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  #1  
Old 05-27-2017, 01:19 PM
Evergreenblue Evergreenblue is offline
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Beginner Vivarium with Micro Mini Orchids
Default Beginner Vivarium with Micro Mini Orchids

Hello everyone,

I'm beginning to set up a vivarium to house dart frogs, and plan to include some miniature orchids in the display. I've kept aquariums, plants (with varying success), and a single successful orchid, but this is really the first time for me going down this path. The tank is a 20 Long aquarium, which will include an automatic misting system, a glass top with minimal air circulation, and full spectrum LED lighting. I've placed two branches of wood to display the orchids (along with a few non-orchid plants) and have a layer of ABG substrate with a drainage layer and a drilled drain below, should I plant a terrestrial species. I plan on taking my time with the display, and choosing plants appropriate for the conditions, while attempting to stick to what I have envisioned.

I'll post some pictures of the vivarium when I can. I've tried posting this before with a couple, but the forum said I'm too new to do that, so I'm trying again. Anyway, I want to select species with very small foliage to maintain the scale of the display. The two pieces of wood have some very thin branches, ranging from 1/4" to 1". I'm always inspired when I look up some of these mini orchids and see pictures in-situ amongst moss and fern covered branches, and that's something I'd like to try and recreate.

Thanks, and I appreciate any advice as I go along!
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  #2  
Old 05-27-2017, 02:16 PM
PaphMadMan PaphMadMan is offline
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A few considerations before you get to the point of selecting plants...

Do you have a realistic idea of what the temperature range will be? Many otherwise good choices will be ruled out if nighttime temperatures will stay too warm, and the warmer it is the fewer choices you will have. 70F would be considered warm.

Do you have a good idea what the light intensity will be. You should be able to design things so a few orchids get pretty bright light, but probably not in all positions. Light will be a big factor in considering plants and placement.

What other plants are you considering? Most other plants will grow faster than the orchids, and even moss will overgrow and outcompete some miniatures. The choices of other plants will have a big effect on longer term maintenance.

Will there be an internal fan for circulation? Without it this very wet humid environment can be a problem. There are plenty of miniatures that like that but perfect drainage and good air circulation will be necessary for most.
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Old 05-27-2017, 08:04 PM
Evergreenblue Evergreenblue is offline
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Thanks for the response, PaphMadMan!

Regarding the temperatures, My plan was to actually get the vivarium setup, and plant the non-orchid species first. I figured I would get the tank going and monitor the conditions prior to making my final selection. While I'll make an effort to control the conditions, I figured I would also tailor my selection to what conditions I know I can keep.

As far as the lighting is concerned, I was planning on using a Finnex Planted 24/7 LED aquarium light. I was planning on trying to mount the orchids according to their light preferences, with the higher light tolerant species out on the branches and the shade lovers under some other plants.

I haven't made a final selection of non-orchid species, but this is what I was considering:
1-2 small bromeliad species
3-4 small fern species
1-2 vining species, like a marcgravia or ficus pumia
moss and selaginella
As far as the moss covered branches, I was thinking of purchasing a moss slurry to coat the branches first then mount the orchids after that's grown in. All plants would be selected for a smaller growth form.

Finally, regarding air circulation, I wasn't thinking of adding a fan, but if this is highly recommended, I'll start looking into it. Because this will also house frogs, I want to make sure that whatever I do will be safe for them, but I'll try to figure something out. I was planning on using a standard aquarium glass cover, and making a 1" wide vent from the plastic section of the glass top... I'll reconsider if this isn't adequate.

Again, thanks for the considerations, and I look forward to more!

P.S. Can someone give me an idea of how many posts I need to make before I'm allowed to add pictures? I'd like to share what I'm working with.

Thanks!
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  #4  
Old 05-27-2017, 08:18 PM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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Quote:
P.S. Can someone give me an idea of how many posts I need to make before I'm allowed to add pictures? I'd like to share what I'm working with.
5 posts.
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Meteo data at my city here.
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Old 05-27-2017, 09:26 PM
Evergreenblue Evergreenblue is offline
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Thanks, rbarata!
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  #6  
Old 05-27-2017, 11:00 PM
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King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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What kind of dart frogs are you planning to get?

I've got some dart frogs myself.
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Old 05-28-2017, 12:46 AM
PaphMadMan PaphMadMan is offline
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You were already considering the heat and light issues, good. And getting other things settled and stable and knowing what to expect before adding orchids is a good plan.

Some air exchange with the outside is necessary, but air movement inside is also necessary, and increases in importance as humidity or frequency of misting increases. Fungal and bacterial rot problems can set in fast if there isn't enough air movement.

Will your mist system be on a timer or controlled by a sensor? What humidity do the frogs need?
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  #8  
Old 05-28-2017, 07:05 AM
murph7 murph7 is offline
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Are the LEDs too bluish (7000 K)?
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Old 05-28-2017, 08:20 AM
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I'll chime in since I just built something similar (no frogs though!).

I have a 10g paludarium with the standard glass top and am using the Finnex Planted+ fixture (not the 24/7 but I think the only difference is the customization features on the 24/7) . So far it is working well, however, I would only recommend medium to low light species for it. The medium light species would have to be closer to the light, while lower light ones farther away or protected by other plants.

Air circulation is important, especially in damp environments. I use one of these fans: Amazon.com: Yoosion 40mm Fan Quiet Mini 5v Fan PC Cooling 4cm USB Fan for Router, Computer, Watertank,Car: Computers & Accessories . They are small and easy to hide. If you go this route, I would get two for a 20g and put them in the upper corners. I don't know much about dart frogs, so I am going to assume they climb. With that in mind, you'll want to make some kind of cage around the fan to keep them from getting their little feet (or worse) caught in them. The fan does already have a barrier on one side, but I'm not sure it's good enough.
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Old 05-28-2017, 10:48 AM
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King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murph7 View Post
Are the LEDs too bluish (7000 K)?
I think 7,000 K LEDs might be ok for Evergreenblue.

One of my LED's over one of my dart frog tanks is rated at using 40 W of electricity, with an output of PAR 30, being at a plasma temperature of 6,500 K, and brightness of 3,600 lumens. It is held 6", (15 cm), above the wire mesh. I have only one bulb over a tall, medium sized Exoterra tank with the dimensions of 24" x 18" 24", (60 cm x 45 cm x 60 cm).

The other dart frog tank has an LED rated at using 35 W of electricity, with an output of PAR 30, being at a plasma temperature of 6,000 K, and brightness of 2,900 lumens. It is held approximately 2 feet 1 inch and 2 cm, (25" and 2 cm/64.5 cm), above the wire mesh. This is over a tall, small sized Exoterra with the dimensions 18" x 18" x 24", (45 cm x 45 cm x 60 cm).

Had these lights over the tanks for several months without any adverse effects towards the plants nor the frogs.

So, yeah, I think the original poster might be ok with the 7,000 K lights. I would probably lean more towards advising to keep the Kelvin temperature of the lights closer to 6,000 K or 6,500 K, though.

Words of advice...

Selaginella kraussiana will grow into a dense groundcover very quickly. Other species of Selaginella grow much slower and are not necessarily quite as hardy.

Don't ever grow Fittonia verschaffeltii if you want a very low maintenance dart frog tank. In a terrarium/vivarium where the temperatures are stable and humid, these will grow extremely fast.
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Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 05-28-2017 at 11:03 AM..
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