Re: Nepenthes

Eric Schlosser (
Tue, 1 Aug 1995 14:58:38 CET-1CST

> Andreas W. and other Nepenthologists,
> Just a question that I am hoping that someone can answer for me.
> I just aquired a 55 gal. (220 L) aquarium tank and I am wondering
if it
> should be entirely closed up or if there should be a flow of fresh air into
> the tank. The Nepenthes I will be growing in it are plants such
as NN
> bicalcarata, truncata, rafflesiana and other lowland plants.
Right now I
> have it entirely enclosed and am worried about stagnant air.

After growing (lowland) Nepenthes for quite some time under non-
greenhouse conditions I think it does no harm to them if the
aquarium is not entirely sealed. I leave mine open for a finger
broad and it does them well.
Stagnant air _may_ cause some troubles (=work), e.g. mould, 'though
usually it does not.

> Do nepenthes need to be watered with distilled water like most
> other CPs?

I do not consider using distilled water being advantageous for CP
leave alone its price. When using it some people advise to add some
tap water to it (I'd prefer to add some peat), because pure water
demineralizes the plants which is little beneficial to them.

Unless you can collect rain water what would be best you can
improve your tap water unless it is very bad such as heavily
chlorinated, salty or very hard.
One expensive way is to boil water and make thus some of the
hardiness of the water go to the bottom of your kettle. However it
can take quite some hours until the water cools down again and unless
you need only one pint a week this is not recommended.
Another way to do this is to add some sulphuric acid (H2SO4) to the
water. I did this for a while with no bad effect except for some
Sphagnum that didn't like it. However it can be dangerous to YOU to
handle such strong acids and last not least also to your plants
that will suffer from any mistake you might do in concentration.

IMHO best is to add a handful of peat to about 10l (3 gal) of
tap water and leave it for a day or more. Filter off the peat and
enjoy your plants with the liquid. That's what I did for five years
with best results, however local water quality might have to be
taken into consideration.

Finally, back to Nepenthes: This genus is exceptional in being quite
tolerant to the use of hard water! I know someone that waters his
plants with well water with no bad effects beside the white chalk
spots on the leaves. Even tap water might do locally if you let it
stand (degas) for a day or two. However it gives certainly a better
feeling to water them with better brands.

Eric Schlosser