Growing hydroponics will require all sorts of equipment and an air pump is one of them. The function of the air pump is to deliver adequate oxygen to the plants so they do not experience root rot or die of oxygen deprivation. However, an air pump is not a necessity when it comes to growing hydroponic plants.
Hydroponics without Pump: How Possible?
In fact, the air pump could be skipped entirely for a more natural setting which allows the plants to get enough oxygen and grow as they should. In this article, we have provided a guide on how you can set up your hydroponic system without using an air pump.
Hydroponic Systems That Do Not Require An Air Pump
With most hydroponic systems using methods, you won’t need to use an air pump to allow oxygen to reach the plant’s root system.
1. Ebb and flow
Ebb and flow or the Flood and Drain system are among the most effective hydroponics systems that don’t really require an air pump. In this system, the plants sit in a large container filled with growing medium. The tray is flooded with nutrients so that the plants can be watered and after that, the tray would be emptied this way, the plants get the oxygen they need from the air.
While there is no air pump required, this system would need a water pump to push the water from the tank into the grow tray above to give the plants the nutrients they need. The time between the floods is when the roots can take in oxygen.
2. Vertical hydroponic systems
Vertical hydroponic systems plants give plants full access to oxygen making an air pump unnecessary. In this system, the plants are suspended in the air, where they can get all the oxygen they need. The nutrient solution is then dripped through a tube that falls on the roots of all the plants giving them nourishment.
3. Aeroponic systems
The aeroponic system is similar to the vertical system. Here, the plants are suspended in the air and the nutrient solution is sprayed from below to the roots and then falls back into the reservoir.
4. Kratky hydroponics
The Kratky hydroponic system is a passive system in which the grower won’t have to do any more work after the system is set up. The system involves filling the reservoir with a nutrient solution with the roots of the plant-touching the top. The plants will absorb the nutrient solution and the roots will grow into the solution.
As the roots grow, the level in the reservoir drops, and the roots of the plant will continue to grow longer to reach the solution. In this system, an air pump is not required as the “air gap” in the lid provides the roots of the plant with the necessary oxygen.
5. Nutrient film technique (also known as NFT)
The nutrient film technique (NFT) hydroponic system is installed very differently from other systems but does not still require an air pump. Here, the plants are installed in channels through which the nutrient solution passes.
The channels are not filled with the nutrient solution rather it flows to the bottom of the plant’s root system. There is adequate spacing between the top of the channel and the nutrient solution at the bottom to provide oxygen for the plant roots.
As with Aeroponics and Ebb and Flow, the water pump in NFT has to pump the water from the water reservoir to the different water channels.
Hydroponics without Pump: Step-by-Step Guide
The best hydroponics method to grow your plants with is the Kratky method. This method does not require a pump and is also the most affordable method to go for. In this method, the roots of the plants just about touch the special water system that contains the nutrients that they need to grow. As with other systems, it does not require soil to grow.
Getting started with Kratky is just the same as many other hydroponics methods. You will need a growing media to support the plants as they grow. This takes the place of soil that normally supports the plants. The most popular growing media are pebbles, clay rocks, or Rockwool.
In the Kratky method, the plant roots get the needed nutrients and water from the nutrient solution below. There is an air gap in the container to feed the system with oxygen. This method only has 25% of the roots submerged in water so the remaining parts are exposed to air. This ensures that the roots never get oxygen deprived and can grow normally.
There are many benefits to the Kratky method. The most obvious ones are the ease at which it can be set up, the affordability of it, and the fact that the grower would not require more effort to keep it growing. However, there is also the issue of pH imbalance and mold growth.
To help with the chemical balance and mold prevention, you’ll change and refill the nutrient solution every few days, depending on the plant variety and how fast the plant drinks the water.
How To Set Up A Kratky Hydroponic System
Below is a simple guide to setting up a Kratky Hydroponic system.
- Get a hydroponic reservoir and fill it with distilled water. Ensure that you do not use water that has chlorine in it. If you treat your water with chlorine, place a cut-up lemon in the water and let it sit for 24 hours.
- You can use a home pH testing kit to check the pH of the water to ensure it is within the right range.
- Add your nutrients and fertilizer while following the instructions on the bottle. This tells you how much nutrients for a gallon or liter of water.
- Check the pH level again to make sure it’s between 6-7.
- Add the net pot and the growing media to the container
- You need to poke holes in the lid to ensure there is proper airflow.
- Check the system regularly and refill it with water and nutrients when necessary.