I realized I can save a lot of time just investing in the right equipment, so I got a larger water pump that was available at the Aquarium shop: Eheim Universal Pump – 1260 (universal 2400). It can pump all the way to the ceiling. I put a flow control valve on it and timer. I am now cascading water to 10 plants and can start adding more. Tomatoes, basil, and herbs, and below in Direct Water Culture I have my loose leaf lettuces in easy to reach and harvest trays. I employed the small air pump on these.
Other things I learned are:
- No spray paint. It flakes off into toxic little bits everywhere as you handle the bottles and you can’t see what is going on with the flow when you are installing it. I will probably wrap the bottles with fabric.
- Two openings in the bottles instead of one makes it easier to handle the plants.
- Coco grow loose medium can clog up the works. Best to use a self-contained root cube or make the drip openings larger.
- For the bead chain, I just use one long piece criss-crossing through each bottle, and put the fastener at the bottom for easy adjustments.
- The seeds prefer to get started in a gently Direct Water Culture system instead of getting dripped on. I think some of my seeds got washed out initially. Now I’m starting them in the window trays.
- Bottom spouts should be large to allow for maximum flow out and back into the reservoir. I have eliminated the need for the bottom reservoir bottles using the 1/2 tubing.
It’s a little noisy when it starts up every 15 minutes and sounds like it’s raining in here, so I’m looking for ways to quiet it down. More photos