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Old 12-08-2018, 08:21 PM
Plantsniffer Plantsniffer is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom
Default Need guidance & wisdom

Hello guys!

So I want to be able to grow any orchids under artificial light and need guidance. I am planning to buy a couple of young orchids and grow them for a couple of months then transfer them into a DIY vivarium (4ft X 2ft X 2ft). In the tank there will be not only orchids but nepenthes and one or two vanilla orchids. I did some reading before hand and learned a lot but have run into a wall of whether I have enough light or not for high light species I might want. I would love thoughts on my plan before I buy anything and dodge any pitfalls other members have run into. I have yet to design the vivarium and will post the plans once I finish.

Orchids & Others
-Vanilla Orchid

Orchids I plan to order from Olympic Orchids
Dendrobium formosum
Zygopabstia Dragon kitten
Onicidium Heaven's Delight
More fragrant Orchids

Option 1:
T5 HO Fixture
Used T5 HO 4ft 4 Lamps from Durolux for 62$

T5 HO Fixture
Used T5 HO 4 Ft 4 lamps from Tek PRO for 80$

Will be using this LED Tube :
T5 LED Bulb - AgroMax 6400K

Option 2:
CSHITO 150W LED Flood Lights Outdoor, Waterproof IP65, 12000LM, Daylight
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Old 12-08-2018, 09:06 PM
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Subrosa Subrosa is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Zone: 6b
Location: PA coal country
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom Male

A 4' x 2' x 2' enclosure is about as suited to a Vanilla orchid as a bicycle is suited to an elephant. You have a plant that wants to grow straight up as high as whatever it's climbing on, then hang down and bloom. I suppose if you stood the tank on end it would work a bit better! I happen to have a setup with almost those exact dimensions, 4' x 2', except instead of being 2' high I have about 4' of vertical space. It's not an enclosed tank, but rather a converted shelving unit. Lighting is provided by 2 120W LED black box fixtures, which are repurposed reef aquarium lighting. I needed the vertical space for my Cymbidium Little Black Sambo, which is pretty close to 4' including the pot. The Cymbidium has bloomed under this setup, as have several Vanda, and my terete leaved Vanda is currently in spike. I would highly recommend running 2 of the 150W LEDs and keeping the top of the vivarium completely open.
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Last edited by Subrosa; 12-08-2018 at 09:09 PM..
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:06 PM
Plantsniffer Plantsniffer is offline
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom

I did more reading and you are correct about the height requirement of the vanilla orchid. I guess I will have to open up the top when the time comes and buy a fogger or a misting system to increase humidity when it falls.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:12 AM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom Male

With such variety of different genera inside one single space, I'm sure some of them won't make it.
Stick to one or two genera that mach the environment you're getting, see how it goes and then look for plants with similar requirements.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:20 AM
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MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom Male

I don't want to discourage you from adding Miltonias, in fact, I want to encourage it. However, be aware that they tend to be rambling growers (like many Bulbos) that produce new growths on rhizomes so they tend to be space hogs. With a bit of work, you can train them to stay in a pot or if conditions are humid and moist enough you can train them to stay on a mount. For fragrance, Miltonia spectabilis (I think the dark purple variety I prefer is now called Miltonia moreliana) is my recommendation. Modern clones are pretty easy to grow as long as you don't let them dry out too much, and they have huge flowers.

For Paphiopedilums, in a high light situation, you may need to stick with multiflorals. There are some random species like P. druryi which like high light as well, but most Paphs need bright, shady conditions and burn easily. If you have a shaded spot in the enclosure, you might try growing something from section Parvisepalum since some of these like P. delenatii, P. malipoense, and P. hangianum are fragrant, and the fragrance can carry through to their hybrids.

If you like Paphs and you have bright conditions, then Phragmipediums could be a consideration. Phrag. schlimii and some of its hybrids are fragrant (some only faintly though).

This is a "Do as I say not as I do" kind of suggestion, but if you're working with very limited space, I would suggest acquiring plants slowly and purposefully, keeping in mind that when mature, many orchids can eventually get quite large.

I personally would stick with LED lighting. I'll avoid going into a novella of explanation, but the summary is: fluorescent bulbs are a money pit.

I generally recommend getting LEDs from reputable manufacturers and retailers even if it costs a bit more up front. Make sure to get LED products that have a decent warranty and do your research on the brand & model. There's plenty of good lighting out there, but also lots of cheap crap that stops working within a year or two (or less). I've learned this lesson the hard way from Amazon's flood of shitty vendors and products.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:31 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom

1) you have selected an array of plants with extremely differing cultural demands.

2) even if you do narrow that to plants requiring similar conditions, you're going to have a great deal of difficulty growing them in a two-foot tall enclosure. I have a phrag that is a real miniature hybrid, and in its 6" pot, it is still 18"-24" tall.
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Last edited by Ray; 12-09-2018 at 07:33 AM..
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Old 12-09-2018, 09:15 AM
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SaraJean SaraJean is offline
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom Female

Sounds like a fun project and I am by no means trying to discourage you from getting any of these but Iíll have to agree about the comments about the vanilla. If I remember correctly, somebody in my orchid society has one crawling around their green house thatís something in the neighborhood of 30-40ft long... and the Oncidium are quite bushy plants with leaves and pseudobulbs spreading in every direction and very tall spikes. They might be better suited for windowsill or a shelf with a light set up rather than taking up valuable space in a closed tank. That particular one isnít that fussy about humidity to my knowledge. The Miltonia and Zygo can be quite bushy as well

I canít help about the light situation but I know a lot of people do grow under lights here. Just try to get things with similar needs or, if you can, create different zones. High light plants up top and lower light plants down low.
Definitely get things with similar temp ranges.

For vandas, there are some smaller ones like neofinetia falcata (may be perfect for a more intermediate temp set up) or the ascocentrum (for a warmer set up). Both or those are darling and donít take up too much space at all.

Edit: one thing I forgot to touch on was space. I kind of mentioned it but I wanted to explain a little better. Like Ray said, if these are going to be in pots, that is going to add to the vertical height and that could raise the plants too high for your 2í space. Also you donít want to crowd your orchids since that can reduce airflow and cause bacterial and fungal issues and be a haven for bugs (been there, done that). So start small with a few plants, see how they do for a few months and then add to them slowly. Personally, I would focus on miniatures and smaller growing fragrant orchids for that size of tank. Good luck and post some picks when you get things set up

Last edited by SaraJean; 12-09-2018 at 10:08 AM..
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:23 PM
Plantsniffer Plantsniffer is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom

okay, hopefully my second time writing this will be better. I lost it since It left it inactive while reading in between my writing.

Okay, I believe I read everyone's concerns and they are correct such as height issues, mature plant space, and very different growing conditions. I'm so happy that I brought my idea to the orchidboard to have my idea critiqued by veteran hobbyists. In no way am I discouraged because these are problems that have popped up in the planning stages. They are simply just problems to solve for the better of orchids I will keep. I will limit my potential plant collection to about 15 or 10 unless I could automate things like watering and find more space.

So here are my ideas to tackle the issues pointed out.

Idea A - Vivarium Multi tier
I could adjust the flood light LED to have high light and the other two tiers would be lower (intermediate, low).

Idea B - Make more room
I could just move the high light orchids somewhere else. I could have the vivarium be low light conditions. I am loving the paph orchids a lot and could see myself getting more in the future. A lot of the low light orchids I do like. I still like some of the high light orchids but not in great number so I could move elsewhere or on another shelf to have their own conditions met.

Idea C - Make a Multi tier shelf
Each shelf would have a humidity tray. The top shelf would be open and have LED flood light shine down on it. The lower shelf I could buy a T5 HO fixture and use LED tubes to supplement their light. I could add an intermediate light shelf but I don't think I will.
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:01 PM
WeirdGuySeattle WeirdGuySeattle is offline
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Need guidance &amp; wisdom

My advice, build as big a space as you can without making your family angry with you.
The issue is always limited space - even with a greenhouse.
With a situation as small as 4X2X2
- I am not sure I would even grow a nepenthes (though they are super rad, and maybe there are smaller ones than the one I have which is easily 3 feet long and would fill up your case with the 1 plant).

Look for miniatures. If you have cooler conditions, I'd go for a Dracula / Masdevallia / Pleurothallid box - put some paphs in there too (maybe on a heat pad depending on the plant). if I had something like you are talking about - no high light required.

if you wanted high light, I'd start looking at miniature cattleya alliance plants (brassavola / cattleya / sophrontis / laelia. Smaller bulbos are a good idea

You could do miltonia / miltoniopsis too. - but they will fill up the space too much and you will want more plants.

My $0.02.
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