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Reboot: Starting anew with some of my old plants

vraev

Carnivorous plant enthusiast
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Hi guys,

I've taken a bit of time away from CPs since early this year and taken a break from CPs while keeping a few plants ticking along with minimal effort. Basically as few of you may remember, early January last year, my setup went through a huge freeze and I lost a lot of rare and hard grown plants in my collection. It was very demotivating and later, due to personal issues, the loss got magnified. I lost more than 2/3rds of my original collection and ALL of my rare species of neps...multiple macrophyllas, multiple villosa...one that was 6" wide, jacquelineae, jambans...seedlings, dubia seedlings, aristos, villosa seedlings, hamatas, robcantleyiis and also very nice looking 4 year old lepanthes species such as telopogoniflora.

Some highlights of that time:

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But that was back in the day...at the end this is how the tanks looked.

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But well, now... the new setup is 1/3rd the size of one of those older tanks. I repotted all the remaining plants in fresh media, more space efficient pots and got rid of extra plants. Also a lot more manageable with my current schedule and a lot more presentable.

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And there you go...how you can squeeze plants taken from a 2 x (2' x 2') area into a single (2' x 1.5' area) :p lol!

In the next few days, its about setting up some automation.

Fingers crossed. Lets see how it goes.

cheers,

V
 
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Joined
Apr 11, 2013
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Southern West Virginia, near Beckley
Very Impressive setup vraev!
I've never seen a dedicated glass terrarium that comes in a box ready to use like that!
Things sure have changed since I was into CPs 40 years ago.
I'd love to have one of my own!
where did you get it? and how much do they sell for USD?
What kind of lights are you using? at what intensity?
You really make beautiful displays! Bravo!
 

nightsky

Lover of Mountains
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near Salt Lake City
Sorry to hear of your freeze and loss of plants. Im in the process of setting up two of the exact same exo terra terrariums you have also. Im putting smaller cps in them and moving away from the larger neps I had before. The terrariums are so far proving much easier for me to care for and automate. Do keep us updated on your automation. Im curious to see what works for you.

Right now, Ive got egg crate false bottoms to allow me top water. Theres an inch and a half of space below it for water collection. Im just trying to figure out an easy way to drain it away before it goes stagnant and smelly. I thought about a recirc watering system, but those get kinda pricey and frankly are overkill for me. Im only having to water once a week as it is anyway.
 

vraev

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Thanks guys. Hopefully I can change out some of the more common ones I have left with newer and more desirable neps in the future.

@Dan... the exoterra terrariums are commonly available at most pet stores. I personally got mine at Big Als. A buddy of mine who works there hooked me up. Lighting-wise I was hoping to use LED lights but couldn't find anything that has a balance of value to comparable performance of the T5s. Also, didn't really want to spend too much more money so recycled some old with new. New: the exoterra canopy top with 3 x 26 watt full spectrum CFL + an older 2 tube T8 fixture with GE aquarium and full spectrum bulbs. Only time will tell how it will fare. But I am pretty sure it should be fine. Unlike my old tanks which were 3' tall, this is only 18" tall...so a lot of the light reaches the plants without decreasing in intensity. You should find them pretty close to you. If anything there is great prices for it online at amazon.com and also some other stores. Just search for exoterra terrarium buy on google. This is just a few:
http://www.petsolutions.com/C/Reptile-Habitats/I/Exo-Terra-Terrariums.aspx
http://www.amazon.com/Exo-Terra-Glass-Terrarium-24-Inch/dp/B000OAYXTK
http://www.bigappleherp.com/Exo-Terra-Glass-Terrariums

Lightswise, I have one of these: http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/compact_top.php
and a 2 tube T8 fixture from Lights of america that was sent to me by another good friend of mine. Can't find it anymore as its replaced by newer models: http://garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=159032

There may be better T8 fixtures, but IMO this is very good since its very very light, but its biggest con is that it is not stainless steel and can rust easily.

Mine is the 24" x 18" x 18". I was torn between this and the 24"x18x24". But decided to go with this...as the taller you go, the more problems with getting in enough light. If anything I would suggest the 36x18x18. That would have been perfect. But as a student, this is also probably a short term setup, so i decided to make an ADA (Aqua design Amano) equivalent setup that is pleasing to the eye.

@Nightsky... yeah man! These tanks are very very nice. I love how presentable they are. When I got my old ones, exo terra didn't make any of these "low" lineup of tanks. If they did, I would have never bought the custom big ones from www.glasscages.com. The tanks were great, but the shipping was terrible.
Regd automation, I agree, I have found after a thorough watering that the plants only require light misting and humidity stays in a lot better than my older tanks. Sometimes, after a misting in the morning, I can still see water on the plants after 6h. So I already outfitted a small PC fan.

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For such a small tank...the fan can dry out everything very quickly, so I use a cheap controller to modulate the speed. I have it set at the lowest setting.

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I still haven't programmed it, but one of the timers below in the cabinet is hooked to this fan. Also, I didn't want to risk drilling into this one tank, so I am going to try and see if the mistking can be held by these suction cups. I am still waiting for a patch job on a messed up reservoir. Lol! I made a mistake of drilling too fast and the plastic was so soft that it messed up the hole. As a result...I emptied like a whole tube of aquarium grade silicone to make it tight. Fingers crossed to see if it holds.

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Once thats final, I will hook up the system, program the mistking and alternatively time the fan to run after those intervals to slightly dry the plants/humidify, move the air around to stimulate a windy rain..or whatever...need to play with that settings. I still have a zoomed hygrotherm which I don't know how to use yet in this system.

I have thought about a watering system, but based on my previous foray with a recirculating system, a reservoir under the plants exposed to the same lighting and water leeching nutrients from the pots is a NO GO. (see last pic of my tanks above). The plants decline by the excessive nutrients, algae takes control and makes a mess. So, only way to do a reservoir system cleanly is to go with an external dark shaded reservoir. But then you need a hole in the tank for a buikhead to drain it out. I am still considering the idea of an external pump to pull out excess water from the tank, but still unsure of how powerful it needs to be and how to properly execute it without spoiling the look of the setup.

In the meanwhile, still trying to figure out what to do with my terrestrially trained HC cuba and some mosses. ;)

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nightsky

Lover of Mountains
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near Salt Lake City
Yeah, I also thought of just getting a small submersible pump that I could run every now and then to pull water out of the bottom, without having to remove all the plants and egg crate every so often to do it by hand. But, I've yet to find one that will fit into the 1.5" height under the egg crate. Dont' want to raise it up, as it's only 18" to the top to begin with before the false bottom. Gotta have room for them to grow. Right now I've just got a humidifier pipe into the top, with a glass top and lights above. Just have it on a timer, but have thought about getting that hygrotherm. Just a little pricey, so I'm trying to nail things down with the timer first.

I stuck a 80mm computer fan in there that turns on intermittently. I just spliced it into a 12v adapter. What is the power adapter you are using for yours?
 
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i use thin hosing and just siphon the water out of the bottom of my tank/benches and into a 5 gallon bucket. makes the process easy and no pump required :)
 

vraev

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Yeah, I also thought of just getting a small submersible pump that I could run every now and then to pull water out of the bottom, without having to remove all the plants and egg crate every so often to do it by hand. But, I've yet to find one that will fit into the 1.5" height under the egg crate. Dont' want to raise it up, as it's only 18" to the top to begin with before the false bottom. Gotta have room for them to grow. Right now I've just got a humidifier pipe into the top, with a glass top and lights above. Just have it on a timer, but have thought about getting that hygrotherm. Just a little pricey, so I'm trying to nail things down with the timer first.

I stuck a 80mm computer fan in there that turns on intermittently. I just spliced it into a 12v adapter. What is the power adapter you are using for yours?

I use a 2Amp power supply from these guys. I got a 5 Amp one for my big tanks but it failed after a while. Also since I don't need more than one fan or two fans max, I didnt bother with another.

Coolerguys 100-240v AC to 12 / 5v DC 4pin Molex 2A Power Adapter


yhst-24067115789173_2256_20324033


I also got a bunch of connectors from them to convert that molex to a 2 pin/3 pin fan.

Regd the humidity...Matt, I personally don't think you should bother. The tanks keep humidity very well and unless you are running the fan too long, It should be fine by a timer. Regd 18", yup...thats why I didn't do a false bottom. Plus I did not want to bother with making it. So instead I went the drainage layer route. I used a nice affordable exo terra biodrain mesh on top of it and basically I keep an eye on water level. Its less than a month old and so far I don't see a water level yet. I haven't thoroughly watered the plants since i repotted them. I just keep misting them and the substrate roughly everyday.

@myles...yeah...I might go that route..rather than a pump and everything...just once in a month or so, perhaps I'll put a tube in from the side into the drainage layer and siphon out water. Ofcourse it would be cooler if I had a seperate tube on the side that could be hooked up to a external pump that once in a month automatically drains water out for a min or so. :p
 
Joined
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oye V!!!!!

welcome back and with a vengeance I see!!

you, your skills and your plants have been missed old friend....

looking good v!

was you able to touch base with maiden on the heli?

hope so, he was holding one for you
 

mato

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Glad to see a bit of demotivation was all you suffered from, Varun. I think I would have been utterly demoralized. Coming back at all, even with a reduced collection, still says a lot about you. The current batch of plants looks as good as ever, and I'm sure there will be friends down the road who can help you acquire some of those lost rarities.
 

vraev

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Thanks B, Jimmy and Mato. Trust me Mato....B knows....I was demoralized. I was surprised the left over plants actually held on as long as they did..over an year with terrible care. Some of these haven't pitchered in over an year. Just terrible growth showing they are unhappy. I never ever imagined I could get seedlings of pure jamban, flava, villosa, dubia, aristo and rajah, but I did. They grew well and looked good but all died. Not to mention all the expensive UHL nepenthes. I personally don't know if I will ever get those kind of seeds again....but I guess it was the plants themselves which stuck to life and made me come back. The capacity is lower as you can see, but hopefully I can inch the quality back up later.

Yeah B... I contacted maiden. But as you can see the tank is full. I can't even put two extra pots with some nice mosses inside. lol. In the meanwhile, his tank was full too and the plant was sitting outside and someone who is just starting out wanted it, so he gave it to him. I think thats way better than me getting it as I don't have the space either. Thanks very much to both of you for holding it for me though. I guess with limited space, there is a cap of how many things I can have in my collection now...not to mention a limitation on size as well.
 

vraev

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A new photo update of some cute plants.

Nepenthes lowii, inermis, macfarlenii

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Some non-CPs, but still cute

Lepanthes elegantula. The flower was facing downwards. Had to lift it up.
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Lepanthes neisseniae

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HC cuba

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Lepanthes ophioglossa

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Lepanthes caprimugulus

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And last but not least, my favourite species ever.

ARISE..... Lepanthes telipogoniflora

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cheers

V
 

vraev

Carnivorous plant enthusiast
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Thanks. I am glad too. Many plants that haven't pitchered in years are coming back...glad to see them recover.
 

Plant Planter

The Most Uncreative Name in the History of Ever
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Yowch... Sorry to hear about your loss. :cry:

But it seems like you're back on your feet! :bigthumpup: Your plants look great and I have no doubts that your collection will spring back as well!
 
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