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  1. Having some trouble getting adequate airflow to the diffusers in my deep water culture beds. I have three DWC's 1.2M X 18M, with 17 diffusers each for a total of 51 spaced roughly every meter down the length of the DWC's. The water depth in the DWC's is a constant 20cm (8"). I am running two 60 M3/hr ring blowers. Appropriately sized PVC pipe connects the centrally located blowers with a length of PVC that runs down the side of each DWC. Each diffuser is connected to the PVC pipe via a one meter length of 1/8" airline tubbing. The diffusers are 10" long by 1/2" wide, encased in plastic, but open on one side. I was barely getting any airflow from the diffusers with one ring blower, so I recently added a second. There is some improvement with the second blower but the performance is still disappointing. I have confirmed the air filters are clean and the airflow from the blowers feels appropriate in terms of strength or volume. I understand the ring blowers are not suited to develop very much pressure but I would have thought 20cm of water would be acceptable. I am wondering if it's an issue with the diffusers? They are about six months old but don't seem to be any less effective than they were originally. I am reluctant to add another blower as my electricity allotment is already reaching it's maximum. Especially without evidence that this is the problem. I understand a diffuser consumes roughly 0.3 cfm. So, if I am calculating correctly, 0.3 cfm X 51 diffusers = 15.3 cfm required, and my two blowers produce 60 M3/hr, (1 cubic foot = 0.0283168 cubic meter). This works out to 0.43 cubic meters per minute, or 26 cubic meters per hour required for 51 diffusers. Considering each blower is providing 60 M3/hr in theory, I should have over four times the airflow required. So what gives? Is 20cm of water too deep for a ring blower, are my diffusers cheap Chinese junk, or is it something else?
  2. Hoping for some advice from someone who has tried both, Neoprene Collars vs Net Pots with foam inserts. I have been using 2" net pots with foam inserts in my floating rafts for some time now. Not sure what type of foam is used in the standard net pot foam inserts but I think it's closed cell low-density polyethylene foam. It holds up reasonably well for fast growing lettuces and I am able to reuse it for multiple plantings. The foam does become more stiff over time, suffers from compression memory, and allows roots to penetrate it but I have been using the same foam inserts for about a year and they are still serviceable. I was looking into purchasing new net pots and foam for a new and much larger DWC when I cam across the Neoprene collars. Please correct me if I am wrong but it looks like the neoprene collars will provide more support than the low-density polyethylene foam. Thus eliminating the need for the net pots. I am now wondering if anyone has used these neoprene collars directly inserted into a Styrofoam floating raft without a net pot. Also wondering how the neoprene collars hold up over time as compared to the polyethylene foam? Do roots penetrate the neoprene as well, does it suffer from the same compression memory, does it hold up reasonably well in the sun, or any other issues you might have noticed.
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