If you follow the PermaClone methods, there is no need to rinse or break-down your system between cycles. It's a dump, circulated sterilizer of choice, sterilize collars, and start your next cloning cycle!
Don't shelf your cloner! Don't switch to peat plugs or rockwool! ..I'm here to help!
Hydroponic cloning is the most reliable and automated approach to cloning. And this reliability comes down to attention to details, not hard work.
What's the good news? If you DO NOT use bacterial/fungal inoculants (or products that feed bacteria--protein hydrolysates, etc) you can sterilize your cloner effectively between each cloning cycle by simply circulating 3-5 mL/gal (0.5-1 tsp/gal, 0.8 - 1.3 mL/L) bleach for 12 hours. This is lower doses of Bleach, but longer exposure time...and this is important.
Then dump and refill with water under 200 ppm (0.4 mS) mineral content. Add plant safe sterilizer like Clear Rez, UC Roots, or 0.2 mL/gal bleach at the begging of filling the system (before additives, pH adjustment or Nutrients). This is another important point, you want to treat you water, but I discuss this technique in another article.
NOW! ..if your cloner has a pathogen problems, the system must go through a thorough regeneration and below are the steps that have worked for every system I've regenerated for people who had persistent pathogens.
Here's the steps. Tedious, but worth it!
- Permanently remove the backplate of your cloners’ pumps. This plate is found where the power cord enters the pump. In some systems the back plate is tacked on with glue and requires a flat-head screwdriver to pop it off. Once removed, you will discover an orifice where bacteria or fungi can fester and minimally accessed by sterilizers. If you do not remove this plate, sterilizers will NOT effectively flush this area. And your pathogen will come back. Remove the backplate today!
- Circulate 5 mL/gal (8.25% Bleach) or 8 mL/gal (5.25% bleach) solution with 0.1 mL/gal (2 drops/gal) concentrated dish soap for 24 hours. Dump the system, but don't rinse.
- Break-down your cloners individual parts. Consider all parts that may harbor pathogens: airlines/air stones, reservoir caps, bulk heads, grommets, rubber gaskets and seals.
- Buy a new pump or Disassemble the water pump AND housing. Scrub all parts in a solution of 5 ml/gal bleach with 0.1 mL/gal (2 drops/gal) concentrated dish soap with Latex or Nitrile gloves.
--> Do Not scratch the plastics, simply knock away residual biofilm.
- For Calcium deposits on your cloners' lid, rinse any residual chlorine away, and spray windex, let it sit, then 10 minutes later scrub the deposits away. It doesn't have to be perfect.
!!CAUTION: DO NOT LET WINDEX MAKE CONTACT WITH CHLORINE BLEACH! This is bad!!!!
- For aeroponic, remove airstones, buy fresh air-lines, and add AeroBlock™ In-Line filters inline. The link explains why they're important for cloning.
-->For DWC or Bubbleponics systems you can test boil air stones for 10 min...but some airstone can't handle this and require replacement.
- Once reassembled, circulate piping HOT tap water (not boiling water) through your system.
- Once mostly cooled, add 5 mL/gal Bleach and 2 drops/gal soap and circulate for 24 hours. If you follow our cloning methods, this should be the last time put this amount of work into sterilizing your system.
- While cleaning and soaking parts of your cloner, you can rinse and sterilize your PermaClone collars based on article: How to Sterilize PermaClone Collars with Confidence. If you haven't upgraded to PermaClone, buy fresh cloning collars each round for predictable results.
These next article will give the skills to clone with confidence!
- Hydroponic Water Quality AND Water Treatment -- A MUST READ
- The 3 Reasons Cloners Fail
- Advanced Aeroponic Cloning -- THE SECRETS REVEALED!
- Learn why you need AeroBlock™ In-Line filters