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  #21  
Old 08-25-2011, 07:19 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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So does that mean i'll need to add any nutes or just leave it alone and add my PH balanced water and just take notes?
I think you said you had a 45 gallon reservoir, filled to 30 gallons. If so, you could add 15 gallons more of nutrient solution without buying a new reservoir, and that would increase your water volume (to plant ratio) by 1/3. That would give you 4.5 gallons of nutrient solution per plant. That would definitely be more in line with the water volume I would want to use for large plants like tomato plants.

P.S.
Now you can see why even though I like the GH flora series nutrients, I needed a cheaper alternative.

But as to your question, you could really go two different ways with it. First, you could add the extra 15 gallons and continue taking the notes as mentioned using a 45 gallon reservoir. Or if you really wanted the learning experience. You could leave it at the 30 gallons for now (which I assume is about what you've been using), and take the notes as described. Then with the next nutrient change, up the water volume (nutrient solution volume) to the 45 gallon mark, and continue taking your notes through that nutrient solution cycle as well (keeping separate logs for the 30, and then 45 gallon reservoirs of course). Then you have first hand data on of both water volumes to compare results with. The second option is more work, and not a quick fix. But the first hand learning experience could be very beneficial to you for your next grows. So it's really up to you if you want to use these plants as test subjects for data collecting or not.

To be honest I used to write everything down at first myself (excluding EC/TDS/PPM because I don't have the meters). I wrote things down like when I do nutrient changes, water volume, pH, water temp (when I got a thermometer for it), if I add any additives like H2O2 or compost tea etc. etc.. And I keep a close eye on my plants along the way, looking for leaf color like a nice dark green for healthy plants, or any discoloration that would be signs of nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. Also looking for things like soft or firm fruit, quick or slow plant growth, and even pests that would be affecting my plant health as well.

But over time I've gotten lazy. Even though I still constantly observe my plants looking for any signs of something wrong, I began forgetting to write down things like when I did a nutrient change etc.. And as I've been trying to say, you just cant compare "non-constant" and sporadic data and expect to get accurate comparisons. So I just stopped writing things down. But one of these days I'll create a chart for all the variables that I can easily write it all down (without going through a sheet of paper every day). Now that you have me thinking about it, I'm putting it on my "to-do" list. Yes, I actually have a real one, it's to keep track of things I need to get done for the herb production greenhouse. It's work, but I'll need to keep track of all the variables of the herb production systems to be as productive as I can.

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  #22  
Old 08-25-2011, 10:35 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Well that's why i went to the dry formula's. Cost for liquid was sucking. I might be able to add more water. It's just at 30 it starts to bow out. I honestly haven't found a very good tote yet that can handle the weight of water.

Any suggestions?

How many gallons should i have if i plan on having 12 plant's? That's what i'm supposed to have but they died early and i figures since this is my first time i'll just work with what i got.
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  #23  
Old 08-25-2011, 10:44 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I have seen a few of these filled with water with much less bowing than most totes. They are designed to hold a lot of weight. This one claims about 1/3 of a ton. I am going to be linking 2 of these together to use for the tomato system. I am planning to put about 40 Gallons between the two totes, and perhaps adding a third.

HD = ~$12-13.
Lowes has a similar tote that runs about $16-17

I get them a couple at a time at HD when I am passing through for other things.

That is a tote stacked inside of the other so just imagine it being just one :P The HD SKU is 207-585 (visible on the image, but easier for me to zoom in on the camera to tell you)

And at the end is a random picture I decided to add just because. I drew that a couple months ago with intentions of engraving it into a table top.. I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. I might just have to start posting random things at the end of my posts just for entertainment value :P
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  #24  
Old 08-25-2011, 10:58 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Ya those are the totes i was using before i bought my bigger 45gal. Those will bow real bad when you start getting towards the top. I might have been able to get 20gal's in those if i was lucky. It was all they could do to snap the lid back on them. Lot of time tho when i came out later and checked on thing's it would done have the lid popped off.

If you look on page 7 of my Tomatoes not producing you'll see that's what i'm using at the time.

Last edited by T'Mater; 08-25-2011 at 11:02 PM.
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  #25  
Old 08-25-2011, 11:02 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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Good thing 20 in each was what I was planning.. Might have to go with trash cans to get more without losing a lot of shape. The round can will distribute the weight evenly and won't really have a place to bow. You would just have to be creative in drilling holes if you were going to, to prevent tearout under the weight if you got super cheap ones.. Though I have cut holes in trash cans that filled with water and not had any tearout, so it might not be an issue.
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  #26  
Old 08-25-2011, 11:06 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Ya i thought about a trash can, but my system set's sooo low to the ground that i wouldn't gain much for gallons if any cause i'd have to have my holes so low. I have also thought about building a sturdy wooden box and putting a pool/pond liner in it.
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  #27  
Old 08-25-2011, 11:11 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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You could try a 2 pump system? one for the main res and one for a "catcher" res to push the nutes back to the main. the second being short enough to fit where you need it. It might take some time to get used to pump cycles for the second if you used a pump that would be damaged on a run dry.

Water is not forgiving to square containers. I doubt you will find one for a reasonable price that will fit your needs. Another option could be a small swimming pool? Like a kiddy pool or something? I am not sure what space is available, but They hold up well. You would just have to manufacture a lid for it.

I will do some more looking around for some ideas for you. i might be able to come up with something.
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  #28  
Old 08-26-2011, 12:01 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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When I first bought a 45 gallon storage tote as a reservoir years back I found out that rectangle totes will just bow out under the weight. I thought about building a wood frame around it to support the weight, but I decided to use that tote for the storage of all my hydroponics stuff instead. So I just never got around to it. But if sized right, it should do the trick, and be fairly cheep. I would use 2x3's, they run about $1.87 for a 8 footer here. And you could probably build the whole thing with 4, maybe 5 of them ($8-$10). But if you don't want to go to the trouble, think round containers like trash cans, or used rain barrels. They distribute the weight evenly.
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  #29  
Old 08-26-2011, 12:04 AM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Ya this whole set up was more of a trial, hoping next year to have double the plant's and i'll actually plant the nute container in the ground so i won't have to worry about blow outs.
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  #30  
Old 08-26-2011, 05:56 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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P.S.
Quote:
How many gallons should i have if i plan on having 12 plant's?
With all the earlier posts I forgot about this question. But here are the general "minimum" recommendations. For small plants like strawberry's and most varieties of lettuce, "minimum" 1/2 gallons of nutrient solution per plant. For medium sized plants like bush type pepper plants or a basil plant, "minimum" 1 to 1.5 gallons of nutrient solution per plant. For large plants like tomato plants "minimum" 2.5 gallons of nutrient solution per plant. So to figure the reservoir size you need, just take into account how big the plant gets when it's full grown. Then using the basic "minimum" guidelines, multiply the amount of plants you plan by the minimum amount of nutrient solution. That will give you a starting point as to the "minimum" reservoir size you will be able to get by with.

Except for lettuce I would pretty much double the minimums, mainly because lettuce plants generally go from seed to harvesting the head in 6-8 weeks. So most of their life cycle they are well below full size. But even for lettuce I would probably hope for around 3/4 gallons per plant. For strawberry I would want about 1 gallon per plant (especially if expect heavy fruiting). Pepper plants come in all sizes, some varieties like indeterminate greenhouse varieties even get as large as tomato plants. So you pretty much just need to judge how big your plant, and plant variety will actually get. But if it were me, going by the general guidelines I would know the bare minimum reservoir size I would need is 12x 2.5= 30 gallons. But because I always find the minimum guidelines inadequate when the plants get to be full grown. I would want a 60 gallon reservoir for 12 tomato plants (double the minimum), and wouldn't feel comfortable with less than a 50 gallon reservoir. You don't need to fill it all the way while the plants are young and smaller, but I know I'll want the extra water volume when they get big.

I added to the drawing I posted earlier, and showed how you could easily double the water volume size. First I should say the drawings are drawn around the 45 gallon storage tote I mentioned in the earlier post. It's been a long time since I bought it, but I believe it was around $15 or so at walmart. As I mentioned though it just bowed out when I tried to fill it with water. So I intended to build a wood frame around it to support the sides. I hadn't thought about trying to connect more than one together. But in case you wanted to, I made another drawing of how I would do it.

Because I've tried using a syphon before, and found that you really need to watch the water levels because if a air bubble gets in the tube, it stops syphoning. And that would be a disaster. So to connect two reservoirs together, and without a chance of air bubbles causing a problem. I would connect them with a tube near the bottom, and let water flow freely between the two reservoir (because of gravity, a liquid always seeks it's own level).

So first I would install a PVC bulkhead fitting that connects directly to PVC tubing into each reservoir near the bottom. This bulkhead fitting would be permanently glued in place. From there all I need to do is connect PVC tubing between the two reservoirs. But because the PVC tubing wouldn't be glued to the bulkhead fitting (just tightly fitted so they wont leak), they can be separated for easy maintenance. This also allows them to each be used as separate reservoirs later by simply inserting a plug into the bulkhead fitting, or a small piece of PVC tubing with a end cap on it.

If the cost of the 45 gallon storage tote is what I remember them to be, including both storage totes, wood 2x3's, screws, fittings and PVC tubing, you could probably build the whole setup for about $50 or so. Then you would have two 45 gallon reservoirs, or one 90 gallon one. If using two together as one reservoir, I would make sure to pump nutrient solution out of one of them, and allow the overflow to drain into the other one. That will make sure the nutrient solution is always thoroughly circulated through both reservoirs.
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  #31  
Old 08-26-2011, 11:27 AM
Stan Stan is offline
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Have you thought about using a 55 gallon drum with a screw off lid? You could lay it down flat on some type of V platform. You can then run a pump line and a return line running out from the top side of the drum using the attachments like I'm using with my cooler. If you needed to add water or nutrients you could do so using the return line. The red drums usually sells for around 25 - $35 used. Here's a picture of the type I'm talking about.
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  #32  
Old 08-26-2011, 07:51 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Finally got my GH PH Down, let's see if i hurt my plant's to badly now to make a comeback

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