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OK, so the ebb and flow system is cranking along (sans fish) and while I wait for the water to get balanced I built an overhead NFT system with 2" PVC pipe. Two runs: 15 feet long with the end feeding directly back into the tank. Have yet to drill holes, just got the pump system figured out. Some questions for the more experienced out there: Does the system really need to run 24/7 or can I shut it down @ night like I do the ebb and flow beds? I used the 2" as I had it left over fron another project; with that size prove to be problematic? If it will work; what planting system is recommended for NFT? Many thanks, look forward to the feedback. I will post photos later..

 

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No, you don't have to run your system 24/7- but you do have to be really careful with NFT because the plants have the potential to dry out a lot faster.  This is primarily because most other growing tech. have some media with water holding capacity.  Also, losing a pump or cycle timer at the end of a dry spell can kill your crops pretty quickly-esp. if you live in a dry area.  You're probably going to have problems with 2 inch pipe in an NFT setup- esp. with larger or longer term crops- also the drying danger will be more pronounced with smaller pipes as the pipe itself will hold less water.  I'd recommend sizing up if you can- PVC is cheap, and I've discovered over the years it's just best to do it the right way the first round to minimize the wasted time/energy and frustration down the road.  I personally prefer PVC rain gutter with covers cut from flashing or plastic sheet- or even just covering with 4 or 6 mil visqueen.  (Gutter is usually cheaper and easier to work with than 3' or 4' PVC of the same length.  I've attached a file of one setup I did with gutter.  You can give it about a 3 to 5 degree incline to minimize the chance of drying out with a pump failure, while getting adequate flow.
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sweet!! Love that butter lettuce..Thanks for the quick reply. I'll take this down and convert to the gutters. I have to install some on the house anyway. I'm really over it with doing things 3 or 4 times to get it right.
yeah, you'll love gutters- so much easier in so many ways.  Good luck!

Yea, just save the 2" pvc for your next bigger system

 

I've done 3" and 4" NFT pipes and the 3" was definitely on the small side and I've had even the 4" stuff block up with roots.

An important note, you need to run clean filtered water to the NFT, simply pumping straight fish tank water directly to NFT pipes is likely to cause you trouble with solids build up among the plant roots.

Thanks, think I'll hold off on the NFT for a bit..

 

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