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Feed Circuit Blockages

The feed circuit, especially restrictive feed outlets like drippers, can become blocked with salt build-up, dirt, algae, root growth and medium.

To minimize this problem:

-  Employ a filter on the inlet to the nutrient pump. Also, in recirculating systems, install a filter in the return line (Fig 2.6). Ensure filters have a large surface area. This will minimize how frequently they need to be cleaned.

Position plants to avoid roots being drawn into drain outlets.

-  Maintain nutrient pH well below 6.5 to help prevent precipitation.

-  Routinely disinfect the nutrient solution to prevent the build-up of algae and slimes.

-  Ensure nutrients are fully soluble.

-  Avoid using water that has high “hardness” levels.

-  Use stakes to secure the feed outlets above and away from the medium and roots to prevent them from becoming blocked.

-  Where drippers or sprayers are used, allocate at least two per plant. Inspect and clean them regularly.

-  Use a regular maintenance schedule. Routine 'discarding' and 'flushing' will help prevent the build-up of solids such as insoluble salts, algae and plant debris. Between crops it is useful to perform a chemical flush to remove insoluble precipitates.

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Related topics

"System components":

Nutrient reservoirs | Growing containers (trays / channels / pots) |

Feed circuits (plumbing) | Feed outlets | Blockages)

Nutrient pumps | Timers | Media (substrates)