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Reservoir size related to anything ?


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Old 01-13-2010, 02:25 PM
stuartambient stuartambient is offline
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Default Reservoir size related to anything ?

I'm working on constructing a home hydro system, ebb and flow design.

Is there a way of determining or some kind of established rule about how the size of the reservoir and the amount of plants ? I have an 18 gallon tote now and was thinking that might be about 9, from what I've seen seems right. Wanted to throw this out though. I just don't know enough. Reading, searching. By the way I'll be starting with lettuce, progressing though as I go.

TIA
Stuart

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Old 01-13-2010, 05:12 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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As a rule of thumb, I figure the size of my E&F tray and make the res 2 to 3 times larger. My E&F tray will hold about 5 gallons with the growrocks in it, my res is an 18 gallon tote. I add about 15 gallons of water to it.
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:18 PM
stuartambient stuartambient is offline
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Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
As a rule of thumb, I figure the size of my E&F tray and make the res 2 to 3 times larger. My E&F tray will hold about 5 gallons with the growrocks in it, my res is an 18 gallon tote. I add about 15 gallons of water to it.
Great , that helps. Thank you.
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:29 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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The idea is the bigger the res the more buffer you have.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:14 PM
andreamore andreamore is offline
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Great question and an equally great answer. I will now proceed to add more water! I just put in enough to make sure the pump wouldn't run dry, but you are right more is better.
Thanks to both of you!
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:24 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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As the plant uses nutes it may use more of one mineral and less of another so the more you have in the res the better you are.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:01 PM
stuartambient stuartambient is offline
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Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
As the plant uses nutes it may use more of one mineral and less of another so the more you have in the res the better you are.
Would that be due to a plant's particular needs or for any number of reasons ?

The water buffer makes sense. One of my concerns is how much water will I need on a regular basis with solution changes and other events. My plan is too use distilled water , store bought. I'm not going to deal with our tap water.
I had a few moments of thinking that perhaps with a good pump and a T adapter I could feed 2 trays off the 18 gallons.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:04 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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As the plant uses nutes it may use more of one mineral and less of another so the more you have in the res the better you are.
Yes this is the reason that more is better in general. I read somewhere that strawberry's need a minimum of .5 litters of nutrient solution per plant. I don't know if this is true, and I have never found a chart with requirements for this information to compare with for any plant. Some plants are heavy feeders and should use more nutrient solution because they use the nutrients faster than plants that are not. Also how often you change the nutrient solution is a factor.

There are also other things to take into consideration like how big the plant is (seedling/full grown), air temp, type of plants etc.. The type of plant can play a big difference in how much water it drinks. A full grown strawberry plant wont drink as much water as a full grown broccoli plant will. The air temp and humidly affect how fast it will evaporate also. Amigatec's suggestion is a great place to start, although careful observation is important also. I would suggest marking the inside of the reservoir with a permanent marker at a known level, or in increments to be able to keep track.

Also when adding water to bring it back up to the right level, don't add full strength nutrient solution. Either just plain water or a light diluted nutrient solution should be added. There is no formula to figure out how much to dilute it that I know of. Some people use a PPM or TDS meter to judge how strong there nutrient solution is and make adjustments by its readings. I personally don't have one. I change my nutrient solution every one or two weeks. I never add any diluted solution the first week but I will probably add some the second week, and depending on how much water I have needed to add during the first week I will decide how much I need to add for the second.
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Would that be due to a plant's particular needs or for any number of reasons ?
Basically, not all plants use the same nutrients in the same quantities. Even the same exact plant side by side might use slightly more of one than another. The stage of growth they are in also plays a factor in what they need/use.
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My plan is too use distilled water , store bought. I'm not going to deal with our tap water.
I wouldn't use distilled water. There are micro elements in water that are necessary for the plants. They take this into consideration when they make the Hydroponic nutrients, so they don't have too much of these micro elements (unless they are made for pure water). If your tap water is bad you may find it best in the long run to invest in a inline water filtration system. You could probably find one for under $100.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-13-2010 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:26 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I have had people say when you 1/2 of the water back to change it, some people say when you a full amount back change it. I change mine every couple of weeks, and only add water in the mean time. I have a meter and watch the pH and ppm closely, when the water is being used the ppm stays the same or changes very little you have the mix about right. I always start with a weaker mix than the bottle calls for.

My pH seems to go up every day almost a full point.

As far as using distilled water you may have more problems doing that. Tap water has calcium and other minerals in it and will help your plants. You will have to watch the pH very closely, my tap water has a pH of 7 and I have to adjust it down daily.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:36 PM
stuartambient stuartambient is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Yes this is the reason that more is better in general. I read somewhere that strawberry's need a minimum of .5 litters of nutrient solution per plant. I don't know if this is true, and I have never found a chart with requirements for this information to compare with for any plant.
I was wondering if there was any type of chart or guide that shows nutrient requirements for individual plants, vegetables, etc.



Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Some plants are heavy feeders and should use more nutrient solution because they use the nutrients faster than plants that are not. Also how often you change the nutrient solution is a factor.
So if things are good , topping off seems to work , then changing the solution just because it's been 2 weeks wouldn't be needed ? Not sure if this question is leading away from your main point.

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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
There are also other things to take into consideration like how big the plant is (seedling/full grown), air temp, type of plants etc.. The type of plant can play a big difference in how much water it drinks. A full grown strawberry plant wont drink as much water as a full grown broccoli plant will. The air temp and humidly affect how fast it will evaporate also. Amigatec's suggestion is a great place to start, although careful observation is important also. I would suggest marking the inside of the reservoir with a permanent marker at a known level, or in increments to be able to keep track.

Also when adding water to bring it back up to the right level, don't add full strength nutrient solution. Either just plain water or a light diluted nutrient solution should be added. There is no formula to figure out how much to dilute it that I know of. Some people use a PPM or TDS meter to judge how strong there nutrient solution is and make adjustments by its readings. I personally don't have one. I change my nutrient solution every one or two weeks. I never add any diluted solution the first week but I will probably add some the second week, and depending on how much water I have needed to add during the first week I will decide how much I need to add for the second.
Thank you for all that good advice and information. I had been just looking at TDS meters. Anyway that is a negligible part of it.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:42 PM
stuartambient stuartambient is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
I wouldn't use distilled water. There are micro elements in water that are necessary for the plants. They take this into consideration when they make the Hydroponic nutrients, so they don't have too much of these micro elements (unless they are made for pure water). If your tap water is bad you may find it best in the long run to invest in a inline water filtration system. You could probably find one for under $100.
Now I've read from a few places that say distilled water makes sense in a small grow situation. Surprised to hear you say this. Perhaps spring water ?

I'm very paranoid about what is in the water these days, from pharmaceuticals to toxic waste turned fluoride synthetic.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:34 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I was wondering if there was any type of chart or guide that shows nutrient requirements for individual plants, vegetables, etc.
Well yes, but I am not sure if it is what you are thinking of. Hydroponic nutrients are made up of many elements and micro elements. There is not any way to tell exactly how much of one particular element is in a solution that I know of. But there are charts that can tell you what strength a particular plant needs in regards to TDS/PPM and pH. pH is the acidity of the solution. Where TDS and PPM can tell you how strong the solution is, but only in a total amount. Not how much of each element is in it. There are charts that can tell you how much PPM of each element a plant needs. That is only useful if you find a hydroponic nutrient that lists each and gives that measurement, or if you manufacture your own nutrients.
Quote:
So if things are good , topping off seems to work , then changing the solution just because it's been 2 weeks wouldn't be needed ?
As the plants grow they pick the nutrients they need out of the solution. The problem is they only take the ones they need and leave the rest, this creates an imbalanced nutrient solution. by adding more nutrients to the solution you can bring back up the amount of nutrients that were used, the problem here is that you are adding all the element that the plants did not use also. This creates an imbalanced nutrient solution going the other way. Even if you could tell exactly what nutrients were being used (and there are charts that can tell you which these are for any particular plant), if you cant just replace the used ones you will have an imbalanced nutrient solution.

By dumping out the old nutrients and replacing them with fresh ones you can insure that they are balanced again. If these nutrients go too far out of balance the plant will wind up with nutrient lockout (kind of like going into shock), and you can have a perfect nutrient solution but the plant wont be able to absorb any of them. With plants that are heavy feeders they use the nutrients they need faster than plants that are not. So the nutrient solution will go out of balance faster also. This is where the buffer comes into play.

Say you have 4 plants feeding off one nutrient reservoir and it has a 5 gallon reservoir. Now let say you have another identical system except it has 10 gallons in the reservoir. The plants in both systems are taking the same amount of each individual elements, but the elements will not be as far out of balance as fast in the system with 10 gallons in the reservoir because of the extra 5 gallons of nutrient solution. This works the same for plants that are not heavy feeders, it's just more important to the ones that are.
Quote:
Now I've read from a few places that say distilled water makes sense in a small grow situation. Surprised to hear you say this. Perhaps spring water ?
Spring water would be fine but just expensive over time. To make distilled water they evaporate it, and collect the evaporation. Because the elements don't evaporate, the evaporated and collected water is free of the elements. This water wont leave water spots because there is nothing in it to leave behind. This process also takes out all the micro elements the plants need because they don't evaporate. Spring water is filtered water and has not been evaporated. Most filters are not able to take out the micro elements because they are too small and will go right through the filters. Unless you live in the mountains or get your tap water from a well that has been filtered, tap water is usually not the best to use. I use water from the revers osmosis (RO) myself. It's highly filtered water for drinking. The RO water may even be a little too filtered. It was recommended by General Hydroponics I use 90% RO water and 10% hard water from outside (not from the water softener).

P.S. I have found that the best information on using hydroponic nutrients is from the manufactures themselves. Just either e-mail or call them, tell them what plants you are growing, what stage they are in, and ask what they would recommend. Most hydroponic nutrient manufactures want you to be successful, so they will be happy to help. After all, if you are successful you are much more likely to continue to buy their products.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-14-2010 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:55 AM
stuartambient stuartambient is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Well yes, but I am not sure if it is what you are thinking of. Hydroponic nutrients are made up of many elements and micro elements. There is not any way to tell exactly how much of one particular element is in a solution that I know of. But there are charts that can tell you what strength a particular plant needs in regards to TDS/PPM and pH.

pH is the acidity of the solution. Where TDS and PPM can tell you how strong the solution is, but only in a total amount. Not how much of each element is in it. There are charts that can tell you how much PPM of each element a plant needs. That is only useful if you find a hydroponic nutrient that lists each and gives that measurement, or if you manufacture your own nutrients.
Helpful link ,thank you ! I see different variations though of NPK, and scoured some posts around that said for example, Lettuce using more Nitrogen then Potassium. I will follow your advice though as you say below about speaking with the vendor.

Also in one book I'm reading it speaks about breaking up the Macro / Micro's so you would have 2-3 different solutions. The author (Keith Roberto) feels the all in one solutions are not as good. Not sure if that is the general opinion of the community or not.

The PH I get, along with PPM. I know those are key to successful gardening.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Say you have 4 plants feeding off one nutrient reservoir and it has a 5 gallon reservoir. ....This works the same for plants that are not heavy feeders, it's just more important to the ones that are.
Thank you , great explanation.


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Spring water would be fine but just expensive over time. To make distilled water ........I use 90% RO water and 10% hard water from outside (not from the water softener).
What I'm really interested in are the machines that make water out of the atmosphere. One model makes about 7-8 gallons a day even in a dry climate. I haven't researched it yet but wonder how those machines might work with hydroponics.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:37 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I see different variations though of NPK, and scoured some posts around that said for example, Lettuce using more Nitrogen then Potassium.
"N-P-K. The three numbers listed on fertilizer labels correspond to the percentage of these materials found in the fertilizer." Yes these are important, and some crops use more of one than another even during different stages of their life cycle. Although Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash (Potassium) are only 3 elements in hydroponic nutrient solution. There are over 20 elements that plants need to grow and be healthy. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are absorbed from the air and water. A nutrient mix can be based on more Nitrogen, Phosphorous or Potassium than another, but wont work without the rest.

Quote:
Also in one book I'm reading it speaks about breaking up the Macro / Micro's so you would have 2-3 different solutions. The author (Keith Roberto) feels the all in one solutions are not as good.
I personally use the General Hydroponics Flora Series nutrients, its a 3 part series. The 3 different parts give you some control as to the final mix of nutrients. The all in one nutrients should be bought for specific plants because you don't have any control in mixing them except for how strong it is. Also it is my understanding that the dry mixes don't necessarily dissolve all the way.

Quote:
What I'm really interested in are the machines that make water out of the atmosphere. One model makes about 7-8 gallons a day even in a dry climate. I haven't researched it yet but wonder how those machines might work with hydroponics.
I haven't researched them yet either. I would expect that the final water is quite similar to distilled, although I could be wrong. They pull the humidity out of the air, so it is evaporated water. But because it's not inside a sterile environment it does pick up molecules that are floating in the air. I believe they have filters to take out the impurities, but don't know how well they work.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:00 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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Originally Posted by stuartambient View Post
Also in one book I'm reading it speaks about breaking up the Macro / Micro's so you would have 2-3 different solutions. The author (Keith Roberto) feels the all in one solutions are not as good. Not sure if that is the general opinion of the community or not.

I have used 1 part nutes and did not have good luck with it. I am using the FloraNova nutes now, and adding Floralicious Plus, FloraKleen, and have some Vegan Compost Tea, and well KoolBlooms. I will using the Koolblooms with the Floranova Bloom soon.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:20 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I am using the FloraNova nutes now, and adding Floralicious Plus, FloraKleen,
Do you mean you use the Florakleen to flush the system between nutrient changes or as a nutrient additive?
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-15-2010 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:48 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I use it with the nutes.
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:25 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I knew that the Florakleen was meant to be used to flush the salts out between nutrient changes but was not sure if it should be used in the nutrients. So I figured I would e-mail them the question.

I asked this question:

"Hello,
I believe the FloraKleen is supposed to be used between nutrient changes to help flush away the buildup of the dissolved salts. I just read in a hydroponics forum where someone is using it in with the nutrients themselves. I was wondering if this was safe and was a good idea, or will it affect the nutrients and how the plants take up the nutrients."

This was there response:
"FloraKleen used with nutrients won't provide the flushing quality necessary to effectively cleanse the root zone. The concept behind flushing is to provide ample amounts of fresh water/flush solution to the roots to cleanse them of toxic salt build-up, which leads to nutrient lockout.

Use FloraKleen with Plain water at a mild strength (according to label) to flush plants mid-cycle. Always flush plants before harvest.

Hope that helps!"



So I take that to say it's safe to use in the nutrients, but it's not very effective
that way.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-16-2010 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:57 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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OK I will just use to flush.

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