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Carnivorous Plants/growing CP in a fish tank- not in terrarium conditions


I bought 5 tropical CP from you back in oct, I have them growing in a way I hope is ok. They all seem to be doing well with new growth. But I just want to make sure it's not going to harm them long term. I have a new 10 gallon fish tank setup in a west window. There are some trees about 8-10' from the house so the light in late spring through late fall is dappled, in winter it gets maybe 3-4 hours of sun. I added 2 LED orchid grow lights (the site I got them from says this about them- These are 13W bulbs containing 64 LED chips, in a combination of cool white, warm white, and red, resulting in a color temperature in the range of 5700-6400░K, like a bright day outdoors, with enhanced red wavelengths for better flowering and color rendition than is found in other brands.  These have an initial output of about 1200 lumens, and have been measured as having a Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD) of 45 Ámol/m2/sec at a distance of one foot from the lamp when driven at 11W, 55 Ámol/m2/sec @ 13W.  As a point of reference, a 2-foot, 24W T5HO lamp puts out about 60 Ámol/m2/sec at that distance.  Phalaenopsis do very well at 30 Ámol/m2/sec for 12-14 hours per day.) to add to the light on those shop lights with the clamps and put them on the tank, I put new aquarium gravel in the bottem, and a wire shelf in the tank to raise the plants closer to the light. The plants are in plastic pots with saucers to hold water for the sundews. The butterworts have them too, but they don't hold much water, only what runs over when I water. I keep about 1/2" of water in the bottom of the tank to help with humidity since in the winter it can get to about 10% on really cold days, but averages about 30% in winter, in summer it's more like 40-50% sometimes higher. I'm keeping them in the tank primarily for the added humidity and to have the lights easily above them since they clamp right onto the tank. Do you think this will be ok long term?

Hi Kristin,

This looks like a really nice little set-up.  You have added ambient humidity with this set-up without the problems that terrariums create.  You have a combination of natural light combined with your LED lights which should give good results.

The only added advice I'd give it to monitor your plants to see how they respond to your lights.  We are finding that the way plants respond to LED grow lights is different than traditional white grow lights.  What I predict is that your over time you may need to get your sundews a little closer, while the butterworts will be fine at a greater distance.  Sundews are full-sun plants, where tropical butterworts are often found in some shade in nature.  If your sundews are showing plenty of red, you're in good shape.  If the butterworts are happy they will have lots of mucilage on the leaves and show tinges of color.  If the butterworts are getting what looks like translucent or burn spots, they may need to be further away.  It will take time to determine this.

Good Growing!

Jeff Dallas
Sarracenia Northwest

Carnivorous Plants

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If your carnivorous plant is showing poor growth, discoloration, abnormal leaves or possible infestation, the expert growers at Sarracenia Northwest can help! They have a great depth of experience dealing with diseases, pathogens, and abnormal growth in carnivorous plants.

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