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Watering question

This is a discussion on Watering question within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I am new to orchid collecting. I got my first orchid two years ago and ...

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  1. #1
    Michael99 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Watering question

    I am new to orchid collecting. I got my first orchid two years ago and ever since my collection keeps growing. I recently heard it is good to water orchids with rain water, however i never seem to collect enough. I have three fish tanks that always need water changes though. I was wondering if I could water my orchids with water from the tanks? I am always doing water changes and just pouring the old water out in the garden. Wolud that water be too rich in nutrients from the fish wastes or would it be good for the plant? I have mostly Phalaenopsis species. Thanks and sorry if this was already asked somewhere. I did a search and could not find any question like this.

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hi Michael!

    Welcome to the forum. Good question! The answer is yes. Use the water change from your tank. Maybe try an experiment Use only rain water on a few and use the tank change water on a few and see if there is a big difference. I bet the phals that get the tank water will do better. We have used fish fert for years. The water from your fish tank should be very beneficial.

    Cheers!
    BD

  3. #3
    Michael99 is offline Junior Member
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    Awesome!!! That is great to know. I now have an endless source to dechlorinated water. No more waiting for the rain to fall. My fish will have a cleaner tank too. I would like to try that experiment of watering one with rain water and one with fish tank water, but I don't have two plants anywhere around the same size and i guess that would mess up the results.

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    Hi Michael,
    I'm also pretty new to orchid growing and recently learned that when using rainwater one needs to use fertilizer intended for rain water such as MSU formulation for use with Reverse Osmosis, distilled or rainwater.

    Joan

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    I'm not up on my ichthyology (fish tank knowledge), but I believe the water sits to let the chlorine evaporate. Othere dissolved particles will still remained dissolved in the fish water, however.

    Orchids really enjoy good water (ie, no dissolved stuff, other than the nutrients they're looking for).

    While your fish tank water adds some fish poop fertilizer, it still contains dissolved particles to whatever degree they exist in your tap water. So you're trading off some extra fert for lesser quality water. You may be better off with the rain water when you can.

    Off course, if watering is too much a pain, it doesn't get done. I try and keep it simple where possible. Maybe rain water when you have it, and tank water when you don't.

    Julie

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    Michael99 is offline Junior Member
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    Ok sounds good, thanks for all your help. I will try to collect rain tonight because we are suppose to get some. LOL. Hopefully I will fill the bucket tonight.
    Michael

  7. #7
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    I was under the impression that after fertilizing your orchids its good to wash the roots by letting distilled or any pure water run over them for a few minutes. This way the nutrients to build up over time and burn the roots. Would this be a valid danger in the case of using fish tank water.
    I used to use fish tank water for lots of other plants. As a result all of them are still alive and well and big!! But they are not delicate orchids.
    Thanks.

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    Default PH?

    BD, one question for you.

    The fish tank needs a specific Ph level for fish, ussually tap water is a lot more alkaline than what my fish need. ( at least in my area) So my question is : The chemicals applied to the water to change it's PH dont affect the orchids?

    Veronica

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    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrari
    BD, one question for you.

    The fish tank needs a specific Ph level for fish, ussually tap water is a lot more alkaline than what my fish need. ( at least in my area) So my question is : The chemicals applied to the water to change it's PH dont affect the orchids?

    Veronica
    Hi Veronica!

    If the pH of your fish tank in near neutral or just slightly acidic, then your orchids would be fine. The chemicals used to alter pH, should only alter the pH level of the water. If your fish are alive and doing well, then it should be fine. Most tropical fish require the same pH level as our orchids. Some special fish require more alkaline water that would not be good for most orchids. (Alkaline simply refers to a pH level of 7 or higher.)

    So, as a general rule, most tropical fish tank water should be fine for your orchids. To be sure, I recommend testng the water to make sure it is near neutral.

    Hope this helps, Veronica!

    Cheers!
    BD

  10. #10
    jerrymeola is offline Junior Member
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    What a variety of opinions.

    First lets say that I am a commercial orchid nursery that still has a commercial fish farm on the property.

    I have thousands of orchids growing in the fish house and I always used the tank water to water the orchids. I have never seen a problem. I wish I had the ambition to move fish water to the orchid shade house but it will be more effort than I think it is worth.

    With 38,000 gallons of evaporating water in a closed barn, the humidity is high but surprisingly I do not notice any advantages to the orchids over the shade house which is extremely dry all winter, with the exception of Phals which seem to absorb water directly into the large leaves.

    My well water is extremely hard (100ppm dissolved solids is considered hard and mine is 1700ppm - liquid rock) Dissolved minerals can build up but flushing every 2 or 3rd month is sufficient.

    I never worry about PH with orchids. I may be an exception here but from fish experience any adjustment in Ph lasts less then 10 hours in hard water.
    The effect of Ph on living cells, whether fish or plants, is that osmosis through the cell walls is directional based on the Ph being acid or basic i.e. under or over Ph 7. The shift from Ph 6.8 to 7.2 causes the flow of chemicals in the cells to reverse direction. A shift from 8.2 to 7.2 has almost no effect on the cell. The chemical flow is still the same direction.

    With fish that required an acid Ph, I would lower the PH by chemicals to 6.6-6.8 and the high mineral content of the water changed it to 7.4 over night. The slow 10 hour acclimation was sufficient to allow acid loving fish to live forever in the new alkaline water. Orchids should adapt even easier, as the water quantity is lower and dries out between waterings.

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