aeroponics

Discussion in 'Growing Marijuana Indoors' started by n4te0ne, May 26, 2006.

  1. anyone have any experience with it, i've been reading up on it and i'm thinking about buying a kit or building one.. but it seems more complex than the usual hydroponics settup. just reading about the outcome of the plants grown this way is exciting. but i've never talked to someone who's used it.
     
  2. I love aeroponics, and have never stopped using them since my first time tyring it. Yes, it's a bit complex, and you have to be fairly adventurous to attempt it, but your plants will absolutely love it. The root structures you get from these systems are amazing. I've had 6" tall plants with 5 internodes that had massive root columns extending 2'6" from the bottom of the net cup (wish I still had the pictures, they were on Overgrow).

    There are a few disadvantages to aeroponics, but there are workarounds. First, there is a high risk of what is refered to as "root rot", or a bacterial infestation in your reservoir that kills your plant's roots (and, consequently, the plant itself). To avoid this problem, keep your water in the reservoir at about 65-70 degrees farenheit (ideal is 68*) to inhibit pathogen growth. Also, do everything you can to ensure that no light penetrates in to your root zone and comes in contact with your water, including using neoprene inserts (or a homemade alternative) in your net cups.

    Secondly, if your pump delivering your nutrient solution to the roots breaks down, you have very little time to discover and fix the problem before serious damage (or death) befalls your plants. To avoid this, I place my drain valve inside the root zone about 4" above the bottom of the container, leaving a 4" deep pool of water inside the bucket. This way, if your pump breaks down, your plants can still draw water from the pool and will survive several days before permanent damage occurs (maybe longer, I have fortunately never had to find out the hard way). I also like placing some air stones connected to an air pump at the bottom of the pool, which not only is benefitial to the plants under normal operating conditions, but will allow them to thrive even if you experience a pump failure. This is somewhat of a combination of full-blown aeroponics and DWC, and works incredibly well.

    Your third problem is going to be the risk of sprayers clogging. You can reduce this risk by starting with RO filtered water (NEVER use hard water in an aeroponic system). You must also install more sprayers inside your rooting chamber than actually necessary, so that if you lose a couple there will not be any adverse effects on your plants.

    I also do not recommend using 4" PVC tube as your rooting chamber, as many people have done before. These tubes provide very little room for roots to grow, limiting the main benefits of this technique. 6" PVC tubes are more acceptable, however rubbermaid containers at least 1'6" deep are best. If growing larger plants, you can also use seperate 5 gallon buckets for each plant (which also helps keep pathogen infestations from spreading too quickly).

    Also keep in mind that you will need to reduce the amount of nutrients in your reservoir by as much as half when switching to aeroponics. The nature of this system allows plants to uptake greater amounts of nutrients as a result of the higher DO (dissolved oxygen) content in the water. It is also best to use a larger reservoir to help buffer changes in nutrient content, and change your reservoir water frequently to keep your plants happy and flush out any contaminents. When designing your system, make sure water changes will be as simple and easy as possible. I like to install a Y-fitting on the hose coming from my pump, and attach a valve (a GOOD valve) and hose to one end. When you need to empty the reservoir, just stick the end of the hose in your bathtub and open the valve.

    If you have any more questions, feel free to fire away, and good luck!
     

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