Hoses, Pipes, and Power
Of course, you also have to include an array of connections between all your various tanks and parts to make it all work. A small system can start off with simple garden hose, but a larger one will need hosing that can handle larger volumes of water. Hose can be cut to whatever length you need and is pretty flexible to account for any odd bends you need, as long as you don't get it kinked up.
Once you've gotten a bit more experience and are ready for a larger and more permanent system, solid PVC piping can be another option. There are a large variety of pipe diameters that you can use, and elbows need to be added when you want a bend in the pipe. You need a special solvent to weld the pieces together when you make a join, but it's generally not difficult to work with. Unlike hose, it isn't quite as easy to disassemble so wait until you mostly finalize your plans before getting started.
When cutting up buckets, barrels and other containers to make tanks and beds, you end up with the need for homemade connections. Every situation will be different so expect a little experimenting unless you are familiar with plumbing. All your joins should be as secure as possible to guard against leaks. Caulking, clamps and washers may all come in handy. Let all sealants cure and air out before adding any new pieces to your existing system though.
Keep the Power Going
One somewhat related note that needs to be mentioned about all this equipment is that your grow system is going to need continuous electrical power to make everything work, and if that power stops, you are going to be in trouble. If you are using a grow medium that holds water (like moss) then your plants will be fine if the pumps stopped moving water for several hours or even a day or two. Less porous medium, like gravel, will dry out much faster and a power outage of a few hours can mean dried out roots. Once dried out, not all plants will recover once the water supply comes back. So basically, a power outage is a really big deal.
Also water heaters need to be considered. If the weather is cool out, having no heat in your tank can be a problem as well. Warm-climate fish can only handle cold water for a short time.
So you should have some sort of power back up plan in place, just in case. Batteries are a good idea, but a manual pump could even work as long as you are going to be home to keep it going. If you're serious about your system, it might not even be a bad idea to have a small generator handy to protect your investment.
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