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Thread: My rainforests

  1. #9
    Aristoloingulamata Dexenthes's Avatar
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    Those are some beautiful tanks. I'm sorry to hear that your plants have been suffering somewhat. The good part is that your definition of suffering is still leagues above a Nep actually dying.

    As everyone else has been saying, I'm sure once you get into the routine and learn exactly what works best for the tanks, the Nepenthes will start taking off again. Something you could also do is line all the bottom of the tank with sphagnum and dump pitchers of water onto it. Then again maybe that's something not everyone has easy access to (large quantities of life sphagnum) but it would help raise the humidity.

    Also like others have said, lower the misters, and direct the fans differently, I'm sure those tanks have the potential to be absolutely gorgeous Nepenthes dens.

    They almost look ready to be a vivarium. I could totally picture some treefrogs in there.

    Good work and don't worry, they'll settle in!
    LOOKING FOR: N. (argentii x bicalcarata) x {[(lingulata x edwardsiana) x (naga x hamata)] x [(klossii x undulatifolia) x (aristolochioides x rajah)]} Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=124586

  2. #10

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    Wow beautiful rainforest!! I would like to have something like this one day! Stunning! I love it!

  3. #11
    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    Hi guys,

    Thanks for all the comments.

    Let me answer some of the things brought up here.

    1) Air circulation: That is a big issue. In my "ghetto" setup...the air was always fresh. NOTE: I only used te humidifier during summer and it was sufficient to keep temps lower than 80F during the day. Hence my plants never suffered last summer and loved the whole year of growth. 2008-2009 was the best growing season ever. EVERY single nep I got thrived. The air was constantly circulating from outside to inside and then out through a chimmney at the top. In the tanks that is the biggest issue. Its full of stale air. You cannot see it, but now, I have added fans at the top of the tank. One is pushing air in and another pulling air out. But being small PC fans, I know these aren't too powerful. But atleast there is some air refreshment. So, I am hoping things will change.
    Ideally, I need the air to be FED in at the bottom and to leave the tank at the top. But being a sealed GLASS tank that cost 1000$ to buy and obtain, I don't want to risk making holes.

    So yes!! AIR CIRCULATION IS ISSUE #1.

    2) Heat: On the contrary to what you think, the meters read that the temps are pretty decent. Only during summer...they went overboard. But during autumn right now, temps are moderate...75F day and 60F at night. Perfect for most highlanders. SUmmer....since around march..temps have been 80-93F day ...but average of 85F and nearly 70F at night. I did use an airconditioner and occassionally drop temps at night to 50F. But I am sure this stressed the plants even more as ACs drop the temp suddenly. I get a feeling that these plants need a slow drop. No quick changes. Even if it is nighttime temps.
    ALso note that these temps are taken at the pot level. The wires u see are probes for a temperature/humidity monitor. I know the temps get higher at the top of the tank. I can clearly feel the air warmer than the air at the bottom. But with two light fixtures (the 4' x 4 T5 and 2x 4' T8), there is no more room on top of the tank to have outlets.

    3) Misters: The whole reason for buying the mistking system was for the SPHAGNUM. I have learnt through experience that if the sphagnum thrives...the plants will thrive. THe misters come on once every 2h for 45 sec (daytime only) to wet the plants. Clearly the broms in the first tank like it. But sphagnum still isn't taking off.

    All I know at this point is.... The variables are not in balance. As our good friend Butch (Av8tor1) used to keep telling me.... everything has to be balanced: High light...high air circulation...high humidity....I know I have some variables in optimal level. I just need to optimize the rest. I just don't know which ones are which.

    lol!! Btw...thanks for the nice comments guys about te plants being ok. But what I noticed is that the first time since I got them...the lowii, villosa, jacuqelineae, jamban, burbidgeae, truncata, argentii, hamata, macrophylla and rajah (those are all species in there. THere are some duplicates like of villosa, truncata etc. But I have lost some as well.) have all stopped growing and are showing signs of heat damage (red speckles on leaves...aborted pitchers).

    Let me finish with another of my fav pics.

    Can't see it clearly in this pic size...but you can actually notice each "rain drop". Love my D90.





    cheers,

    varun

  4. #12
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I am confused by your photo's because I see some nice mounds of sphagnum but you say it is not doing well?
    Wetting the plants every 2 hours is probably excessive.. Sphagnum grows in wet bogs but it doesn't get topwatered every 2 hours. A light rain every day or two while in a fairly humid environment to limit drying from evaporation would probably be more to it's liking, and more to the liking of the Nepenthes as well. That is basically how often my sprinklers run during the Spring/Summer. This however can be tricky with the Nepenthes to be sure they don't get root rot, since they tend to stay pretty damp in the pots.

    The red spots I don't think are heat damage, I am more inclined to think they are a pathogen. Particularly on things like the N. villosa and many of the other species you mention above.

    I think the main thing you need to work on is your light. T5 are great but they still need to be placed 4,5, maybe 6 inches from the plants, not several feet. 4 t5 and 2 t8 are not nearly enough for the distance you have them at. Other than some small metal halide I am not sure what you could use to get the intensity you need at that distance. Maybe multiple large compact fluorescent... but I think if you needed to run 4 or more of those you might as well just get a couple small metal halide. That of course then posses the problem of cooling which would then become much more of an issue. hmm how about some high intensity LED.. no simple solutions.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  5. #13
    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    Hi Tony,

    The concern with teh sphagnum is as follows: Before in the GH, you can notice almost every pot was full and pouring with sphagnum. If I needed to start a bit, I could just take pieces and throw them into another pot. That was enough. But now, apart from the two pots where it is living, every other pot, whenever I try starting more, it gets coated by black slime algae. its like a slime mould...dark green algae. Also...the sphagnum itself isn't thriving or growing as fast as it used to before.

    I know ppl say this may be too much misting. But the plants dry out very soon. Almost a day after watering the plants, the green sphagnum becomes WHITE. It needs constant misting. my media is mostly 60% LFS, 20% bark and 10% charcoal with the remaining either being more bark or perlite. A plant completely soaked with water till dripping becomes dry within 2-3 days max.

    Here are the spots on the jamban:



    the spots on jacquelineae



    A bad pic of the slime. I have now put some moss on it to try and see if the sphagnum can grow on it.



    Regarding lighting... as u mentioned,...heat was my biggest concern. Also efficiency and ease of management as well. This is why I selected T5s and added in the couple of T8s I used to use before. I know that some people use 6 or so T5s for neps. The tank is 3' tall. Considering the plants are raised a bit...you could assume that perhaps the platns are nearly 2.5' away. I am going to buy sme mylar soon and see if it can help in anyway. I just spent 100$ on bulbs not too long ago.... do u suggest I should look ditch em and look for metal halide? It is expensive and that means I need one for each tank.

    thanks,

    Varun

    PS: villosa doesn't have spots. It just stopped growing and aborted its last two pitchers

  6. #14
    Frilleon's Avatar
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    OK, I see now. Most likely the drying is coming from the really warm air being blow on to the top of the sphag. The mix I use on my Neps is even more open and I don't have a misting system. You can raise the plants to the lights but then your putting them in the hot area of the tank so you would have to figure out better air circulation. The night time temp is a little high too. The combo of stale air and high night temp could be the issue. Just my two cents and it might not work in your case just tryin to pool knowledge.

    The leaf spots look almost like burn spots but with your lights so far away I doubt it. Maybe rust fungus? Just a guess.

    Other then that the sphag looks pretty good and the plants look great in your pic's! Keep us updated on how it goes!
    Grow List: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=116427
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    A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy? Albert Einstein

  7. #15
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Thanks for the additional photos. Hmm well the lower light levels are probably affecting the Sphagnum also and reducing it's growth rate. Did you put any fertilizers into the pots at all that might be causing the algae problem? Perhaps the Sphagnum is less able to compete if the lower light is slowing it down while the algae isn't bothered by the reduced light intensity? Sphagnum in my greenhouse always has a difficult time because I feed the plants and it causes club moss and algae to grow on the potting mix.

    The spots look like leaf spot fungi to me. The frequent misting probably isn't helping but N. jamban, jacquelineae and the rajah poking in there are all more prone to leaf spot pathogens regardless.
    The symptoms you mention on the N. villosa with stalled growth, aborted pitchers would be more typical for heat stress. Leaf spotting usually isn't one of them. Distorted new growth could be though, although that is more usually caused by pests, but high heat can do it too. New leaves smaller than the old ones, which may or may not be paler in color, would also be another heat stress indicator for highland Nepenthes.

    What kind of water do you use for watering and for the misters? What's the white stuff on the leaves?

    I am still quite puzzled about how fast you say stuff dries out. Maybe you have too much air circulation and exchange? They really shouldn't dry that fast.. not even close. My plants still have water droplets on the leaves in the mid afternoon 6 hours after watering. And that is with the sun out and the greenhouse running 85 degrees. The plants don't really need to be in a breeze. One little computer fan is all you need to maintain just a gentle air flow around the plants.

    ---------- Post added at 12:40 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:28 AM ----------

    Looks like the light fixtures are directly on top. Is there glass between the lights and the grow chamber?

    Fluorescent light shouldn't add alot of heat to a grow chamber. If they are then it is the warmth from the bulb itself that is causing it. You can put glass between the bulbs and the grow chamber if there isn't, and have a fan blow air between the top glass and bulbs to minimize the heat transfer. Maybe some more details on the air exchange you have going and how things are set up at the top would help.

    And guess I should read more carefully.. where it says you use RO water. Deffinately would have that checked. That could be one of the problems for the algae situation.

    ---------- Post added at 12:46 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:40 AM ----------

    Not sure what to tell you on the lights. Maybe you could add a light on each side down near the plants to shine in. Like a 45w compact fluorescent in a reflector type fixture. Adding more lights though would add to the temperature problem. Switching to metal halide would put it through the roof... You would need some sort of active cooling I think, to use metal halide on an enclosed grow chamber.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  8. #16
    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    Hi TOny,

    thanks for taking the time to help out mate. I truly appreciate it. Thanks to you too Frilleon.

    Let me answer all your questions:

    1) Fertilizer: No! I have only tried using coffee once in january. This was coffee made with regular water..i.e., black coffee from a coffeeshop. (i don't make coffee myself).

    2) Light intensity: hmm..unfortunately...my iphone 3g just decided to break down and this time...when I tried opening it...I ripped out a cable. Now its ceased working. So...I can't get a pic right now. But if you notice the burbidgeae peeking into the pic of the jamban with the red leaves. I would think the light intensity is NOT HIGH...but not too low either. I mean it is enough for the jacq, jamban pitchers to be BLOOD RED.




    Fine! some of the other palnts could be a lot more colorful..I don't refute it...but I would assume that this shows that the light isn't terribly low. I do agree..this light level is TERRIBLY LOW FOR CEPHS AND VFTs. I say this after seeing how these plants suffered since they had the tank move. They slowly declined. Now that CFL lamp is glaring at them and i can see some color and vigor return.
    Ofcourse.. as u said...perhaps I should add in CFL fixtures peeking from the sides for nep tank too. How hot will a 100-200watt metal halide be?

    3) The water as u read is RO. I havent tested quality. It is from the whirlpool RO system that my parents bought at lowes. The white stuff is excessive trichoderma. i just generously spray whenever I apply. Now....another reason for white stuff was I used to use the humidifier during summer. This uses tap water as I can't afford to use RO water for it. (parents livein a diff city). So it is mineral deposit. But in the old setup..there used to be this buildup but no issues whatsoever with plants.

    4) Glass: I used to have glass in between the bulbs. They are sitting right on top of the tank which has a metal SCREEN as the roof. But... I was thinking perhaps the cheap lowes glass might be decreasing light intensity and removed it just like a month or so ago...when I bought new bulbs. Yes...it contributes greatly to heat.

    5) Seriously!! the plants dry out very fast. In the first tank...there is only one FAN. Inspite of the once every two hours spraying. When I come back home from school (8-10h after lights go on...and my own spraying in monring)...sometimes the moss dries out. Water falling on leaves evaporates within 1h.
    In second tank (neps), there is a fan at the bottom pushing air from bottom to top at the pot level. This is to move cold air from bottom to top...also cooling roots in the process. I find this essential for my villosa. Then there is now 2 fans at the top of the tank leaning against the light fixture. ONE facing into the tank...another about 10 or so inches away facing away from the tank at an angle. All fans run during lighting time only.

    thanks,

    Varun

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