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Thread: My first heli- set up questions

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    Gigantea's Avatar
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    My first heli- set up questions

    I acquired a heterdoxa x minor from a friend a few days ago. My terrarium is more of a tropical setup for Drosera plants, but I knew this was a highland pitcher variant. With the aid of a DIY evaporative cooler, I keep my terrarium at a comfy 81* and 83% relative humidity. The Heli needs a nigh time drop, so what I do is put it in a 9 qt cooler with about 3 ice packs and a frozen salt water bottle bottle, which puts it down to around 40-50* all night long. Is this a good way to do it, or is there an easier way? I do keep ice packs/bottle in the terrarium all the time. At night it can do down 10* in some spots, but its normally around 75* or so due to the size of the container. My terrarium is actually a 27 gallon storage container with a modified lid and body. Not pretty but it sure works well for my tall dichotoma giant which recently got two new shoots over 8" tall and have 4 sticky fingers each.

    Im also working on a trade for a (probable)ceph giant. Ive always wanted one and figured I had room for another cool night pitcher. How's this all sounding? Definitely dont want to do anything detrimental to these gorgeous plants. Thanks.

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    villosaholic Heli's Avatar
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    Heliamphora heterodoxa x minor is a fairly forgiving heliamphora and is a vigorous plant when you hit it's sweet spot.
    Your humidity seems about right but I grow mine in humiditys of 89%-95%. I'm kind of confused by what your temp drops are but mine are 73 in the day and 46-51 at night, I only do the large drop for my UHL nepenthes. Heliamphora (expecially the hybrids) generally don't really need that much of a temp drop. Before getting into neps my helis got temps at a consistent range in the 60s or so. As for cooling, the bottle method can work but it gets very tiresome and it's a full time job, I cool my plants with a modified water cooler and an AC, the watercooler mainly prevents the temps from getting too high in the day and the AC is what gives my plants the big night drop. Overall I think your setup will work, like I said het x minor is pretty forgiving.

    Here is one of mine, I got it as a single division plant only 6 months before the photo was taken.


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    Gigantea's Avatar
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    Ah, that's gorgeous! Mine is just a little one, but does has one pitcher starting to mature. Maybe an inch. Get a picture up later.

    To clarify the temperature swings: I keep some kind of ice packs in there all the time; during the day they'll keep the tenperature low until the heat catches up with them and then the fan keeps them at temperatures of 81-83*. With the ice packs in action it'll be around 78*.

    When the lights go out at night, I put fresh ice packs in there and can see temps down to 69-73*. So overall the setup is relatively cool and humid.... But is that cool enough to not need a cooler? Perhaps if I put it close to an ice bottle?

    Hopefully that helps to explain. I have the fan and fogger(for humidity) controlled by one of those zoomed controllers. Regarding the humidity, I have other hygrometers as well, analog, and they read 90+% sometimes. Usually at night when the lights go out.

    My biggest issue is that my houses' AC does not cooler not room below 78* and the room gets up to 85* during the day. Plus the terrarium sits next to a window for the sunlight, as anywhere else is too difficult to mount the light up. So that rules out any sort of window cooling unit or elaborate cooler system sadly.

    I'm glad I picked an easier one to grow, but its worth it to me either way. Thanks for the advice.
    Last edited by Gigantea; 10-20-2012 at 08:16 AM.

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    villosaholic Heli's Avatar
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    I think your temps might be a tad on the warm side, heliamphora prefer days in the upper 70s at most. I also recommend that you get trichoderma to prevent against pathogenic fungi.

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    Gigantea's Avatar
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    The temps stay in the 70's while the ice packs and bottles aren't melted. It takes several hours for it to reach the 80's.

    I'm a little worried here... Everything I have read says that Helis can reach up to 85 and 90, briefly, in their natural habitats, with night time drops of 40-60*. But if youre right.... I'm screwed. There is no way for me to achieve those temperatures in a room that can reach 86*.

    Gulf coast, Texas is a very brutal place and the central house AC doesn't hardly keep up. It's set at 76, but my bedroom sits on a very hot wall and so I never have a cool room except for sometimes in the winter. If I wake up to an 78* room, thats good.

    I need something pretty radical to cool a terrarium with three 6500k HO lights over it down over ten degrees in such a hot and humid place... That, or I am really missing something. I think I need a smaller light. 2 foot instead of 4. 4 is just wasting light and space, as far as I am concerned.

    Anything I can try that isn't expensive?
    Last edited by Gigantea; 10-20-2012 at 08:08 PM.

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