Running an advanced hydroponic system such as the Under Current requires additional accessories to maximize the potential a garden can offer. Ensuring your garden has the ideal conditions it needs to produce can be made easier with these required accessories. In our latest Growers Blog, you will find out how best to utilize these accessories to work for your garden.
Utilizing a water chiller when running the Under Current system is crucial to the success of your garden. The RDWC technology the Under Current system employs submerges much of the plants roots structure within the nutrient solution. The nutrient solution becomes the plants media. This fact requires ideal root zone conditions to be provided to ensure plants stay healthy and produce to their maximum potential. Ideal root zone conditions begin with optimal temperatures (65°-70°). Employing a water chiller in your garden is the most effective way of providing the correct roots zone temperatures your plants require.
The highest levels of dissolved oxygen are only accessible when utilizing cool solution temperatures. As solution temperatures rise, its ability to hold dissolved oxygen decreases. This warm, low oxygen environment also provides the ideal conditions for dangerous pathogens, such as root rot (Pythium), to take ahold of your garden.
Water chillers can be directly intergraded into the Under Current systems circulation process. As nutrient solution circulates throughout the system, it passes through the water chiller, where it is cooled by coils to preset temperatures. The cooled solution is then pumped into the epicenter and back into the recirculation process.
When sizing a water chiller for your Under Current system, use the recommended water chiller size on your systems product page. As a rule, it is recommended to choose a water chiller that can handle an additional 20% capacity of your total system volume to make up for any performance loss. Much like all grow room equipment, water chillers create heat. For this reason, it is also recommended to place water chillers outside the grow room, or to exhaust the heat created outside of the grow room.
Meter: ppm/EC, temperature, & pH
Growing in an advanced system such as the Under Current requires very specific inputs. The high levels of dissolved oxygen the Under Current system provides supercharges plant nutrient uptake. As a result, less nutrient inputs are required. For this reason, solution ppm/EC, temperature, and pH must be precisely controlled.
Meters offer this precise measurement control. They are an invaluable piece of equipment that can assist growers in monitoring their plants environment. Utilizing a meter will also assist in documenting grow room conditions and making any necessary adjustments to improve plant performance. The Under Current system was designed to be used in conjunction with meters and automation equipment, taking much of the manual labor associated with media gardens out of the equation. Metering systems are the first step to less labor and higher yields.
Current Culture H2O recommends utilizing a quality meter, such as the Guardian line of meters from Blue Lab. Their all in one ppm/EC, temperature, and pH meters offer growers the information they need to precisely control solution conditions. Probes are placed directly into the epicenter module and give real-time information on roots zone conditions. When used alongside dosing equipment, the Under Current system can be completely automated.
Top-off reservoirs are essential in ensuring the Under Current system performs correctly for your garden. Much like the above-mentioned equipment, the top-off reservoir performs the very important function of ensuring the correct conditions are being provided to the plants roots zone.
The top-off reservoir is a separate container that stores nutrient solution and fresh water for your Under Current system. It is directly connected to the epicenter and its flow rates are controlled by the epicenter float valve. As plants uptake nutrient solution, the top-off reservoir works with the float valve to replace this lost solution, maintaining set solution levels.
Top-off reservoirs maintain accurate and essential solution levels throughout the course of the growing cycle, ensuring plants are never left without the solution levels they require. Solution level fluctuations will cause undue stress, poor plant performance, and/or even complete crop loss. Another benefit of top-off reservoirs is that they also allow for easy nutrient solution change outs, reducing the labor required in maintaining the Under Current system.
When sizing for a top-off reservoir, ensure the reservoir size is equal to the total system volume, plus 10% extra.
- If total system volume is 100 gallons, the top-off reservoir should be 110 gallons minimum.
Choose a top-off reservoir that works for your growing space. The Aquifer brand of premium reservoirs work great with the Under Current systems and come in multiple sizes to fit your growing space.
Connect the top-off reservoir to the epicenter through the float valve and set to desired solution level. This set level will automatically be maintained. Ensure top-off reservoir is placed on a flat, stable surface to prevent any potential for tipping or spilling. For best results, place the top-off reservoir in an elevated position above the system solution level, to aid in draining and gravity fed top-off.
Filling, mixing and pH balancing your nutrient solution can all be done in the top-off reservoir. We recommend the top-off reservoir solution strength be set one week ahead of the Cultured Solutions Feeding Schedule. As nutrient solution is used up, the next week’s solution is slowly added to the Under Current system. This gives your plants the smoothest transition possible to changes in nutrient strength and/or additives.
In addition, top-off reservoir can be used as fresh water storage when used with metering and dosing equipment for full automation of the Under Current system.
Although not required like the above-mentioned equipment, there are several accessories that could be of use to those running the Under Current system to maximize their gardens potential.
Whether growing trees or using sea-of-green techniques, the CCH2O Module Cage offers sturdy support and excellent anchor points for training plants as they enter their flowering stages. The modular design of the CCH2O Module Cages allows for use with established plants and easy break down when harvest time comes around. The CCH2O Module Cage comes in several sizes that can fit the UC 8, 13 and PRO systems.
The CCH2O UC Parkas are a great way of enhancing the chilling efficiency of water chillers. Made of 96% reflective material the UC Parkas are capable of reflecting heat, while also retaining cool nutrient solution temperatures. Simply insert onto the Under Current system modules and leave for the entirety of the growing cycle. The CCH2O UC parks are available in sizes to fit the UC 8, 13 and PRO systems.
Utilizing the above required accessories in your garden will ensure smooth operation of the Under Current system. These important accessories support the operational functions of the Under Current system, while also aiding growers. When correctly utilized these accessories will work with the Under Current system to have you on your best harvest yet!