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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '10, 14:56 
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Hi all, can anyone think of what material could be used besides foam for DWC rafts? I am currently trying plywood suspended over the water instead of foam.

I would still like to float something but don't like foam because it doesn't last all that long. Does anyone use anything else?


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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '10, 16:22 
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Whats the plywood glued together with?

I had thought of cutting pvc pipes in half lengthwise and drilling out the plant holes (like NFT pipes) but it would prove to be an expensive excercise.

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '10, 21:07 
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Rafting Question:
With rafts do you put the roots in the water from the start
I had my lettuces rot off after a few weeks(hydro system)
Floating foam with little net pots

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PostPosted: Oct 10th, '10, 21:43 
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If the roots are rotting off in a raft system, it is a sign that you need more aeration in the water.

I've seen some pretty plastic molded rafts with special net pots but they are really Costly for what you get. (Like $5 a plant)

I've never found anything I really like for rafts yet and I've never set up a proper raft tank to really adequately test out a raft system (I used my sump tank but the water splashing in from the beds caused issues with the rafts.) I've done the suspended over the water thing with wood and holes and I just added rayon mop string wicks to the net pots (ok mine were yogurt cups with holes punched in them) so the seed and seedling would still get water till it's roots grew down to the water. This method actually worked quite well for me and means that the plants tend not to have the root rot problems as much.

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PostPosted: Oct 11th, '10, 18:17 
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I was thinking about plywood or fibro-sheet sitting on top of a frame made from pvc pipes (joined together or capped) to float it above the water?

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PostPosted: Oct 11th, '10, 21:09 
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I set up two raft systems, one 87 gal. and the other 150 gal. the larger one was planted with 3 inch roman lettuce and the smaller with 1/2 inch spinach. Two inch styrofoam supports the net pots with hydostone in the pots. I put eight bluegill in the smaller one and 2 dozen feeder goldfish in the larger. For an air pump I used a 40 watt large one that fed both systems. I drained 3 gal. of water off each sysem each day and added back the same. a few of the feeders died at first, but lost no other fish.
The spinach gradually all died off without growiung at all. Little green worms ate the edges off the lettuce and all that is left is the stems. It was to hot yet for the lettuce for one thing. We started some more lettuce and spinach from seed but have nothing yet. I shut down the smaller tank and put the bluegill back in the pond. The large bubbler uses to much power so am running the larger tank on a smaller bubbler. I put the spinach float in the pond; I may have to take it out periodotically to get air to the roots.
This whole rat idea does not seem to be worth the time and expense. But will try again.


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '10, 02:03 
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Thanks guys. There has to be SOMETHING that will float and not absorb water.

For now I'm trying plywood suspended over the water. We'll see how that works. Look and seems promising. Hopefully my paint will hold up to the moisture!


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '10, 04:07 
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I am picturing a PVC Catamaraft...
Take a length of 4" PVC and cap the ends. That puppy ain't never gonna sink.
Now, install some 2" UniSeals in pairs, directly opposite each other. So you can jam some 4" pieces of 2" pipe straight thru without making the boat leak. The smaller pipes will provide a vertical opening for the little cup on top and the roots dangling below.
If one's enough, hang some sinkers off each side to keep it upright - or connect to other 4" pipes (using more UniSeals and pipe, 1" would do it). Or tees, elbows like Erik is thinking. Outriggers!

I know, it's gonna cost 20 times what it would to just replace the foam... but your cat could walk on it if she so desired. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '10, 05:46 
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I've been looking at a sheet of PVC with a couple of supports. Will sit on top of an empty or half filled GB. Flow will come from another GB and F&D the area under the sheet. Roots will sit in the air between cycles. Can be set up as a cover for the sump on a multi GB system.

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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '10, 06:01 
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King Erik the 14th wrote:
I was thinking about plywood or fibro-sheet sitting on top of a frame made from pvc pipes (joined together or capped) to float it above the water?


I like your thinking Erik, I reckon thats got to be a winner. :thumbright:
Ps I also like the name Erik, my sons name is Derick which I often shorten to Erik, bet your glad I told you that ! :geek:
Have a great day. :flower:


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '10, 08:20 
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I'd be worried about the glues they use in plywood, especially if it's going to get wet when the fish splash about...


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '10, 08:56 
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The PVC thing is a good idea but the cost makes it a no go for me.

Too bad there's not something like a surfboard that's cheap. But then again its not UV resistant!!

Some people paint their foam to keep the water out.


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '10, 09:04 
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Another solution could be use 3" foam so that the tops are way above the water line....


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PostPosted: Oct 13th, '10, 09:18 
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OR....find a guy that does fiberglassing and put a thin coat of glass on the foam :dontknow:

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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '10, 06:24 
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TLC, how well did those rayon mop strings work in your suspended system? Were they able to hold the nutrients during capillary action effectively?


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