Hydroponic System Components:
Today, we are learning hydroponic system components and their uses. Are you thinking of How to build your hydroponic system at home? If you are looking for guidelines for setting up your own hydroponic system at home that too at a low cost so my friend you have landed up in right place. Growing plant of your own aren’t all, it has to be reasonably priced too, or what’s the point of putting so many efforts. Nobody is interested in growing high-cost veggies at home; we make every effort to show you that you can grow your own plants at home with hydroponics, and for less money than the stores from where you usually buy vegetables.
You are well read about the advantages of hydroponics but the factor that makes it more desirable is cost. Hydroponics is an inexpensive and economical technique of cultivation, moreover, it gives you the freedom to use your creativity and get high volume plant production. You don’t need to set up an expensive hydroponic system, pricey nutrients or even expensive grow lights to cultivate your plants hydroponically. You can always build your own inexpensive hydroponic system according to your need and resources. There is a variety of commercially available cost-effective hydroponic nutrient solution as well as you can also skip part of using grow out lights if you can utilize nature’s free gift “sunlight” for nourishing your hydroponic plants. So this is how you can cut down the cost of your own customized hydroponic system. Regardless of what you wish to grow, the hydroponic system does have a few basic requirements to work well that one must consider for designing own hydroponic system. For building successful hydroponics at home, you must have knowledge of hydroponic system components.
Read: Aeroponic Gardening Ideas.
Basic requirements of any hydroponic system
When planning to build a hydroponic system one must include following parts for a well functioning hydroponic system as they are the key constituents.
Growing chamber (tray)
It the system or constituent of hydroponics setup that imparts support or for better understanding it is that portion of any hydroponic setup through which plants roots will be growing. Simply it is the perforated chamber in which roots of the plant will be submerged in the reservoir containing nutrient solution dissolved in water so that roots have proper access to the dissolved minerals. This part of the setup protects the plant from external factors such a light, heat and pest infestation. The plant must be protected from highs or lows of light and temperature because any deviation from optimal conditions causes stress in plants which ultimately hinders the proper growth and yield. The nutrient solution temperature is also an important factor for keeping the root zone comfortable for the growing plant. There is no stringency regarding shape and size of growing chamber or tray, the shape and size of growing tray entirely depend on the type of hydroponic system you are building as well as on the type of plants you wish to cultivate in it. Say if you wish to grow bigger plants they will have a bigger root system hence you will require larger growing tray as it will provide more space for roots to grow.
Anything can be used as a growing tray except any metal or material that corrode or react with nutrient solution. There are many ideas about the growing tray it can be perforated plastic, square, circular or rectangular so all you need is to look around or think about the simplest design.
Now comes about the base of any hydroponic system, a reservoir is the part of any hydroponic system that holds the nutrient solution. The nutrient solution consists of plant nutrients that are thoroughly mixed in water. Depending on the type of hydroponic arrangement, the nutrient solution can be pumped from the reservoir up to the growing chamber (root zone) in cycles frequently or the roots can also be emerged down into the reservoir permanently, making the reservoir a growing chamber also.
You can make a reservoir out of just about anything plastic that can hold water. As long as it doesn’t leak, holds the required amount of water, and container should be properly cleaned out well before it is used as a reservoir. A reservoir also needs to be light proof or opaque because light promotes fungal growth, algae and microorganisms can start growing with even low light levels which is harmful to growing plants. Simple Trick to check whether the container is light proof or not just it hold it over your head and see light coming through it if light can pass from it simply it’s not light proof. Well, you can easily make any container light proof by painting it, covering it, or wrapping something like any plastic sheet insulation around it.
Now, this was about the material of the reservoir now comes how big hydroponic reservoir should be?
Well, the size of the reservoir depends on various factors like, how much space you are dedicating for hydroponic setup, number and type of plants to be grown, the water requirement of the plant.
Most of the times growers initially encounter problems with their hydroponic systems, due to the reservoir that’s too small for their plants in its later developmental stages. People simply forget that plants will get bigger and the bigger they get, the more water, nutrients, and oxygen they will need to consume hence your reservoir must be big enough to provide the required environment for growth.
For a rough idea you can follow the following approximate figure:
- For Small plants, minimum of ½ gallons per plant.
- For Medium size plants, minimum 1 to 1 ½ gallon per plant.
- For Large plants, minimum 2 ½ gallons per plant.
Nearly all hydroponic systems require a submersible pump to pump the water in which nutrient solution is dissolved from the reservoir up to the growing chamber/root zone for the plants for their easy access. Submersible pumps are easily available online as well as at hydroponic supply shops, or most of the home improvement stores with garden supplies they will also come in a wide variety of sizes depending upon your requirement.
Once you know the minimum amount of water needed to be pumped through your system, it becomes easy to choose a pump. When choosing a pump, it’s important to keep in mind how high up from the water line in the reservoir it will be pumping up the water to the roots.
Submersible pumps are simply electromagnets, basically nothing more than an impeller that uses an electromagnet to spin it. Therefore, they can easily be taken all apart to be cleaned thoroughly. If it doesn’t come with a filter, you can easily make one and you should clean both the pump and filter regularly to keep them clean.
Delivery tubes or delivery system for the nutrient solution is very simple and can be customized according to you.
it’s just the medium that sprays the water/nutrient solution upwards so that required minerals goes through to get to the plant’s roots in the growing chamber, and back to the reservoir again. Most common simplest, affordable and best materials to be used for the nutrient delivery system are a combination of standard PVC tubing and connectors, standard garden irrigation tubes and connectors, as well as blue or black vinyl tubing.
Depending on the type of hydroponic system you build, you may wish to use drip emitters or sprayers as a part of your nutrient solution delivery system. They are useful, but they can also clog. So if you use them, make sure you have extras in your collection so that you can quickly swap out while you clean the clogged ones.
Aerators or air pumps:
Since oxygen is one of the prerequisites for the growth of plants whether they are grown hydroponically or in the soil in case of soil nature does its work. But when growing plants in soilless culture optimum level of oxygen must be maintained. So here comes the aerator in our picture though air pumps are optional in hydroponic systems. But using them has its own advantages, and plus point is they are relatively inexpensive. Air pumps are also available in name of aerators or aquarium pumps which can be found anywhere they sell aquarium supplies. The function of Air pumps is just to supply air and oxygen to the water and then to the roots of the growing plants. Air is pumped through a bunch of small bubbles that rise up through the nutrient solution.
This helps to keep the plant’s roots from suffocating and providing an optimum level of oxygen while they are submerged in the nutrient solution. The air pump is typically placed in the reservoir thereby it helps to increase dissolved oxygen levels in the water up and keeps the water oxygenated. Other advantage’s of using aerators is that as the air bubbles rise, they keep the water and dissolved nutrients moving and circulating, which keeps nutrients to be evenly mixed all the time. The circulating oxygenated water also helps to reduce pathogens to originate in the reservoir.
It is an optional component of the hydroponic system. Grow lights are different from most standard household lights. Grow lights are designed to emit definite color spectrums that imitate sunlight. The plants use these wavelengths of light to carry out photosynthesis which is important for plant growth. Usually, grow lights are available as LED emitters online as well as in markets. If you are setting up your hydroponic system in natural sunlight condition you don’t need to equip your setup with to grow lights.
So pull your socks and assemble all the components and build a hydroponic system in your favorite shape, color, and designs.
That’s all about Hydroponic System Components, happy gardening folks!.