Here is a quick and dirty run down of how to re-setup an ebb and flow hydroponic system after you have dismantled it for cleaning in between grows.

What You Will Need

Here is a complete list of what you will need. Make sure everything you use is properly cleaned and disinfected, and that the room too. All the equipment should be completely bleached and then thoroughly rinsed so that it is free of the previous grows debris.

  • Tray or buckets for your medium fitted with two proper spouts fitted on both sides with proper nozzles
  • Two proper sized hoses for the above spouts and nozzles
  • Two proper sized drainers to fit the tray’s nozzles, one shorter than the inside of your tray and one about an inch shorter. This ensures that your hoses drain properly and no medium gets stuck in them
  • Work bench or heavy duty shelf, preferably with a shelf below it for storing misc. items
  • Extra shelf for beside your tray/work bench
  • Large water/nutrient reservoir with lid with a hole big enough to fit the water pump plug. Must be light proof
  • Water pump
  • Air pump with 2 hoses, 2 regulators and 2 air stones as long as your reservoir
  • Three timers – water pump, lights and fan
  • Surge protector or two
  • 15-25 gallons of water (water the size of your reservoir)
  • Plants (clones)
  • Prepared Rockwool/Grodan Cubes (if your plants are not already in big enough ones)
  • Cleaned Hydroton
  • Nutrients and schedule
  • Measuring cups
  • Maybe some plastic ties to tidy up cords at the end

Things that should already be in the room:

  • Lights hung from the ceiling on a chain attached to hooks for easy raising and lowering
  • Have lights attached to a ballast if needed. Always make sure that your ballast has plenty of room to let off heat, do not cover it
  • Fans – oscillating and active outtake
  • Ducting- active outtake connected to your fan hung from the ceiling in the center of the room and passive intake, both properly vented outside and filtered
  • Mylar
  • Thermostate for temperature and humidity
  • Fire alarm
  • Laminated maintenance checklist

Step 1 – Setup the Grow Room Work Space

  1. Set the tray on the work bench with the larger drainage spout facing front and the smaller water pump spout toward the back.
  2. Place the reservoir beside and below the tray/work bench.
  3. Set up the extra shelf beside the reservoir if possible and place all the extra parts on it, including the surge protectors, even if you do not plan on hanging them. Leave them unplugged for now and it is also best if you place them in the approximate place  you will have them in so you can make sure everything reaches.

Step 2 – Assemble the Ebb and Flow System

  1. Put the air stones inside the reservoir, spacing evenly.
  2. Place the air pump on the extra shelf and place the plug beside the surge protector. I recommend you don’t run the pump without water. Run the air lines to the regulators, also on the shelf (they should stay dry). Run the line from the other side of the regulators to the air stones inside of the reservoir.
  3. Arrange the water pump inside the reservoir, pushing the plug up and through the inside/bottom of the lid. Plug this into a timer plugged into the surge protector.
  4. Push the shorter drainer into the back smaller spout which will be connected to the water pump. Attach the smaller hose to the bottom of the tray and place it through the hole in the top of reservoir’s lid then attach it to the water pump inside. This will be your main line that will pump water in and allow it to slowly drain back out.
  5. Push the taller drainer into the front larger spout which will allow the water to flow out and back into the reservoir in case of disaster to ensure your tray does not overflow. The drainer should be shorter than your tray to avoid this. Attach the larger hose from the bottom nozzle of the reservoir and attach it to the spout on the tray.
  6. Make sure that all nozzles, hoses, and connections are secure, drip free and dry.
  7. Fill the reservoir with PH adjusted water.
  8. Check the system:
    1. Plug in the air pump and ensure that you have an evenly and fully bubbly reservoir.
    2. Push the timer button on the water pump (or just plug it in) and check that your tray fills and drains properly. No need to fill it with Hydroton yet.
    3. Set the water pump timer and ensure that it turns on and off when you set it while you watch.
    4. Now set it to your proper schedule. You can unplug the timers if you are not ready to start just yet.

That should give you a fully functional ebb and flow system.

Step 3 – Turn on the Lights

  1. Raise the lights up at least 2/3 of the way and then plug them into a timer plugged into the surge protector.
  2. Push the timer button (or just plug them in) to check that they do work.
  3. Set the timer and ensure that it turns on and off when you set it while you watch.
  4. Now set it to your proper schedule.

Step 4 – Turn on the Fan

  1. Plug the fan into a timer plugged into the surge protector.
  2. Push the timer button (or just plug it in) to check that it turns on.
  3. Set the timer and ensure that it turns on and off when you set it while you watch.
  4. Now set it to your proper schedule.

Step 5 – Finish Up

You mainly have a completed system now. Last steps are to add  your nutrients, medium and of course the PLANTS!

  1. Add plants to the tray, staggering them for maximum canopy room. They should be in Rockwool cubes that are about 6″ for these instructions.
  2. Fill the tray with Hydroton to be even with the bottom stem of your plants, just covering the top of the Rockwool with one layer of pellets.
  3. Add nutrients to your reservoir water according to your schedule.
  4. Ensure that the nutrient solution and your Rockwool cubes are PH balanced.
  5. Tidy up cords wrapping them into neat bundles using the plastic ties.
  6. I would recommend checking every timer for the first two days if possible.

That is it. Don’t forget regular maintenance!