring them? Fans in the tank or are they just blowing through the screen on top. Sorry if I missed this info in the thread, but I didn't see it.
I wanna make a few things very clear with this:

1. This setup is super janky and not at all the "proper" way of mounting the fans, but it's the easiest for me.

2. Do not place a fan inside a tank with high humidity, especially if there's a misting system. It'll simply cycle the air already in the tank which does little to help prevent mold and fungi. You want fresh air coming in, especially if you're trying to dry or cool the tank. Dry air helps with evaporation, which is exactly what you want with drying or cooling. Also the humidity will eventually kill the fans, and it could cause electrical issues.

3. I don't have a screen since there are no inhabitants, but even if you do, everything is the same. If your tanks are getting swampy, mist less and open up the top more. I wouldn't have any less than a 1 1/2" gap in the top.

4. Cooling and evaporation have numerous factors that change the outcome. Fan speed, number of fans, size of tank, ambient air temperature, tank temperature, ambient air humidity, diffusion of air within the tank, etc. Every tank will behave differently, so you have to experiment to find what yours will respond to. That being said, I'll still give you my specs and durations so you can get an idea.

****

http://imgur.com/a/gQes4R2
So here's how I have it set up: 2 brushless blower style fans @ ~10CFM each (my tank is 12x12x18 and one fan is enough to significantly dry leaves after 10 minutes). I put them in the front because of how the cork background is, I didn't want air getting trapped behind the cork having zero effect on the rest of the tank. As for wiring, refer to the imgur images. Both fans are set on specific timers, one goes to a duration timer, and the other goes to a programmable one.

It would depend on the size of your terra as to how powerful of a fan you need. Computer fans work well too, just be careful of their CFM - you don't want to go too high with it. Amazon has a good selection of brushless USB fans that are a lot easier to run than pin-connector fans.

If all you're trying to do is dry it up, I would go with a computer fan pointed towards or in the middle of the terra. I would still run it on a timer, such as 5 minutes on, 15 minutes off. If you leave them on indefinitely it'll dry things up too much, drop the humidity too far, and at first it'll cool things down rather well, until they start to dry.

****
I know this was a lot of information but I hope it helps, if you have any further questions I'll be happy to answer them.

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Last edited by astrophora; 07-16-2019 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrophora View Post
I wanna make a few things very clear with this:

1. This setup is super janky and not at all the "proper" way of mounting the fans, but it's the easiest for me.

2. Do not place a fan inside a tank with high humidity, especially if there's a misting system. It'll simply cycle the air already in the tank which does little to help prevent mold and fungi. You want fresh air coming in, especially if you're trying to dry or cool the tank. Dry air helps with evaporation, which is exactly what you want with drying or cooling. Also the humidity will eventually kill the fans, and it could cause electrical issues.

3. I don't have a screen since there are no inhabitants, but even if you do, everything is the same. If your tanks are getting swampy, mist less and open up the top more. I wouldn't have any less than a 1 1/2" gap in the top.

4. Cooling and evaporation have numerous factors that change the outcome. Fan speed, number of fans, size of tank, ambient air temperature, tank temperature, ambient air humidity, diffusion of air within the tank, etc. Every tank will behave differently, so you have to experiment to find what yours will respond to. That being said, I'll still give you my specs and durations so you can get an idea.

****

http://imgur.com/a/gQes4R2
So here's how I have it set up: 2 brushless blower style fans @ ~10CFM each (my tank is 12x12x18 and one fan is enough to significantly dry leaves after 10 minutes). I put them in the front because of how the cork background is, I didn't want air getting trapped behind the cork having zero effect on the rest of the tank. As for wiring, refer to the imgur images. Both fans are set on specific timers, one goes to a duration timer, and the other goes to a programmable one.

It would depend on the size of your terra as to how powerful of a fan you need. Computer fans work well too, just be careful of their CFM - you don't want to go too high with it. Amazon has a good selection of brushless USB fans that are a lot easier to run than pin-connector fans.

If all you're trying to do is dry it up, I would go with a computer fan pointed towards or in the middle of the terra. I would still run it on a timer, such as 5 minutes on, 15 minutes off. If you leave them on indefinitely it'll dry things up too much, drop the humidity too far, and at first it'll cool things down rather well, until they start to dry.

****
I know this was a lot of information but I hope it helps, if you have any further questions I'll be happy to answer them.

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This was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time. Much appreciated. USB fan definitely seems easier than the pin connection. I am going to give this a try
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:18 AM
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by astrophora View Post
Just depends, I don't really worry about it too much. Most small vivarium sized orchids aren't in bloom when you purchase them, and if they are, they're frequent bloomers so they're fine to transfer. They generally aren't physically attached to the mount either. The issue is when orchids come with their roots already growing flush against the mount, and you have to be careful when removing them. Even so, it's not hard to remove the roots, and as long as you aren't ripping the plant off it will be okay. Just make sure they're wet before trying.

You will have dying leaves 99% of the time after moving an orchid. They'll always get worse before they get better, but if you keep up the proper care, they'll come back quickly.

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Thanks a lot for your help! Will give it a try with some of the less expensive mounted ones first haha.

Happy growing!
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Old 07-18-2019, 04:00 PM
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Default First Week

Been exactly one week since the vivarium has gone up! Here's a current update as to what has been going on.

Plants:
All plants are doing very well. All 5 of the original plants have new root and leaf growth, and the astrophora even has buds! The sphagnum in the wet areas has come back, and the moss is growing in. I have almost fine tuned the nighttime temp drop and have determined the right misting schedule for daytime.

What's to come:
Tomorrow I am ordering the following plants:
Bulbophyllum lasiochilum
Porroglossum Hystrix
Porroglossum Amethystinum

In the fall I will be adding rubber ducky isopods! They will be the primary and only inhabitant of the tank.

Current issues:
Getting daytime temps to rise back up to 72 and keeping the corner adjacent of the misting nozzle damp, especially during the night when there's only a 3 second spray. I plan on ordering a second nozzle head and mirroring it to the current one, so it will be on the left side of the tank and hit the corner that is getting dry.

Photos!

Last edited by astrophora; 07-18-2019 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:45 AM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Looks like your plants are really enjoying it!

Where have you been buying your orchids from (for my future reference hahahaha).
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:49 AM
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Looks like your plants are really enjoying it!



Where have you been buying your orchids from (for my future reference hahahaha).
Andys orchids is great, but his shipping rates are higher than anywhere else. It's worth it considering he has just about every orchid imaginable.

Tarzanegroup is an awesome place for minis, it's where I got my masdevallia and astrophora.

Seattle orchid is cool.

Kelly from High Desert Orchids is where I got my Lemminghei. Ive bought a few other plants from her as well and they've all come in wonderfully.

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Old 07-20-2019, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

Springtails are dead. Didn't provide them enough food. Ordered some more, which is unfortunate, but they're necessary.

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Old 07-21-2019, 02:51 AM
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Why do you say the springtails are necessary? I understand for frogs they are a good source, but for the orchids??

I ask for my future terrarium (under construction).
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Last edited by orion141; 07-21-2019 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:53 AM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

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Why do you say the springtails are necessary? I understand for frogs they are a good source, but for the orchids??

I ask for my future terrarium (under construction).
I don't know about necessary, but they do help till the soil, so to speak. That's my understanding.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

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Why do you say the springtails are necessary? I understand for frogs they are a good source, but for the orchids??

I ask for my future terrarium (under construction).
They will control fungus and break down dead organic matter. these little guys, along with proper conditions, will maintain a healthy environment for plants as well as frogs. I use them in all my terrariums, even the table top plants in a jar types. I learned right away the value of springtails and what a nightmare fungus can wrought with out them.
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

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Why do you say the springtails are necessary? I understand for frogs they are a good source, but for the orchids??

I ask for my future terrarium (under construction).
Rory put it pretty well.

They also help with controlling mold. As plants grow, they lose leaves. Those leaves will begin to rot, causing mold and fungi to grow. Without springtails, that mold and fungi would just sit there and continue to grow, eventually taking over the vivarium. Mold loves humidity and rotting things, of which a vivarium has both.

They're definitely necessary.

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Old 07-25-2019, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: My Orchid Vivarium.

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Originally Posted by kirklandj View Post
This was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time. Much appreciated. USB fan definitely seems easier than the pin connection. I am going to give this a try
Quoting as a follow-up. I picked up a couple of USB fans and have them outside of the tank blowing into it and things are already looking looking better. I have them running on longer intervals than you are doing (5min on; 10min off), but pretty happy with the results and this was a much easier option than mounting fans inside the tank or converting the pin power fans.

Thanks for the advice and help
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