Update: Do NOT use aluminum for the piping as I have. Apparently aluminum will release toxins in the water which will build up in your body. There are also reports of plants dying due to aluminum exposure. I’ll be replacing the aluminum pipes with plastic as soon as possible.
The construction part is finally complete! It turned out as good as I hoped, and much better than I expected!
Here are the first shots. I only have some tiny little shoots in there, but you’ll need to use your imagination on what it’ll look like in the spring. The rockwool needs to be cleaned up a bit and properly covered with pebbles.
Part list (total cost ~100 euros):
- 4 Plastic orchid pots. These are made of Polypropylene, which is (afaik) safe to use with food. The pots also have an inward dent in the bottom, so they will never drain completely. I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Be careful when drilling plastic. I managed to break one pot by using too much pressure. (2 euros/pot at Bauhaus)
- 1 Large floor flower pot. This is the same brand as the orchid pots so the color matches perfectly. (25 e at Bauhaus)
- 1 Inner pot. The inner pot is 22 cm tall, so below it lies my actual reservoir. The volume is somewhere around 5-10 liters. (15e at Bauhaus)
- 2 meters of
aluminumplastic pipe, 6 mm diameter. One meter for drip pipes and another for the air lift.
- Two meters of aluminum strip. Mine is about 12mm wide and 2mm thick. I wouldn’t go any thinner than 2mm, since the rigidity of the column would likely suffer. (4 euros/meter at Bauhaus)
- 4 gaskets for sealing the drip pipes. The ones I got seem to do the job pretty well: 17mm outer diameter, 5mm inner diameter, 4mm thick. (around 2 euros for a 4-pack)
- M3 Nuts, washers and screws (or bolts) for attaching the pots to the aluminum strip. (Less than 1e total)
- Sera Air 275R Plus air pump with adjustable air flow and two outlets. Came with two non-return valves. (28 euros at a local aquarium store)
- 6mm “colorless” air hose. It’s possible to stretch this over the aluminum pipe using small pliers. (2 euros / meter at a local aquarium store)
- Needle for the airlift (3e at Bauhaus)
Here’s an additional picture to better explain how this reservoir works. A company called Elho makes these pots. The outer pot is perfect for the reservoir, and the inner pot is good for a bunch of plants.