What Does Nutrient Reservoir Mean?
In a hydroponic system, plants need to have access to both a growing medium for support and stability, as well as nutrients. A nutrient reservoir is used to hold the water/nutrient mixture plants need for strong growth and good health.
Reservoirs can be virtually any size, and can be made from almost any type of material. In some systems, the reservoir and plants are housed together, and in other systems, the reservoir is off to the side and relies on tubing and a water pump to delivery nutrients to plant roots at regular intervals.
Maximum Yield Explains Nutrient Reservoir
In the world of hydroponics, a nutrient reservoir is the container used to hold both the plant (usually) and the water/nutrient mix the plant needs for food and water.
In home-built systems, nutrient reservoirs might be made from five-gallon plastic buckets, or even kiddie pools. Wooden frames lined with plastic sheeting can also suffice. However, when growing consumable crops, it is important to ensure that all plastic used is food-grade. Otherwise, it will emit toxic chemicals into the water/nutrient mix that will eventually be taken up by the plants growing in the reservoir.
Another important consideration is color – black is best, but any significantly opaque plastic can be used. Translucent plastic allows light to enter the water/nutrient solution and encourage the growth of algae. You will also need a lid for the reservoir, to prevent light penetration and to reduce the amount of dirt and debris that enters the water.
Care should also be taken to ensure that the reservoir is large enough for the plant or plants growing in it. For small to medium plants, there should be at least a half-gallon of water/nutrient mix per plant. For medium plants, you will need a gallon to a gallon and a half. For large plants, you’ll need at least 2.5 gallons.
Note that these are minimums, and the closer your nutrient reservoir is to that minimum, the faster the water/nutrient solution will be depleted. Larger reservoirs are recommended to reduce consumption and the need to refill frequently.