Fountain Based Aeroponic System

Intro

This is one of my many attempts to build an aeroponic system. I live in a flat so the system needs to be compact, quiet and easy to maintain. This one worked out a little more expensive as I bought some proper flowering lights and a dedicated grow tent. However the actual hydroponic parts were reasonably cheap.

So I set off to our local DIY store with a rough idea of what I wanted. My initial plan was to simply buy a small pump some cable ties and some host pipe. Run the hose pipe around the circumference of the tote and then put a lot of little holes in the hose. However as I was looking for a pump I came across a couple fountain pumps. These had 2 types or fountains, the standard spray water up in the air kind and my personal favorite the bell fountain.

Whilst reading the specifications for the pump I realised that if I bought the medium version of the pump I could create a bell fountain that was about 3 feet in diameter. This was much bigger than the dimensions of the tote that I was targetting. Then it hit me I don't need to run hose and worry about the holes or misters getting clogged I can just use the bell fountain, and let net pots hang down into the spray from the fountain which means the roots hang in the air and are continuously coated by a thin film of nutrient solution. Not exactly the smallest of drops let alone a fog but very easy to maintain because the part that creates the bell fountain is so simple it can be wiped clean.

It's simple a plastic stalk with an inverted cone on the top of it. This slots into a 1/4" tube and you can adjust the size of the bell by how tightly the stalk is pressed into the tube. Attach the tube to the pump and submerge in the tote and away you go. No fiddling with hoses, no clogging misters and plenty of air is available to the roots.

So here goes:

Parts List

1 large rough tote
1 fountain pump with bell fountain attachment (Hozelock 1500)
4-6 3" net cups
Hydrorton clay media
2m weather seal
Plug (for the pump)
Small outlet fitting for 1/4" tube (for draining tote)

Tools

3" hole cutter or very sharp knife
Nail punch

Directions

  1. Place tote lid on stable surface and position net cups where you want them and trace round them. Securely hold the lid and using hole cutter drill out desired number of plant stations in the lid
  2. Using nail punch create one hole towards the top of the tote for the pumps power cable and another in the base of the tote for the outlet fitting.
  3. Push pump power cable through the hole at the top of the tote and attach the plug
  4. Insert outlet fitting in the hole in the bottom of the tote and cap it off with a screw on cap
  5. Stick weather seal around the top edge of the tote to create a water tight seal
  6. Fill the tote with your desired nutrient solution
  7. Transplant seedlings or cuttings into net pots and support with hydrorton (or preferred media)
  8. Submerge pump in nutrient solution (ensure it's fully submerged)
  9. Make sure you have some sort of absorbant material all round the tote before you turn on the pump as you will need to adjust the fountain bell by fiddling with the top of the attachment. Too tight and the water will spray out everywhere, gently pull up on the bell stalk until you have an even spray all around the edge of the tote. It should be about 1" from the top of the tote so it hits your net cups about half way up their side.
  10. Turn off the pump and position in your desired location
  11. Place plants in net cups into holes in tote lid and attach lid to tote
  12. Turn pump on and leave to run for 30 seconds. Remove cups one at a time to make sure they are actually getting soaked by the nutrient solution
  13. Ensure a good tight seal is maintained between tote and lid by using bungee cord or duct tape

 

If the above doesn't work you can view pictures of the whole setup hereI

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rfkeith (not verified)
Thanks for the encouragement

Thanks for the encouragement Pete. I will try out your suggestion. How is your LED grow light working out? I have ordered one from the same company as you but am also talking to some guys in the states trying to get my hands on a sample copy of their UFO light to see how it compares. I have heard that these chinese units aren't quite up to scratch.

I have to admit the grow tent was a great investment though lets almost no light out and keeps my plants nicely warm. Only have a low power fluorescent light and the pump running and temp is about 25C. Nutrient solution could do with being a bit warmer but I don't think it's doing any harm.

As for nutrients I have started them Vita-link plant start and will slowly be moving them on to Vita-link grow

Orlando Jude (not verified)
WOW! ANOTHER great idea!  Go

WOW! ANOTHER great idea!  Go for it!

Enjoy!

Ginger
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Peat's trying a UFO LED light

Peat's trying a UFO LED light at the moment. Looks good so far!

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

rfkeith (not verified)
Light is very low power

Light is very low power fluorescent light as I don't want to go to the expensive of extractors etc (well not yet anyway). Am investigating LED grow lights at the moment. Am quite impatient so may end up building something myself. Provided I can find all the components that I need. Have a diamond reflector and HID light but it's way too hot for the grow tent. Can't decide whether to send it back or hang on to it. Hopefully have a house again soon in which case I can sort the grow room properly.

Ginger
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I can so relate to the noise

I can so relate to the noise sensitivity - great idea!

How powerful is that light? Or is that just for starters?

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

rfkeith (not verified)
Thanks! Didn't mention the

Thanks! Didn't mention the foam stuck to the side as well, it's used to dampen the noise made by the water hitting the side of the tote. As I am in a flat this can be a little annoying.

Plants are sweet pepper, hot pepper, basil and corriander.

Ginger
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Deluxe system, rfkeith! Well

Deluxe system, rfkeith! Well made!

What are the plants, btw?

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.