Why the ULTRAponics GroTube is the improved Flood-and-Drip/Ebb-and-Flo (with and without optional Dripper System) type hydroponic system:
1. Because it is a sealed system, it doesn't necessarily need a rooting medium, such as Grodan Rockwool, baked clay pellets, shredded coconut fiber, etc. Although, using a preferred natural medium, such as baked clay pellets like "Aliflor" or coconut fiber, has an increased yield of approx. 10%. The first problem I wanted to design out of my new system was the need to use rooting medium, Rockwool, in particular. Rockwool is a spun volcanic rock fiber, very similar to asbestos, but with `Rosa Marina‚Ä shaped fiber. Asbestos has a fish hook shaped fiber with a barb. Either will cause similar health issues. A warning on the Grodan website actually read that Rockwool was both a bio- and environmental hazard. That warning is no longer mentioned. After the harvest, the typical 4" x 4" x 40" root-filled Rockwool rooting medium "slab" is a disgusting smelling, heavy, dripping asbestos insulation-like mess. The ULTRAponics GroTube, preferably, uses baked clay (or plastic) pellets, like "Aliflor", etc., as its rooting-medium. The post-harvest clean up is much easier with the GroTube. All you need to do is remove the "FILL" side blue end cap over a 5 gallon bucket, lift the "DRAIN" side of the GroTube and let the debris just pour into the bucket. The wet roots and clay pellets can be easily and environmentally friendly disposed of.
2. Also, because it is a sealed system, the system neither gives off humidity nor collects rainwater. These are important because, indoors, giving off a lot of humidity from the system causes the indoor grow room to become very humid which causes mold and mildew problems on the plants but, also, increases the heat index in the room from the, normally, multiple high-intensity 1000w grow lights. These lights are very hot and in a, typically, small area. The use of quite a bit of air-conditioning is needed. If, for some reason, the air-conditioning stopped working, the increased humidity and temperature will quickly kill or, at least, damage the growing plants. 100 F and 100% humidity has a Heat Index of 195 F . On the other hand, outdoors, collection of rainwater is a problem because when it is collected the rainwater backs down into the system's nutrient reservoir. This is a problem because it not only over-flows the reservoir's nutrient solution onto the floor or onto the ground, but also dilutes the nutrient mix in the reservoir weakening it and requiring attention and adjustment. Nutrients are not cheap; wasting nutrient is not cost or environmentally conscious. Also, the introduction of additional water into the reservoir changes the pH of the nutrient mix, requiring attention and adjustment by the grower. The idea behind hydroponics is control of the variables or traditional farming, such as optimum pH, nutrient strength, timing and duration of "watering" (i.e. flood stage and/or drip, constant or scheduled), intensity and duration of the lighting to grow or to "trick" the plants into "thinking" daylight is getting shorter, etc. Control and optimum growing conditions.
3. Many available hydroponic systems are prone to clogging in the filling and/or draining functions by stray medium, plant roots or other debris. The ULTRAponics GroTube has had those problems designed out since the beginning. It uses 4" PVC pipe to irrigate/house the roots and 1" tubing to connect GroTubes to each other in a system, neither of which have clogged, ever. It is the design of the "FILL" and "DRAIN" plugs, which is of more significance. Both, the "FILL" and "DRAIN" plugs, were designed with a built-in "screen" with holes large enough to keep large particles from clogging and allow smaller particles to easily flow through without clogging, while allowing unrestricted flow through the system. All without clogging or overflowing the system.
4. Typical hydroponic products are fairly flimsy; break easily in some of the worst places and becoming unusable plastic garbage, etc. The ULTRAponics GroTube is almost indestructible. On large hydroponic supply retailer and wholesaler commented the GroTube was "sturdy, almost indestructible and he could make money on each one, selling them to other dealers".
5. The GroTube System is modular. A grower can connect as many GroTubes together as is needed for the space required. ULTRAponics manufactures a STANDARD 44" long GroTube with 3-, 4-, 5- and 6- Plant Site spacing, but can custom make individual GroTubes or entire Systems any shape, length or spacing required using 4" PVC tubing. Systems can be custom painted, as well. Other materials (copper pipe, for instance) can be used on a custom order only basis.
The ULTIMATE Hydroponic System