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How to make a top feed hydroponics system.

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#1 Hobo


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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:09 PM

.... Still Under Construction!
bare with me....
How it works:

You have a reservoir with a nutrient solution filling it about halfway or more. Inside you have an air stone with a hose leading out to a pump that pumps air through it, this helps keep the reservoir oxygenated. Also inside is a submersible pump that is linked to a timer to go on 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time. This pump will pump the water out through a hose connected to an adapter that then splits the water into 9 separate hoses that then run to each plant site. The line is attached to a drip emitter that will feed the plants. The water will run through the medium and drain through the bottom of the basin, through a hose that is linked back to the bottom of the reservoir. The force of gravity will allow the water to flow back into the reservoir, so long that that basins are above the water level in the reservoir.

(range from a 1 basin system to a 4 basin system)

1 20 Gallon Rubbermaid Tote

You can find at any home center

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2-8 1" male to half inch garden hose coupling

Can be found and any hardware or home center

1-4 1" female garden hose coupling
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Can be found and any hardware or home center

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5-25 Feet of 1/2" inner diameter black vinyl tubing

50' roll 1/2" poly mainline @ FUTUREGARDEN.COM
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2-40 Feet of 1/4" micro line black vinyl tubing
50' roll 1/4" micro line @ FUTUREGARDEN.COM

2-8 Spike drip emiters
5 pk. micro spike drip emitter @ FUTUREGARDEN.COM

1-4 Restaurant Bus-trays or something similar
Can find at any restaurant supply store, or something similar at a home center.

1 Tube of Aquarium Silicon

1 Roll of Teflon tape
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1 9 port low pressure adapter
9 port low pressure adapter @ FUTUREGARDEN.COM

1 low profile framed work table (to raise up basin)
Can find at any home center, or build your own out of 2x4s

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1 Air pump and airstone kit.
12" AquaFizz Air Stone @ FUTUREGARDEN.COM
Elite 801 single outlet a pump @ FUTUREGARDEN.COM

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1 264 gph water pump with a half inch adapter
Eco Plus 264 GPH pump @ FUTUREGARDEN.COM

1 Pack of mini zip ties to use as clamps.

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1 24 hour timer
24hr. x 15 min. Interval Timer @ FUTUREGARDEN.COM

Other Tools:


Channel lock Pliers

A power drill

a 1" drill bit

latex gloves (to protect your hands... use vinyl if your allergic)

You will also need some sort of medium to put the plants i use pond rocks, but you could use the more popular LECA stone aka expanded clay pellets.

Instructions: more pictures coming soon

1. Set your table up with precut holes for each of the tubes for your basin(s) to fit through, your tubes will connect right to the basin from the bottom.

2. Drill a hole through the bottom of each bus tray right in the middle. Hold it steady so its not to make the whole bigger than it should be.

3. Apply a small layer of teflon tape and then silicon around the edges of a
1" male to half inch garden hose adapter and screw in till its hand tight. Then take you pliers and use the tiniest bit of force to screw it lock tight. Repeat this on however many basins you are using and let dry.

4. Drill 1- 4 holes on the side of
your 20 gallon rubbermaid tote about 2 inches from the bottom.

5. Apply a small layer of teflon tape and then silicon to a 1 " male to half inch garden hose coupling and screw it in hand tight with the half inch end facing outward. Repeat if you are using more than a 1 basin system

6. Apply a
small layer of teflon tape and then silicon to a 1 " female coupling garden hose adapter and screw it onto the protruding male end coming through on the inside of the rubbermaid tote. Repeat if you are using more than a 1 basin system. and let dry
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7. Set the basin down on the table with the drain plugs going through the hole you made in your table. Attach a piece of 1/2" inner diameter hose from the basin to the bottom of the reservoir, and use a ziptie to clamp the connections. Place a small piece of screen over the drain hole, and fill with stones or pellets.
Repeat if you are using more than a 1 basin system.

8. Attach a piece of 1/2 " inner diameter hose from the pump, to the 9 port adapter. secure connections with a ziptie.
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9. Run a 1/4" micro line black tube to each plant sight and attach a drip emiter.

10. Place airstone in rubbermade tote and fill with water and nutrients.

11. Set the timer and watch it grow!!!

You may want to run a test run and check for leaks. If you spot a leak, empty out the system let it dry, and reapply silicon to the area and let dry. That should fix a small spot missed in the first application of the silicon.

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