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WeeGogs 05-13-2010 03:50 PM

A Question
Does any body know if large plants up to 4` will be supported ok in a 6" hydro/aero pipe system, or would i have to go one better and use 9" or 12" Pipe,
also what size tank, how long pipes, and how far to space the plants apart 40 plants total.
any ideas greatly welcomed. Thanks.
only used this system with small plants before using 4" pipes.

GpsFrontier 05-14-2010 02:16 AM


Does any body know if large plants up to 4` will be supported ok in a 6" hydro/aero pipe system, or would i have to go one better and use 9" or 12" Pipe,
For plants that tall (4 feet) in any tube type system you will probably need to build a trellis to support the plant. The tube should be large enough to hold all the growing roots without clogging, but the plants can easily be supported by being tied to a trellis if needed. Depending on how many plants, no-matter how big the the tube, it can easily topple the system over simply by the weight of the plants.

also what size tank, how long pipes, and how far to space the plants apart 40 plants total.
This depends on the size of the full grown plants. If the plants are 3 feet wide when full grown, I would space them a minimum of 3 feet apart (probably 4 feet). They still need elbow room, but the spacing depends mostly on the type of plant. The size tank depends on a lot of factors. Are you running it as a NFT or ebb & flow system (flood and drain). But for 40 plants you will need a large reservoir regardless.

A flood and drain system will need much more volume in the reservoir. First you would need to figure out how much water it will take to flood the system, this will depend a lot on how you build (or have built) it. Then I would at least triple that amount, so it wont take any more than one third the reservoir to flood (I would use this as a minimum). A NFT system does not need nearly the same amount of water to flood the system.

But keep in mind that each 4 foot tall plant (depending on weather)will drink up more water the bigger it gets. At 4 feet tall each plant will probably drink up between 1 and 2 gallons of water daily. 40 plants x2 gallons each, that's about 80 gallons of water you will need to replace daily. As the water is used up the nutrient solution becomes concentrated (unbalanced), that will lead to nutrient problems. Not to mention constant pH adjusting. I would probably go with something like a 400-500 gallon reservoir, plus whatever it takes to flood the system. I might even split the system into 2 or more different reservoirs, in case I wanted to grow different crops in the same space.

I would create a water replenishment system, using a float valve that opens (like in a toilet tank) when the water gets low. This would need another reservoir that held the fresh replenishment water in it (pH adjusted of coarse). This wont keep the plants from drinking up the needed water, but help keep the nutrient concentrations from fluctuating so much. This replenishment tank can hold plain water, or a very diluted nutrient solution.

WeeGogs 05-14-2010 06:45 PM

Brilliant, Thanks. GPS.
Like the idea of a second water tested replenishing tank for water usage and with a depth control valve, a brilliant concept. will definitely be building my system with this added.
a pity you couldn`t invent the same to add nutrients and ph up/down.
WE would be worth millions, LOL.
or should i say YOU. Thanks.

GpsFrontier 05-14-2010 07:46 PM

I probably should also suggest (just in case) when you set the float valve, make sure it's set at the height when the system is filly flooded (unless it's a NFT system where it's running all the time). This way it will only replace the water that was used. If it's set at the top of the reservoir it will continue to add water the whole time the system is running (because the water level drops) until the system overflows. Also the reserve tank would need to be a few feet above the nutrient reservoir, because the water would be gravity feed (unless you use a pump for it).

As for a system for replenishing nutrients unfortunitly I can't see a way to do it that would not involve PPM/TDS or EC sensors, a computer to do the calculations and the injection system. I can build the injection system, but it would need the computer and sensors to control the output. There are available systems that do this like in this thread: http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/for...ix-system.html, but their not cheep starting at about $1000 for a base unit. But if you add a diluted nutrient solution to the replenishment tank, that can help replenish the nutrients that were used. Although you will want to check the PPM/TDS and or EC daily in order to exactly how diluted it should be to make sure your nutrient solution stays at a constant level.

You can run a water line directly from a water pipe without using a reserve tank. But then you wont be able to control the water quality, pH, or nutrients. If the pH of the water in the replenishment tank is correct you shouldn't have pH fluctuations in the hydro system. Love to see pictures of your system/progress when you can.

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