Lets address it point by point:
1) I have been off the grid for a long while. Haven't been around any forums for over 6-8 months. Same old story...plants going downhill and loosing interest. But recently, I got a call from my local hamilton RBG to give a 1h+ talk on carnivorous plants this weekend.
Permission needed: Rather than do a separate thread or ask people separately, I hope this can be a collective request to many of the great growers here incl, but not limited to, Jeremiah Harris, David, Jeff Shafer, Stewart Mcpherson, Alister Robinson, Barry Rice etc.. I will be using few of your pics..especially pics from the wild to showcase the beautiful world of carnivorous plants in my talk. I will mostly use my own pics for showing off cultivation of VFTs, cephs and neps. So I hope you guys are ok with using those pics for educational purposes and I will be mentioning on the slides that the pics are sourced from other people and not my property. If anyone has any issues, please PM me and I will ensure I do not use any of their property.
Since then, my interest revived. I replaced the lights in my tank. I changed the layout a little bit.. but it was critical. In my previous tank, I directly placed the nepenthes pots on egg crate held aloft the bottom cedar mulch bed using bigger pots. But in my smaller new tank, I directly put pots on the exo terra biodrain (clay/inert substrate) layer. But the Cps did not like that. My macrophylla, lowii, other neps, heli, everything started going downhill. Clearly the contact of the roots (which eventually run down the pot through the holes) with the water in the biodrain layer, burns/damages the roots (probably due to pH, run-off mineral content). After putting in new egg crate and raising the plants above...everything perked up again. Not to mention, the change in lights seem to be huge. My macrophylla is no longer getting any fungus (yellow/brown spots) on the leaves. The leaves aren't becoming smaller. Older seed grown izumiae and other neps have started putting out bigger leaves which aren't deformed. Things are coming along. (Note: Pic below is from december...some plants did dry out when I went away for 3wk in december....but for the most part, the misting system handled it fine.
2) My camera LCD got shattered due to airport handlers handling the baggage in their typical way. Thanks to a nice youtube video, I was able to fix it back to "good as new".
and to finish off, a picture of my beautiful little N. macfarlenii.
cheers to everyone at TF and anyone in ontario this weekend, try to come out to the talk to chat about CPs.