Right now my current setup is aerated kratky basically, I have air stones in each hydroponic grow bed. I'm looking to start recirculating so I can have a central location to test nutrients, pH, EC etc and keep the water level at a consistent height.
My question is, would there be any issues in having a central reservoir where I aerate and add nutrients and then just have an overflow valve on all of my grow beds. (keeping it hydroponic still.) Or would I still need to aerate all of the beds?
I like to have sturdy, large totes of 15-20 gallons to hold my various solutions. I prefer totes that do not buckle under water pressure and those that have firm covers with handles on both sides to lock the totes shut. I mark these totes on the inside using an indelible sharpy to indicate how much solution is in the tote. These marks can be put on all 4 sides and can indicate the number of gallons in the tote. The best way to do this is to actually pour a specified number of gallons of tap water in the tote and then measure off the number right above the water line. Typically I will have 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 gallons marked off.
I have one tote that is dedicated to actually storing the nutrient solution that I make. This tote has a spigot mounted on the bottom that is leak proof and relatively easy to install (described elsewhere). The spigot allows me to fill up containers as needed for my various projects. For example, when I need only a few gallons of nutrient solution I will simply hold an empty gallon container under the spigot and fill it up. Because the spigot flow is slow, I have a much faster way of getting larger amounts of solution. I use a small, inexpensive water pump with a 1/2 inch flexible tubing in my tote. When I turn on the pump I can easily fill 8-10 one gallon containers in a matter of minutes. The pump is far faster than the spigot and good for larger fill jobs. I also use this pump to agitate and mix nutrient solution directly after I've made a fresh batch. One way of doing this is to keep the pump in the solution but bring out the tubing, attach it to the side with a clip and let the water splash down into the reservoir.
RO water: Next to the nutrient solution tote is another tote which contains my RO water. As described I make my own RO water from the garden faucet and I store it in this tote. I can also use the water pump to move fresh RO water from the water tote into the nutrient solution tote when I need to make more nutrient solution.
I have multiple one and two gallon containers that I use to fill over and over again with nutrient solution. The one gallon containers are the ones that usually contain spring water and are purchased at $0.99 cent stores. I also use larger, sturdier 3.6L storage bottles that were used for bleach (I use a lot of bleach to clean my equipment). Whenever I make a large batch of nutrient solution I like to fill 10-12 of these containers with the solution and label the container with the TDS value. My nutrient solution tote is usually filled and drained very quickly. I prefer to have the solution in individual bottles in my house rather than having it sit in a 15 gallon tote outside exposed to the sun's heat and potential infections. Furthermore, once I fill my individual containers I can measure them out as needed for my projects and can shake them vigorously before using.
*Using anything other than RO water in Hydroponics is risky. Distilled and rain water may be used, but tap water should be avoided. The beauty of RO water is that it has a TDS close to zero and is exquisitely sensitive to pH balance. There is no chlorine to damage the plants, no salts or carbonates to precipitate and no fluctuating TDS values that can mess up your calculations.
The RO work flow: When I produce RO water in the yard I usually drip the purified RO water into its designated tote. The process of making RO water also produces an effluent that needs to be collected in another tote specifically designed for this dirtier water. It should be noted that 2-3 times more effluent than RO water is produced in this process. For this reason, the effluent tote fills up much faster than the RO tote unless you use a much larger tote for this purpose. For this reason, I have an inexpensive 1/4 HP sump pump in the effluent tote which allows me to drain it whenever it fills to the top. A regular garden hose attached to the sump pump allows me to pump the effluent into my grass and flower beds. The sump pump can drain 50 gallons of effluent in a few minutes. There is no question that making my own RO water requires some minimal effort, but it's much better than lugging huge 5 gallon containers from the water store. The process of making 15-20 gallons of RO water can take an entire day due to the slow rate of drippage; however, the actual labor involved is about 20 minutes within that day. One could easily start the RO filter in the morning and return in the evening to a full 20 gallons of RO water.
So my hydro project is going amazing using the ikea Krydda setup. However just finished a batch of letuce and now I want to grow some more. Is there a practical way to clean up the pumice stones ? I live in a apartment so I dont have anywhere to sun dry them all.
I'm currently using my own mix of ingredients based on recipes I found all over the Internet. I was wondering where there'd be room for improvement according to you guys, or if the below recipe seems adequate? Asking in case I'm missing something super obvious.
I don't need much, I only have 3x 2.5 gal totes going at the moment so I use about 2 ounces for each tote every time I do water changes or check the pH, and my roots are staying white and happy!
For a 1L bottle brewed 24 hours using an airstone:
1 tsp / 5 mL Mycobloom for mycorrhizae
0.25 tsp (big pinch) Mosquito Bits to prevent fungus gnats, which are a problem at my place
1 tbsp / 15 mL earthworm castings, adds good bacteria
Either 1 tsp / 5 mL Diamond Black or a small pinch of TeraVita for humic acids, feeds bacteria
1 drop of Prime, aquarium conditioner, chlorine remover
I don't have the $ for Great White or other fancy hydro mycorrhizae, suggestions for maybe cheaper alternatives or is Mycobloom fine either way?
Read that humic acids are good to feed bacteria but they shouldn't be mixed into the reservoir, I figure this small quantity isn't going to do much in the res
I used to add molasses to the mix but that seemed to cause root rot ... cut that out quick.
I add more Hydroguard the older that bottle gets, assuming it doesn't last much longer than 6-8 months once opened... anyone keep theirs in the fridge?
Prime is only when I'm lazy and using tapwater instead of water that sat around for a while.
Every recipe I've seen recommends keeping this in the fridge for no more than a week. When it's done correctly, the tea is supposed to have a neutral smell. If it smells bad or has no smell, something's gone wrong.
Hi, im a hardcore DIY person. Im always trying to make things in the better/efficient way, no matter what. Maybe you can answer some of these questions with a math formula. I have watched sooo many tutorials, manuals, hours of them. But no one talks about these items.
Water quantity: How do you define the amount of water?
Water pump in GPH (gallon per hour): How do you define the water pump? There are 120 GPH to 920 GPH water pumps, so, how we know what pump we will need?
Aerator: Do we need to run the aerator 24 hours a day?
Deionized Water: It is neccesary? In caes yes: Do you use prepared solutions or you use another technique?
Timer for water pump: How much time a water pump has to work a day? (work/rest ratio in minutes:hours) I have seen TIMERS connected to the pump in lettuce plants, the ratio was 3 min of water circulation every 2 hours
Light for indoor: It is necessary to use light or its not worth if we have at least 9-15 hours of indirect solar light? In case yes: which kind of light we need to use and if it has to be used with a timer like the water pump (work:rest ratio)
Hope you can help me to run my homemade NFT system.