The first post details the setup; however, I have summarised below.
- Pre-soak rockwool cubes in a slightly acidic (5.5 pH) water. I use fulvic acid to acidify deionised water to 5.5 pH. I then rinse with deionised water. This ensures that any alkalinity in the rockwool is fixed.
- Place a layer of rockwool cubes in the bottom of a mesh (aquatic plant) pot.
- Suspend VFT in the mesh pot while adding rockwool cubes around the roots, surrounding all sub-surface parts of the plant.
- Obtain a watertight container (referred to as reservoir hereafter) which is approximately twice as deep, or more, as the mesh pot.
- Place an airstone in the bottom of the reservoir and run an air line from it, attaching to an air pump, with check valve, at the other end.
- Suspend the mesh pot into the reservoir.
- Make up a nutrient solution. I use Growth Technology Ionic nutrients diluted at a rate of 0.75EC in deioinised water. I also add 5ml/litre of Growth Technology Orchid Ultra.
- Add the nutrient solution to the reservoir, pouring it through the rockwool cubes in the mesh pot. The nutrient solution should be in contact with the layer of rockwool cubes at the bottom of the mesh pot, but no more than that. You don't want the roots of the VFT sitting in the nutrient solution at this point, they may grow into it at a later date but that's ok. The rockwool cubes, in the base of the mesh pot, in contact with the nutrient solution, will deliver it to the VFT roots via capillary action.
- Switch on the air pump. This will need to run 24/7. If the nutrient solution is not aerated then the roots will probably rot.
- Keep a regular check on the nutrient solution level and ensure that it is always in contact with the rockwool cubes at the base of the mesh pot. Top up with nutrient solution when necessary.
- The reservoir will need to lightight or algae will start to grow in the nutrient solution This is bad for various reasons and must be avoided.
I dump all the nutrient solution from the reservoir approximately once a month and add fresh.
Orchid Ultra is not a nutrient solution. It is humic and fulvic acid and I add it as VFTs are likely to receive these from the surrounding bogs in their natural environment.
I use a good quality hydroponics nutrient solution. Normal plant food will not be sufficient and may actually be detrimental.
A EC meter is necessary to measure the nutrient solution concentration.