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Orchidarium Planning

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by wazzel, May 4, 2011.

  1. wazzel

    wazzel Oil Field Trash

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    I am just in the beginning of planning my first orchidarium. I would like it to be a diplay as opposed to being just a growing area. It will more than likely be in one of the main rooms of my house so it needs to look nice. Also, I would like to do a regional mini-orchid theme. First idea between me and my kids is intermediate to warm growing mini-orchids from Brazil. Yes, I tend to do projects like this with my kids even tho they are only 8, 11 and 12. My 12yo has a few orchids of her own.

    This past weekend I happend upon a 60 gal xxtall aquarium at my church fair for $20. That would be 30L x 14W x 32T, for non fish tank people. It is in good shape with no leaks. So I now have the tank.

    I have not done any type of terrarium before so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    Sounds like the addiction seriously has you by the you-know-whats there my friend.
     
  3. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    Lighting is the place to start. My orchidarium has a 6 x 39 watt t5 HO fixture with 4 6500K daylight bulbs and 2 10,000k "white" bulbs.
     
  4. wazzel

    wazzel Oil Field Trash

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    Yes it has.
     
  5. wazzel

    wazzel Oil Field Trash

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    Is that a purchased fixture if so from where? I was looking to do T-5 also.
     
  6. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    There are a few considerations, lighting being one of the most important.

    First is that if you plan to warm the tank to greater temps than the ambient air temps, you will have condensation. You will have LOTS of condensation. This leads to a host of problems. Algae on the glass, constantly fogged up (i.e. opaque) glass, etc.

    As for the mechanics of a tank, you have to balance light, heating/cooling, water, RH, and air flow. T5s are the way to go, IMO. Look for 24-30" reef fixtures. You'll want lamps in the 6500k range. Unfortunately, reefers use lamps outside of this range. www.firstrays.com sold me some appropriate length T5s (good customer service there, btw). Heating/cooling is another issue. If you don't plan to heat or cool the tank, expect that it will get about 3-5f above room temps because of lighting. Watering... do you want to automate the process? If so, I can point you toward a slough of resources. Otherwise, try to use RO or distilled water so as to prevent spotting on the glass. These will elach nutrients out of the plants, so make sure you use nutricote or something on mounts/in pots to replace what's lost. RH is pretty easy so long as you use a glass lid. Air flow is best achieved using a waterproof CPU fan. ADDA makes some pretty high quality fans that come in various voltage and CFM ratings. www.mouser.com carries a complete line of ADDA fans.
     
  7. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    I stand corrected. Chris, in no uncertain terms, called the "leaching" of nutrients from the plant a "stupid idea". So, let's say this instead, if you use RO or distilled water, you will not be adding any nutrients to the plants. So you will need to make sure your plants get nutrients from another source. Like osmocote or something similar.
     
  8. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    I said it was a "stupid myth" ;) I was not trying to attribute the validity of the idea to any one person, as far as I can tell its a pretty widespread idea.
     
  9. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    *it's

    ;)
     
  10. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    :clap::D
     
  11. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    I also can't recommend FirstRays enough. He's a member here and contributes a lot of good info to the hobby.

    I'll also second the use of the waterproof circ fans from mouser. I have been using one for over two years now with no sign of it stopping they are either made by ABBA or ADDA, I can't remember.

    I used a thick acrylic lid slightly shorter than the length of the inside brace of the tank by about 8 mm, to allow vents on the sides as well. See pics.
    fans_144.jpg circfaninstall_505.jpg acryliclid1_154.jpg
     
  12. Chris

    Chris New Member

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    I had the orchidarium lid drilled for MistKing mister bulkheads. There are only 2 nozzles in this pic, but I ended up needing six, three attached to each bulkhead.
    misterson.jpg
     
  13. Chris

    Chris New Member

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  14. wazzel

    wazzel Oil Field Trash

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    I plan on stocking the tank with plants that will work with my normal house hold temps of 78F summer and 65F winter. Give or take. A couple of degrees over ambaint will not be a big issue.

    I would like to automate what I can. Lights, watering, etc.

    RH is a new term, what is it?

    I looked at the ADDA fans already I need to see what flow rates I would need. I would like to stick with the lower CFM is possible so I can keep the noise down.

    Looks like lighting will be the biggest expense. I am familure with reef lighting. Getting 6500K - 10000K color temp lamps is not a problem with reef light sources.
     
  15. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    RH = relative humidity.

    www.mistking.com sells whole setups that include pretty much everything you'll need. If you want to tweak the system and add separate zones, etc., you'll need to tweak things even more. I would suggest the digital timer that mist king sells.
     
  16. wazzel

    wazzel Oil Field Trash

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    OK thanks. I'll probably start off manual with the watering, monitoring, etc and work into the automated. I want to do this project all cash, so it will probably take a while.
     
  17. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    Do you have an RO system? If so, you can use the pressure tank, a splitter, and some solenoids to automate the watering. Might be cheaper than a pump system.
     
  18. wazzel

    wazzel Oil Field Trash

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    I do, but it is manual not in a convienant place to where I have availible.
     
  19. orchidkarma

    orchidkarma Member

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    I would recommend you looking into low energy CFL instead of T5´s, look for Dulux 55W or 80W from Osram (or PL-L from Philips). I have documented my "display style" vivarium build in great detail on my blog, even though mine is a cool vivarium I am sure you can find some inspiration there. Here is a link straight to the category for the build. Good luck!
     
  20. wazzel

    wazzel Oil Field Trash

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    Thanks for the info Karma. I may be able to trade a pump I have from my last reef thank for a T5 set up. That would be a no cash out option for a fixture, if it works out.