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MU

A Guide to Building and Operating Bubblers

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hi

i thought it would be useful to document my experiences of running bubblers, including building them from scratch.

firstly, i should make it clear i dont consider myself an expert and if anyone wants to chip in with their own experiences or add to what i have written here, please feel free. :yinyang:

so far, i have done a couple of grows with bubblers and have kept mums for over a year also in dwc and what may be useful to the reader here is that ive made probably every mistake possible along the way, so im going to try to include all the gotcha's that can screw your grow up in dwc.

i will start with how to build a bubbler and then proceed on to how to run them.

i will not be talking about the lucas formula as i have no experience of it. for info on running bubblers using the lucas formula, and RO water, i would suggest talking to cheese farmer and checking out cannabisworld.com. i could be wrong, but i dont believe anyone here at uk420 is running bubblers with RO (reverse osmosis) water and the lucas formula. if someone is, please feel free to discuss it here.

so, to start, let me talk about constructing a bubbler, firstly what you will need...

tubs!

i have tried several types of tubs now but all from the same brand, just different sizes. the size of the tub you use depends on the number of plants you wish to grow in that bubbler, but i have found reservoir management easier in bigger tubs.

i have 12L, 30L and 50L tubs (the tubs are bigger than that, thats how much liquid i put in the diff size tubs, for instane, the 50L tub is actually about 70L in size but holds 50L of res when the hanging net pots are taken into consideration as you dont fill bubblers up to the top!!)

another thing to be aware of is that if you use a big bubbler, be sure to use a strong tub as the walls will warp... the bubbles i use are pretty heavy duty buggers, but they do warp slightly at the sides so i use tape to make sure the side walls are firmly attached to the lid, will talk more about that later. the point being you dont want ANY light getting into the bubbler, it must be completely covered for the roots to be healthy.

also, if youre working with big bubblers, you can try out different lid combinations by cutting different number of pot holes in to the lid to grow 2, 4 or whatever number of plants you need. here you can see i have an 8 plant and 2 plant lid, and a lid with no pot holes.

the 8 plant lids are really for SOGS otherwise overcrowding will be a problem with that lid. 2 plant lids, or 4 plants used in an 8 plant lid is more suitable for the bigger tubs you can see in the pic.

talking of pics... :P

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you will need to aeriate the reservoir well, and you have several options to do this, namely some type of airstone or soaker hose.

here i will only be talking about airstones as thats all ive used, but i firmly believe from listening to other hydro growers that soaker hose is the way to go for more air with less pressure.

i would suggest if you are using big bubblers with multiple plants to get some 4mm micro hose instead of using airstones - thats an upgrade i plan to do later this year.

for smaller bubblers airstones are fine, but here you will see how i have used airstones for larger bubblers - its perfectly possibly to do, well, so long as you use good enough air pumps (see next post about airpumps).

in these pics you can see different types of airstones - ive tried them all!! :yinyang: and for me, by far the best are the Aqua Fizz 12" toblerone airstones because they give off the most amount of bubbles...

some airstones are really shit! in fact, most of the airstones you can see in these pics i dont use anymore cos theyre rubbish. i try and stick to just the toblerone ones.

Edited by MU
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you will need some of these, airline splitters and airline. airpumps, airline, and splitters can all be bought from aquarium shops.

here you can see lots of 3 way splitters - DONT USE THESE - stick to putting two airstones on each airline, or 4, or 8, depending on the power of the airpump, ive found even number of airstones work better than 3 airstones per airline...

or to be more precise yet, i have found that a standard 150L p/h airpump, dual outlet, can run 4 x 12" airstones, it takes the pressure of 75L p/h to run one 12" airstone, so 150L p/h coming out of two outlets can run FOUR airstones.

if you use a compressor (discussed later) you can use many more airstones, but the pressure of the air must be taken into consideration when using lots of airstones.

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you will need these tools to make a bubbler...

the drill for drilling holes and the saw for making the holes in the lid for the net pots. if you can find a big enough round saw, which i couldnt, you could use a round saw to make the holes in the lid, but the netpots im using are 100mm at the base and the biggest round saw i could find was 100mm which was just not quite big enough... :yinyang:

sawing the holes in the lid is the pain in the arse job, the hardest bit of making a bubbler, so if you can find smaller net pots and a big enough round saw, go for it! :P

Edited by MU
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i strongly suggest installing a thermometer in your tubs.

for a bubbler, the optimum temps are 68 degs F to 78 degs F. for a bubbler cloner, the optimum is 78 F to about 85F, a warmer res for cloning is required.

below 60 degs F and the roots will die, so an aquarium heater will be needed in the colder months.

above about 80 degs F for a bubbler is too high too, temps are v. important!

infact, i have decided to stop growing mums in bubblers because i cant keep the temps low enough in the summer so im in the transition of converting my mum box to soil andwill only grow in bubblers when its not blazing hot.

here in switzerland, it gets very hot in summer and i just cant see how i could keep the res temps low enough... thats probably why hydro growers here prefer to use drippers where the reservoir can be kept OUTSIDE of the growroom, and hence cooler.

in england it might not be such a problem.

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aeriation of the res is v. important in bubblers so using the right airpump is important.

here you can see i have a selection of airpumps...

theres a 1 outlet 150L p/h airpump which can run 2 x 12" airstones, not very useful really, the double outlet airpumps 150L p/h are fine for 4 airstones, but ideally, in my size of tub, i need 8 airstones so 2 x 150L p/h pumps is needed, or a compressor!! (also photographed)

i have worked out that that compressor can run 48 x 12" airstones with all the airstones working properly. above that the air pressure is too low, and airstones stop working.

the only problem with the compressor is its noisey as fuck! similar sort of noise to an extractor fan, so hanging it from bungees in the growroom helps a lot with this noise.

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lots of bubbles! :yinyang:

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you need to drill a hole or two in the side of the tub, NOT in the lid!

depending on how many air inlines you need for the number of airstones, you might need 1 or 2 holes... ive been testing with 16 airstones!! 2 banks of 8 airstones, each bank needing an airline from the compressor - which is powerful enough to run 2 banks of 8 airstones on 2 airlines, but this would NOT be possible with a standard airpump.

here you can see three holes.

2 at the top for airlines and

1 at the bottom where i install some tubing so i can see the level of the res - this is totally optional and not really needed tbh.

make sure you drill the airline holes near the top of the tub so when the res is inside it does NOT reach the airline hole and leak out...

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make the holes in the lid a bit bigger than the base of the netpot, but smaller that the top part, so that when the netpot is installed in the hole it fits really well, tightly, and snugly in the hole with about 80% of the netpot in the hole.

if the lid is too low, you risk a heavy flowering plant being too heavy and causiung the net pot to fall through - ive not done this personally but its something to consider.

i measure the diameter of the top of the pot and the bottom of the pot and make the hole a bit smaller than the top part of the pot, which is biggest.

pics for clarification...

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when you install the airstones, you dont want them too move about, and to be placed ideally under the plants, so the bubbles are in contact with the roots.

some people glue the stones to the tubs, i dont like this because it makes cleaning harder and also replacing the airstones would be a pain, so instead, i build a rack of airstones, made up in pairs, and then supply the necessary air pressure to drive that number of stones.

for instance, if i have 1 rack of 8 airstones, i can drive that with either an airline from the compressor, or 2 x 150L p/h pumps and 2 airlines, each pump driving 4 airstones... hope thats clear...

you can see ive used a plastic rack thing to attach the airstones too, using wire ties, airline T-splitters and 12" airstones, two types in the pics, one the airtubing type of airstone - not very good imo, and the other 12" toblerone airstones...

the airstones are wired up in pairs... hope its clear.

Edited by MU
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DA-DA! :headpain:

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:headpain:
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this bit is totally optional, and infact probably not that useful...

on my bigger bubs ive installed a front bit of tubing so i can see where the res is in the tub... a proper bung is needed in the hole at the bottom of the tub to make sure water doesnt leak out.

plumbing shops sell these.

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voila!

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time for a joint... :headpain:

i'll be back.

terminator1024%5B1%5D.jpg

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