420 Magazine Background

First Aeroponics setup build - Need opinions

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
Hello all,
This is my first aeroponics setup I just built, loosely based upon some designs I saw on youtube.
I'm wondering if you might look at it and let me know if you see any obvious design flaws.

This is just an experimental one meant to grow 15 lettuce plants in net pots, not for big weed plants, when it comes time to grow my cannabis plants once my license gets approved I want to be ready with a solid design.

One question I have is the position of the spray nozzles, I see so many manifolds with the spray nozzles pointing upward, not downward like I have mine setup like. All the setups I see with the nozzles pointing upward seem to have to go to great lengths to seal the lid because the water leaks all over the place.

I'm hoping by pointing the spray nozzles downward I wont have that issue.

The PVC is only press fit together at this point for testing, not glued with PVC glue yet, which I'm also wondering is safe for hydroponic use. I'm guessing the PVC glue I used is safe as it says it is for pressurized water systems, which I'm assuming means is for drinking water supply systems right?
Thanks!
 

DukeO

Well-Known Member
Hi,

That setup looks like it might work well for cloning cannabis.

It also looks like it would work not so well at growing out a plant.

It most likely will be hard to refill and if the plants get of any real size the top is going to want to cave in from the weight of them.

Also you most likely will have heat issues from the pump in the rez as the water level drops the water temp is going to go up and when the roots clog the pump up.

There will be even more issues.

To much risk and work for reward with that set up for growing out a plant to me.

So if it was me I would use that setup as the cloner to make clones for a DWC or RDWC grow.

But that is just my opinion.

I made my cloner out of a 5gal bucket and lid and the sprayers point upward and it never leaks a drop of water out of it. Any water that makes it above the lid just drain back in because of the rim on the lid.
 

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
Hello, thanks for your reply.

I can tell your comments and critique are based upon if I were growing cannabis plants in this to full term, but as I made sure I mentioned in my original post, this is designed solely for growing lettuce plants.

You would have to be insane to try to grow out 15 adult weed plants in this thing, the root ball alone would be an enormous mess!

The lid of the tote would not collapse though, because the manifold is right up against the lid of the tote, which is screwed into the pump, since it is right up against the lid, it ensures the spray actually touches the bottom of the net pots.

You do have a point about heat build up from the pump, and about it clogging up with roots, because this particular pump does not have a filter, just a grill over the intake, hmmm..I've never thought about that. Maybe I'll switch pumps to one with an input foam filter. I had a larger tote as a reservoir for my tube hydroponic system with this very same pump in it before, and heat was never an issue with that setup, that tote was probably about 1/2 size bigger than this one.

Regarding the spray pointing upwards, again, every youtube video I found about that configuration showed people going to great lengths to try to seal around the lid with weather stripping.
Since this is running indoors in a place with good flooring I don't want to leak all over, making sure drips don't happen is important.

A tote is not the same as a 5 gal bucket, as 5 gal buckets are designed to seal around the lid, and most even have a bead of some kind of rubber sealant around the lid.

This concept was built around a design I saw on youtube, hopefully I'm allowed to post the link here so you can see what I'm getting at, if i break any rules posting this link, please forgive me, I'm a newbie here :)

Click below to view the video of the design I'm mimicking loosely:
YouTube

Once I figure out how to make this a good system for growing lettuce, I would like to expend that design into a weed worthy setup for growing one plant per container, I don't want to mess around with high value crop.

The only reason I'm experimenting with this is because I am told aeroponics give healthier roots and higher yeilds than a traditional DWC 5 gal bucket setup.
:)
 

DukeO

Well-Known Member
(The only reason I'm experimenting with this is because I am told aeroponics give healthier roots and higher yeilds than a traditional DWC 5 gal bucket setup.)

Not sure who told you that. But they left a lot out.

The odds of you growing a big plant successfully in that set up are very low.

What most likely is going to happen is when the plant starts to get big and fill the rez with roots first those spray heads are going to start clog one at a time.

But you are going to have a real hard time telling what is going on because it is going to be very hard to lift the lid to see inside.

After to spay heads start to clog the pump is going to fail and it is going to be a nightmare to change it out.

That is if the heat from the pump in the water doesn't take the plant out first.

If you put that set up in a 4x4 and grew one plant.

You would most likely need to grow that plant in a scog or train it very heavily to cover the 4x4 and that would take about 2months.

I could grow 4 dwc buckets in the same 4x4 and only veg for one month and I would get the same if the more in yield as you would vegging for 2months.

Your odds of being successfully with that tub would go up if you took all of the stuff out out it and put in an airstone and went dwc with it.

I think it would most likely would make a great cloner for filling dwc buckets or tubs or for growing lettuce.

But for growing a full size cannabis plant I see a lot of issues to over come it.
 

24bottles

New Member
Don't use glue. Use a drill bit and screws at the joints. If the manifold leaks it's just going to leak back into the res.
 

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
Oh, I just realized something else, wouldn't a cycle timer drastically reduce the heat buildup from the pump, as it would never run long enough to get hot?
 

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
Don't use glue. Use a drill bit and screws at the joints. If the manifold leaks it's just going to leak back into the res.
OOps, i already glued it yesterday. Is that glue safe? I hope so.

No problem to build another manifold if glue is a bad idea, but also isn't any kind of metal in the rez a bad idea as well? I thought about screws actually, but read somewhere the nutes can react with metal in a bad way.

As you can see, the spray hits each net pot nicely, it just doesn't hit the outside of the outer pots as with the design i the video, that's where the one i built is different.
 

24bottles

New Member
PVC glue can be toxic. And if too much is used and has pushed out inside the pipe it will break down and clog your nozzles. As far as metal in the res, if it worries you there are pvc screws you can use. I use a timer. 5min on 10min off if you have a good timer. I use a cheap one and go 30min on 30 min off and haven't had any problems.
 

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
PVC glue can be toxic. And if too much is used and has pushed out inside the pipe it will break down and clog your nozzles. As far as metal in the res, if it worries you there are pvc screws you can use. I use a timer. 5min on 10min off if you have a good timer. I use a cheap one and go 30min on 30 min off and haven't had any problems.
Well, the PVC cement did of course overflow from the joint inside and out, and squish some excess out inside the pipe.

I read for an hour one night searching for info online if the PVC cement was safe or not, and most people replied to other people out there asking the same question that since it was made for use in potable water supplies, it was safe for hydroponics.

How do people cement all those elaborate aquaponics PVC pipes together if it is toxic? It would kill the fish wouldn't it?
 

24bottles

New Member
If it's pvc glue that you get from the sprinkler section at Home Depot it's probably toxic. Read the jar. If it says non toxic or food grade go with it. Lawn sprinkler systems are pressurized and the glue is ment to hold under 24/7 pressure. Just my two cents.
 

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
It doesn't say n on-toxic or food grade anywhere on it. It is Sluyter CPVC 77 Cement.
I asked the guy at Canadian tire if this stuff was good for potable water and was safe for drinking water applications, he said it was, but now I'm wondering.

Even the product safety sheet says nothing about the application or when it dries if it is safe:
http://www.sluyter.com/files/products/cpvc-77-657598.pdf
 

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
OK, I'm convinced, I'm gonna cut my losses, buy some 1/2" PVC pipe which will actually fit in this tote like the video shows, and only have a "press fit" manifold, that way no glue is required.
I'll put a filter bag over the pump to keep it from getting clogged, and I'll connect it to a cycle timer to ensure it does not heat up the nutes.

I' only using it for small plants like lettuce, so it will never clog the whole bin with a giant rootball, the lettuce will get harvested before that happens.
:)
 

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
Actually, it was too funny, the glue set for 2 days as recommended, so I filled the rez with water and turned on the pump to flush it all out, and after about an hour, the whole thing just fell apart, haha.

That glue only adhered to the fittings, but did not stick to the PVC pipe.
WTF??

It was totally dry, and dressed like it should be, it's not my 1st rodeo with gluing PVC, only I've just built drain systems, not supply systems.
I have no idea why it didn't stick.

So, giving up on this stupid aeroponics idea, and committing to DWC bubble bucket in my mind, I went to the hydro shop, and bought an uber powerful EcoAir commercial air pump,(Product#$ 728450, it's 793gph, 2.9PSI Home | Eco Plus) brought it home and plugged it in , and it is so FREAKING noisy there is NO way I can run that thing in my living room.
Geesh, I cant seem to win for some reason, lol.
 

DukeO

Well-Known Member
The piston pumps make a lot of noise and add heat to the water with the hot air that comes out of them.

They work best with chillers.

A General Hydroponics Dual Diaphragm Air Pump does not add heat and will run 4 dwc buckets and they just kind of purr.

I have ones that have been running for years without issue.
 

Bluenoser

Well-Known Member
The piston pumps make a lot of noise and add heat to the water with the hot air that comes out of them.

They work best with chillers.

A General Hydroponics Dual Diaphragm Air Pump does not add heat and will run 4 dwc buckets and they just kind of purr.

I have ones that have been running for years without issue.
I looked at that exact air pump today at the local hydro shop. I put it back on the shelt once I saw the $109.00 +HST price tag lol.
They did not tell me anything about excess heat generated by the pump that I did purchase though, so that might have been nice of them to mention.

It's always what you don't even know that you don't even know.

BTW, this air pump is massively more quiet once you connect the airlines, now i think it's actually bearable.
:)
 
Top Bottom