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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to post up my orchid tank and my new ecuador arrivals as of late :)! I will post individual plant photos after I take them... Geez, these orchids are becoming more addicting than the frogs...



 

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I wanted to post up my orchid tank and my new ecuador arrivals as of late :)! I will post individual plant photos after I take them... Geez, these orchids are becoming more addicting than the frogs...
Yeah.. I dont have any frogs yet so all my energy is spent on plants. I'm discovering a new(ish) love in my life that I hope lasts for the rest of my life. I build my vivarium because I've wanted to keep dart frogs since I was a kid. Now I want another viv just for propagating plants!

When I can divide some of the orchids I have I would love to make a trade with you!
 

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Yeah.. I dont have any frogs yet so all my energy is spent on plants. I'm discovering a new(ish) love in my life that I hope lasts for the rest of my life. I build my vivarium because I've wanted to keep dart frogs since I was a kid. Now I want another viv just for propagating plants!

When I can divide some of the orchids I have I would love to make a trade with you!
Mike, I know there are some trades in our future!
 

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Mike, I know there are some trades in our future!
Absolutely! My orchids are all just babes at this point, but I'll be moving to Denver in a few months as my girlfriend is in the process of buying a house up there, so I will be closer and happy to do some tradin'!
 

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That is a great looking setup. I need to get something like this started. The suction cup hangers are a great idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here are a few of the inhabitants!

Pleurothallis dodsonii (man I love this plant!)


Another of dodsonii


Barbosella propens


Pleurothallis grobyii


Epidendrum sancti-ramoni in bloom


Lepanthopsis acuminata


Trichosalpinx orbicularis


Trisetella strumosa


Pleurothallis erythrium


Porroglossum muscosum


Zootrophion serpenticum


Restrepia condorensis


There are several others I will take photos of, like Lepanthes caprimulgus, Zootrophion atropurpureum, a bunch of Stelis sp's, etc etc etc :) I have an Encyclia tampensis that is about too bloom from Charles Brookes I will have to post soon as well !

Ed Parker
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks charles! i'm babying some of these guys so i'll have more to trade with you in a few months ;)

I do have a small 2 inch cpu fan in there for circulation. It is kind of experimental. FOr the most part I have been growing them with only a humidifier hooked up to the tank, which is my favorite type of humid circulation. It will kick on randomly twice a day or so for 30 minutes. The ultrasonics are nice, you get fan flow with wet, humid air ;)

ed parker
 

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Ed, what kind of light are using?
I've been eyeing some miniature orchids, barbosella, masdevallia, pleurothalis to name a few, I searched at Andy's Orchids but have been a little hesitant to pull the trigger. It seems many of the orchids I found prefer partly shaded conditions. I'm not entirely sure how that plays out in a viv. I just built three vivs that have 5 inches of open space at the top and two 2 inch case fans specifically for growing orchids. At the moment I'n focusing on new world orchids. If you, or anyone else, could offer any advice or tips I would really appreciate it.
 

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Hi Mike,

Dart frog lovers are only eclipsed by species orchid lovers! In my experience, though, the conditions under which many of our frogs flourish (constant moisture and high humidity) don't always bode well for having orchids in the same vivarium. There are some people here that have claerly "cracked the code", but I have lost too many plants to continue with the good fight!

I do have a few epiphytes that I store in a greenhouse over Winter and keep on the porch for Summer. This is the best I've been able to do.

Good luck to the OP; Those are some Sa-weeet species! Richard.

Ed, what kind of light are using?
I've been eyeing some miniature orchids, barbosella, masdevallia, pleurothalis to name a few, I searched at Andy's Orchids but have been a little hesitant to pull the trigger. It seems many of the orchids I found prefer partly shaded conditions. I'm not entirely sure how that plays out in a viv. I just built three vivs that have 5 inches of open space at the top and two 2 inch case fans specifically for growing orchids. At the moment I'n focusing on new world orchids. If you, or anyone else, could offer any advice or tips I would really appreciate it.
 

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The trick is to identify the microniches you have available for planting them in your viv, and THEN choose the appropriate orchid. High, dry, bright and warm= Dendrobium. Look into D. oligophyllum. It will bloom non stop for years if happy


Bright light, but moist, look into some of the Bulbophyllums, like B. appendiculata

B. lasiochilum

B. kalimpong if you like hybrids

or thicker leaved pleurothallis like P. quadrifida(longissima)

For lower light and moist there are a ton of pleurothallids that work well
P. allenii

P. megalops

Rynchopera fasidiosa

Dracula lotax

Masdevallia herradurae
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Setup:

This is a very basic set up. It is the 18x18x18 exoterra cube. I replaced the screen top with a full piece glass, and drilled 5 holes (3 in front, 2 in back) in the glass that are 5/8" diameter. I covered 4 of these with noseeum mesh. The fifth has a 1/2" hose plumbed from the ultrasonic humidifier. The base is then a 4" gravel layer with a 1" layer of orchid grade sphagnum moss. I had originally covered the styrofoam background with coco dust and silicone when it was set up for pumilio. The foam background is great for easily attaching orchid mounts with hooks. The drainage layer of gravel is important for any potted orchids you are placing in your grow out orchidarium. For lighting, all i have on this setup (to reduce heat) is 2 CF 13 watt 6500k bulbs. These have been working well for me, however in the future I will be swapping out all my bulbs for the 10000k LED high outputs (when they get better or when I have time to build my own setup). So this is a VERY simple orchidarium. As mentioned, i did just add a 2" fan for constant circulation when the lights are on. The humidifier is on a random timer, and will turn on twice a day for 30minutes at a time. I have been growing orchids like this for quite some time.

To answer other questions, mostly for those of you that are on the edge of attempting orchids but have heard too many horror stories. The conditions we raise our frogs in are actually perfect for orchids, however this is not true for all orchids. Each orchid has to be selected for the personal requirements of each species. In general, pleurothallids, maxillarias, epidendroides, bulbophyllums all do well in a vivarium environment (80 - 95percent humidity). There are the few oddballs here and there that prefer dryer environments, like my Pleuro tonduzii, who is growing in a pot on my windowsill at 35% humidity and loving it.... Before I purchase an orchid, i do as much research as possible on the species i'm interested in: temp requirements (VERY important), light requirements (not as important), air flow (really important for lepanthes and other genera's), humidity, etc. My favorite resource for this information is Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia.

Temperature: This is one of the most important factors. You can kill an orchid in a matter of a few hours to a few days if you have to HIGH of temperatures. Most of the families/generas listed earlier do best UNDER 80 degrees F. Most dracula's and masdevallia's can't even handle being over 70 degrees!!! If it is a cold or cool growing species based on orchidspecies.com, save them for someone who can keep them under 73degrees. if however it is rated at hot - cool, warm - cool, hot - warm, etc it is a great candidate for your vivarium. Keep in mind though, many species will only BLOOM in cooler temps, but may flourish as a plant in the upper 70's.

Lighting: I will have to re-do my light measurements I have performed in the past, as I did not write any of my findings down. As far as orchidspecies.com goes, they rate each plant based on 4 categories of light requirements: Full Sun, Bright, Shade, Full Shade. In a vivarium, this means something far different than what you would think. Full shade does not mean the plant wants to be in the blackest pit of your viv, and shade doesn't mean that the plant even wants to be shaded at all. On the contrary, i have found FULL SUN plants to be nearly impossible to grow in a viv, as they typically like much dryer conditions and unless your using Metal Halides, you may not be able to support the light requirement. So here is kind of how I base these requirements (which I will add measurements to later).
Bright: right under your lights at the top of the tank. I have 200 watts roughly of 6500k compact fluorescent lights on my 115gal viv, and within 2-6inches of this is my Bright orchid zone.
Shade: in the same vivarium, this would be in the 6 - 10 inch range from the light source. (in measuring light from my CF's, every inch or two significantly reduces the foot candles that the plant will receive)
Full Shade: 8" - 20" from lights. I have been successful in placing full shade plants higher up in the tank as long as another plant provides some shading for it.

Now in the Exo terra orchidarium, I am only growing shade and full shade rated plants (orchidspecies.com). The top row of mounts are typically the shade plants, and i will place the full shade plants underneath them. Feel free to PM me if you further wish to discuss lighting and temp of orchids or need help deciding where to place your orchids ;).

Humidity and watering: Orchids are SUCCULENTS. However, they can do great even if they have a root base that stays moist (MOIST not WET) at all times. There are also those that have to have a marked dry period to grow. Stay away from these plants ;), those are the ones that will die after seemingly doing great. (most COMMON dendrobiums fall into that group, as well as phalaenopsis hybrids, vanda alliance, and many other more common groups). All of the species I work with come from areas typical of having a wet season and a really wet season ;). As long as they are not sitting in stagnant water, they will do great! I typically mount most with their root base wrapped in orchid grade sphagnum moss, and then use a hook to stick them to foam background, or fishing line to strap them to cork/branch/wood. NEVER plant an orchid into soil or a non draining pot (like a mesh pot in your GS background. They can handle the moisture of moss, but not standing water at all.

N E way, i've got things to do, so if you would like more information or tips on how I grow orchids, pm me or post up on this thread asking questions. I have finally hit my 100 species mark and have only lost 3 species in the past year or so! so I must be getting something right... ;)

Ed Parker
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow, great pics and great growings! I agree, finding the microniche in your vivarium is key to orchid success!
 

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Ive killed more than a few putting them where they didnt want to be. And lets not forget DRAINAGE DRAINAGE DRAINAGE. Its really easy to rot roots in a viv if theres no way for water to drain away, or airflow to reach them. Because we use so much sphag to mount them, its important at least most of the moss is exposed to the air
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
herradurae is actually a pretty hardy plant for a masdi, and seems able to deal with a large range of conditions. In fact, I grow on in my living room
Yes, M. herradurae is a great plant, although not the flashiest of the Masdevallia. I have a 150+ growth plant in my office of it that is always in bloom, however I don't think it would do very well over 78 degrees.

I am experimenting with a Dracula simia and a Masdevallia peristeria to see if I can grow them in one of my warmer vivs (mid 70's to low 80's)

Ive killed more than a few putting them where they didnt want to be. And lets not forget DRAINAGE DRAINAGE DRAINAGE. Its really easy to rot roots in a viv if theres no way for water to drain away, or airflow to reach them. Because we use so much sphag to mount them, its important at least most of the moss is exposed to the air
Again, I totally agree (for most species). Even others, such as Cattleyas (usually too large) and bulbophyllums, as long as the humidity is HIGH, then I just mount them directly to cork or branches, and add NO moss. If you can find Cattleya araguaensis, it is one of the smaller of the genus and it LOVES high humidity and bright conditions.
 

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Ive been on the lookout for that Cattleya.
M. herradurae performs very well for me in temps to he low 80s.
I agree about the mounting with no moss. I killed a few bulbos choking their roots with moss. Ive had much better luck with the in vivs leving their roots exposed, and allowing them to wander into little crevices in the wood or cork or tree fern
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ive been on the lookout for that Cattleya.
My C. araguaensis is growing like a weed. After it blooms for me off its new growths, i'd be more than willing to make a division for ya ;)

ed parker
 
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