Don't shelf your cloner and switch to plugs. 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 new? Here is it! 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 5 mL/gal (1 tsp/gal, 1 mL/L) bleach for 12 hours. Then dump and refill with water under 200 ppm (0.4 mS) mineral content.
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!
HOWEVER, if your cloner has a biofilm or pathogen problems the system must go through the follow exorcism and I'm sorry for that. Here's the steps. Tedious, but worth it!
- Permanently remove the back plate 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 screw driver to pop it off. Once removed, you will discover an orifice where bacteria or fungi can fester without effectively being reached by sterilizers. If you do not remove this plate, sterilizers will NOT effectively flush this area. The best solution is permanent removal. Remove the back plate today!
- Circulate 6 mL/gal 8.25% Bleach or 10 mL/gal 5.25% bleach solution with 0.1 mL/gal (2 drops/gal) concentrated dish soap for 24 hours.
- Break-down your cloner into it's individual parts. Consider all parts that may harbor pathogens: airlines/air stones, reservoir caps, bulk heads, grommets, rubber gaskets and seals.
- Disassemble the water pump AND housing. If you are wary of breaking down the pump, replace the pump because that IS the most complicated part of the break-down. Gently scrub all parts in a solution of 6 ml/gal bleach with 0.1 mL/gal (2 drops/gal) concentrated dish soap. Wear latex or nitrile gloves when working with these doses of chlorine. The goal is to knock away any biofilms.
- If you have Calcium deposit on your cloner's lid, use windex and genetly brush to remove them. CAUTION: DO NOT LET WINDEX MAKE CONTACT WITH CHLORINE BLEACH!
- Eliminate air stones and air-lines, they’re not needed. If you insist on using them (or are using a DWC or Bubbleponics system) boil these part for 10 min.
- Once reassembled, circulate HOT tap water. Upon cooling, again, add 5 mL/gal Bleach and 2 drops/gal soap and circulate for 24 hours. This should be the last time put this amount of work into sterilizing.
While cleaning and soaking parts of your cloner, rinse and sterilize your collars based on article: How to Sterilize PermaClone Collars with Confidence.
Also good reads:
- Hydroponic Water Quality AND Water Treatment -- A MUST READ
- The 3 Reasons Cloners Fail
- Advanced Aeroponic Cloning -- THE TRUE SECRETS REVEALED!