A hybrid aeroponic system is one that has a direct reservoir and a pump distribution system all contained in the same bin.
A true aeroponic system would employ a second bin staged beneath with a drain in the bottom of the upper container to keep the reservoir separate.
Both work fine, but one advantage has is that during a pump failure, the roots that are hanging partially in the reservoir solution can still uptake nutrients allowing the chance for recovery. This can be improved by adding an air pump and stone, essentially converting it to a DWC setup.
So here we go!
- Storage Bin
- 1/2 ″: – PVC pipe, PVC elbow slip/thread, PVC cap
- Misters/riser tubes
- 1/2″ conversion fitting for out pump (not always needed depending on the pump)
- ~200GPH submersible pump (don’t skimp, you get what you pay for!)
- PVC primer and cement
- Net pots or equivalent
- Expanded clay pellets or equivalent
First, we need to layout where and how many plant sites we want. In this case, we will be laying our 10 sites. Not all of them need to be utilized – it just gives the grower more flexibility depending on the plant they are growing.
Next, we need to layout the circles in the size of the net pots we are using, centering them on our grid layout:
Carefully using a razor knife to score the outline of the circles. This is important depending on the type of tote you are using as they can crack or tear.
Next, use the knife to cut all the way through the interior grid lines making four “pie” pieces. The pieces can then be carefully bent and snapped off.
Continue with this process carefully until you have all your remaining holes cut.
That’s it for the lid!
Since this is a simple build, we are going to drill a hole at the end of the bin to hold the PVC feed line at one end. The other end will be attached to our pump.
You will want to measure the desired height of your supply pipe carefully if you do not plan to use extensions or risers(see below).
Feed the PVC tubing into the hole, and place the pump in the bin at the opposite end. Line up approximately where the connection will need to be.
At the outside of the bin where you fed the pipe in, mark the pipe leaving enough room for a PVC slip fitting or cap (more on this later).
Remove the pipe and cut it at the mark.
Align the PVC pipe with the lid and mark out where you want your misters. In this case, we marked in between each set of plant sites.
TIP: doing this along with factory markings if present makes it easy to layout in a straight line.
Drill holes carefully to accommodate the size of your mister threads. In this case 11/64″ bit.
Now, remove the PVC pipe and apply PVC primer and cement and affix the 1/2″ cap or fitting to one end. We said we would talk about this more so here it is. Instead of a cap, you may choose to use a threaded clean-out fitting or valve to make pumping off the solution easier. Re-install the pipe.
Next, we need to make some modifications to accept our supply pump. In this case, after gluing on our elbow we needed a 1/2″ threaded coupling to connect the PVC to a small section of irrigation tubing to allow it to connect to the pump.
TIP: Prior to making any connections to the pump, ensure you rinse out your pipe and bin to minimize material that may clog your misters or damage your pump impeller such as plastic chips.
The next step is to attach our misters by threading them into the PVC pipe at your drilled locations. They can be threaded indirectly or attached to risers to gain more height depending on your application and/or where you drilled your support hole.
Apply a small amount of silicone to the exterior side of the support penetration to minimize any incidental weeping or leakage(uncommon) and allow to set.
Next, fill your bin with tap water to test it all out!
Shown here with direct placement of misters
And herewith modified riser fittings
At this point, you can drain and dry your system and light-proof either with foil or paint. I tend to avoid painting whenever possible. This bin will eventually receive a foil treatment on the sides and the top. This is where you can cover the whole top and choose the sites you want to place the planters.
All that’s left is to insert your planters and medium containing your plants and you are off!