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Orchids in Tank Experiment

This is a discussion on Orchids in Tank Experiment within the OrchidTalk Members Grow Area - Photos forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I see why many of the members don't bother buying/saving the box store phals now. ...

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  1. #1
    Joyce184's Avatar
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    Default Orchids in Tank Experiment

    I see why many of the members don't bother buying/saving the box store phals now. The ones that I purchased months ago have shown little, if any growth. Actually, only one of them has done really well.

    I resurrected a 16 gallon aquarium from my basement and figured I'd try a little experiment. I have three box store phals that lost most of their roots due to rot.

    2 of them have shown no new root growth, no new leaves. The 3rd and smallest one has grown a tiny new green root tip, has opened a new flower bud and is about to open another.

    My curious mind wants to see if this aquarium can help along these orchids. I set the tank up on Sunday. I used a layer of gravel at the bottom and 8 quarts of reptile bark (my thinking was for looks and because of the humidity factor). The aquarium hood is broken so I borrowed my brother's larger one in the meantime until my replacement comes in next Wednesday.

    For the past four days, I've turned the light on around 7am and turned it off before bedtime. The tank remains around 80 degrees (the hood has openings from where the filter used to be) and I've been misting the glass and bark to keep the humidity up. I'm curious how humid the tank actually is.

    Today, I watered all of my orchids a few days early as I'll be away camping this weekend. I wasn't expecting to see anything new on these particular ones, but guess what? I did!

    Here's a picture of the tank with the three orchids in there and a shot of the new growth.

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    Now, I know orchids are slow growers so is it really possible for it to have grown that in four days? I'm pretty sure I couldn't have missed that... I stare at my orchids a lot - lol...you know, cuz they are pretty and all, hahaha

  2. #2
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    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    Yes it's possible, roots can grow fast. I would suggest you also get a small fan and keep your air movement going. Great idea with the tank. If you do a search on the past posts, you'll see what others have done with their old forsaken fish tanks. Some are really quite impressive...although i'm in love with your set up here. It's so pretty...would look nice on anyones' coffee table!

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    Hey that is awesome. I bet your orchids will like growing in that tank.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Connie- Hehe... I've spent quite some time looking at past posts on peoples' orchidariums. I agree, there are a few that are impressive and so beautifully done.

    I think it'll be an orchid clinic of sorts for now. I don't think I know enough about other types of orchids to want to invest in all of the proper equipment for making this a really awesome orchid tank. Maybe once I get better at growing my phals and paphs, I will switch over to making this into a proper orchidarium/terrarium (I do have this very vivid image of how I'd want it to look!)

    Thanks Bruce!

  5. #5
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    I too want to encourage you to get some sort of fan there to keep the air moving. Especially if you are placing a cover on the tank - otherwise you will be flirting with a fungal infection - harder to remediate than rotten roots, at least in my book.
    Don

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    Good luck with your experiment! I have one Phal that was pretty sorry looking and no doubt heading towards the trash in time. I've never been good with Phals (or most orchids come to think of it) and have killed more than I can remember. So I did some experimenting of my own at the begining of last month. I took my poor Phal and also bought a clearance one from a big box store that still had decent roots. Both of them now have new roots growing and each have a new leaf. I've never gotten a Phal to grow a new leaf before. Don't know how long my luck will last. It takes patience and persistence for sure.

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    Phalaenopsis in general,require heat to grow, and lower temperatures to flower. The dividing line is in the low 60's say 17 C. Above 25/75 they won't initiate a new spike, but will grow new leaves ; below 15/60 they won't grow new leaves but will spike. . Of course these figures are approximations, but the general idea is keep them warm to grow, and if they don't seem to want to flower, cool them off.
    In Taiwan they do this alternately for the big specimens seen at shows, so that every time they start to develop buds they heat them up - stops the buds, and the plant grows some more leaves, then cool them down to start some more spikes. This way they can produce plants with hundreds of flowers on each - and maybe a dozen pairs of leaves all 12 inches long. .

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    Don- Yes, I've read some of the other posts about getting a computer fan in the tank. It's been really hot the past few days so I've kept the hood open. I don't mind losing these phals for the sake of learning what conditions I can and can't get away with.

    Nicki- I've had much better luck with my orchids that I didn't buy from the box stores. They've all grown new leaves and are doing very well on the windowsills. I hope your luck turns around!

    Geoff- Great information. Thanks for sharing! I was reading up on the AOS website as well. I've always been the nerd in high school and college and like to see these things for myself, hence the experiment =)

  9. #9
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    Awesome! And congrats on the new growth I recommended this to a friend of mine with a failing phal who was starting non-orchid seedlings in her old aquarium. It bounced right back! I haven't seen it in awhile, but she was grateful that it came back to life

    Not to hijack the thread but... Geoff, how do you recommend controlling temps when you're a windowsill grower? Should I take my babies home and stick them in the basement with a grow light for a few weeks? I've got tons of new leaves and roots coming in, but no flowers to speak of on any of my phals... I would guess the temp where they live in the office is probably around 70°F

  10. #10
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    Quote -how do you recommend controlling temps when you're a windowsill grower?- unquote.

    Answers 1. Pass
    2. Try prayers/joss sticks - according to your faith ( joke)
    3. I am truly sorry that I can't answer that for you ; I have never grown (orchids) on a windowsill , and any answer I thought up would be purely theoretical and not based on experience.

    I am sorry that I can't be more helpful ; maybe some real genuine window-sill growers can.

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