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Lowland nep leaves not nice&green?


Staff member
Hey guys & gals,
Thought I'd run this by you. I have my lowland neps in a 90 gallon tank under 2 twin tube flourescents (total of 4 tubes). They are all within 6 inches of the lights (at least their taller parts). They are all growing and pitchering nicely.

My question is why do most of them look like their leaves are "rusty?" The gracilis and tobaica are least effected and the truncata is most effected, but they all have at least some brown spots on all but the newest leaves....

Could they have a vitamine or mineral defficiency?
Unlikely to be nutrient defficiency.  Most likely to be disease or insect damage.  Really hard to say exactly what though from the general description of 'rusty' brown spots.

Do the spots go all the way through the leaf? Are they uniform in size and/or shape? Is it just on the upper surface? Are they scattered random on the leaf or just on the edges?Can they be wiped off?  Are they getting progressively bigger or are they a certain size and that is it?  What kind of temperatures day/night.  Any air circulation?  Water type? Any feeding? if so with what and how often and how much?

Can you post a picture or two showing the spots/rust?

Etc etc etc

They don't seem to be uniform in size or shape, and they are randomly scattered....not sure if they grow...have to check into that.
Most of them are only on the upper surface of the leaves, and don't go all the way through.
Haven't tried to wipe them off....that's a good idea. I'll try that tonight and see what happens.
The tank they are in has a decent sized hole at the top of the lid (big enough of my one too tall nep to grow through), and a fan blows over it. So there is air circulation. They get only R/O water, and occasional feeding with various bugs, and sometimes with beta fish pellets. I keep them hot all the time (over 75 at night, over 85 durring the day).

Here is a pic that's kinda old, but you can see what I'm talking about on the truncata leaf.
Hmm bit hard to see but doesn't appear to be disease related. I am leaning towards mite damage. Have you had a close look under the leaves to see if anything is there? Might need a magnifying glass to really see them.
That could be...I'll have me a closer look tonight. Now I gotta go get some nep-safe insecticide....any recomendations that I can pick up at Home Depot?
Orthene is good, so are flea collars... Also one plant that was outside (a VFT) was hoplessly attacked by mites literally overnight. I bought some Garden Safe3 at WalMart, and the plant has since made a recovery, so it probably works, too. Best LUCK!!
Try and see if it is indeed mites (or other insect) before you go zapping everything. Chemicals can stress plants so don't want to be using them unnecessarily. Not to mention the risk to you.

If you do decide they need to be sprayed. Stick to something that is water based. They are usually milky white. They are much less likely to cause damage then the clear oil based type.
You said that you had made a hole in the lid for a tall plant, how recently was that? How much has this affected your humidity? Neps are creatures of habit and react badly once they get used to something and things suddenly change, even just a little bit. Are these colored spots dry to the touch? My truncata and maxima hybrids old leaves (grown in higher humidity) looked something like that only a few days after moving them to it's new terrarium until I got that chamber's humidity regulated.
And (I'm sorry to admit) I put my huge bical out on the balcony for just a few hours to get some fresh air on one of the hot steamy days we had (I used the hygrometer to make sure it was reading 80%, watered and misted it while it was out and it looked fine but about 2-3 days later the plant crashed. The plant is alive but all pitchers were destroyed and the leaves have red rusty dry spots and some burned black spots (which began looking like red rusty brown spots)
guess I won't ever be trying that again!

So if you have a way to measure the humidity a drop in that will cause things to go awry as well.
Just a thought, are these the nectar glands on the leaf?
  • #10
@ Nick: Nectar glands? I never thought of that. How would I know?

@swords: Well, the openning wasn't too big at first, and I gradually openned it more as the plant grew taller. However, I did try to keep the humidity up pretty well. You could be right, though, it could have dropped enough to have an effect...but I would expect the plants to stop pitchering if that were the case

I will go to the store today to get some insecticide (whether or not I need it right now...I will eventually, no doubt&#33
  • #11
I had a post about the nectar glands awhile ago. My truncata had round brown and reddish spots, like cigarette burns on boths sides of the leaves. Turns out that it was burn too much light and too little humidity. It was more shock from shipping than anything else - my plant recovered in about 2 months. It didn't have any pitchers at the time, so I couldn't tell you if the plant would stop pitchering if this happened.

Hope that helps!
  • #12
Yes that's true, they likely would have stopped pitchering, but then again truncata is rather low humidity tolerant, what other plants have you got in there?  After the new leaves and pitchers form do they also turn this color or does only the older leaves (since before opening the lid) have this color?

If the rusty spots pretty much appeared all at once on all plants (within a day or two) instead of starting with one plant then the next and so on I would be leading towards a humidity issue. A close up photo might help us all get a better idea of what we'e looking at.

If it is insects, I had a bottle of "safe" insecticide that I got at a Franks Nursery and Crafts store which was a misting solution made with Chrysanthemum flowers and was supposed to be so safe you could spray the bugs off your tomato plants one day and wash and eat the fruit the next day. It did wipe out the white bugs that attacked my cape sundew but their eggs surived and a few days or week or so later they came back. If I would have kept spraying I likely would have got rid of it but I threw the plant out instead of risking my whole sundew collection.

The large red rusty area is not nectar glands. Nectar glands are like pimples (which are not usually discolored) on the upper leaf surface (truncata's are very large and feel like braile text under th fingers). These discolored bumps will occasionally "leak" a droplet of sticky fluid (nectar) kind of like a sweating pimple! From underneath the leaf it should look like a dark (not black) spot. I will see if I can find my photos of the nectar glands on my N. bicalcarata and post them here later today if I find them.