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Old 07-03-2009, 07:33 PM
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so i am going to start my very first hydroponics garden very soon. i bought a few black pails (12L/3gal) with lids and 5" net pots. i will be doing a bubbler system. what im wondering is how high the water level needs to be in the pail. does the net pot with hydroton need to be submerged in the water? or does the water level need to be below the net pot?

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Old 07-03-2009, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by chinamon View Post
so i am going to start my very first hydroponics garden very soon. i bought a few black pails (12L/3gal) with lids and 5" net pots. i will be doing a bubbler system. what im wondering is how high the water level needs to be in the pail. does the net pot with hydroton need to be submerged in the water? or does the water level need to be below the net pot?
That is pretty cool, I always like hearing someone is building there own system instead of buying one. If I understand correctly you are going to use a blubber/air pump to do what is basically a drip system, and they will be getting the water/nutrients from above. As long as they are dripping fast enough to keep the roots saturated there is no need to keep them submerged into the nutrient solution.

Although if you are planing an system where the plants roots are submerged continuously, and adding the air bubbles to the nutrient solution so the roots get enough oxygen/air. It would be best if you could design it so the water level is adjustable, so you can test it at different heights. But a basic rule of thumb is that you want the water level high enough to submerge all the roots but not so high that the plants develop stem rot. Probably somewhere between 1 and 3 inches depending on the plants you are growing. My pepper plants seemed to do fine with the water level about 2 inches below the growing medium. My strawberry's were more tricky because they don't have a single stem but rather a bunch of stems coming out of a ball, but I tried to keep that about 1 1/2 inches below the growing medium. I didn't have a way to adjust the water level on my strawberry's until I redesigned that system. Hope this helps some.

It would be great if you could post some pictures when you get it all together....
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 07-04-2009 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:37 PM
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yes, please upload some pictures, look forward to seeing your setup....
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
That is pretty cool, I always like hearing someone is building there own system instead of buying one. If I understand correctly you are going to use a blubber/air pump to do what is basically a drip system, and they will be getting the water/nutrients from above. As long as they are dripping fast enough to keep the roots saturated there is no need to keep them submerged into the nutrient solution.

Although if you are planing an system where the plants roots are submerged continuously, and adding the air bubbles to the nutrient solution so the roots get enough oxygen/air. It would be best if you could design it so the water level is adjustable, so you can test it at different heights. But a basic rule of thumb is that you want the water level high enough to submerge all the roots but not so high that the plants develop stem rot. Probably somewhere between 1 and 3 inches depending on the plants you are growing. My pepper plants seemed to do fine with the water level about 2 inches below the growing medium. My strawberry's were more tricky because they don't have a single stem but rather a bunch of stems coming out of a ball, but I tried to keep that about 1 1/2 inches below the growing medium. I didn't have a way to adjust the water level on my strawberry's until I redesigned that system. Hope this helps some.

It would be great if you could post some pictures when you get it all together....
yes, my system will be the latter one that you mentioned. based on what you said i guess the water level should be just below the net pots.

i will definitely post pics of the system once i get it going and the plants are big enough to see in a photo. i am still waiting for my grow tent and seeds to arrive so it may be a month or two until pics will be available.

thanks for the help.
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:36 PM
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yes, my system will be the latter one that you mentioned. based on what you said i guess the water level should be just below the net pots.

i will definitely post pics of the system once i get it going and the plants are big enough to see in a photo. i am still waiting for my grow tent and seeds to arrive so it may be a month or two until pics will be available.

thanks for the help.
I am sorry, I should have said 1 to 3 inches below the "TOP" of the growing medium. If the water level is below the baskets it wont be able to saturate the growing medium and it wont be able to saturate the main part of the root ball. You just don't want to submerge the baskets so far down that water level is all the way to the top of the growing medium because the plants will develop stem rot. You may want to start out at 1 inch below the top of the growing medium while the plants are young and as they develop more roots move the water level down to 1 1/2 to 2 inches below the top of the growing medium. That is why I suggested that if you can, try to design the system so the water level would be adjustable.
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
I am sorry, I should have said 1 to 3 inches below the "TOP" of the growing medium. If the water level is below the baskets it wont be able to saturate the growing medium and it wont be able to saturate the main part of the root ball. You just don't want to submerge the baskets so far down that water level is all the way to the top of the growing medium because the plants will develop stem rot. You may want to start out at 1 inch below the top of the growing medium while the plants are young and as they develop more roots move the water level down to 1 1/2 to 2 inches below the top of the growing medium. That is why I suggested that if you can, try to design the system so the water level would be adjustable.
okay... so the water level should be around the same spot as where the seed was. i cant wait to get these darn books from amazon so i can start reading. thanks again.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:58 AM
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okay... so the water level should be around the same spot as where the seed was. i cant wait to get these darn books from amazon so i can start reading. thanks again.
If you are starting from seeds I would suggest that you don't put them in that system until they get bigger. The grow rock wont be able able to keep the seeds in place and will most likely just wash away. You can use small rockwool cubes inserted in the grow rocks to keep this from happening. This would work but nutrients are expensive and you would need to mix a lot of nutrients in the time it will take seeds to go from seeds to about 2 inches tall. Probably about a month and that would be just a waist of money to me. If you are on a budget like I am I would just start them in potting soil, then when it comes time to transplant just carefully wash off the potting soil from the roots. All my hydroponic plants I got from home Depot in soil, then washes the soil off before transplanting. This doesn't hurt them but you should be careful with them.

I need to look it up to find out the name of the system that you plan on using but I have come across a few pictures that might give you some ideas. I call it a floating system because the most common way of doing it that I know of is inserting the baskets in Styrofoam and just floating the Styrofoam in the nutrient solution. You can easily change the height of the baskets by changing the thickness of the Styrofoam. In these pictures you can see a homemade system as well as a commercially built system.
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Old 07-05-2009, 02:26 AM
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okay... so the water level should be around the same spot as where the seed was. i cant wait to get these darn books from amazon so i can start reading. thanks again.
I have mentioned this before in a post, but there is probably the best book on Hydroponics in my garage I just need to find it. I checked it out from the library about 15 years ago but lost it so I just paid the fine but after my move to AZ found it in all my stuff so I know that I have it somewhere. I am not exactly sure the name of it for sure but I think it is "How to grow on a shoestring and make a profit with hydroponics". If you do some checking on the internet you may find some of its teachings. I still have some of the new version (at the time) that I printed off the computer and that was over 10 years ago. But I think that it was a great book.

Update:
This is the best on the internet that I can find right now but I found this:

How to start on a shoestring and make a profit with
hydroponics: including set-up, production and maintenance,
and marketing by Hilmur L. Saffell. 3rd ed. (1994)

As I said it was not a new book but it was a good book.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 07-05-2009 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
If you are starting from seeds I would suggest that you don't put them in that system until they get bigger. The grow rock wont be able able to keep the seeds in place and will most likely just wash away. You can use small rockwool cubes inserted in the grow rocks to keep this from happening. This would work but nutrients are expensive and you would need to mix a lot of nutrients in the time it will take seeds to go from seeds to about 2 inches tall. Probably about a month and that would be just a waist of money to me. If you are on a budget like I am I would just start them in potting soil, then when it comes time to transplant just carefully wash off the potting soil from the roots. All my hydroponic plants I got from home Depot in soil, then washes the soil off before transplanting. This doesn't hurt them but you should be careful with them.

I need to look it up to find out the name of the system that you plan on using but I have come across a few pictures that might give you some ideas. I call it a floating system because the most common way of doing it that I know of is inserting the baskets in Styrofoam and just floating the Styrofoam in the nutrient solution. You can easily change the height of the baskets by changing the thickness of the Styrofoam. In these pictures you can see a homemade system as well as a commercially built system.
i read the FAQ on this site and the system i will be running is called a passive system. the roots will sit in the water with nutrients and there is an air pump to supply oxygen. i will be starting my seeds in rockwool cubes and then transferring them to the pot with grow rocks.
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:09 PM
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i read the FAQ on this site and the system i will be running is called a passive system. the roots will sit in the water with nutrients and there is an air pump to supply oxygen. i will be starting my seeds in rockwool cubes and then transferring them to the pot with grow rocks.
Sounds good, happy gardening. I will have to remember it is called a passive system.
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:48 PM
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Start your seeds in a rockwool cube. Once you have a few roots protruding out the sides of your cube put it into your netpot and surround it with hydroton. Until the roots reach your reservoir keep the water level, level with the bottom of the netpot. You should only need to do this for a week, maybe two. After that keep the water level 2-3" below the netpot. Good Luck. Any updates? Pics?

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