What is the most compact hydroponics setup with Mycodo?


I saw the amazing build guide here:

and it looks truly awesome.

However, I live in a fairly small apartment, and I’m also looking at just doing a small-scale setup to teach the kids a bit more about electronics and biology. Previously, the kids were using something like this:

which they thought was pretty cool - however, you can’t really tinker or take it apart, and also the official “lingots” (basically soil with seeds) is $15 each time. That, and it’s soil, not really hydroponics (which also makes a mess, when the kids decide to poke at the soil pots…).

I’m wondering - has anybody done a really compact, small-scale hydroponics setup with MyCodo that they’re willing to share?

Something that you could conceivably do indoors in a small apartment, say in the corner of the living room?

Or how would you practically go about scaling down Kyle’s setup in his guide?

I also had some specific questions:

  1. Is it mandatory to have the setup inside a grow tent? I assume if you don’t have it, the drawbacks are that you won’t be able to control the temperature/humidity, and the grow lights will be less efficient due to wastage. Are there any other issues? Has anybody tried a hydroponics setup indoors that isn’t enclosed, and how did it go?
  2. If I do get a grow-tent, I saw there are small compact “clone tents” (I assume for plant propagation) that are shorter in height. For example, this 18" Clone Tent from GorillaGrow. Would something like that be suitable for a MyCodo hydroponics setup like the video? Or any caveats or pitfalls to watch out for?
  3. For the fluid channels, I had a lot of trouble finding places to buy a “downspout” - but it turns out that in Australia, we call them a downpipe :blush: (e.g. this 100mm x 50mm PVC downpipe from Bunnings, which is equivalent to the 4 x 2 inch one referenced in Kyle’s guide.) I was thinking I can do shorter lengths of these - however, does anybody have any ideas of how I would suspend/mount them in the clone tent, while maintaining the 2-3° incline mentioned in the guide?
  4. For the pumps, I believe the guide is using 4 x Atlas Scientific EZO-PMP. However, I saw that Atlas Scientific also make the TRI-PMP-BX, which is actually 3 peristaltic pumps in a nice aluminium enclosure that’s controllable over a single wire. Would there be any issues using something like this with MyCodo? It’s a shame that it only had 3 pumps, and the guide needs 4 pumps - I wonder if I should just get one Tri-pump + 1 single pump - or does anybody have any other clever ideas?
  5. I did some searching online, and some of the other compact setups (e.g. this tutorial video), or ready-made setups (e.g. Superponics 8 Hydroponic Grow System) just seem to be a container, into which you pump the chemicals into directly, which I believe is called DWC (Deep Water Culture). This is versus’s Kyle’s setup, which I think is nutrient film technique, right? (Apologies if I have the terminology wrong). I’m just wondering why the NFT method was chosen here - is it better suited for MyCodo’s capabilities? Or more suited for home growers?
  6. One of the plants I was looking at growing was wasabi. However, looking at some Wasabi hydroponics resources online (e.g. Maximum Yield, Wasabi Crop, Grozine, Wasabi.org), some of them mentioned that the root system gets quite big, and can clog up the channels if you use a NFT system. I know Kyle’s guide mentioned using larger channels - but then that doesn’t work well if I’m trying to do a compact setup in a small apartment. Does anybody have any ideas here please, to avoid say, the root system from blocking the entire NFT channel? (Or is that not a real risk?)


Hi Victor,

I can just help you on the 4th question.
The TRI-PMP-BMX works fine with mycodo and you can easily add others tri-pump or a single EZO pump in I2C mode.
You just have to change either the I2C adress either the bus.

You can scale a hydroponics system to any size and shape you want. It depends a lot on what type of system you want to use and what types of plants you want to grow… the main basic designs types are:

Flood & Drain (minimal plumbing, has a pan where all your plants sit that gets flooded and drained periodically, good for all size plants)
Ebb & Flow (similar to Flood & Drain except the water is flowing through the pan all the times, good for all size plants)
Deep Water Culture (least amount of plumbing, it’s just a tank and your plant roots sit in the tank, good for growing small to medium plants)
Dutch Bucket System (this uses drip irrigation, good for growing medium to larger plants)
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT, these are often a 'trough system" like the one in Kyle’s demo video, good for small to medium plants)

There are some other systems, but they are derivatives or combinations of the above mentioned systems.

That being said, you really only need a grow tent if you are growing plants that need periods of total darkness to flower, or if you need to have strict control of humidity, otherwise a tent is really not necessary.

Honestly, I would avoid using an NFT or trough type system. They are great as a demonstration or proof of concept, but they are overly complicated, can leak like a sieve, and are hard to take apart and clean… and you will need to take apart your system at least once a month to clean out any algae and bio-films that form on all of the surfaces that are exposed to light and moisture.

If you are building a very small system, I would very much recommend avoiding automated EC, pH, and nutrient dosing. These are expensive and complicated setups that are simply not worth the trouble for a very small system. Check your pH by hand using pH strips or liquid drops, it’s faster and cheaper than having to calibrate an electronic pH meter, and electronic pH meters often do not last very long unless you buy the really expensive ones. As far as mixing nutrients, do that by hand as well, and simply change the nutrient tank every 2-3 weeks… you have to empty it to clean it once a month anyway or algae and bio-films will overrun the system. And if you always follow the nutrient manufacturer’s mixing directions, you shouldn’t need an EC meter.

The best growing medium for hydroponics is hands down Hydroton (or clay pellets). There is also peat moss cubes, coco-coir, or rockwool, but I find coco and rockwool messy, and often non-reusable. I have been growing with the same 20 pound bag of Hydroton for the past 7 years now. I use peat moss rooting cubes for germinating seeds.

Here is my current setup… running in the shower stall of our old RV. Right now it is setup with 2 Dutch buckets for 2 medium to large plants… but I can also set this up as a flood and drain with a flood-tray on the shelf and up to 9 6 inch pots, or 4 8 inch pots.

this is my setup. super small patio with no tent

you do not need much space

my boards are also designed to use much cheaper peristaltic pumps.


re: 6
I run into the same problem with ebb and flow. Parsley roots in particular clog the channels can be quite challenging to manage. Probably best to finish mapping out all the things you want to grow then decide on a system.

Tikki O. and Family Plot on YouTube have some nice, simple designs for suitable for smaller spaces.

How to Grow Hydroponic Tiny Tim Tomatoes from Seed to Harvest: Kratky vs. DWC

Building an Inexpensive Hydroponics/Aeroponics System

Automation for either of these is not really necessary but is helpful. I use Mycodo and Atlas for EC, pH, temperature and water and air pumps, also lighting control.

Lighting is pretty important. I use Fluorescent, Happy Leaf LED, Black Dog LED and Vivosun which I think is my go to favorite at the moment.

VIVOSUN VS3000 LED Grow Light

Hope some of this helps.