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Thread: newbie with more questions

  1. #1
    rattler's Avatar
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    ok i have a few more questions, while i have yet to get the pics scanned so my unknown Nep can be identified i have come up with a few more questions. ill have to build my growing chamber offsite so the widest i can go is about 3.5 ft. if i made a chamber 3.5deep x 4ft tall x 6 ft long, how many adult Nep's could i have? im not looking to keep any of the very large species. just a few"average" sized ones. i will be making the chamber out of 2x4s and plywood and probably glass doors. what waterproofing is recommended for the wood?

    also along with my current unknown i was wondering what other small to medium sized species/hybrids are relitivly inexpencive, easy to locate and good for a beginer(i am only interested in lowland forms). i will be researching species this week and probably ordering a few next week before cold weather sets in. they will be kept in a 75 gal terrarium with some orchids untill the chamber is complete.

    also i will be using shoplights since the Nepenthes University website said they work fine, but do i place them inside the growchamber or do i make a glass top and set them on it, the high humidity of the chamber has me wondering which is better.

    sorry for all the questions, but due to my remote location(NE corner of Montana) i dont have much to go on untill my book gets here

    Sheridan S.
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

  2. #2

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    Hi Sheridan

    I missed the previous post, but you won't need a chamber that big for a while, unless you're buying big plants or lots of plants. In the NE corner of Montana, you probably get cool enough nights year round to grow highland nepenthes (i used to live in SE Idaho, same story), if you want to. Many of those grow slowly, and you could simply keep them in a 10 gallon terrarium for a year or more, and put the terrarium outside at night or perhaps in a garage, so that it gets in the low 60s to 50s at night, and then warms up to the 70s during the day.

    Don't rule them out, anyway. Most of us live in places where mid- to ultra-highlands require AC or refrigation, so if you have cool summer nights you might take advantage of it.

    Anyway, to get back to the question... i don't understand what you mean by "offsite". A chamber 4' tall is definitely tall enough for mature specimens of many neps, but you're going to have trouble lighting the plants at the bottom sufficiently, unless you prop them up. I believe Swords used flexible (barely) fiberglass shower siding to build his chamber, and it's probably a good idea. You don't want to have to worry about the wood rotting.

    Depending on the permanence and location of the chamber, you could even build it with PVC pipe framework, covered with polyethylene sheet.

    So basically, there are a few things to decide. First, do you want to build a highland or lowland nepenthes chamber. Second, how are you going to handle heating/cooling (depending on the answer to the previous question). Third, how permanent/sturdy/expensive do you want it to be.

    Shoplights are definitely a good way to light nepenthes if natural sunlight isn't possible (and in your location, it won't be (sufficient) for half the year). Make sure to get shoplights that take 4' T8 bulbs and have an electronic ballast (some are sold at HD for around $7, if you're going bargain basement). You may also want to adjust the dimensions of the chamber so that it is 4' on one side, because that's the length of standard shoplights. You might also want to consider using a reflective material for the back and sides of the chamber, to increase the light that gets to the plants.
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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    rattler's Avatar
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    by offsite i mean i have no room to work at home so i have to build it at work, and 3.5 ft is as wide as i can get through our doors. it needs to look nice is why i was concidering wood. it will be in the livingroom/diningroom area.and while i prefer functional above all else my girlfriend doesnt. so it needs to look decent. as for the highlands, if the air conditioning quits in july/august it will get quite warm in the house. heating will be of greater concern than cooling. as for how, i am open to suggettions, where it is to be stays between 60 an 85 depending on time of day, weather outside, what cenral air is set at ect ect ect, i plan on using probes/sensors for it to kick the heat on and off as needed. i am open to all suggestions any input by more experianced ppl is wanted. i have a 75 gal aquarium that is not being used, how long can a few(5 or less) starter plants in 4inch pots stay in this type of tank?

    Sheridan S.
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

  4. #4
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    Sheridan,

    A 75 gallon aquarium is perfect for young Nepenthes! Forget about ten gallons and those other puny tanks because you cannot fit enough good light over these small containers. Nepenthes are generally large plants which require bright lighting for good growth and overall health.Your plants will soon be unhappy with such small poorly lit terrarium.

    Place a sheet of plexi glass (or an all glass aquarium lid with the rubber hinges) on top covering all or most all of it and place six 40 watt fluorescent light tubes over the tank (3 shoplight fixtures with the "reflectors" pulled off so they are only 4" wide each) set these directly on the glass lid. This will give you great lighting, high humidity and the tank will be heated by the lighting. The plants should grow very fast, this is almost exactly how I grow my younger/small pot lowlanders. This will keep your plants happy for a year or so depending on how big they are when you first get them. Some plants will rapidly outgrow a 75 gallon aquarium such as N. bicalcarata, N. rafflesiana and cuttings from large plants but small starter 3-4" diameter plants will do fine for a long time in a 75 gallon.

    Unlike the previous suggestion I reccomend you do not start with highland plants, at least not the true highland plants. While they are some of the most impressive, they are very difficult to keep alive if you don't know what you're doing. It's a shame to waste the money buying an expensive species only to kill it, willingly or not. Intermediate species are hardier and withstand beginners mistakes well including occasional humidity drops, temperature fluctuations, etc some of these which are widely available include:
    N. alata
    N. Coccinea Hybrid
    N. Emmarene Hybrid
    N. fusca (relatively hardy once 3" in diameter or so)
    N. Gentle Hybrid
    N. khasiana
    N. Miranda Hybrid
    N. truncata (relatively hardy once 3" in diameter or so)
    N. Ventrata Hybrid
    N. ventricosa

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    I've been misunderstood. Under no circumstances do i recommend a 10 gallon tank for lowlanders! However, it will do fine for many of the highlanders for a good while.

    My lowlanders are in a 55 gallon terrarium, but the 75 you have would provide extra width to allow the bigger ones (like the bicalcarata in the lower left of this photo, which will get MUCH bigger very soon...) to reach a larger diameter:



    Most of my plants are still quite young, but there should be room in the 55gal for them for quite some time still. When they get too big, it's usually possible to prune them back (and trade the cuttings to others! ).

    And my highlanders, as i suggested, are in a 10 gallon terrarium:



    It's actually a good thing they fit, because with my current (temporary) setup, i move them from the growshelf in the day



    to the windowsill at night


    to allow them to get the cooling they need.

    There's no reason you can't light a 10 gallon terrarium well, as is clear from the photo.

    So once again, you'll need to decide if you want to create a highland tank or lowland tank (or something intermediate). I agree with swords that highland nepenthes are probably not good beginner plants, but i was just sharing my current feelings on the matter- it's nice if one lives in a place where the temperatures permit highlanders to grow without artificial cooling year round.

    The rest of swords' advice is sound except that, whatever you do, DON'T buy a shoplight that takes 40 Watt bulbs. The old T12 (40W) bulbs can no longer be legally produced in the US, except the expensive specialty bulbs. They are also less efficient and bulkier (and more polluting) than the T8 (32W) bulbs that the newer shoplight fixtures use. The shoplights visible in the photo of my growshelf are available for around $7 at the local Home Depot, and have electronic ballasts, which are more efficient than the magnetic ballasts the most T12 shoplight fixtures use. The lamps are the Phillips Alto F32T8/TL741, which has pretty good specs, and sells at the same Home Depot for $2.77/lamp. If you can find the TL841, it's worth probably twice that cost because it's more efficient and has a better spectrum.

    You'll also find that if you buy an inexpensive roll of reflective mylar and cover the back and side of the terrarium with it (you can use mineral oil, which lets it stick well and still permits you to smooth it out - i used tape here, which doesn't work as well), you don't really need six fluorescent bulbs to keep the plants happy. You mentioned that it has to look presentable, or i'd suggest making a moveable mylar flap for the front, too. With two shoplights (4x32W bulbs) the plants won't grow as fast as swords', but they'll do fine. In addition, leaving the reasonably good reflectors on the lights will get you more light per dollar spent on electricity... you can spend less to maintain it. It's up to you if you want to go the extreme route or the efficient route.

    I would add that N. alata 'Highland Spotted' AKA 'Luzon' is a beautiful plant, and it seems to grow anywhere i put it (on the windowsill without a terrarium currently). It should be easy to find, too. You can see mine in the planter box in the middle in that last photo, but unfortunately it's still recovering from a squirrel attack, so it doesn' look so good.
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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  6. #6
    rattler's Avatar
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    squirrel attack huh? such vicious critters. sounds like ill use my spare 75 for now.i think the one Nep i have now will shortly out grow it as it is in an 8 inch pot at the moment. but since i am planning to get a couple more starter sized plants shortly ill just use the 75 and figure another solution for my current Nep when the time comes besides i have some epiphatic cati and small orchids sitting on a window ledge that would probably love the enviroment that the 75 will create. besides that buys me time to deside how im going to make a more perminent grow chamber w/o investing to much into a current setup. thanks alot for all the input.

    Sheridan S.
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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    rattler's Avatar
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    picked up my lights from Home Depot yesterday, however out of curiosity i also ran over to Lowes and found that they had CP's so i picked up 2 Nepentes(would have been 3 but the last one didnt look like it would make it), a S. rubra, and a Ping. i posted a ? about the Rubra on the approbriate forum but has any one had success at keepin Pings with their Neps? also while i have pics scanned of my unknown Nep from a few weeks ago my normal pic site wont let me upload them(problems with the site as near as i can figure) anyways the nep i have in an 8 inch pot is actually 2 seperate plants(yes i did notice this before but forgot to mention it) anyways with out knowing forsure what species it is is it concidered safe for me to seperate the 2 w/o worring about the plant going into shock? i would like to sepparate them since most pics i see on the net show individual plants and i think as they get larger they will get in each others way. any thoughts are welcome.

    Sheridan S.
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
    http://www.wolfpointherald.com/--http://www.safety-brite.net/

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