If you’re curious about how do you aerate hydroponics, there are five methods that you can choose from. They include suspension, using a diffuser, air stone, siphon, or air gap. As this article will later discuss, it is vital to aerate the hydroponic system to provide oxygen to the roots.
The most significant risk for the plants with this limitation is as extreme as death. Studies have also shown how aeration improves the plants’ growth because of its effect on the roots. Much like the water in hydroponics, the air is a significant factor that gardeners must never overlook.
How Do You Aerate Hydroponics Correctly
The simplest way to aerate hydroponics is by suspending the plants. Instead of the traditional and popular system where you let the plants sit in water, you can consider having a vertical set-up instead. A vertical hydroponic system, in comparison, will feed the nutrient solution from the top and collect at the bottom, which then drips to the roots.
A common way to aerate hydroponics is by using an air diffuser. It may sound complicated, but a diffuser is simply a tube with holes. These holes will then be responsible for releasing air into the system.
If you’re comparing an air diffuser to an air stone, the latter’s main advantage is that it releases smaller bubbles. Their size prevents them from rising too quickly, which exposes the roots to oxygen longer.
While air stones produce larger bubbles than an air diffuser, it also has several advantages from the previous method. Air stones provide a more even air distribution since the holes have better dispensation. The disc-type air stones are also excellent if your plants have an extensive root system.
Air stones are the most affordable option for aerating hydroponics and are even easy to find. You are also likely to find a suitable size and shape for your hydroponic system. However, make sure to get those with plastic since air stones break easily.
There are other types of hydroponic systems that can benefit from an automatic siphon for aeration. For example, a flood and drain system or ebb and flow system will work best for this method. This is because a siphon will drain the hydroponic bed for you, thus exposing roots to air.
What if you’re using a Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) hydroponic system? This system does not use a substrate and relies on coating the roots with nutrient solution. An air gap in the system works best for aerating it.
It’s as straightforward as it sounds where there is an air gap between the nutrient solution and the plant’s base, and it will provide the oxygen for the plants.
How Much Air Do You Need For Hydroponics?
It’s possible to over-aerate a hydroponic system, mostly if you skipped planning. Remember that you’re only aiming to avoid being anaerobic, but you can also use the ratio below.
100 LPM for every 100-gallon reservoir
When aerating a hydroponic system, you must know how much air it needs to ensure that the system will have adequate oxygen levels. Generally, you want to pump a liter per minute of air per gallon of a nutrient solution. Use this as your guide when computing the air requirements, so if you have a 100-gallon reservoir, the air you need to pump is 100 LPM.
Importance Of Aeration In Hydroponics
One might wonder why aeration is essential in a hydroponic system, and the explanation behind this lies in the amount of oxygen that your roots will have. To prevent limitations, it’s crucial to aerate the system. What are the effects of low or lack of oxygen in hydroponics?
If the plant root suffers from low or lack of oxygen, you’ll notice that the plant starts wilting quickly. This is more obvious in certain plant types or if the location is warm with high light. If you’re using a greenhouse, you can easily detect which factor causes such signs.
Some set-ups, such as static culture systems, have low oxygen available since the plant roots are in the water permanently. This makes the hydroponic system problematic for larger crops since they have higher nutrient requirements, and oxygen limitation becomes detrimental. To solve this dilemma, you can use an aeroponic system that provides both nutrients and oxygen requirements.
Problems in water and mineral absorption or toxin accumulation
Overall, it’s vital to keep the hydroponic system’s oxygenation potential in check if you don’t want plant growth problems. The lack or insufficiency of oxygen even affects the roots’ permeability, leading to toxins accumulating to water and mineral absorption issues.
Both static and dynamic set-ups require such diligence, and you can do so by monitoring the quantity and frequency of aerators or the cultivation media’s drainage and irrigation.
The roots of your plants in hydroponics must receive oxygen optimally. But how do you aerate hydroponics? You can choose from five methods depending on which is suitable for your set-up.
You can create a vertical system and suspend the plants or choose from using a diffuser or air stone. If you have a flood and drain system, you can opt for an automatic siphon for aeration. On the other hand, an air gap should provide the roots of oxygen in NFT systems.