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Recent technologies in horticulture have enabled the development of a wide range of controlled environment systems that produce a wide variety of different plant varieties. Controlled environments include various systems and devices that provide for the growth of plants or other crop(s) to produce different varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees, and ornamental plants. Among these types of controlled environment systems, one which is gaining a lot of attention in plant cultivation is a hydroponic system.
Hydroponic systems use a nutrient solution or water to irrigate the roots of plants in soil, soil-less mediums (e.g., peat, vermiculite, and the like), soil substitutes (e.g., perlite, vermiculite, and the like), and the like. As the root of a plant interacts with the nutrient solution, oxygen, water and other growth-promoting substances are released into the root environment for the plant to grow and develop.
One of the main advantages of a hydroponic system is that the roots of the plants are immersed in the nutrient solution to obtain the necessary nutrients and other substances required by the plant. As the nutrient solution is not mixed with soil, it is not subjected to the microbial contamination which is found in soil. The microbial contamination found in soil results in a reduction of the absorption capacity and the utilization efficiency of the nutrients by the plant. As a result, a hydroponic system can provide for much better growth of the plants because it is possible to control the growth conditions of the plants by optimizing the characteristics of the nutrient solution and other growth-promoting substances used in a hydroponic system. Another advantage of a hydroponic system is that it is possible to control and monitor the growth of the plants by using a variety of sensors to detect a variety of information related to the water status of the plants (e.g., the electrical conductivity, pH, redox potential, and the like). The sensing capability of the hydroponic system can be greatly enhanced by using a variety of sensors for collecting the desired information related to the growth of the plant.
The root zone of a plant can be divided into three regions. One region is the xylem region, which contains the roots and is the place where the plant receives its water from the outside environment. The other two regions are the elongation and the maturation regions, which are the root regions that are in close contact with the nutrient solution.
It is well known that nutrient solutions used in a hydroponic system may be reused multiple times before being discarded or recycled for further use. Thus, the nutrients in the nutrient solutions should be removed and a new nutrient solution should be prepared for further use. In order to remove the nutrients from the nutrient solution, the solution should be passed through a filtering system to separate the nutrient from the nutrient solution. Many known filtering systems for use in hydroponic systems can filter out particles larger than a predetermined size and/or filter out a desired chemical composition from the solution.
An example of such a filtering system is illustrated in FIG. 1, which shows a filter 102 installed in a water flow path 106 of a hydroponic system. The filter 102 includes a filtering system 108 having filter media 110. It is also known to remove the contaminants, such as fertilizer, soil, and the like, from the nutrient solution prior to the nutrient solution being reused and/or re-purposed for further use. It is further known to remove the contaminants, such as excess fertilizer, from the nutrient solution using the filter 102.
The filter media 110 is typically made of an inert material, such as polypropylene. Typically, the filter media 110 are installed in the filtering system in a fixed manner such that the filter media 110 are held in position by a retainer which is attached to the filtering system. In this manner, the filtration process can be performed at a specific location. However, such a fixed configuration of the filtering system has several disadvantages. For example, it is time consuming to change the configuration of the filtering system. Such a change may be required, for example, when changing the configuration of the nutrient solution supplied to the filtering system. Furthermore, a change to the configuration of the filtering system may be required, for example, when the nutrient solution begins to become contaminated.Further, when a change to the configuration of the filtering system is required, the filtering system must be removed from the water flow path of the hydroponic system. Removal of the filtering system can be difficult, and the replacement of the filter media with new filter media can be difficult.
Some known filtering systems are adjustable. However, such systems are complicated and are provided with a plurality of components that are difficult to assemble and use. As a result, such known filtering systems tend to be expensive, and may be time consuming to assemble and use.
Therefore, a need has been recognized for an adjustable filtering system for use in a hydroponic system. A need has also been recognized for such an adjustable filtering system that may be easily and quickly assembled and configured. A need has also been recognized for such an adjustable filtering system that may be easily and quickly disassembled and configured. A need has also been recognized for such an adjustable filtering system that provides for efficient water flow when filtering the nutrient solution.