The Final Setup

 Good afternoon!

This post will be guided towards my final setup (always changing) that I have been working towards for the last month and a half. Also, keep in mind, this setup is catered towards my location and plants' needs so what I do that works may not work for everyone.

To begin, I figured I would break this post down into the basic requirements that Nepenthes need and then discuss how I catered the setup towards their needs.


    Arguably the most basic need of plants, but surprisingly I had a bit of difficulty figuring out the requirements for Nepenthes. If you do your own research online, there are forum posts and other credible sources that will give you their recommendation. After looking at all of these, I found Carnivero's information on lighting requirements and decided to proceed with them.

What I am personally shooting for is a PPFD (basically a measurement of light in a location of your plant's canopy) between 40 - 450 since Nepenthes need a moderate amount of light. Starting with the SP-2000, I found that the top row of my plants were getting an excessive amount of light, causing the leaves to redden, while the bottom row were receiving adequate lighting. In order to fix the problem, I dimmed the SP-2000 in order to reduce the light exposure on the top row of plants and I will be installing a florawave for the second row of plants. At a height of 18 inches, the plants on the second row should receive the ideal amount of light. For the top plants, the SP-2000 will be dimmed until I reach the ideal amount of light.


    Nepenthes, being tropical plants, prefer the humidity above 80% during the day and closer to 100% at night. This is a very challenging task to accomplish in an indoor grow tent. This is also one of the most challenging tasks that I had to accomplish. In regards to strictly humidity, not temperature, I purchased various humidifiers for reptiles, all of which failed in the first few days of operation. After about a week and 2 humidifiers dying on me, I purchased a hydrofogger, which has been absolutely amazing. I installed a gravity feed system to an external tank that constantly supplies the humidifier with water. The humidifier is wired to a humidistat. The humidistat commands the hydrofogger on when the humidity in the grow tent drops below 80%. At 90% the hydrofogger turns off and a mountable fan turns on in the tent to increase air circulation. The ideal humidity I shoot for is 85% and so far the plants have been loving it!


    Ok.... Ok.... This, this is the one. I will begin by saying that my daytime temperatures have been flawless. *pats self on the back* I grow all of my plants in intermediate conditions, shooting for daytime temperatures in the mid-80s and nighttime temps in the mid to high 60s. The nighttime temperatures are where the problems come into play. My first action in attempting to achieve the nighttime drop was purchasing a passive intake fan. This is common in most grow tents and mounts internally on the ceiling of the tent. I have the intake fan running on a timer from 2000 - 0600 (opposite of my daytime photocycle) on a setting of about 3-5 (still tweaking it as needed). This actually did help decrease the temperature, but to achieve that sweet mid-60 temp, it was requiring the fan to run at 50% speed throughout the night. The problem is that with running the fan, it was pulling the humidity out of the tent causing microspikes of humidity in the grow tent and kicking my hydrofogger on constantly. It was a temporary solution, but not the one that I was looking for long term.

    I then purchased an aquarium chiller. The chiller has an external aquarium pump that cycles the water to a beautiful 60 degrees. Initially I routed this to the mistking system (further discussed in the water section), but there was little to no change in temperature in the tent. I am still in the process of making adjustments, but now the aquarium chiller is routed to the tank that supplies the hydrofogger, hopefully causing the water dispersed in the air cool the tent much more effectively... only time will tell though.

Update: After running the hydrofogger attached to the aquarium chiller, temperatures in the high 60s were achieved. Causing about a 15 degree temperature change sounds ideal, but I will continue to optimize the system.


    Carnivorous plants in general are quite finicky when it comes to water. Personally, I use an RO buddy that attaches to my bathroom sink and using reverse osmosis, reduces the ppm in my water to below 10. For about $50, it was well worth it even though it does waste a significant amount of water in the process. For my hydrofogger, mistking and in general, I only use RO since using hardwater will significantly reduce the lifespan on your medium and CP's do not do well with a high ppm.

    My mistking system is internally hooked up to my grow shelf and, through 3 nozzles, mists the live sphagnum and plants every hour during the day for 60 seconds and every 3 hours at night for 30 seconds. This helps increase the humidity in the tent as well as keeping the sphagnum hydrated throughout the day.

    Since I travel a lot for work, I have automated my water schedule with 2 pumps that attached to drip lines for my plants. The watering schedule is every 2 days for about 2 minutes. This is still being fine tuned because I added a second pump. Even though it is not aesthetically pleasing, this is what is most ideal for my situation. Hopefully in the future, I will be able to convert to a manual watering schedule.


    As discussed before, I run an internally mounted fan that kicks on when the humidity increases above 90%. I also run the passive intake fan at night. There is also a second internally mounted fan that runs on a 15 minute timer throughout the day and night. Between the 3 fans, the grow tent achieves ideal air circulation, preventing any mold or fungus growth.


    1:1 perlite and long fiber sphagnum moss (New Zealand preferably) have given me the best results in terms of drainage. When I was first potting, I was experimenting with other mediums and found they work, but not to the same degree as the 1:1 perlite and sphagnum. I also use live sphagnum as a top dressing. Not only does it look good with the Neps, but it gives me a good indication of how well the plants are hydrated.


    Once a month, I use a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon MaxSea diluted with 1 gallon of water. In a spray bottle, I apply the fertilizer to the leaves (foliar). I experimented with dried bugs and osmocote pellets, but the MaxSea is much easier.

Overall, the setup has been performing well and I am getting amazing growth on my plants! I hope that anyone that reads this experiences the same results that I am seeing, without all of the trial and error that I have experienced! As always, happy growing!


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