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View Full Version : new guy starting small scale commercial system



bpbdrummer
04-22-2010, 11:44 AM
Hi, I'm working on starting up a very small scale commercial hydo business. Right now I'm just experimenting with an outdoor micro sized nft/dwc hybrid that i built. It's basically a continuous flow system built with 4" vinyl fence post that I had laying around. I have a 10 gallon tote reservoir with an aquarium powerhead pumping the nutes through the system. I have (6) 3" net pots in one tube and 5 in the other, they're stacked vertically at a 45 degree angle and the top tube gravity feeds the lower tube.

The reason I call it a nft/dwc hybrid is that instead of just having a thin layer of nutes flowing along the bottom of the tubes my system holds a constant depth of about 2 1/2", just touching the lower half of the net pots.

I've been running the system for a few weeks now and it seems to be doing well. I have 3 plants in it right now, they were actually plants that i had started in soil and wanted to see if they would survive being moved into the hydro system. there are 2 tomato and a jalapeno plant, they started off kinda rough and the shock about killed them, partially my fault, I'm using foxfarm growbig nutes and I followed the dosing on the chart with 2tsp/gal. I ended up with brown roots and wilted plants so I drained the system and went with 1/2 the recommended dosage and now the roots are white and growing really well.

I just finished up 2, 60" pvc grow tubes today and i'm going to hook those up later and test them out.
I'm also planning on building a greenhouse 20x30' and eventually moving away from hydro into aquaponics.

I do have a few concerns, #1 is heat, We're in Florida so summers are pretty brutal and I'm not sure how I'm going to keep the nute temps down, the cost of running a chiller could effectively negate any potential profits.

the other concern is power outage, we got plenty of thunderstorms and during a normal summer I would say we lose power at least once a day, usually for just a few minutes but occasionally it's out for hours. Thats what you get for living in the country, lol.

any suggestions on keeping the nute temps down? I suppose a large reservoir would help and maybe partially sinking it into the ground.

does anyone use a battery backup system for the pumps in case of power outage? I'm thinking that I could use a PC battery backup just to keep the pumps running while the power is out. Or my other option is buying a solar panel, over voltage disconnect and inverter, if I lose power i can use the 12v car battery on the inverter for power.

any other suggestion would be appreciated, I'm just trying to start off small and slowly, get over the learning curve before jumping into a large system. I'm really glad I did, I've learned a lot that will save me big headaches.

HPE21
06-07-2010, 10:00 PM
If you have the money a solar panel system is a good thing to have for any house, growing plants or not. It can really save on your energy bill and is green! For cooling the reservoir you can get aquarium chillers that will lower the temp. If it needs to be outside you can just make a water proof casing for the electronic parts.