Water For Your Hydroponic Garden

hydroponic water storageWater is the essential ingredient for any garden. Most will think that water straight from the tap will be ok for their needs, why not that’s how’ve water house plants and such. Well it will probably work but its not the best for your hydroponic plants. Most local water applies add chlorine to the water and it will have other sediments as well.

Reverse Osmosis Water

hydroponic water storage

hydroponic water storage

The holy grail in hydroponics is RO water. A RO system will leave your water sediment and chemical free, the best for your plants. Personally though I have a few problems with RO water so I may piss off a few hydro growers here.

One is cost. The filter system itself will run you at least $200 (or a lot more for a good one) if you buy it new. Then there are replacement filters as well which can be $50-100 for the main filter $15-30 for prefilters) to keep your system going.

Second is the waste. Home systems only recover about 5-15% of the water. That means for every 5 gallons you make you are wasting 20-90 gallons. Now one of the reasons I got into hydroponics was that it uses less water than soil gardens, I was not looking to increase my water bill, and for those that are more of an environmentalist this seems a big waste.

My Solution

hydroponic water storage

Connecting the Drums

Now I do need lots of dechloronated water readily available. I good method for removing chlorine is to leave the water out for 24-48 hours and better yet add an air stone to it. So I built a water storage unit in the back of the green house.

It was pretty simple to do and basically inexpensive (less than $100). I found a local dealer in used food grade drums, sddrums.com, that had 55gal drums for only $20 each. You may be able to find them free in your area from large restaurants or car washes but I was happy to pay for them. After I built a stand to get them about 2′ off the ground I connected the drums together on the bottoms with 3/4″ PVC. This same pipe also leads to a ball valve so I could of course access the water.

hydroponic water storage filter

hydroponic water storage filter

To fill the drums I did get an inexpensive sediment filter and connected it to one of the caps with a 1/2″ tube. When I want to fill I connect the hose to the filter and fill away, takes about 30 mins or so to fill 3 of these drums (165 gallons). The filter will remove some of the sediments (I may add another filter later) and the cartridges last 6 months under normal household use so longer this way, as well as naturally dechloronating.

I am looking at doing a few upgrades to make life a bit easier (I’m all about making my life easy). First I want to pipe the fill section directly into my out door water tap. Then I won’t have to drag the hose around and connect/disconnect. Next I want to pipe the out flow directly into the greenhouse and have a quick connect for a small hose. Carrying buckets back and forth is hard on the back. I would also like to get a flow meter on the input and one on the output to monitor water usage.

We dont get a lot of rain here but by next winter I want to hook some more drums up to catch rain water off the roof as well.


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