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  #51  
Old 02-05-2024, 05:27 PM
Canadienne Canadienne is offline
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How do you keep algae, mould and mushrooms under control? What kind of mosses are the best? Can moss from outdoors be used?Thank you for any information you can give me, I am planning to start an Orchidarium towards this fall.
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  #52  
Old 02-05-2024, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadienne View Post
How do you keep algae, mould and mushrooms under control? What kind of mosses are the best? Can moss from outdoors be used?Thank you for any information you can give me, I am planning to start an Orchidarium towards this fall.
Good questions! I struggled a lot with all of those things that you've mentioned before until I learned how to dial in the correct environmental parameters (light period, watering schedule, humidity, etc.) and until the setup naturally matured on its own.

For algae, keeping down fertilizer spray is key. Some people water mounted orchids in their greenhouses everytime with fertilizer water and multiple times a week, but that is too much for a closed system like I have to process, leading to algae overgrowth. If all your water drains away and you water with fresh water, then you can fertilize as much as you want, although the plants probably don't need it. Twice a month with 100ppm Nitrogen is usually sufficient for most orchids, at least for mine. Less is always more, though I may do it three times during peak growth season. If you plan to have an aquatic portion like mine, adding floating plants like Salvinia will soak up excess nutrients and keep algae from forming too much underwater.

I have had no issues with mold most likely due to having very good air movement since the beginning. I have 3 fans running on a humidity curve that blows and circulates air throughout the day. The higher the humidity, the longer it runs for. This is definitely unnecessary; you can certainly just run some fans on a timer. However, what is imperative is another smaller fan used to pump in outside air to reduce humidity and introduce fresh air, unless you open your setup often. It also runs for a couple hours after watering since humidity is at max for a while since everything is wet.

I occasionally have mushrooms too, but those only appear on the cork bark. As it is a natural process of decay, I am not too concerned really. Also, if you look at the early photos of my build, I have very little organic substrate apart from the cork bark and the occasional sphagnum moss, so there is not much to degrade. As long as there is a good surface to grow on with sufficient watering, orchids do not need the coconut coir/bark mixture glued on backdrops.

Finally, as with all unwanted guests like algae, things tend to resolve themselves as the system and its microbiome matures. For example, there are countless mites, springtails, and nematodes that came with the plants and mosses I collected. I initially tried to sanitize every little bit and remove as much as I can since it was gross, but then realized that (1) it was impossible and (2) a healthy population of decomposers actually helped stabilize the system. So don't be afraid to get some pond water to increase the biodiversity, as long as you are careful not to introduce obvious pests.

Any mosses work! Most of my moss are from Central Park actually , along with the Salvinia. Collect a couple different species, grow them out, and decide which are better for your orchids. Some mosses grow very dense and tight, which is good for some backdrops but also risks choking out plant roots. Other mosses grow too quickly and overlap itself, which kills the bottom mosses as there is no more light, and the whole thing starts to fall off the wall. Yet others are more tolerant of periods of dryness (which some orchids like) while others quickly dry up and die without moisture. Regardless of the type you use, you will probably need monthly maintenance to pull and control the moss growth so your plants don't get buried, especially for miniatures and twig epiphytes.

Feel free to ask anything else!

Last edited by kcpi3141; 02-05-2024 at 09:06 PM..
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  #53  
Old 02-06-2024, 10:18 PM
Canadienne Canadienne is offline
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Thank you, thatís a lot of usable information! I will take you up on your offer to ask more questions as soon as I have a bit more time, hopefully this week yet.
Wanda
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  #54  
Old 02-10-2024, 07:34 PM
Canadienne Canadienne is offline
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Iím not inmediately looking for a water feature, and will be building a hard scape from lava rock, other inorganic materials and maybe some driftwood.
Iím lucky to live in a rural area with fields, wood lots and ponds galore. For that reason I collected mosses already this past fall but ran into trouble. They do not like growing indoors. My basement is 18 C and I have 6400 K full spectrum grow lights. Mosses are on gravel trays or peat moss depending how they were growing outdoors. They are placed at the outer edges where the light reaches. Theyíre not growing, no matter where I put them. They are misted daily. Outdoors they grow great. Which is of no help as the Orchidarium will be permanently inside.
I brought some live spagnum from Algonquin area, which likes acidic circumstances and as I found out, doesn't like to be indoors either.
My own area has a high soil ph of 8.0, including my well water. Mosses from here do not like rainwater with a ph around 6, which is what I use to water my orchids.

Question: where do you find mosses that can take a ph of around 6 and grow indoors?climate is much like NYC, ( Iím west of Toronto)

Question: how do you drain excess water from the orchidarium?

Does the tank have to be an aquarium? Or terrarium?
We will make a lid with a grow light and fan, but I will likely water by hand. Bigger problem might be to find small orchids here in Ontario. I donít have any growers nearby.

If I think of more questions Iíll ask.
And a great thank you for all the information youíre providing!
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  #55  
Old 02-12-2024, 03:47 AM
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Mosses can be finicky, and the solution is usually to do a lot of testing. Collect some moss and vary their distance to the grow light, the amount of moisture they are getting, etc. to see what works best. It may help to increase humidtiy by putting them in a jar or plastic container with ventilation holes as well. In my experience, there is an adjustment period depending on the species as long as you can keep them from dying for over 2-3 weeks. After that they tend to grow like crazy. Some species took over a month to adjust for me.

I am not sure if pH is really of concern compared to light, humidity, and ventilation. If you are worried, then take the moss off of rocks and bark which are relatively more inert substrates. Sphagnum is a lot harder as they like a lot of light and definitely purer water, at least for the adjustment phase, but I tend to find that they don't work well in orchid setups because they are too wet and grow too quickly. They are good for other faster-growing tropical plants like begonias and pinguiculas that don't mind the moisture.

The enclosure doesn't have to be an aquarium or terrarium; it can be anything you want haha. I just wanted an aquatic portion for the sake of it since I already planned to have a water reservoir anyways to water the orchids from and wanted crabs. A simply enclosure with a water-sealed bottom is more than enough and is what I am planning on doing for my next project that is much simpler. A water feature, even just some exposed water like the heated aquatic portion of my enclosure, does help with raising humidity without needing to get foggers as long as there is good sealing from the outside.

For me, the evaporation rate is greater than the water filling rate so I don't need to worry about draining excess water. I do have a drain via a bulkhead through the floor of the enclosure leading to a bucket for emergencies though, but I have yet to use it. If you are worried about drainage, make sure to grow your orchids on a raised platform to prevent water from touching the pots or mounts. To drain excess, you can just use a tube and siphon it out periodically when too much water accumulates, or install a small bulkhead with a ball valve near the bottom to drain directly. Since you'll be hand watering, I doubt you'll let it go to the point of spilling over.

Although this is in BC, Brad's Greenhouse does ship well within Canada and he has amazing stuff you could look into. I also believe Roehampton Orchids is situated right in Toronto as well, and they have a ton of good things there too.

Happy to answer anything else!

Last edited by kcpi3141; 02-12-2024 at 09:23 PM..
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  #56  
Old 02-29-2024, 07:35 PM
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Got a macro lens for dental photography for my clinic...at least that was the excuse I used . Late fall/winter blooming orchids and their flowers are mostly gone by now, and the early spring bloomers are starting to bud. Transition periods are always a little slow but it is worth the wait.


Dendrobium aberrans (first bloom, 44 flowers)






Dinema polybulbon (first bloom, 2 flowers)




Lepanthopsis astrophora






Bobby the crab (I think...they all look the similar)





Lepanthes regularis




Maxillaria arbuscula




Full tank shot

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  #57  
Old 02-29-2024, 11:51 PM
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PuiPuiMolcar PuiPuiMolcar is offline
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Wow it's still so beauitful after all these years!
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  #58  
Old 03-01-2024, 08:35 PM
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Yeah! I can't believe it's been two years already since my first post. Everything feels so slow everyday, but when I look back, it looks completely different
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  #59  
Old 03-01-2024, 09:51 PM
Canadienne Canadienne is offline
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The Orchidarium is stunning!
Does the moss you have in the Orchidarium only grow on the cork? Or on the foam wall in the back too?
If so, how did you attach it to the wall? And do you know if mosses will grow on lava rock? Iím in the middle of getting all kinds of plants and mosses to propagate so when my tank is built Iíll have things to put in it.
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  #60  
Old 03-02-2024, 12:17 AM
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My moss grows on any rough, porous surface. That includes the cork bark I have and the charcoal glued to the background. The attach readily by themselves as long as they are vigorously growing.
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