Questions regarding hydroponic systems.
What is a good inexpensive hydroponic system for the first time user?
Our WaterFarm, PowerGrower and EcoGrower are all good systems for a beginner. Nearly any plant can be grown, and if you later decide you would like to have some additional units, they can be linked together and expanded with our controller.
What is the best system for starting cuttings?
Our RainForest Series does an excellent job for starting cuttings.
Which is the best system for growing smaller plants?
You can use any of our systems, though the AeroFlo produces the most rapid and dramatic results.
What is the best system for growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers?
These plants have longer growing periods and need enough space for adequate root development. Our best systems for these crops are the WaterFarm, PowerGrower, EuroGrower and the EcoGrower.
Can I turn my system off at night to conserve energy? Should I run it continuously or cycle it at intervals?
All systems can be left off at night once the plant roots are long enough to reach the nutrient level in the reservoir. Longer cycles depend on the type of system you have:
AeroFlo systems The cycle can be set to run continuously during the day and coming on once or twice during the night on 15 to 30 minute intervals.
EuroGrower systems Set the timer to come on for .5 hour/ off 1.5 hour during the daylight cycle once the plant has a good root system. These systems use coco peat which holds moisture and nutrients in the root zone.
WaterFarm, PowerGrower and EcoGrower systems Set the timer to come on for 1 hour/ off 1 hour during the daylight cycle.
RainForest systems These units are run continuously, especially if you are trying to root cuttings. If you are growing plants, they can be shut off in the evening once the roots have grown into the nutrient solution.
All of our systems can be run 24 hours a day 7 days a week for optimal results, power conservation is the only reason to cycle watering.
How does the Dutch Pot system differ from the WaterFarm system?
Each WaterFarm, PowerGrower and EcoGrower can be used as a stand alone system, or several can be connected together. There is a growing chamber and a nutrient reservoir for each unit. They use an air pump to deliver nutrients and have expanded clay pebbles as the medium.
The Dutch Pot (EuroGrower) is a single chambered system which is drip fed by an in-line pump. Drainage from all units returns to a single reservoir. In the Dutch Pot, smaller grade media such as coco peat may be used without fear of particles entering the nutrient stream and clogging pumps.
What is the Controller, and what does it do?
The Controller is a large external nutrient reservoir, which can supply make-up nutrient to as many as eight WaterFarm or PowerGrower modules. It provides an additional supply of nutrient solution as the plants move into their rapid growth phase. The larger Texas Controller can be used to supply up to 12 WaterFarm or PowerGrower modules, or it can be used in conjunction with the RainForest or EcoGrower systems.
Can you recommend a simple solution for keeping growing media out of drains?
The General Hydroponics' CocoTek Mats were designed for this purpose. The CocoTek mats can be cut to fit any application and come in two sizes, 4'x8'x1/4" or 4'x4'x1".
The hoses on my WaterFarm have gotten dirty. What's the best way to unclog the system?
The easiest way to clean the drip ring and pumping column is to soak the pieces in hot water. You can add 1 Tablespoon bleach per Gallon as a cleanser. After soaking, plug one end of the drip ring and run hot water into the other end. This forces water out of the drip holes and removes any deposits. Some people keep an extra pumping column and drip ring that they swap out during every cleaning. The used pieces are soaked in bleach solution, rinsed thoroughly, dried, and stored for the next cleaning.
Why is my WaterFarm or PowerGrower not dripping from the drip ring?
Make sure the y connector for the 1/4" air line and 1/2" drip line (both are connected by the y connector and are the pumping column assembly) is on the bottom of the reservoir in the nutrient solution. There should be a 1/2" drip line to connect the drip ring tee to and a 1/4" air line to connect the 1/4" air line to coming out of the top of the pumping column support tube. If this part is correctly installed, check the drip ring, pumping column and y connector for debris and clogging. If the system still will not drip correctly call or email GH.
How do I deal with algae build up in my hydroponic system?
The best method is prevention. If you keep the solution away from light, i.e. keep the lids closed and all openings sealed, you can prevent algae from growing. If you already have algae in the system you can remove it with a brush, or use hydrogen peroxide (3ml of 3% H2O2 per gallon of solution) to remove it. If there are particles floating in the nutrient solution, be sure to flush the reservoir and growing chamber with ample water, and then start with a new batch of nutrient. If the problem is severe, make sure you have the algae completely flushed out to avoid the risk of clogging some of the flow lines in the system.
Is there a way to get parts for old GH systems?
Please first check our parts and supplies page to see if we have your replacement part listed. If you do not see the parts you are looking for please email or call General Hydroponics with the specific parts needed or a description of the parts and GH will let you know if the parts are available and a give you price if available.
Are the plastic components used in General Hydroponics systems food grade safe?
Yes, all of our plastic parts are food grade safe. No chemicals will leach into growing plants. The plastics are also UV stable under artificial lighting and natural lighting.
Do I need a humidome for my RainForest system?
No. The Vortex sprayer, included in the RainForest 66, 318 and 236, supplies an ultra fine mist of water, oxygen and nutrient in just the right amount for cuttings to survive until roots form. As with the Vortex sprayer, the pumping set up used in the RainForest 36 will also supply the right amount of water, oxygen and nutrient for cuttings to survive until roots form, no humidome is needed.