DIY HYDROPONIC SYSTEMS

Amazing Aeroponics System Designs

Aeroponics system

If you’ve read up on fogponics, you’re probably familiar with the idea of coating roots in water without actually submerging them.  Whereas fogponics systems use fog, you’ll see that aeroponics uses spraying systems to apply water to the roots.  The overlap will certainly exist, but there are some intricacies to pay attention to.

 

One of the biggest differences you’ll notice is that a lot more aeroponics systems use a timer in conjunction with the nutrient pump.  The second really important thing to remember with aeroponics systems is that you’ll need to select and install nozzles to spray the water in your systems.  Working with these two key system components will be very important for your system design and selecting what is right for your system type and size must be taken into consideration.

 

 

High-Pressure Aeroponics System Designs

 

Overview

One of the more simple systems that you can work with is a high-pressure aeroponics system.  The heart of this system is a single reservoir with plants placed into a lid.  An external pump is used to create a high-powered force.  The reservoir bottom feeds a nutrient solution into a pump that pushes the water up into a line of spray nozzles aiming at the exposed roots of the plants.  The water then trickles down back into the bottom of the reservoir to start the journey again.  A timer can be added to the external pump at any time if you want it.

 

When picking your pump, be sure to check what PSI is appropriate for your system design.  For a high-pressure system, you might want a PSI of 60+.  To put that into perspective, most pipes around your home will cap out at about 80 PSI.  Many nozzles and pipes will have recommended PSI ranges, but care should always be taken with a new system.  Also, remember that high-intensity pumps have a tendency to be a bit loud.  For more tips on dealing with noise, check out our guide on… air pumps (which tend to be even louder).

 

Despite the simplicity of this sort of design, it can be quite difficult to make this kind of system by yourself.  The hole that leads to the pump cannot leak, so you must have proper cutting and patching skills to ensure that the hole won’t leak out the water in the bottom of your reservoir and leave your plants’ roots completely dry.  Care must be taken in the planning stages of making this build, too!  Before making any cuts you should first figure out where the spray nozzles will go so you can align the nozzles and plant roots properly.

 

Budget

$100+

Build Time

2 days

System Size

8-16 plants depending on the size of your container

Area

From 2 foot long X 4 foot wide X 4 foot tall (size of the reservoir)

Pros

Low upkeep.  External pump easily replaceable / removable.

Cons

Difficult to DIY.  Possibility of leaking.  Small tubing can clog easily.

 

 

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Aeroponics Designs

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Low-Pressure Aeroponics System Designs

 

Overview

Like the above, this aeroponics system uses nozzles and pumps.  Yet, conversely, as a lower pressure pump is utilized, this system must bring the water up from the reservoir before spraying.  Nozzles that are fed water from a low-pressure pump spray water down onto the roots in a way akin to rain.  The result is a very natural feeling water delivery system.  The water that falls onto the roots then drips down into a pan and is fed back into the main nutrient reservoir to be used again.

 

One great thing about this system is that, once it is up and running, you can scale it by simply integrating it with other pumps.  The other great thing about this system is that you don’t have to worry so intently about bits of Hydroton or other media coming out of net pots and clogging up your whole system – just install some cleanable meshes over your plant holder drains and check weekly.

 

The next bit of info to think about with this system is that you can use a simpler, cheaper, in-the-water pump in your system because you won’t be taking away from space for roots to grow.  The pump itself won’t be so intense, so you can rest assured you won’t be keeping yourself up at night by having a system such as this one near your home.  As a result, this system style can be more readily built by the average consumer.

 

If you’re using multiple plant holders, be absolutely sure to get a timer for each one and set them up so each plant holder is watered at a different time.  This will absolutely reduce work as you can use less water and waste fewer nutrients in your nutrient reservoir if that same nutritional load is traveling to each plant holder in your system at different times!

Misters
Aeroponic Low-Pressure Water Misters, Source

 

Budget 

$75+

Build Time 

weekend/week

System Size 

16+ depending on the number of plant holders

Area

2 foot long X 4 foot wide X 4 foot tall for reservoir plus plant holders

Pros

Cheap in-the-water pumps.  Easily scalable.  Economical nutrient usage.

Cons

Requires cutting.  Electrical usage.  Must use timers for larger builds.

 

 

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Aeroponics Designs

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Vertical Aeroponics System 

 

The Pyramid or A-Frame Aeroponics System 

This aeroponics system design uses the geometrical advantages of sloped shapes to take advantage of.  When spray nozzles are set to spray in a wide area, there is a natural cone shape that comes out of the hose.  Shooting this cone up onto a flatbed of plants only results in a circular coverage pattern.  Using a pyramid shape for your external holder allows you to provide maximum coverage with fewer nozzles.  Additionally, you’ll be able to conserve water in a more efficient manner with this type of system.

 

Plant holders inserted into the sloped sides of the pyramid might have plants in them that grow in a slightly slanted manner.  For plants that are meant to exist for their entire lives in the aeroponics system, this is fine!  If you are planning on transferring plants later, be sure to position them at the end of the holder so they have a clear upward growth path.  Alternatively, reserve your best to-be-transplanted plants for the top of the pyramid since there is no chance of stem bending there.

 

Pyramid--Aeroponics
Pyramid Aeroponics, Source

 

Budget

$150+

Build Time

weekend project

System Size

 32+

Area

4 foot long X 4 foot wide X 4-foot tall plus

Pros

Water conservation.  Economical nutrient usage.

Cons

Requires cutting.  Not scalable.

 

 

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The Garden Tower Aeroponics System 

This aeroponics system design uses the geometrical advantages of sloped shapes to take advantage of.  When spray nozzles are set to spray in a wide area, there is a natural cone shape that comes out of the hose.  Shooting this cone up onto a flatbed of plants only results in a circular coverage pattern.  Using a pyramid shape for your external holder allows you to provide maximum coverage with fewer nozzles.  Additionally, you’ll be able to conserve water in a more efficient manner with this type of system.

 

Plant holders inserted into the sloped sides of the pyramid might have plants in them that grow in a slightly slanted manner.  For plants that are meant to exist for their entire lives in the aeroponics system, this is fine!  If you are planning on transferring plants later, be sure to position them at the end of the holder so they have a clear upward growth path.  Alternatively, reserve your best to-be-transplanted plants for the top of the pyramid since there is no chance of stem bending there.

DIY garden tower
Aeroponics Garden tower, Source

 

Budget

$150+

Build Time

weekend project

System Size

 32+

Area

4 foot long X 4 foot wide X 4-foot tall plus

Pros

Water conservation.  Economical nutrient usage.

Cons

Requires cutting.  Not scalable.

 

 

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Aeroponics Designs

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Conclusion

When it comes time to choose an aeroponics system design there is an incredible amount of variety in what you can choose.  These designs are a great place to start and can all be modded to your heart’s desire.  Maybe you really like the idea of feeding water to multiple stations from a single reservoir, but really want a few of the pyramid systems in your build – go for it!  A lot of experimentation and tweaking for your individual needs is absolutely encouraged.

 

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Johnny

Johnny

John Alexander is a writer, English language educator, and plant enthusiast. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, he began working in labs filled with plants - identifying their seeds, counting their pollen, extracting their DNA, and (of course!) watering them as needed. Nowadays, he is focused more on words and language, whether that be teaching or writing.