Keeping a hydroponic reservoir cool can be a challenge for many gardeners. After all, the temperature that you use to water the plant can both improve the condition of your crops and harm them. Today we are going to talk about how you can control the temperature of the water in the tank and how to choose the best water temperature for plants. But first, let’s take a look at what hydroponics is.
Hydroponics is a relatively new technology for growing crops without soil. The point is to submerge the root system in a nutrient solution or water. In recent years, the method has gradually gained popularity all over the world. Hydroponic systems help solve the problem of lack of quality land. Structures of various sizes accelerate growth and improve the quality of the crops grown.
The structure looks like a container with a nutrient liquid, on top of which a grate or foam plastic with holes for seedlings is installed. A wet substrate (expanded clay, peat, coconut fiber, etc.) is distributed on the grate, where seeds are poured. The substrate is chosen such that it does not support the growth of microorganisms, mold, and bacteria. If the foam is used instead of a lattice, the substrate is not needed: the roots of the seedlings are lowered into the holes so that they touch the water.
Principal Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroponics
Taking into account the feedback from experienced farmers from different countries, who have chosen hydroponic cultivation methods among other methods of cultivation, the system has the following advantages:
- Valuable land is saved. When crops are grown hydroponically, there is no need to waste valuable fertile land, they can be used for more whimsical plants.
- Saving space. The structure is being erected in several tiers, therefore, it is possible to grow 5-10 times more crops of agricultural products.
- No watering is required, as the system receives water with the necessary nutrients.
- The products are clean, without lumps of stuck earth. The harvested crop can be eaten immediately.
- Insects and rodents cannot get to the harvest.
- Crops are grown year-round with the condition of installing a microclimate and heating system.
- There is no need to remove weeds and weed beds.
Besides the advantages, the hydroponics system has disadvantages:
- Pesticides and nitrates. Some farmers are hesitant to apply the new technology due to the need to add chemicals to the nutrient solution. In rare cases, cultivation is carried out on water and minerals, but the quality and volume of the crop are reduced. However, if you are afraid of pesticides in hydroponics, you should also classically treat growing vegetables and herbs.
- Although during the operation of the system the costs are not so high, the initial stage requires considerable investment.
How Does Temperature Affect Root Growth and Development?
The temperature of the water plays a very important role. The higher the temperature, the lower the oxygen content in the solution, and oxygen is quite important for the plant. An increase in temperature can lead to an acceleration of metabolism, consequently, the need for oxygen in the root system increases, where this compound is rapidly absorbed. This is where the hydroponic system can show itself, namely what it is capable of.
You can measure the temperature with various devices, both conventional, such as digital thermometers, hygrometers, and more complex and advanced climate control units.
At high temperatures in the soil, plants usually close their stomata to conserve water. At the same time, they stop growing. In hydroponics, if there is a normal water circulation that maintains high oxygen levels, plants can continue to grow at higher temperatures than they would if they were in the soil.
Hydroponics Water Temperature
The ideal water temp for hydroponics is about 22 degrees Celsius. This is because plant roots are very sensitive to low and high temperatures which can lead to stress and damage. At 22 degrees Celsius, the nutrient solution contains enough oxygen for the roots (and their pump) to function properly. At a lower temperature, the pump mechanism may not work correctly, which can lead to bad consequences. Higher temperatures are also not very favorable: the roots can absorb less oxygen from the nutrient solution. In addition, various diseases and bad fungi are more likely to develop precisely when the temperature of the nutrient solution is too high.
How Can I Cool My Hydroponic Reservoir?
There are many good ways to cool a reservoir that vary in both cost and complexity of tasks that they can handle daily. Whichever you choose, in the summer you need to step up your cooling efforts, especially if you are using a small tank system.
Buy a Chiller
Perhaps the best (and the most expensive) way is to buy a chiller. These are electrical units that operate underwater. They mainly consist of compressor coils, fans, and a refrigeration line. To cool the water even faster, make sure you circulate the formula.
Many commercial growers use a 1.5–2 horsepower chiller for most hydroponic cooling tasks and then manage the rest individually.
We recommend that you take a closer look at the following options:
And if you want to save some money and are willing to spend your time, then you can also make a homemade water chiller.
Paint the Tank
Dark colors are known to absorb more heat. If this is your case, then you can paint it a lighter color, preferably white. This can help the reservoir to reflect some heat, and therefore lower the hydroponic water temp by a couple of degrees.
Keep It in the Shade
While this advice is pretty obvious, it is overlooked by some. If you want to minimize the amount of heat that is transferred to your nutrient solution, then reduce the amount of light falling on the reservoir.
Bury the Reservoir in the Ground
If you are growing crops outdoors, then you can bury the reservoir. The cool dark environment below the soil surface may help you to keep water at a constant cool temperature. This is a pretty good method, but be prepared to put in some effort.
A simple and inexpensive solution to control hydroponic temperature is to have several ice packs and add one to the reservoir every 15-20 minutes until you reach the desired temperature. But keep in mind that this method is time-consuming, especially when temperatures are high. Moreover, it is not suitable for large gardens.
Increase the Size of Your Reservoir
Many hydroponic growers use smaller tanks that are extremely susceptible to temperature fluctuations. If you purchase a larger tank, it would be much easier to establish stable climate control in hydroponics. At the same time, you do not need to build something or purchase any cooling materials. If you are unsure of which one to choose, we recommend that you take a closer look at this 75-gallon monster. As a nice bonus, your ppm and pH would be more stable due to the larger volume of water.
Can Tap Water Be Used?
Most growers use tap water a lot. But this water is often too cold for your plants. Therefore, it is important to always ensure that the water is heated to the correct temperature. It may not be difficult to do this, and a simple teapot could help you. But this is a rather inconvenient way, since the water can cool down in half an hour or an hour.
Thus, if you want to grow a plant and at the same time achieve its maximum genetic potential, then we strongly advise you to monitor the temperature regime, but also do not forget about the other components. And hydroponics heating could become your faithful assistant in this matter. We wish you great and healthy harvests!
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