When building hydroponic grow systems, the reservoir is one of the most important elements to consider. The reservoir is where the water and nutrients your garden needs are kept. There are many different options for your reservoir depending on your available space, how large your system is, what plants you are growing, and how much you want to spend. You may also choose whether you want a pre-made reservoir, or you want to make one yourself.
With hydroponic grow systems that require you to frequently change your nutrient solution, such as NFT systems, or are running a larger scale operation, a pre-made reservoir has its advantages. Because you are frequently changing the solution in your reservoir, you want it to be easily accessible, and able to withstand more wear and tear. Therefore, a pre-made reservoir makes sense because they are specifically designed for these scenarios. Pre-made reservoirs are made of durable materials, and do not let light in, preventing algae growth. Additionally, they are fitted with holes especially designed for hoses and pumps, making putting together your hydroponic grow system simple.
Alternatively, you can make your own reservoir. This is generally a good idea for beginners who are starting smaller gardens and are using passive systems such as the wick system. Building your own reservoir will give you a greater understanding of your hydroponic grow system than using a pre-made reservoir will.
DIY reservoirs can be made with a variety of different vessels, including large buckets, trash cans, tubs, kiddie pools, concrete troughs, or fish tanks. Regardless of what container you use, it is crucial that your reservoir be lightproof, covered, and allow you to access the nutrient solution to make any changes and check the pH balance. If the vessel you have chosen does not have a cover, you can make one using plastic sheeting or plywood.
Choosing the size
The size of your reservoir is dependent on what type of hydroponic grow system you choose to use. Systems that require more water, like aquaponics systems, will require larger reservoirs. More water efficient systems, such as aeroponics or drip systems, do not need large reservoirs. For ebb-and-flow systems, the size of the reservoir should be precisely calculated to ensure that your plants are flooded correctly. Calculate the size of your reservoir by multiplying the width and length of your growing tray by the desired depth of flooding. Multiply this number by 0.0043 to see how many gallons of water you need in your reservoir. If you buy a pre-made growing tray, the manufacturer likely has a matching reservoir, but if you are DIYing your reservoir, you will need to know how to make this calculation.
Maintaining your reservoir
To properly maintain your reservoir, flush it with water on a regular basis in order to prevent nutrient buildup, which can affect pH levels, promote algae growth, and prevent plants from absorbing nutrients properly. Also check for algae growth regularly, and scrub out any you find. Regularly check the pH levels of your solution, and adjust the nutrient levels accordingly.
The easiest way to grow hydroponically is through our smart grow room controller, Hydropods. With Hydropods, you can use your smartphone to check in with your plants from anywhere in the world, giving you maximum control over your grow environment. Shop Hydropods today!