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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading that some people have had success with orchids in the same way people grow Pothos spp. above their tank. Anybody here tried this? My concern would be how the orchids would get enough nutrients without causing an algae bloom in the tank.

I have a heavily planted 90-gallon tank that has LEDs flush against the top glass, so that one won't work for me, at least not easily. But I have a 55 that's under a large picture window (with an external adjustable shade) that might be perfect to experiment with. I also have a 29 with suspended LEDs that might work too. Both of those tanks have Pothos with roots hanging in the water already. I'll experiment with cheap orchids sold by my local supermarket (the wonderful Texas-based HEB). I have my doubts that the orchids will thrive, but all my tanks use RO water and two have supplemental CO2. I have a variety of aquatic fertilizer options, aside from angelfish poop . . .

Pothos is boring; orchids are not! :p
 

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I remember seeing something about orchids in water culture a while back on an orchid forum. As far as nutrients go, orchids are light feeders by design. They generally prefer frequent access to weak nutrient solutions.
 

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My wife has many orchids with the roots suspended in LECA (Lightweight expanded clay aggregate) and water, no dirt. None of them are in her aquarium though, because she has a philodendron the size of godzilla in there right now. My 75 has a monster pothos in it and no room for more plants out the back. There are some orchids that do have different requirements for minerals and ferts that they might not get from the aquarium. I don't know enough about the gazillion different types she's growing currently. She does the plants, I do the tanks so its a good combo.

tldr: I think it's possible, just need to do some research on any you were thinking of trying.
 
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Peace Lilly, snake plant, red Siam, monstera and fittonias also do well if you want a change from pothos. Haven’t seen orchids in the tank before though so will have to check that out! 👍
 

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Some of the Masdevallias species might tolerate wet roots or jewel orchids. Even Phalenopsis might tolerate fairly wet roots or roots partially in the water. Put the plant into a basket of expanded clay balls (whichever brand you like) like hydroponic growing, and set it with the bottom about an inch into the water so the plant can seek out however wet it wants.
 
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I was reading that some people have had success with orchids in the same way people grow Pothos spp. above their tank. Anybody here tried this? My concern would be how the orchids would get enough nutrients without causing an algae bloom in the tank.

I have a heavily planted 90-gallon tank that has LEDs flush against the top glass, so that one won't work for me, at least not easily. But I have a 55 that's under a large picture window (with an external adjustable shade) that might be perfect to experiment with. I also have a 29 with suspended LEDs that might work too. Both of those tanks have Pothos with roots hanging in the water already. I'll experiment with cheap orchids sold by my local supermarket (the wonderful Texas-based HEB). I have my doubts that the orchids will thrive, but all my tanks use RO water and two have supplemental CO2. I have a variety of aquatic fertilizer options, aside from angelfish poop . . .

Pothos is boring; orchids are not! :p
OK bit of google-fu...
Keep in mind that generally plants don't "drowned" or hydroponics wouldn't exist.
They can run out of O2 in water though. So really it is more that they suffocate than drowned.
Of course it is fairly unnatural of an environment for them.




Sometimes the aerial roots of an orchid, those that grow above any kind of growing medium, will be able to adapt to an aqueous existence, but the grower should make sure to watch them carefully to be sure that they do not rot. At the first sign of rot, the root should be removed.


In order for an orchid to live in water, it is necessary for it to develop water roots. The roots on the orchid living in a bark or sphagnum moss mixture have adapted themselves to that condition and will not be able to adjust to another. Usually an orchid is put into water because the regular roots have become diseased or have rotted already. Before putting the orchid into water, the old roots must be completely removed – if left on, they will only rot.

 

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Unless you're devoted to observing and maintaining orchids may be a bit much and they will require training and boxes... I gave this a try with a hydro pot suspended and gave up because the dry out wasn't happening well enough so root maintenance was a pain and not worth it. Peace lilies and calla lilies did really well as a flowering alternative to pothos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some months later and I have to say my orchids are thriving, which surprises me. New blossoms and new roots abound. Perhaps the trick is that the roots are partially submerged. I don't know species of orchids I have, but I realize orchid species vary widely when it comes to their proper care. I just got lucky, I guess.
 
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