First, some background. This is my first window farm. I have no prior experience in hydroponics, but have grown many aquatic plants. I started making a DIY window farm following the directions of a single-column, 5-bottle hanging V3 window farm. I found that the bicycle needle airlift method just was not as reliable as I had hoped. It would sometimes work, and other times, I would find it not working at all. I researched the site and found that others had set up a t-valve airlift, and it seemed like the way to go. The other guides did not seem to include all the information I needed to get it set up for myself, so I decided to try it anyway. Below, I’ll tell you what I used. I will also say that if this method seems ridiculously simple and it looks like it’s so short that I might be missing something, it’s because it is ridiculously simple and I’m not missing anything… I think.
Parts needed (in addition to the other parts used for the V3 hanging window farm):
Standard aquarium airline. I went with black silicone, because it looks nice and will stop algae from growing in the airline. I bought 25 feet, because it was cheap and I will probably use more when I add columns later.
T-valve. I purchased a metal t-valve from PetSmart. They have plastic ones for even cheaper.
Silicone glue. You want to make sure you get silicone glue that is 100% silicone. I got mine at a hardware store, but they also often carry this at pet stores/fish stores (for aquarium repair). The 100% silicone will ensure that there are no additives that could leak into your water and plants.
Steps taken to add the t-valve airlift to my V3 hanging window farm:
- To make the sport cap airline connector, first insert 1″ of airline into the sport cap of the water reservoir.
- Inside the sport cap, use the silicone glue to glue the airline in place. Make sure to form a complete seal. It must cure for at least 3 hours before you can get it wet. I recommend you let it cure for 24 hours before doing anything else with it.
- Measure/cut 1.5 feet of airline from the cap, and connect this to one of the two straight ends of the t-valve.
- Connect your airline from your air pump to the perpendicular end of the t-valve.
- Using your remaining airline, connect one end to the remaining straight end of the t-valve.
- Run this airline to the top of your window farm and into the top bottle. Secure using zip ties or what ever you prefer.