Question about aquariums

teisa(6)January 2, 2013

I have a 28 gallon aquapod aquarium that started leaking. Rather than throw it out (like my husband almost did), I want to use it for growing Hoyas. I read the great advice from Denise under "gallery" on how to set one up. Thanks Denise! But I wonder if anyone uses an aquarium for growth and not for just rooting?
Thanks for any advice!!! I don't want to harm any of my plants by putting them in too much moisture or burning them under the lights.

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greedygh0st

I grow plants in my aquariums year round. I have a 55g tank and a couple small ones (of the dimensions in Denise's guide) currently in use.

I started out just rooting in my aquariums. Then I started letting the more sensitive plants stay in there even after they were well rooted. I especially like to grow caudata varieties in there, because they grow a lot faster. There are some Hoyas that would benefit more from this environment, but I haven't had any that really hated it, even those that like to dry out. Obviously you water them at long intervals.

They establish large root structures in the water below the grid, and they don't get burnt on the lights, for whatever reason. They do tend to get their tendrils slammed in the aquarium lid a lot, though, since they're always sending vines up through cracks and crannies in the top.

My main advice, though, is that I found that if I fill the aquarium up too full, I stop really being able to keep a close eye on the plants, and weird epidemics will develop. Like a super resistant mealie or scale hitchhiker will somehow pop into existence 6 months after I got the plant and treated it, and I won't notice it as fast as I do on the non-aquarium plants. Or this summer I had this weird issue with some kind of weird fungal infection that developed and spread. My best successes and worst problems have all happened in an aquarium. Anyway, just give them enough space that you can see very clearly all the way to the back. That's my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 11:22AM
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teisa(6)

Thank you GG!! I was afraid of giving them too much light and burning one. Or didn't know if all Hoyas appreciated alot of moisture. Your advice answered my questions and helped ease my fear of losing one!!! I've had 4 smaller ones in the aquarium for 48 hours now and they are doing great. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 9:44PM
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greedygh0st

I totally understand your concern. I think you'll love growing in it. :) I find it almost impossible to kill a Hoya once it's in the aquarium and always stick plants in there when they're ailing. I hoard aquariums!

It's kind of hard to give Hoyas too much light. I know it's possible, but it's a lot more difficult with artificial light, aside from them occasionally throwing their leaves right up against a bulb. I think if you were at risk for burning a group of Hoyas, you'd already be aware your lighting system was abnormally intense.

Yeah, I had the same thought about too much moisture. I'm not sure how it would affect the blooming cycles of plants that natively get a drought period, but I don't think you have to worry about any Hoya not growing in there. They all like it, and it provides them a lot of consistency.

Good luck :)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 11:44AM
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denise_gw(5)

Hi Teisa,

Early on, when I liked to experiment more, I grew some plants in terrariums, and for care ease, an aquarium is ideal. A well-kept terrarium is a thing of beauty. I found that certain Hoyas did fabulously in a terrarium - curtisii is one I specifically remember, and another was serpens. I'm glad GG brought up caudata - it's one I've tried to grow without much luck. After 2 years of no growth, I finally traded it off. I bet that's why it wouldn't grow - not enough humidity! I may have to set up a new terrarium to give that one another shot...

But I have a feeling GG has the usual water in the bottom, right? If yours leaks, you'll probably want to set up a traditional one with the plants planted directly in soil in the bottom of the aquarium. One of my old favorites for growing in a terrarium (and they compliment Hoyas) is Fittonias. Can't grow them for the life of me outside a terrarium, but they do very well in that wonderfully humid environment! You've kind of resparked my interest and that may be a project I'll consider doing this winter! (If I can find a spot for it!)

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 5:26PM
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cpawl(8)

Denise, if you do try again with caudata,You can try growing it your terrarium or a vase like I did until it was large enough to bloom.I now grow it out with my other hoyas.
It even flowered for me this winter.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 7:11PM
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denise_gw(5)

Hi Cpawl,

So in other words, it got established in a humid environment, then was ok out in the "real" world? That's good to know! I look forward to trying.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 9:40PM
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cpawl(8)

I have another cutting of caudata that did not grow at all for over a year.I have it in a vase and its growing fast.I hope come summer I can bring it out and let it live with the others.

Cindy

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 9:57PM
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cpawl(8)

Here is photo I took with my phone about six weeks ago.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 10:47PM
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tigerdawn(7)

I might have to try this one again...once I find room for a terrarium.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 7:58AM
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greedygh0st

@ Denise

Yep, I set up my aquariums as detailed by your guide (with water beneath the grid) I no longer have bottom heat in them. My large one, of course, requires stronger bulbs. I wasn't sure where the crack on Teisa's tank was, but I definitely agree it's just as useful as a terrarium. I'm with you on using these setups to grow plants I normally kill. Although I suspect Begonias are always going to be heartbreakers for me.

What with those thick leathery leaves, I wouldn't have thought to supplement caudata's humidity, but when RFG told that story about his plant growing right into the bench in his greenhouse (or something like that), I was inspired. And it's worked well for me. I grow 5 collections of caudata in there.

@ Cindy

Gorgeous caudata blooms! How could anyone not fall in love with Hoyas after seeing that? And it's amazing what quite decent pictures today's phones can take.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 10:33AM
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teisa(6)

Thanks everyone for your ideas!! I wanted to add my tank only slightly leaked (probably from seal) so I took it down. I do plan on using it as an all dirt on bottom terrarium. My mother had one years ago, that Denise you may remember... It was shaped like a Jeannie bottle!! I've looked those up recently and on eBay they go for upwards $100 +!! Does anyone remember these?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 12:12AM
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greedygh0st

Whoa ... I've never seen one of those but it sounds ... awesome. I wanted to be Jeannie so bad when I was a little girl.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 4:01PM
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denise_gw(5)

Teisa,

My favorite (and hardest to plant!) was in one of the old 5 gallon water bottles - back when they were glass. It was too hard to maintain and I eventually emptied it and used it for change. But no, I don't think I've seen one like a Genie bottle. You should post a link for us to see!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:44AM
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teisa(6)

This is like the terrarium my mother had while growing up. I wish we still had it!!

Here is a link that might be useful: eBay auction

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:18PM
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greedygh0st

lol That's wild. Totally looks like it belongs on a luxurious alien spacecraft.

I looked and looked for a genie's lamp terrarium and could not find one, but tell me you don't want to buy this amazing avocado genie bottle thermos set for your next arabian nights themed picnic?

Just sayin

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 10:27AM
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teisa(6)

GG!!! Yes that is a must have!!

After my mothers terrarium broke, we used the top for me a R2 D2 costume in 1985!!

Boy those were the days (we're afraid to admit)! Lol

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:32PM
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greedygh0st

lol. You sure rocked that Halloween!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 10:01AM
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