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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 115gl has been planted for around 3 weeks now. I have misting on from 5 nozzles for 1min at 9AM and for 1min at 8PM using distilled water. I have 3x96w PC lights on from 8AM to 10PM (2 x 5000k, 1 x 6700k). The temp in the tank ranges from about 65F to 80F and the humidity is ALWAYS over 90%. The substrate is my own ABG mix: 2p orchid mix, 2p cocopeat, 2p sphagnum moss, 1p charcoal, and 1.5p peat moss.

Some of the bottom brom leaves have been curling a bit recently, and one brom (chiquita linda) even had browning leaves. I removed almost all the sphagnum moss the bases were wrapped in and we'll see if that helps.

Everthing else is growing pretty well, not sure how fast this stuff should be growing, but over the 3 weeks, there is definitely some new growth and leaves. Only some creeper cuttings are taking their time, we'll see.

Now to my problem. I have a Begonia luzonensis which is acting funny. Ever since maybe a week and a half ago, the stems have dropped towards the ground and have been laying somewhat flat.



I didn't think anything of it since i saw some new leaf growth from the middle and then even flowering, but today i noticed that the old leaves have started to brown around the edges.



I've read that it may be from underwatering, overwatering, low humidity, low light and too much fert, but most of these causes are ruled out. I'm thinking that it may be overwatering or that the soil mix holds the water too much. Any suggestions about this? I want to fix this problem ASAP.

Luke
 

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Luke,

Do you have a drain or way of draining the tank? I don't belive that you are overwatering, but the substrate may be saturated.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well there is about 3" of substrate, a false bottom, with about .5" air gap between the eggcrate and water and then a drain into a sump similar to yours Tim. I don't think i am actually overwatering either, i think that the substrate retains the water too much.

Luke
 

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What kind of 'soil mixture' are you using? I use Orchid potting mix, bed-a-beast and sphagnum moss in a 50%/30%/20% mix, which does a good job with drainage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Darks!de said:
The substrate is my own ABG mix: 2p orchid mix, 2p cocopeat, 2p sphagnum moss, 1p charcoal, and 1.5p peat moss.
Luke
 

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So when you feel the substrate, is it soaking wet? This is especially telling around the base of a bromeliad. I also let my tanks dry out some from time to time and allow air circulation with no misting at all on Saturday and Sunday. You also might try a photo period of 12 hours instead of 14.

Darks!de said:
I don't think i am actually overwatering either, i think that the substrate retains the water too much.

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I forgot to mention that there is also a layer of leca about 1" between substrate and eggcrate. All the broms are attached epiphytically, so after removed lots of the sphagnum moss they should be ok. I decreased the misting schedule to only mist 1min at 9am each day, i might also not mist sat and sun but we'll see.

Luke

P.S. I bought one of those moisture testers things from HD yesterday. Out of 10 possible moisture levels the substrate was a 7, which is the last moist level before it starts being classified as wet. It says to keep begonias in a level of 4-5.
 

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Luke,

Another thing that I have run into is, I do not have good luck "planting" bare stolon broms directly into the substrate.

The bromeliads (bare stolon) that I get from Peace of the Tropics do great when I mount them on my cork background. They send aerial roots and pups within a couple of months, but if I place the stolon into the substrate, they tend to wilt and die off.

For bromeliads that I want directly in the substrate, I buy the potted plants from Home Depot. I get the small broms in the 4" pots, then clean off some of the potting soil and plant the root ball directly in the substrate. These have been doing very well and are, also, now sending pups.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ill clear this up a bit more. I have no broms in the substrate. All the broms are on wood. Several of them have released roots and one of them has a pup growing already. The thing I am worried about is the saturation of the substrate and the plants that are in it; mainly: 2 tiger ferns, a suzi wong fern, begonia, few creepers and 2 alocasias.

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm looking for this answer ASAP. I took out all the substrate in the tank and mixed it what all purpose sand to give it more drainage. The substrate i removed was very waterlogged ewwww.

Now the question. I have a false-bottom. The water level is about .75" from the eggcrate. Question: Should I keep the 2" of leca on the falsebottom or should i remove it and replace it with more substrate?

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I ended up not keeping the leca or weedblock fabric. With the new substrate in place, it now measures about 5" deep. I used a moisture meter to gauge the wetness of the substrate in different places and have found the following results:

The meter is on a scale from 1-10, 1-3 DRY, 4-7 MOIST, and 8-10 WET.

On average the substrate is a 4 at 1", 6 at 2", 7 at 3", 9 at 4" and 10 at 5".

I wanted to get some opinions on this from experienced vivarium builders and planters. Terrestrial plants i have in the substrate are several creepers such as pilea and hoyas, two alocasias, a begonia, two tiger ferns, a suzi wong fern, two saginellas. Opinions please, i've redone the substrate 3 times already!

Luke
 

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Honestly, rethink where you are placing the plants, you can only do so much with the substrate after a point (like when you get fed up with messing with it). Since you do have a "wetness" meter, plant the plants in the areas with the best rating for them (plants' preferred wetness can be rated the same way). Some of the plants you've listed LOVE it sopping wet (usually marginal plants that like wet feet like your alocasia), , some like it only "moist", and others like it drier.

Replant, don't resubstrate. Begonias you siad like a 4-5 rating..... well in your last post you said you had a "4" rated spot. Replant it there. If that isn't where you wanted it, then you are going to have to landscape it so that its drier (shallower soil) in that spot. Use LECA to elevate that area if you want it higher than it is, this will allow the soil thickness to remain the same, with the airflow to keep it drier.
 
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