Hydroponic Float System

Introduction: Hydroponic Float System

About: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.

This is a completely passive hydroponic float system suitable for fast growing crops in cool weather

Step 1: Here's a List of What You'll Need

a container
a piece of 1.5 to 2" sheet styrofoam cut to fit your container
a 2.5" hole saw
foam cups
Jiffy peat pellets

Step 2: Drill Holes Through the Styrofoam

you'll probably have to drill through from both sides. I made a template for my hole spacing

Step 3: Now Prep Your Cups

Tear a couple holes in each cup and them place them in the frame, they need to stick through no more than a quarter of an inch

Step 4: Mx Up Your Nutrient Mixture

either use a good hydroponic nutrient OR two teaspoons of miracle gro + a teaspoon of epsom salt per a gallon OR two teaspoons of peter's 20-20-20 per gallon.

Step 5: Finally Put It Alltogether

pour the nutrient solution into your container, place the foam in the solution, place the cups in the holes in the foam and drop the long forgotten peat pellets in the cups, wait an hour or so for the pellets to swell up and sprinkle your seed on top of them and you're done.

Yield can be improved by the addition of an airstone and pump, but then you lose the convienience of a purley passive system.



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    47 Discussions

    very nice... technically using peat removes the hydroponic name from it... but meh, who cares what "they" say? What will you be growing? That looks perfect for baby lettuce :D A -- this is one of my favorite growing methods. You can also used recycled plastic cups from a local college party... Just wash out those red beer cups :P

    3 replies

    You weren't supposed to notice that! Still over the lifetime of the crop 6-8 weeks the leeching of nutrients from the peat should be minuscule since they're tied up in organic compounds that need to decay. Rockwool could be substituted. It is for lettuce, can't believe I forgot that. loose leaf not head lettuce

    I still don't think that this is real hydroponics. I think it is sorta an hybrid system.

    Nice job. That hole-cutting exercise is just screaming for a hot-wire setup. One question-- do you leave the big foam tray (with all of the little peat/seed cups) floating in the container 24x7 for as long as you're growing, or what?

    3 replies

    Yes, do a search of "Deep Water Culture" or DWC hydroponics

    be sure to use an opaque container though... otherwise you're asking for algae problems (nutrient rich water doesn't help that either :P).

    Yeah it's like ron popeil "Set it and forget it", once you put it together it just floats until harvest time.

    when designing a system its also good to keep in mind that some plants prefer nitrate and, while others prefer ammonium , mixing the two in the right balance allows for more efficient nitrogen removal from the system, there is information on which plants uptake which , corn uptakes both, is tricky to grow hydroponically but I found they keep nitrogen levels in check.

    I have a well established 30 gallon fish tank. After doing some aquaponic research, I decided to give it a try. Its a bit different that your suggestion, but same basic idea..

    I took foam board, cut holes in it (various sizes, will explain). Then used a nylon stocking to cover the board on the bottom, so my plants dont fall through, and can hopefully still push their roots through. That's my theory, Ill let you know if it works. I didn't have netting pots available, but did have nylon, and foam. In my holes I have tiny seeds (lettuce and Kale),1 baby spider plant (I pushed the roots through the netting), and 2 fresh avacado seeds (large). I did a few diffent things to see how and if things would grow.

    I wanted to know if I could start the seeds directly on the water. They are not submerged.They are sitting on top of the nylon, on top of the water.The bubbles coming from my air pump are misting them. I am hoping they will open up and give root, and that the root will push through the nylon to reach the water. If not, assuming they do start as is, I will gently pull the roots though when its time. The avacado seeds are sitting snug in the foam holes and are 1/2 way submerged, with the netting underneath. Again, hopefully the roots are able to push through the netting, but if not, when the time comes, I will push them through.

    This is just a prototype. I did not have to go to the store and buy any materials. I am currently working on a different type of Aquaponics test, Also using materials I have at home. I have a Plant trough (small plastic planter box) and made a drain pipe in the center to control water level, that drains back into the fishtank (gravity drain. It is on top of the tank). A pond pump that draws water from the tank, and pours it into the plant trough. There is gravel in the trough, and the plants will sit in the gravel (havent gotten this far yet). I have also read that you can put seeds directly into the gravel, and I plan on doing it. So basicly, the plants are fed by the fish waste (poop, and uneaten fish food), the water is filtered by the gravel, and then drains back into the tank. Good for the fish, good for the plants! And a great way to recycle water.. as opposed to 90% of water being wasted by planting in the ground.

    I will keep everyone updated. And make changes to my systems as I learn more. Again, these 2 projects cost me 0$ because I had all the materials needed already:

    Pond pump, existing fish tank, foam board, nylon stockings, gravel, plant trough, small piece of pipe (for drain), seeds

    I have an inground spa that I am not using as such and was wondering if I could apply a Hydroponics usage to it? I would like to grow some vegetables but really do not know if it will work by doing it in a spa - I do have a filtration system and blower but no heater. Any advice would be welcome!! Thank You!

    3 replies

    Hi gijoes2000, If I had an inground spa that I wasn't using I'd be looking at aquaponics - keep fish in the spa and recycle the fish water through the hydroponics beds to provide the nutrients for the plant growth and at the same time clean and aerate the water for the fish. Google aquaponics and have a look at it. This instructable is awesome and my suggestion is not to steer you away from doing it but rather to open up the possibility to you of a greater use for your redundant spa. Ceefa

    I've been looking into Aquaponics also, and that's a great idea!!! You can get free spa's on craigs list all day long if you have the means to pick one up and move it.... hell, you could build a nice landscape of rocks and plants around the spa, fish in the spa, and beds of plants all around it... a perfect circle!!! i love it!!!!!!

    I have seen this system used in a child's wading pool($6.00 at WalMart). I don't see any reason your spa wouldn't work except you will need to run it on low pressure with no filters. That would keep the fluid nicely aerated. I imagine that just running the pumps would be fairly cheap. In the winter you could run the heat too, at the lowest level. Tomatoes, especially would love that. Eggplants and peppers would also.
    Wading Pools

    I wonder why containers used in simple hydroponic system are always plastics and not transparent glass. Can I possible used transparent glass for me to view the growth of the roots?

    3 replies

    Yep, roots don't like light, and also lots of nice, warm, and nutrients-filled tap water, if exposed to light, is the perfect algae growing medium.

    From the reading I have done I have found that plant roots do not like the light and the plant will not be healthy if the roots are subjected to lots of light.

    From what I understand most people use solid containers vs transparent ones because it hinders algae growth. The algae needs sunlight to grow and if you have a solid colored container it keeps the light out. You could use a transparent container if you had a way to cover it up when you aren't looking at the roots. If you used an old fish tank for example, just find some black paper and tape it up on all sides. Then pull the front sheet off when you want to look at it.