After over three years of real world testing, Grozine reviews Current Culture Under Current Hydroponic System.
The UC Pro might be described as Current Culture’s “Big Dog” from their stable of premium build quality & designed re-circulating water culture hydroponic systems manufactured in Fresno California, USA.
All re-circulating Under Current systems are built around their proven Re Circulating Deep Water Culture (RDWC) concept: provide maximum aeration to a depth of highly refined nutrient solution, and circulate continuously through the root system(s) contained and supported by each of the connected Modules.
Above: Stock UC PRO 12 System Layout
So What’s Different About the Pro Model System?
For the purposes of our Under Current Pro hydroponic system review, we note the following characteristics of the Under Current Pro System:
The individual Modules and Epi Centre used in the deign and construction of the hydroponic system are considerably larger than the 8 or 13 gallon modules. Pro Modules boast a 35 US Gallon Capacity. The foot print, naturally, is also considerably larger at around 30″ wide by 40″ long for each module.
+We like the volume of solution for buffering against temperature, pH and EC fluctuations–plants have evolved with stability in the root environment relative to the aerial environment.
The interchangable lids for the UC Pro can easily support a single very large plant, for example five feet around and eight feet tall, or can hold many smaller plants in the same sized are, for example for Sea Of Green SOG hydroponic growing techniques.
+No need to change or buy new systems as your growing needs evolve or change. Further, separate systems are not required for efficient vegetative growth phases; simply use fewer modules (and lights) in the same room and keep smaller plants closer together with more planting sites per lid.
Aeration levels are very high even compared to other UC systems, creating maximum Oxygen levels at the roots.
+The Regenerative Blower that is the heart of the aeration system provides very high levels of aeration, putting the nutrient solution into the “Super Charged” range***THIS ALLOWS FOR SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED FERTILIZER STRENGTHS TO ACHIEVE HIGHER GROWTH RATE, OFTEN 1/8 OR 1/4 OF COMMON WORKING CONCENTRATIONS, IE ONLY 350 PPM (PARTS PER MILLION) ARE REQUIRED FOR GIANT FRUITING PLANTS***
The Under Current Pro hydroponic system connects the individual modules together with 3 inch diameter ABS piping and leak-tight sturdy couplings.
+Wide piping diameters ensure plenty of flow rate so that aeration and nutrient levels are evenly distributed through big healthy root systems in all parts of the Under Current Pro hydroponic system. Like all UC systems, piping lengths can be adapted easily for different configurations and plant spacings as desired or required by the grower.
After THREE YEARS of Testing the Under Current Pro Hydroponic System in Real World Conditions
The initial UC Pro 12 System installation can take a little more time versus some other types of hydroponics systems, although it is worth noting the first time you do anything is often more challenging than the next time. The connections that create a water tight seal in the piping that join the individual growth modules and epi centre can take a little while to get the hang of, so it’s best to only partially fill the system after assembly and look for any connections that you may need to re-do (no glue required). NOTE: once assembled correctly, you can expect years of trouble free leak tight use.
The material that the individual growth modules and lids are constructed of has proved to be extremely durable and robust. We grow in a greenhouse that gets lots of strong natural lighting and is also supplemented with HID (High Intensity Discharge) grow lighting–most “plastics” will not stand the test of time in these conditions and become brittle and faded very quickly. Between crops we scrub the system with a mild bleach solution and rinse well–they look almost brand new again each time.
The “moving parts” of the system run continuous, as in 24/7 and are still doing so after three years with the original Regenerative Blowers (aeration) and Water Pumps supplied with our Under Current Pro hydroponic system.
The flexible white plastic hose that connects from the mains that come from the regenerative blower to the AquaPore aeration hose inside the system appear to be the only material that has not withstood strong sunlight as well as the other parts and components. Left alone and they are OK, although if moved or flexed they may crack as they have become brittle over time. NOTE: we understand this hose specification has been updated since we received our UC Pro 12 several years ago.
What Kinds of Crops Have Been Successfully Grown?
Our UC Pro System has successfully produced a wide variety of crops very consistently. Here’s a quick list of some the types of crops we have grown–check out http://www.Instagram.com/grozinehydroponicsmag for our real life photo updates over the last several years .
What We Like About the Under Current Pro Hydroponic System
Robust design; built for Commercial Growing Conditions
Wide Degree of Flexibility; Easy to Change Configurations and Spacing
BIG Water Savings; we use around 50% less water per crop versus conventional raised garden beds
Capable of Growing Very LARGE plants in a relatively short time frame; more crops per year are possible
Low Profile growing system; does not waste valuable vertical space
High Degree of Reliability; the Under Current Pro Hydroponic System has never failed us.
Significantly less use of synthetic nutrients; only about 25% of what we use in other methods is required for excellent results
Not So Much
Initial Investment Can be Significant; expected for commercial quality equipment
More Time Consuming Initial Installation; maintenance is minimal after however
Big Initial System Fill Up; although doesn’t require much water through cropping versus others.
Bulkier for Shipment Purposes; typically a one time only affair.
Erik Biksa has been writing about and discussing hydroponics growing, related technologies and cropping methods since 1999 in a variety of professional publications and platforms globally Erik has travelled the world learning and teaching modern growing techniques and technologies and is appreciated by many growers for his informative yet hands on approaches. Presently, he is the Editor at Grozine Hydroponics Mag.