Hydroponics basin

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Hydroponics basin

Hydroponics basin

An artificial nutrient bath for growing plants. The nutrients pumps must work continuously; the plants will die if power is cut.

Base Stats

Type
BuildingProduction
Market Value
230 Silver [Note]
HP
180
Flammability
50%
Path Cost
30

Building

Size
1 ˣ 4
Minifiable
False
Placeable
True
Passability
pass through only
Cover Effectiveness
30%
Terrain Affordance
Medium
Power
-70 W
Cleanliness
-3

Creation

Required Research
Hydroponics
Skill Required
Construction 4
Work To Make
2,800 ticks (46.67 secs)
Resources to make
Steel 100 + Component 1
Deconstruct yield
Steel 50 + Component 0 - 1
Destroy yield
Steel 25 + Component 0 - 1

A hydroponics basin provides a highly fertile medium for growing food quickly. With the use of sun lamps, it can also be used for growing crops indoors, although, in biomes that allow year-round growing, outdoor use is a valid option. Hydroponics basins provide a much more fertile environment than soil (280% fertility, equivalent to 2x rich soil) and any crops planted in them will grow much more quickly.

Each hydroponic basin consumes a steady 70 watts, day and night. This power is critical to maintain the health of any crops growing in the basin. Unlike many electric appliances, they do not short circuit in the rain. This means they can be used outdoors without extra precautions.

Acquisition

Hydroponics basins can be constructed once the Hydroponics research project has been completed. They require Steel 100 Steel, Component 1 Component, 2,800 ticks (46.67 secs) of work, and a Construction skill of 4.

Usage

Power is absolutely critical to hydroponics, and cannot be stressed enough. Although a small demand, without that 70 watts of power any crops in a basin will begin to die. Make sure you have a steady supply of power, and an independent, reliable backup system (or two!). Similarly, for any indoor hydroponics, consider the power demands of any sun lamps you'll be using (see next), which are just as critical for plant growth.

A powered basin provides only soil fertility; all other plant growth conditions must still be met. Crop plants require at least 51% light during the day and need a temperature within their comfortable range (see specific articles for details). Sun lamps are required if you're growing indoors as they are the only artificial lighting source that provides enough lighting for plant growth. (Standing lamps only provide 50% lighting and do not "stack", so are not enough for crop growth.)

Plants also need heat when it's cold and cooling when it's too hot. With an environment just outside of their comfortable range, plants will not grow at 100%, and if too far outside of that range, they will die. Sun lamps provide a small source of heat (see that article for details), but any extreme weather will require additional heat if cold temperatures are expected.

The following plants can be grown in hydroponics basins:

When choosing a plant for the hydroponics basin, it should be considered that they have differing fertility sensitivities and growth cycles. Therefore, growing potatoes yields much less nutrition per day as growing rice does, but (having a longer cycle) requires less labor to harvest and re-plant.

Rice plants are the default crops to be grown in newly-built hydroponics basins. This can be changed by selecting a basin and selecting a different plant in the menu.

Each basin has a cleanliness value of -3, making a large hydroponics farm a very "dirty" prospect.

Analysis

Hydroponics can almost triple (280%) the output compared to standard fields on the same footprint. This alone makes them a no-brainer for many players. However, growing crops in hydropnics is not without disadvantages, and these must be weighed against the impressive fertility boost.

The first is that power is absolutely critical to their use, without which the crops planted in the basin will rapidly die. Thus, solar flares will kill all hydroponic crops, though pawns can be ordered to harvest partially-grown crops before they wither, to prevent a total loss. Breakdowns and conduit explosions elsewhere in the power grid are also a concern, though crops can be saved if power is restored quickly enough.

Another disadvantage is the limited selection of crops that can be grown hydroponically.

Also, not all crops can be grown in hydroponics; if these crops are of importance to your colony, hydroponics can offer no help here. These crops are:

Lastly, understand that the massive increase in fertility does not increase the yield of a single crop cycle, it only speeds up that cycle, so doubling the output but also the demand for labor to plant/harvest those crops. If your current crops are taking up more than half the time of your Planter(s), they will need help to keep up with any newly increased rate of production.

SunlampHydroponics.png

Sun lamp arrangement

It is possible to fit 24 hydroponics basins inside the "brightly lit" area of a sun lamp with the following configuration:

This Setup will use 4580W at day and 1680W at night. A Solar generator produces 1700W and a Geothermal generator 3600W, so three Solar Generators (and a few Batteries) or one Geothermal generator (plus a little help) are needed to power it.

If there is a roof over the hydroponics area, it may be wise to use the four empty tiles for roof support columns. This is not necessary if there are supports immediately outside the sun lamp's radius. These tiles could also be used for plant pots or art to boost growers' mood.

Outdoors

Alternatively, you can opt to put all your hydroponics basins outdoors, using the natural light outside to grow plants. This negates the controlled temperature and light level advantage of indoor greenhouses but saves a great deal of power.

This method is very effective, for example, in an Extreme Desert which has a year-round growing season but not much available soil.

Version history

  • 0.0.245 - Balanced down hydroponics growth rate.
  • 0.3.410 - Fertility increase and requires power or the plants die. You can also now set what to grow on them.
  • Since Beta 19 it now requires components to build, and the default crop was changed to rice (from potatoes). It also received a remodel.