What's new
TerraForums Venus Flytrap, Nepenthes, Drosera and more talk

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

artificial lighting for highland neps

I visited a petstore looking for artificial lighting to get my highland nep terrarium started, and found that they only carry aquarium lights.  Are these ok for highland neps?  Also, if I have a choice of fluorescent vs incadencent, which is better?  Are there any other types of artificial lights (specific brands) that work well?  Any information is appreciated.  Thanks.  Leo
The fluorescent pet lights designed for aquariums with plants would work fine but they are expensive. I would not go with incandescent, they get too hot and would cause problems in an enclosed terrarium.

Your best bet would be to get a couple cheap fluorescent light fixtures from the hardware store and use cool white bulbs with a warm white mixxed in. You could also get some of the fancier tubes like ultralume or chroma 50.. They tend to be a bit more true to sunlight and put out more lumens (ie they are brighter). Minimum I would say 2 tubes if they are normal wattage but preferably 4.
My Ultrahighland terrarium is illuminated by both sunlight and the purple petshop light (1 at 15 watts). I would go with the pet shop aquarium light as they do make them in "sun" mimiking bulbs just like growlights and I find them to be fine, but try to get the brightest possible one if, your going to be grwoing them in a dark area.
I can get by with only 15 watts? That's good to know - I was worried about the electricity bill.

I'll shop around both the hardware store and the petstore and see what comes up.
Lee I would not try and use just one 15 watter for any plant unless you're growing orchids that like the dark! Try and use 2 or better 4 flourescent tubes that are as long as your tank. On my 29 gallon aquarium I have 4x 20 watt flourescent tubes ( 2 cool white and 2 daylight) it makes a bright crisp light and the pitchers color up nicely. Over my 75 gallon I have six 40 watt tubes (240 watts) of ballanced flourescent light-there's hardly a thing I can't grow under this light (except the previously mentioned lowlight ochids who hate this setup)

4x 20 watt tubes is the same as putting a new reading lamp in your living room-it won't affect your electric bill more than a few cents. To be honest, terrariums and aquariums (non-reef aquariums I mean) do not affect the electric bill as much as one would think. I have 7aquariums/terrariums all with at least 4x 20 watt tubes and a couple with 6x 40 watt tubes and my electric bill only went up $5 total over the years of building my collection from $37 to $42 a month.

Putting light over your terrarium isn't like running an A/C in august - you'll never notice the cost of running it but the plants will show the bennefits. If you're growing spendy highlanders why not have good light over them too?
1 15w light bulb would be only a minor supplement to plants that are getting primarily natural light. How much artificial light you need depends on your own situation. I would plan on at least 2 if the plants would get some BRIGHT indirect light during the day and 4 tubes if they are relying on the lights for growth.
I do think it depends on the distance between lamp and plant. One 15W can be enough when the distance between plant and lamp is not bigger than 10cm - 15cm. I had some small nepenthes under fluorescent 20W reflector-lights and they got in fact red colouration to their leafes due to the minimal distance. The usage of a photron will also help. Of course this does only work for very small plants - and even Nep. g. will have to get something bigger when the about one meter big flower stalk will appear from his plant next year... ;-)

I know!  
 I shoulda mentioned about the lighting in my tank that my Rajah mostly recives natural light ALL DAY LONG. And the 15 watter is used for rainy days,and at night till 9 PM.
I am not anticpating on any super large Rajah palnt yet, I am just V. happy that the leaves are getting MUCH larger and I finnally see a very slight tendril insertion. V. pleased with this plant.

Leo, I have a 10 gallon aquarium, with one 15 watt fluorescent growlight bulb, and it works just fine for my highland nepenthes, it's growing really well with a 13 hour light period.
  • #10
Hey Dragonman - I've read somewhere that terrariums need to be large (55gal+), because the air in smaller volume terrariums heat up too much from the lamps and sunlight. Are you doing anything in particular to cool down your terrarium? What's the climate like where you live? Leo
  • #11
I grow my Nepenthes in a terrarium (120x60x85cm) recieving some sunlight in the morning and artificial light from a 70 W high pressure sodium light.
This is bright enough to get nicely colored Heliamphora (at about 30cm distance) but it burned the leaves of some of my Nepenthes (veitchii, inermis..) at a distance of 60cm !
I also placed my rajah in a "darker" corner and hope it will do better there...


  • #12
Martin,m let's compare yours and my Rajah.
Post a new picture of it.
  • #13
N.g. : You win easiliy :)

but my plant had produced many off shots (<- the reason, why it is still so small
) and I have 6 very small Nepenthes rajah now. (not counting the clone from Joachim)

  • #14
Maybe we should be talking Lumens! The wattage is more a measure of how much energy the bulb uses.

A 70w high pressure sodium bulb will produce about 5000 lumens.

Ratings for fluorescent would be
15w 750-800 (18inch long 1inch wide tube.)
20w 2foot tube 1000-1200 lumens
40w 4foot tube 1800-2000 lumens
These are estimates based on daylight/coolwhite type bulbs that are 1.5inch in diameter (ie not the powersaving 1inch tubes)

I suspect Martin that the burning you experienced was due to heat not light intensity. High pressure sodium and other high intensity type bulbs can produce alot of infrared (and UV if they are not shielded but most are).
  • #15
For plants the illuminance in lux (lumen/m^2) and the spectral power distribution are the key factors. From the illumination needed and the size the terrarium has the needed lumens can be calculated. Of course taking into account the efficency of the reflectors used.
For most nepenthes about 3000lux will be enough when the spectral power distribution suits them. Plants growing in open vegetation of course will need more.

  • #16
The onlything you beat me in is pitcher coloration.
I beat you in leaf quantity, you TECHNICALLY 3 open LIVING leaves and me 7 open living leaves. THe dead one on yours doesn't count and niether does the developing one, sorry no point there.
And I beat you in pitcher quantity, you 3 as I can see and me and I have 4 close second Martin.
Thanks for your picture though! I like to see other people's Rajah's. Thanks! NG
  • #17
Martin beat you in picture quality.

  • #18
N.g., in your pictures above, is that white thing at the top of your terrarium a fan? If so, is it a necessity for highlanders (or all neps for that matter)? Are the glasses of water in the back for humidity purposes? Leo
  • #19
OK I'll just put up new pictures of what goes where and what does what.
Yes, that is a fan that i ripped out of an old humidifier. It is there primarily to exhaust hot stagnant air and bring in cool crisp fresh air. Yeah, it's pretty much mandatory for Highlands and Ultra's. THe reason being that they are simply more "out in the open" and get light winds and breezes up on Kinabalua and other mountains. And they are just used to that circulation of air and the circulation helps to ward off fungus and mold. But the water in the cups is to tranfer coldness to the tank form the bottles of ice. But enough of this, you wanna see pics so here they are.


This is an overall view of the tank showing all the components of my Ultrahighland setup. Also notice my new climate monitor sitting near the tank base.
I love it, much easier to adjust,monitor temp throughout the night. I suggest anyone wanting one get one!


Side view of the tank.


And of course the fan.
  • #20
Thanks for the picts, it's a great example for me to follow. Your place is beginning to look like Dr. Frankenstein's lab - that's a compliment, by the way.

So I suppose you don't use anything in particular that creates humidity. The pots themselves and the fact that they are enclosed in the terrarium is sufficient to keep the interior air moist enough?