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VFT Hydroponics Experiment


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#1 mobile

 
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Posted 11 May 2009 - 19:28 PM

As some may have noticed in my signature, one of my other hobbies is hydroculture, which is basically passive hydroponics. I have tried growing various carnivorous plants in hydroculture but, perhaps with the exception of Nepenthes, it has not been very successful.

This year I decided that I would try an active hydroponic system on a Dionaea muscipula (VFT). For this experiment I have used a homemade hydroponic system. The growing medium I used is small rockwool cubes (1cm x 1cm x 1cm), with a top dressing of gravel to keep them in place and to make things look a little neater. The base of the VFT bulb and the roots are in the rockwool, therefore the rockwool is the growing medium, not the gravel. This is all contained within a mesh pot, with air line tubing running through the pot to an airstone underneath it. This is then placed into a watertight container and rainwater is added to a level just above the base of the pot. The idea is to get the rockwool wet but not have the roots actually sitting in water at this stage. The other end of the air line tubing is then attached to an air pump which oxygenates the water via the airstone, this runs continuously. I have added a little fulvic acid to the water to acidify things a little but I don't know if this essential, I just had some so I added it. As you can see from the pictures, I've used a clear container, this is perhaps not ideal as light may encourage algae growth, though the rainwater that was added was initially a little green but has cleared. I will keep a close eye on this and cover the container if algae starts to appear. The plant has been in this system for a couple of weeks and it has put on new growth. This is encouraging as I expected the plant to show signs of stress but there has been no evidence of this so far. I will update this post on the progress of this experiment.

Overview of system:
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Plant in place:
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Rockwool cubes:
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Pot containing rockwool cubes:
Posted Image

#2 andyoliver

 
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Posted 11 May 2009 - 19:32 PM

I use hydroponics a lot for salads, herbs, toms and others. I've never though of using with CPs.

#3 LJ

 
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Posted 11 May 2009 - 19:35 PM

Interesting stuff Carl - keep us updated as it grows!

#4 andyoliver

 
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Posted 11 May 2009 - 19:38 PM

Could you not use Perlite as a medium? And have standing water?

#5 mobile

 
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Posted 11 May 2009 - 19:55 PM

Could you not use Perlite as a medium? And have standing water?

Perlite might work but I don't think the air/water ratio is as good as rockwool cubes, also it would fall through the holes in the pot I used. Roots need oxygen to grow healthy and an open medium combined with well aerated water provides for this very well. Growing plants in an inert substrate and standing water is usually referred to as hydroculture.

#6 Mantis

 
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Posted 11 May 2009 - 20:06 PM

I very much enjoyed the articles in the The Carnivorous Plant Society news by Tim Bailey about deep water culture and hydroponics. His experiment with a vft looked very promising.
I currently have set up a deep water culture bucket/pot with a few Darlingtonia and a small container with a Nepenthes and a ultrasonic fogger.

Good luck with your experiment!

#7 FlytrapCare

 
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Posted 11 May 2009 - 20:17 PM

Very cool! Keep us posted on the progress of the experiment.

#8 mobile

 
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:47 AM

I currently have set up a deep water culture bucket/pot with a few Darlingtonia and a small container with a Nepenthes and a ultrasonic fogger.

I'm interested to know how your ultrasonic aeroponics system performs. I was considering this myself but opted for a bubbler system as I was wary that the ultrasonic transducer membrane may not last very long if run continuously. Do you have yours running continuously? Do you add nutrients as I presume that your Nepenthes will be tolerant of some?

#9 toimeme

 
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 08:18 AM

I use hydroponics a lot for salads, herbs, toms and others. I've never though of using with CPs.



well, i think for salad and herbs toms etc it's better to grows with classc method, they taste better.

I cultivated one Vft in coir since last year the only difference I saw is that it has more than root, I think it's because coir is more airy than the peat


coir = Posted Image

#10 toimeme

 
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 08:23 AM

well, i think for salad and herbs toms etc it's better to grows with classc method, they taste better.

I cultivated one Vft in coir since last year the only difference I saw is that it has more than root, I think it's because coir is more airy than the peat


coir = Posted Image



edit: sorry for bad english it's google translate

#11 mobile

 
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 11:11 AM

I cultivated one Vft in coir since last year the only difference I saw is that it has more than root, I think it's because coir is more airy than the peat

I think some people are wary of using coir because of the stories that some may contain salt but the quality brands often state that it is pretreated or washed so it's worth checking first. Pre-soaking it in rainwater or deionised water prior to using would help too.

Rockwool is extremely airy, epecially the cubes like I used, so I'm hoping that my VFT gets good root development.

#12 Mantis

 
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 17:24 PM

Mobile,

I don't run the fogger continuously. I haven't found any good info about a running cycle. I came accross a forum message with the advice to time how long it takes to fill the container and how long it takes for all the fog to dissapear adding an extra 5 minutes and use these as on/of.
Because I don't have any spare minute/second timer, I now let the fogger run for 15 minutes every 3 hours. I know that this isn't the best solution. Will get a minute timer to run it a smaller intervalls.
Currently I don't add nutrients to the water because I first want to see if the Nepenthes will tolerate the change in moisture, temperature and light in comparison to my Highland terrarium.

#13 mobile

 
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 20:50 PM

Currently I don't add nutrients to the water because I first want to see if the Nepenthes will tolerate the change in moisture, temperature and light in comparison to my Highland terrarium.

You may find that you get through more fogger discs when/if you do add nutrients, especially if they are not the teflon coated discs, so best get some spares.

Edited by mobile, 13 May 2009 - 05:22 AM.


#14 Muel

 
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Posted 12 May 2009 - 22:54 PM

What technique do you use for nepenthes? I'm intrigued

#15 mobile

 
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Posted 13 May 2009 - 06:49 AM

What technique do you use for nepenthes? I'm intrigued

I've only every tried hydroculture (static hydroponics) on Nepenthes but growth rate was slow. I think an active system, such as aeroponics, should be good with this species. I also think that deep water culture (DWC) should work ok. Aeroponics doesn't need any substrate but DWC does and I think that I would be tempted to use hydroponic LECA.

#16 Muel

 
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Posted 16 May 2009 - 17:13 PM

Ah rightyo, aeroponics looks interesting! I think I may give that a try...

#17 mobile

 
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Posted 29 June 2009 - 18:59 PM

A quick update. During a two week holiday the plant in my original post was beset by a little 'accident'. Below is a picture of the replacement plant which has been in the same hydroponic setup as above for about a week now.

Posted Image

#18 andyoliver

 
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Posted 29 June 2009 - 21:39 PM

Great growth on it. How long to get to this stage?

#19 mobile

 
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Posted 30 June 2009 - 05:24 AM

Great growth on it. How long to get to this stage?

Andy,

It was almost at this stage when I purchased it. it's only been in hydroponics for just over a week but its taken to it really well. Having washed off all the peat I expected it to show some signs of stress but the traps re-opened within a few days and there is plenty of new growth.

#20 LJ

 
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Posted 30 June 2009 - 11:50 AM

Looking forward to hearing more updates Carl - shame the other plant had a little 'accident' :D

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