Guide to setting up an indoor grow tent
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1. Choose the size of your tent based on the number of plants you want to grow and the height that they can reach. Most people choose a 1m or 1.2m tent as this allows 8 or 9 plants to be grown to full size. Try to choose a tent that has at least two ventilation flaps, is completely light proof and has ventilation "socks" for convenient setting up. Please be aware that a light unit and carbon filter can weigh up to 15 kg's so choose a tent that is rated to carry well above that weight. Most grow tents are now rated to 30 kg's. We often get asked about tents and whether they are light proof. The answer is yes and no. If you use the tents with the ventilation flaps closed then the tents are 100% light proof. If you open the ventilation flaps then some light will leak out. The material in our ventilation flaps is made out of a light baffling material so the amount that escapes is minimal. This is the case with all grow tents currently on the market although some do NOT feature light baffling material in the ventilation flaps so choose carefully. If you want a completely light proof setup then keep the ventilation flaps closed and use a small 4" ventilation fan to blow air into the tent via one of the ventilation "socks".
2. Providing adequate lighting is essential. Too small a light and you will not get good results, too large a light will cause you problems with heat. We recommend a 400w HPS or 600w HPS (High Pressure Sodium) light with tents that are between 1m and 1.2m's. HPS lights have been designed to produce a spectrum of light which will take care of both the growing cycle of the plant and the flowering cycle. Some growers prefer to use a Metal Halide (MH) lightbulb for the growing cycle but our experience of newer HPS bulbs is that they achieve almost identical results as an MH bulb so to buy an MH bulb is wasting resources. Grow lights consist of a bulb (sometimes called a lamp), a reflector and a ballast. The bulb screws into the reflector which hangs in the tent providing the light. The lead from the reflector then plugs into the ballast which is located outside of the grow tent. Please note that lights of this size cannot be plugged directly into an electrical timer as the current will melt the timer and potentially cause a fire. We strongly recommend always using an electrical contactor to prevent fires! We also recommend using Volvit Eazi Rolls to suspend your light easily. Eazi Rolls allow the grower to quickly adjust the height of the light.
3. Providing adequate ventilation is essential. We recommend that for good results you need to change the air in your grow tent at least 20 times per hour. If you do not refresh the air this often then you will get problems with heat, humidity, mould and your plants will struggle. To work out the size of fan you need you need to multiply the length times the breadth times the height of the tent in metres. For example, a 1m x 1m x 2m tent is 2 cubic metres of air. Now multiply this figure by 20 for the amount of air changes per hour. In our example this equals 40 so a ventilation fan that is rated at 40m3/hr would change the air sufficiently. However, we believe that this is still inadequate ventilation and provide MUCH larger ventilation fans with our setups so that carbon filters can be used efficiently as well. For our setups we supply ventilation fans that are rated at 350m3/hr as this will ventilate the tent AND run the carbon filter perfectly! Please note that ventilation fans are NOT provided with electrical cable already attached. This is because some growers like to position their ventilation fans well away from the grow area. It is extremely easy to wire up though and all you will need is the correct length of 3 core electrical cable and a household plug. Instructions how to do this are always provided with the ventilation fan.
4. Carbon Filters. These hang inside the tent and have the air from the grow tent drawn through them. As the air passes through the carbon in the filter the odours are neutralised and "clean" air is blown out of the tent. Carbon filters are extremely important if odours are a problem. We recommend using the same size carbon filter as your fan so we supply 125mm carbon filters which can handle 350m3/hr being pulled through them. Carbon filters work best with a humidity of less than 80%. Over 85% they don't work at all! Under normal circumstances carbon filters will last up to 12 months. Carbon filters can be linked together and connected to ventilation fans easily with ducting of the corresponding size.
5. Growing systems. Choosing a system to grow your plants in can be a minefield. A lot of growers are happy to just use large plant pots with soil in. This is fine on a small scale but hand watering can become a nuisance and time consuming especially when the plants start to reach full size. There are growing systems which remove the need for constant watering and are cheap and easy to set up. We recommend two different types of growing systems. The Flood & Drain system works by pumping water from a reservoir into a tray where your pots are sitting. The plants draw up the water they need and when the pump switches off the water that isnt used is returned to the reservoir ready for the next flood cycle. This is a superb way of growing plants as it is very quiet, convenient to set up and gives the plants both a wet and dry cycle. Alternatively, we also recommend a drip feed growing system such as the Auto Pot or Auto Tray which works by using gravity. Each pot or tray has an Aqua Valve in which only allows a certain amount of water into the pot or tray. When the water is gone the valve allows more water in. The Aqua Valve is especially handy as it only replaces the water once all of the water has been used by the plants. This gives the plant a wet and dry cycle as well as the Flood & Drain method.
Once you have decided on your preferred setup you will want to start growing. Follow these handy hints and tips on setting up: -
- Position the tent away from external sources of heat and try to leave a gap between any walls. If you intend to use the ventilation flaps then leave a gap between the wall and the side of the tent with the flap in. Once you have set up your grow tent it is unlikely you will be able to move it easily so choose your position carefully!
- Using the straps provided with your tent suspend the carbon filter at the back of the tent with the opening or mouth towards the ventilation sock in the roof.
- Once you have wired up your ventilation fan with electrical cable, using the duct clamps provided, attach a 1 metre piece of ducting to the inlet of the ventilation fan. All ventilation fans will have an arrow on them indicating the direction of flow. Slip the length of ducting through the roof sock and attach it with another duct clamp to the opening of the carbon filter. Place the ventilation fan in the ventilation sock on the roof. Attach the rest of the ducting with the remaining duct clamp to the outlet of the ventilation fan and route the ducting away from the grow area.
- Now attach the Eazi Rolls to the centre bar of your grow tent and attach the reflector to them. Screw your bulb into the reflector BUT please note that you must not touch the glass bulb with your fingers. Run the cable from the reflector through the wiring sock in the back of the tent to the ballast and plug it into the ballast. To use the electrical contactor you have to plug the plug marked "timer" into the timer and plug the timer into the mains. Now plug the plug marked "mains" into the mains. Now plug the plug from the ballast into the contactor and you are all set to use your light system.
- If you switch off your light wait at least 10 minutes to switch it on again or you can damage it.
Your grow tent is now ready for use!
We hope you found this guide useful and if you need any more information then please do not hesitate to contact us.