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Thread: VFT Hydroponics Experiment

  1. #9
    mobile's Avatar
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    Here's a quick update:

    During a two week holiday, in June, the plant in my original post was beset by a little 'accident'. Below is a picture of the replacement plant.

    Replacement plant, 29th June:


    Plant on 6th September:



    October 17th


    In August I noticed that growth started to slow down so I decided to add some nutrients. I also added a lightproof sleeve as the nutrients would encourage algae. I finally settled on 5ml/l Orchid Ultra (humic and fulvic acids) and 0.75EC Ionic nutrient solution in deionised water. I have been using this ever since, but now the VFT is going into dormancy so I have reverted to using just deionised water.

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    Awesome experiment and great results!

    For those of us that aren't familiar with hydroponics, could you give me a basic summary of what exactly you have set up there?

    Is it basically simply putting a VFT in rockwool in a mesh pot and then topping off with water and fertilizing (skipping the aerator part)?

    How often do you fertilize with the 5ml/L of Orchid Ultra?

  3. #11
    mobile's Avatar
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    Hi mmlr38,

    The first post details the setup; however, I have summarised below.

    • Pre-soak rockwool cubes in a slightly acidic (5.5 pH) water. I use fulvic acid to acidify deionised water to 5.5 pH. I then rinse with deionised water. This ensures that any alkalinity in the rockwool is fixed.
    • Place a layer of rockwool cubes in the bottom of a mesh (aquatic plant) pot.
    • Suspend VFT in the mesh pot while adding rockwool cubes around the roots, surrounding all sub-surface parts of the plant.
    • Obtain a watertight container (referred to as reservoir hereafter) which is approximately twice as deep, or more, as the mesh pot.
    • Place an airstone in the bottom of the reservoir and run an air line from it, attaching to an air pump, with check valve, at the other end.
    • Suspend the mesh pot into the reservoir.
    • Make up a nutrient solution. I use Growth Technology Ionic nutrients diluted at a rate of 0.75EC in deioinised water. I also add 5ml/litre of Growth Technology Orchid Ultra.
    • Add the nutrient solution to the reservoir, pouring it through the rockwool cubes in the mesh pot. The nutrient solution should be in contact with the layer of rockwool cubes at the bottom of the mesh pot, but no more than that. You don't want the roots of the VFT sitting in the nutrient solution at this point, they may grow into it at a later date but that's ok. The rockwool cubes, in the base of the mesh pot, in contact with the nutrient solution, will deliver it to the VFT roots via capillary action.
    • Switch on the air pump. This will need to run 24/7. If the nutrient solution is not aerated then the roots will probably rot.
    • Keep a regular check on the nutrient solution level and ensure that it is always in contact with the rockwool cubes at the base of the mesh pot. Top up with nutrient solution when necessary.
    • The reservoir will need to lightight or algae will start to grow in the nutrient solution This is bad for various reasons and must be avoided.


    Notes:

    I dump all the nutrient solution from the reservoir approximately once a month and add fresh.

    Orchid Ultra is not a nutrient solution. It is humic and fulvic acid and I add it as VFTs are likely to receive these from the surrounding bogs in their natural environment.

    I use a good quality hydroponics nutrient solution. Normal plant food will not be sufficient and may actually be detrimental.

    A EC meter is necessary to measure the nutrient solution concentration.

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    Mmlr38

    I think it's just a case of growing plants without soil and getting the plants to take minerals from the water only... I think the air stone helps with oxygen so it does not stagnate... I think that somes up hydroponics, short verison, please correct me if I am wrong.

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    mobile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noddy View Post
    Mmlr38

    I think it's just a case of growing plants without soil and getting the plants to take minerals from the water only... I think the air stone helps with oxygen so it does not stagnate... I think that somes up hydroponics, short verison, please correct me if I am wrong.
    Sort of, but the air stone does more than stopping the water from stagnating. Delivering oxygen to the root zone increases nutrient uptake and accelerates growth. See HERE for more details of the method used above,

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Hey mobile, what type of nutrient solution did you use when you tried Nepenthes? I'm curious to know if this would be a more effective method for rooting cuttings that just stagnant water.
    Thanks,
    ~Joe
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    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    mobile's Avatar
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    Hi seedjar,

    I used Growth Technology Formulex for Nepenthes. This is often referred to as a 'soft' nutrient solution and is commonly used for seedlings and cuttings. It has a N-P-K of 1.8:0.21:1.95

  8. #16
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    From what I've been reading even if you pre-treat the rockwool it acts like a buffer and you have to monitor the pH.

    Dionaea appear to need more acidic conditions than most other CP species (BACPS panel of growers). And their roots are more sensitive to nutrients than other species. With a high enough level of nutrients the roots atrophy and plants slowly die over a period of 2-3 months. This fits in with the observation that Dionaea growth gets more stunted the longer they are potted in the same media. An repotting "rejuvenates" growth. Peat moss breaks down with age releasing nutrients. Some growers repot their flytraps as often as once a year.

    I wouldn't rely on TDS to monitor pH without taking baselines.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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