Orchids/tank refurbishment/Orchid light intensity vs. killie light (fwd)

[Forwarded to aquatic plants mailing list]

The following orchid information was sent on the killie list but has
great information that is of interest to aquatic plant enthusiasts.
Fortunately, a real plant enthusiast might be able to create conditions
favorable for orchids without fish. I suspect that some killies esp
those from the same locations where the orchids grow, CAN tolerate
the similar night temperatures as the orchids require. Air temperatures
do NOT need to be the same as water temperatures and in nature water 
temperatures fluctuate more than in a fish room but only by a few 
degrees of temperature.

Steve Pushak


From: Michael Wilson <mjwgh2 at msn_com>
Subject: Orchids/tank refurbishment/Orchid light intensity vs. killie light
To: killies at mejac_palo-alto.ca.us
Reply-to: killies at mejac_palo-alto.ca.us

   I wouldn't recommend orchids as a "living filter" of any consequence.  
Their roots generally aren't adapted for immersion (certainly not among the 
epiphytes), though I've seen some branching into water among a few genera (it 
seems unlikely that the roots function as anything other than a water tap).  A 
fairly dry-media terrarium arrangement with air circulation could work with 
some of the more forgiving genera.  My suggestion for selection would include 
some of the Jewel Orchids (Haemaria (Luddsia) discolor in particular) & 
possibly some of the smaller Phalanopsis species (like luddenmaniana) and the 
closely related Doritis; the latter is often a terrestrial species. 
   In closed conditions, it would probably be better to use small species of 
aroids (some of which are emerse bog plants or true aquatics), gesneriads & 
begonias. I'd certainly stay away from equitant Oncidiums (there are no 
equitant Cymbidiums) due to their requirements for drying between waterings 
and from many (but not all) Paphiopedilum & Masdevallia species, since most 
prefer substantial temperature drops at night to function normally. 
   OK - now for killie content:  Most orchids will require much more light 
than most killies are willing to tolerate.  Many successful indoor growers use 
4 - 4' fluorescent tubes per growing area(even with relatively low-light 
species/hybrids) to obtain normal growth and bloom under lights (as opposed to 
infrequent and weak bloom with too little light).  I can see Aplochielicthys 
species, Nothos & Cyprinodon species as about the only easily obtained killies 
which will be comfortable in such high light conditions.  Another factor to 
consider is that of night temperature.  Many  orchids do best with night 
temperatures which are definitely chilly for killies.  Yes, there are 
exceptions, but generally, I don't see this arrangement working very 
satisfactorily.  Killies and orchids are both satisfying to propagate, they 
just require somewhat different conditions which aren't very compatible.
-Mike Wilson