Mini NFT Hydroponic System

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How to make a miniaturized NFT Hydroponic System!

Why?
Well, most systems take up large amounts of space easily making hydroponics out of reach for people with limited space. Hydroponic systems can also be expensive for the novice user.

Step 1: What Is NFT Hydroponics?

What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in a nutrient solution rather than in soil.*

What is NFT Hydroponics?!
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) is a method used for cultivating plants. It consists of a flow of nutrient solution over the plant roots. The roots and solution are inside a slightly sloped chamber. The solution finally gets recycled through the system in a reservoir.
NFT is also considered one of the most productive methods today however, can make plants extra vulnerable during periods of failure.

*Definition from Dictionary.com

Step 2: Materials

Materials: everything in total cost me about <70 USD.

Materials:
- 2' (2" PVC Pipe)
- 3 (2" PVC 90* Elbows)
- 3 (3" PVC Couplers)
- 3 (2"->1" 'Coupler')
- 1 (2" PVC Cross)
- 1 (2" PVC T)
- 2' (0.75" PVC Pipe)
- 3 0.75" PVC 90* Elbow)
- 1 (0.75" PVC Cross)
- 1 (0.75" PVC T)
- 15' (3/8" Vinyl Tubing)
- 1 (3/8" PVC Barbed Cross)
- ~3 (6" Zip Ties)
- 1 (PVC Glue)
- 1 (Water Pump)

Tools:
- (1.5" Drill Bit)
- (3/8" Drill Bit)
- (PVC Cutter)
- (Sand Paper)
- (Ruler)
- (Marker)

Step 3: Construction

Construction consists mostly of cutting lengths of PVC, Fitting everything together and Drilling.

Originally, I had the instructions written out but they didn't get saved. Then I thought to myself that written instructions for this kind of work may be difficult so instead I drew up some schematics. I included the schematic for the fittings and how everything fits together and where to drill the holes. please refer to the other images of the system if needed.

Note about the holes: The 1.5" holes are where the pots would be and the plants are. They should be spaced evenly on the 2" pipe. The 3/8" holes are for the vinyl tubing. You may have to scrape along the edges of the holes to make a tight fit with the tubes. I recommend=d sanding down the 1.5" holes.

Step 4: Set-Up

Insert the tubes into the 3/8" holes and direct them into their respective 2" section. zip tie the tubes onto the PVC pipe and connect to the 3/8" barbed cross.

Step 5: Troubles

-I haven't had the opportunity to try out my system yet but I do know that once I do, I should expect lots of growth. -I also know that since this is a small version and albeit, not as great as a bigger one, you cannot place plants into all 12 holes. the roots would grow long and clog it up.

-This size is perfect for a 4 bulb, 2' T5 light setup overhead.

-Enjoy!

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5 Discussions

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jjpbj21

1 year ago

how long should you do a timer? or should it be continuous flow of water?

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Roentgenium111

2 years ago

@Rolando Garza Sounds like a plan! I did also purposely not glue some of the pipes so you can clean out the system. I wish you luck!

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RossH12

2 years ago

Be interested in hearing how this works - looks like a good plan, altho until the root system is established you may have a problem getting water to the plants. And I think the plant holes are sized for the Aerogarden pods. I'm wondering if it is capable of 'scaling up' on pipe size for larger plants - I'm thinking tomatoes.

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Rolando GarzaRossH12

Reply 2 years ago

In my experience, plant will only need to grow root enough to support the plant...The nutrients are carried directly to the roots, and also why they are so succeptable to sys failure, because the plant depends on that...It probably only has enough root for a third of the green material, it's supportin' if in soil...

My favorite medium is red lava rock, and I'm wonderin' if I can take this design, and fill the tubes with rock, and use the holes for plants, and to exclude light to keep down algae...Sounds like a new experiment, for me... I can make this as big as I want it...

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Roentgenium111

2 years ago

You can definitely scale up. I couldn't because price does tend to go up.