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Oxygenating Hydroponic Reservoirs

Dear Dan, How important is aeration in a hydroponic reservoir? I’ve always thought that overkill was OK, and I have several air pumps pushing through air stones placed in several spots in my reservoir. I let the nutrient solution pouring back into my reservoir agitate it as well. It seems to always be moving and full of bubbles. My buddy keeps just one cheap aquarium pump going in his rez and his plants seem fine. He thinks I’m crazy to run all that electric just to move my water around. What’s your take? – Waterbug

Dear Waterbug,
You’re right to move, aerate and agitate your nutrient solution the way you do. You’re far more likely to succeed due to a properly oxygenated solution and the electricity spent on a couple of extra air pumps is minimal compared to the benefits of lots of tiny bubbles of O2 in your water. The more aeration the better. This is the theory behind Aeroponics, in which plant roots dangle in a nutrient solution mist. The available oxygen, combined with the proper food levels, enable explosive growth in the roots, resulting in healthier and stronger growth of your plants. Eventually, your buddy’s going to be dealing with root rot or some sort of fungus that you avoided by providing more air to the liquid in your reservoir.

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