View Full Version : Some help new to hydroponics

10-05-2007, 01:39 PM
Well I want to do some diy hydroponics but don't know what system I want to do. I wanted originally to do nft but am confused because how do you initially get the roots to the nutrient film,should I use 2 gph drippers to get the rockwool cubes moist to germinate the seeds then seend roots to the film then stop drippers? I have some supplies that my dad said I could have : some 1/2 inch black microirrigation tubing,barbs that go into the tubing,hole punch,2ghp drippers,misters,1/4 inch black irrigation tubing and a few other things. What do you thing is the most fail safe/idiot proof method of hydroponics ?
I am planning on getting a pump that wil attach to the 1/2 inch piping along with as timer and growlights.
I want to grow lettuce since they grow small along later with more expertise tomatoes,pepers etc.
What do you suggest : Agrigate,nft,rockwool culture,water culture etc ?

Henry S
10-06-2007, 10:08 AM
whichever system you end up choosing... you want to start your seeds or cuttings outside of your setup. since nature never guarantees which seeds or cuttings will take root, you dont want any sites taken up by ungerminated seeds. say i only have 3 sites in an NFT channel, i'll take 6+ seeds to germinate. if more then 3 seeds sprout, i then have the option of choosing the healthiest plants for the channel.

heres a pic of a seedling tray in action :D

once those guys show roots peeking from the starter cubes, they can be transferred (cube and all. dont try to remove a rooted seedling/cutting from the starter block) into a hydro system.

heres a link to the FAQ on seed starting (http://forums.bghydro.com/faq.php?faq=faq_propagation#faq_faq_propogation_st art_seeds)

as for the system to choose... i wouldnt say any system is failproof, but ebb&flow tables require the least maintenance and generally the safest way to go for someone without any experience. If you want to do lettuce, NFT works great. But if you want to move on to tomatoes and peppers, i'd go with the drip system. (http://www.bghydro.com/BGH/static/articles/0806_byos.asp)


the NFT will be very similar, except for having drippers at each sites, you'll have the 1/4 tubing at the top end of the channel.

10-06-2007, 02:54 PM
Okay,I am thinking about doing nft but I have a restriction on space. I may just buy a gutter downspout cut some holes to fit the starter cubes. I have tons of 6(or 8) cell seed starter trays from the dump new never used so I could grow them in nft if I grew them in the soil then rinsed them off then put them with a plastic collar to hold them in,to prevent falling into the nft system. I think in the summer nft would be excellent for a large amounts of vegetables. I was thinking about using 2 5 gallon buckets that are connecting at the bottom with tubing for the reservoir and on a table use 3 2.5 gallon buckets. And if I let the drippers drip constantly there would hopefully be less clogging. For the return I would have tubing from the bottoms of the buckets to the reservoir, For the media I think pea gravel may work. I might for lighting mount T12 with 4 tubes per fixture that should grow lettuce well I think. For tomatoes I think using rock wool blocks and cubes may work well I could buy a few trays made for rockwool culture. I hope I get moderate success with hydroponics :D

10-08-2007, 09:22 PM
Hey I just built the deep water culture thing,
I used a 5 gallon bucket with a lid with 5 holes for net baskets then I used an air pump with 2 outputs with 2 air stones I plan on using 4 air stones total for maximum aeration. For the nutrient my mom "had" to use organic so I am going to mix it up(Botanicare Pure BlendProGrow) tomorrow using a syringe.
The guy said to use 1/4 strenge when there small then work it up to 1/2 strength
For the water level should I keep it "just" under the pots or "just above the bottoms when there seedlings ? I think I should make the level higher when there seedlings and when there growing large roots then lower it.

Henry S
10-09-2007, 11:24 AM
ideally you'd want the roots to be emerging from the net pot before transferring into a dwc system so roots don't need to be submerged so early. if thats not an option, the water level should be raised enough to get the medium some water for the roots. once the roots start peeking out, the water level should be dropped about 1" or more below the net pot. the idea is to have the breaking bubbles splash onto the roots and create a humid environment where moisture can be taken from the air.

i'd also recommend the TDS/pH article regarding nutrient strength

10-09-2007, 12:44 PM
Okay,I already did some reading on PPM and pH.
I have some good ph paper and for nutrient strength I am going to use 1/4 strength for seedlings then up it to 1/2 since lettuce does not feed heavy. For the bubbles there are tons of them since the pump is pretty good and there is one pot that is not getting lots of them so I am going to add another airstone for a total of 3. '
I am have been running it without nutrient but just water to see if the clay keps moist and I think it is prefectly moist then I will lower the nutrient. I have not started the lettuce from seed yet so I am going to do that after I get ahold of a packet. For the nutrient change every week with water top off in the middle of the week.
For lighting a high wattage cool compact fliurscent light and if I need for power I will add some extra long 2' single bulb cool fixtures for extra light. This is mainly an experiment then I will hopefully scale this up enough to have a large amount of vegitables.

Henry S
10-09-2007, 12:56 PM
sounds like you've got a good start. keep us posted!

10-09-2007, 02:31 PM
Okay I will post back,Could I pull out a (of very many)strawberry plants from my garden and try it in one of my 5 netted baskets ? I know it won't fruit but would it enjoy the "wet" If yes that would be neat to see while I get some lettuce seed and start that..

10-14-2007, 01:47 PM
Okay the seedlings have there first leafs how big until I can put them in net baskets with hydrotron ? I have them in normal soil so I am going to wash off the soil. I could keep the nutrient level high for seedling then low after the roots poke out of the pots.

Henry S
10-15-2007, 04:03 PM
congrats on the germination! however, i would not advise any nutrient feeding as seedlings. all the nutrients the plant needs to start are packaged in the seed.

since you don't have them in starter cubes, its going to be difficult to transplant without disturbing the root mass as the plant matures. in your case, i would transplant before the roots get longer then 1/2" so they can set themselves into the rocks. otherwise you'd want to transplant when there is a nice heathly root structure.

make sure to use some vitamin b1 or a good rooting hormone to help ease the stress of transplanting (especially since youre going from a soil to a hydroponic environment). also use purified (not distilled) drinking water or RO water, when the plants are young if youre going to be adding nurients.

good luck!

10-15-2007, 04:59 PM
Unfortunately I was weeding one or 2 out they have long roots maybe I sowed them too deep.
I am on a personal spring(in my backyard) so they should be okay and the spring comes right
outa the ground so there are some minerals in the water . I should just wait until there big enough
to transplant like what you would buy from a nursery when you buy prestarted lettuce.
Should I kill them of until there is 2 seedlings per cell then when big enough kill down to 1 per cell ?
There very happy under my 100 light output cool fluorescent (compact) light. Should I leave it on 24 hours a day
\for awhile or turn it off for the night ? I just upgraded the bubblers now there is a small airstone under each bucket each airstone with a valve so each one puts out the same amount of air.
So now there is a extremely good bubble rate per pot.
Well I will update when there big enough like when they have a small root ball (the cells for the 6 cell pots are not that big so that will be soon!) As a side note I was noticing your pretty darn cheap compared to the local hydro store like a 1000 watt ballast,mh light,reflecter and cords are around $250 with 5 year warrenty while the guy here he has good selection but his kits are 50% more . If I can coax my mom to allow me to get a 250 watt mh light that would be nice or maybe T5 in a closet. Well anyways :
Thanks for the help and have a good day !

10-26-2007, 11:34 PM
Well they have 4 or so good leafs still waiting to get "garden center"
sized starter lettuce. I am giving them some hydroponic nutrient in a strengh reccomended by the maker for soil to speed them up.
I have been weeding them out the ones I weeded(removed if this is blocked out again) out are healthy but there is going to be 1 plant per cell. They have a good root system but I am scared of screwing up. So I am still waiting..........................

Henry S
10-29-2007, 11:21 AM
how many square feet does your bubbler system take up?

usually if growth is slow, the lighting should be increased. if youre on CFLs, the bulbs can usually be fairly close (1-2") to the leaves without issue, but make sure to keep an eye out for heat stress.

its pretty common to leave lights on for 24hrs during propagation. after the set of first true leaves appear, lighting should be dropped to 18hrs.

good choice keeping 1 seed per cell. most plants will get pretty competitive and retard each others growth.

10-29-2007, 06:40 PM
I have been using 1 cfl but now have 2 strip lights one each side of the seedlings along with the cfl(it is 4 inches away or so). My bubbler system uses 5 netted pots and i using a 5 gallon bucket.
I have been every few days watering using a cutting seedling strength of nutrient(it says can be used with soil) I keep lights on for 14 hours per day since I am using my timer for my terrarium(I keep carnivorous plants). I think there doing okay,I will keeps this updated :)

11-05-2007, 07:36 PM
Okay I just moved them 2 days ago :
The growth is very noticable,
they were slugs in the soil but not in hydro;they have been putting out leafs noticabley within 48 hours.
I have the ph at 6.0 and am using seedlings strenge then
I am going to medium plant (1/2 0z per gallon) I am not going any higher.
I am using progrow the bottle says I can go up to 1 oz but they don't produce fruit only lettuce.
Ps there getting 2 cfl lights;one warm and one cool. The other cords are for my seedlings I did not move for a grow rate race/test.