[pleurothallid-l] Re: Aquarium growing and stuff

Bryan Whelan bryan.whelan at 3web.net
Wed Oct 1 23:06:19 EDT 2003

I once grew most of my plants on top of my aquarium, 
does that count?
Actually I think I can offer a starting point.
1. Light..- This depends on what species you are growing, to some extent.
You mention the aquarium to be 36 "long. Are you going to use an existing light fixture, or make one?
Myself, I would probably go with one or two of the new higher intensity fluorescent bulbs, or you could put in two 20 inch tubes on an angle.  Cool white in one fixture, and a Vitalite or grow-lux in the other..
Set them for 14 hours a day, all year.  No change.
2.  Fan - You want movement, not wind.  Go to a computer shop, or radio shack, and get a very small CPU cooling fan.  The little two inch ones should be perfect. You may have to wire it up yourself- Radio Shack DC transformer.. No big deal.. Hook it up to run when the lights are on. 
3.  Humidity.  - Line the bottom of the aquarium with  pebbles, or some other high - surface area substrate which will soak up water and expose it to the moving air for evaporation.
-  Make sure the plants do not sit in the water... Place them on inverted pots or hang them or whatever to allow for air movement and drainage as well as to position them closer to the lights. ( between 6 to 10 inches optimum for MOST spcs)
-- I would also position the plants to allow for a chanel of air movement form the fan. 
- Place a hygrometer and thermometer within to keep an eye on the results.
4.  Personally I would go with reverse osmosis water, and use an even numbered fert, like 10-10-10, all year.   Weakly weekly is the rule, but I prefer EXTRA weakly, each time I water. 
Most pleuros will be happy with this, but your dracs will actually want even less..- And a rest in the summer- no fert at all.
Don't go too crazy micromanaging fertilizers. It has been indicated by some very experienced mass growers that basic is best. 
5.  Types of plants...I would deffinitely stick to miniatures, and smaller varieties, just because of available space, and try to keep within a certain window of conditions, with respect to plant requirements.. You are creating a micro-environment, and variety is not necessarily going to work.  You will have some adjustability, but not as much as a window grower ar greenhouse grower does.  On the plus side, you should easily be able to create a 100% humidity microclimate and grow some of those tricky smaller, more exotic varieties.
Hope this helps.
I am a first time poster here, and I say hi to the group. Personally I grow masds, a few dracs, and some other stuff in a window setting, in the kitchen of an appartment..  In Calgary.
 In spike right now is my masd. picturata, my drac. robelodorum, and my masd don quixote.

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