Aquarium Water


What do you think about using aquarium water for orchid watering? I have too many hobbies; they include both orchids and tropical fish. I have lots of tanks and do lots of water changes so the water is not getting salty. The water should have a mild form of fertilizer in it from the fish ammonia, nitrite and nitrate plus some trace elements. It also should be biologically active. A couple of concerns of mine are that I treat the water for chlorine by adding a commercial product that binds with the chlorine. I believe the primary ingredient is sodium thioylsulfate, which also binds with metals and, therefore, could unbalance the water to the plants. Secondly, could this be a prime source of bacteria or fungus that could cause damage to the orchids? —Chris Wells


I have spoken to Ann Jesup, an experienced orchid grower in Bristol, Connecticut, who sounds these notes of caution: Be sure to check the pH to make sure that it is in the proper range for orchid growing and start with a few plants to see how the water affects them before committing completely. This, incidentally, is good advice in any case of new techniques. Jesup also notes that the water should be especially useful if aquarium plants are growing satisfactorily in your tanks. As you have commented, the water should be full of nutrients beneficial to orchids, but do exercise caution. There should be no fungal or bacterial problems with the water —Ned Nash