How Do You Aerate Hydroponics. The Best 5 Ways

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. The Best 5 Ways

How Do You Aerate Hydroponics Correctly

 

Suspension 

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. 

 

Air diffuser

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.

 

Air stone

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. 

 

Siphon

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. 

 

Air gap

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?

 

Wilting

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.

 

Conclusion

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. 

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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