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How can we make a hydroponics system?

p>Can you tell me how my daughter and I can make a hydroponics system for science. She is in 6th grade so I would like to make something easy for her to understand. Is this possible?

Ron, I wondered if any of your readers would be interested in a different type of cheap system that they can build using a 45 gallon plastic drum.

(1).Find plastic drum, the best type have three segments on them which are divided by two bands in the molding. 

(2).Drill a 3/8 hole just above the second band. 

(4).Take a jig saw and cut around the perimeter of the barrel, following the line just above the second band, using the 3/8 hole as a start point, totally remove the top 1/3 of the barrel. 

(5).Remove the two plastic bungs, 

(6).Scrub and clean the barrel completely including the threaded holes where the Bungs go, and the Bungs themselves make sure you remove any particles of plastic from the cutting process. 

(7).steralize the barrel with 10% bleach solution to 90% water, rinse out afterwards. 

(8).Take the top portion of the barrel and use a hole saw or a butterfly cutter to make a 1 1/2 round Hole in the center of the flat surface between the two bungs. 

(9).Use the same hole saw to cut a hole in the side of the bottom 2/3 of the barrel 8" from the top ridge, remove any plastic shavings, this hole is where the pump wire and air tube will pass through. 

(10).Purchase from your local hydro shop a plastic 1 1/4 " drain fitting that consists of a drain tube that is threaded and has two gaskets and a plastic nut, also you will need the plastic overflow stem tube and rubber "o" ring that goes with the fitting, this fitting control's the level that the water will sit at before it overflows back to the tank storage compartment. 

(11).Place one of the rubber gaskets on the fitting push the fitting through the hole in the top part of the barrel, the fitting is inserted from the inside, place the second washer on to the fitting followed by the nut and tighten by hand until you cannot tighten any more. 

(12).Take the top part of the barrel and turn it upside down inside the bottom part of the barrel, do not force it in, as it should sit there itself, next roughly level the top part with the bottom part and place a couple of clamps to hold the two pieces together. 

(13). Drill four 1/4 " holes 1" down from the rim of the top edge of the barrel spread them equally around the perimeter, note"" if the rim of the top part of the barrel sit above the rim of the bottom part of the barrel, then use the rim of the bottom part of the barrel as your drilling guide for the 1/4" holes. 

(14).Place 4 x 1/4" x 1" bolts through the holes and screw on the nuts, hand tight is sufficient. 

(15_.If the inside rim does sit above the outside rim then simply take a pencil and mark the excess and trim it of with the jig saw later. 

(16).Take a hacksaw or knife and cut a mark in both rims, this will ensure you know where the top goes in relationship to the bottom every time you separate them. (17).make sure you clean away with fresh water any dust or debris. 

(18).Take your submersible pump and place inside, and feed the outlet line and electrical cable and also the air stone line through the hole in the side wall of the bottom part of the barrel. 

(19). Assemble the top part to the bottom part as discussed earlier with the four 1/4" nuts and bolts. 

(20).Set the height of the flow stem using the "o" ring and place the flow stem in the overflow fitting in the center of the upside down top portion of the barrel. 

(21).You are now ready to fill the holding tank area with water to 1" below the level of the hole drilled in the side wall of the bottom portion of the barrel, do not add solution until you are sure that you are happy with the pump and discharge rate, I have found that a 70 GPH water pump and small air pump work fine.

summery" Hopefully I did not confuse you too much, the design is very simple and self contained, the fluid being pumped out of the bottom portion of the barrel into the top maintaining a level and draining the excess, the drain fitting has a notch cut in it which allows the fluid to drain slowly when the timer turns the pump off, but is not enough to exceed the pump rate. I hope this is useful to somebody, if you need more info e-mail me, sorry I don't have any photos at this time, CHRIS HOGGARD, CALGARY, CHRHOGG@HOME.COM


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