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Thread: My UHL Setup (In Progress)

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    My UHL Setup (In Progress)

    Made an error. Post title should just be HL setup, not UHL.

    It's been awhile since I gave an update on my growing conditions. As mentioned in this thread, I was previously using a small makeshift evaporative cooler that was honestly not getting the cooling effect I needed, along with the mold problems to boot. See shrinking growth tip on my hamata, along with damage from some long dead thrips:

    After a lot of headache attempting to rig peltier units and insulate fish tanks, use evaporative cooling, and even manually moving ice into the tank each night, I thought it was time for something that would work better and also look nicer. I was able to find a reasonably priced wine cooler on sale and figured it would be worth a shot at converting it into a highland environment for my N. jamban and N. hamata. Most of the cooler setups I've seen in the past have either utilized chest freezers that cycle on during the night, or wine cooler setups that cycle based off of a day/night temperature controller. I also purchased and assembled a dimmable LED kit that uses three CREE XML-2 Warm White and three CREE XML-2 Cool White lights, as done by others, along with an aluminum heatsink. By using eggcrate, two computer fans, a baking cooling rack and some magnet strips I was able to get something that looked reasonable with the capacity to cool at night down to 39 F. Below are some photos of the setup that currently contains a bottom bin where I set the plants at night (while doing environmental testing), as well as some rehydrated sphagnum with a few small Pinguicula grown from leaf pullings.




    With the nighttime cooling having been achieved by adjusting the dial on the fridge to a setting corresponding to 54 F, I still have a few issues to sort out. One concern I had at the outset of this project was that the LED lighting and the closed system would warm the tank throughout the day with accumulated heat. Currently the heatsink is located inside the fridge with the computer fan, and if possible I would prefer to not damage the top of the fridge, for fear of ruining any internal components and for the overall aesthetic appeal of the fridge. When testing, five hours of continuous light warmed the tank from 54 to 90 F. To try and fix this I have set the fridge to cycle on for one half hour during every two hour period during the day. This prevents the temperature from getting too hot (it cycles between the mid 60's and upper 70's as seen on the thermometer in each two hour period), but it tends to drop the humidity in the fridge down into the 50's. In the last picture you can see where the refrigerant is pumped through tubes on the inside back wall when the compressor cycles. This back wall tends to quickly build up frost which melts in minutes after the fridge cycles off. I have included a couple of trays to catch the melted water rather than allow it to flow into the drain located at the back of the unit (the water tray on the back of the fridge is quite small). My biggest concern at the moment is the fluctuating humidity levels in the fridge and the cycling temperatures (12 F) occurring every two hours to counteract the LED heat buildup. The only solution I can think of that doesn't involve cutting out the top of the fridge is to use large volumes of water in some sort of container inside the fridge to act as a temperature buffer. I am also thinking that with enough moss and water in each tray, I could possibly keep the local environment around my plants humid, even though the humidity in the fridge drops. I would love suggestions that any of you may have, and will keep this thread updated with the progress of the fridge as well as the plants!
    Last edited by Leafgeek; 08-12-2019 at 08:34 PM.

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    That’s not a happy hamata

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    No it is not. The suboptimal temperatures allowed it to grow well for a while but I think the stress of the thrips caused a bit of a meltdown that was bound to happen at one point or another. Hopefully this setup ( or a better version of it) can prevent that in the future.

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    I hope it gets better.

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    After a full day of monitoring lumens/sq. ft. and temperature, I've got a baseline to work with on improvements. Unless I am mistaken, the light measurements are a little useless as they don't readily convert to PAR, but the temperature values have been very helpful. I am hopeful that the addition of a gallon of water to the tank will help to round out or narrow the temperature fluctuations during the daytime. This buffering effect could also potentially increase the amount of time the fridge would need to cool at night in order to get a full eight hours at 53 F, but I can always have it start the night cooling earlier if needed. You can see that the daytime temperature max takes a few cycles to top out, and I'm hoping that the buffering effect of the water will slow that gradual heat accumulation.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Leafgeek View Post
    The suboptimal temperatures allowed it to grow well for a while but I think the stress of the thrips caused a bit of a meltdown
    No, the new growth is deformed which is caused by a massive mite infection.
    Under warmer conditions the effect gets more prominent and N. hamata is
    the first plant which shows these signs (from my experience).

    Try getting a good miticide and spray this and also the other Nepenthes in your collection.
    I am located in Germany, so I canīt recommend which good miticides are available to you.

    Good luck with your plant!

    Joachim
    Last edited by Joachim Danz; 08-15-2019 at 02:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joachim Danz View Post
    No, the new growth is deformed which is caused by a massive mite infection.
    Under warmer conditions the effect gets more prominent and N. hamata is
    the first plant which shows these signs (from my experience).
    Joachim
    Can anyone confirm this? I had not heard that recommendation yet. For reference, here are some photos of spots that have appeared on the newer leaves of N. jamban. I assumed this was just some Cercospora or a stress related phenotype due to temperature, however I have only had this plant for about a month and a half. I noticed yesterday that the first developing pitcher in my care turned black around where the peristome should have been (before and after), and that there were a few brown spots and one distinct black spot (not shown) on the leaves. It could be that there are multiple different symptoms showing up due to a combination of factors. I have not seen any mites when inspecting the plants with a magnifying glass, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. Thanks again for your help!




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    Yeah, I'd agree you probably have some mites. The incompletely developed, rough textured leaves you have on your hamata are pretty spot on for mite damage

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