This is a tutorial for a basic bubble cloner. Once you know the basic idea you can adapt it to your individual circumstances so rather than being extremely precise with measurements and equipment I will give you the general idea with lots of pics to help since as the old saying goes ‘one picture is worth a thousand words!!’ It may be giving extra information but personally I prefer as much detail as possible in a tutorial since its so frustrating knowing how to do 90% of it and getting stuck cause the bloody author left out a part or didn’t give enough detail so you could understand it properly!!)
- Plastic container with a lid
- Check valve/s
- Digital thermometer
- Pool noodle
Parts list with comments.
Plastic container –size depends on how many clones you wish it to hold. An old ice cream container or Tupperware or whatever you can find. Ideally it will be opaque so you wont have to cover it with duct tape or paint to make it lightproof but these can be hard to find.. The plastic container only needs to be 15-20cm (6-8 inches) high.
Airpump - $10 for a single outlet one from Big W but a dual outlet one for $15-$20 will serve you better by making more bubbles.
Airstone- $3-$20 depending on the size—you can also use the flexible style they sell.
Air-hose - $3 for a few metres (you can buy a multipack for about $6 that has air-hose,check valves and splitters in one pack)
Check valves - $3 (stops the water backing up into your airpump….you can also just keep the airpump above the water level in your cloner to prevent this)
Splitters - (used to increase the number of outlets the airpump has so you can use more airstones…..you probably wont need these.
Digital thermometer – make sure you don’t get the type designed to stick on the inside of a fish tank but rather one that you can attach to the outside.
Pool noodle/neoprene - (for clone plugs) $3 crazy clarks K-Mart etc...there are two types..one has a hole in the middle and one is solid all the way through. I have used both and prefer the solid one. These are sold in different colours and are used at swimming pools/beaches as a flotation device..in case you where unaware. Alternative clone plugs could be some 19mm plastic tubing or garden hose. Even just drilling 10mm wide holes in the lid and supporting the clones with a clothes peg is a possibility…Rockwool is not recommended since it would get too wet and you would risk stem rot..
Where to Purchase
The plastic container, duct tape and pool noodle can be bought from many shops and the rest of the parts can be bought from a petstore--if you don’t have access to a petstore/aquarium you could buy the equipment on-line.
- 5mm bit
- Rough Sandpaper
- Smooth sandpaper
- Duct tape
- Measuring tape
- Permanent Marker/pen
- 10cent coin (or another way of measuring an approx 20-25mm/1 inch circle)
Alright!!..lets get started
This particular bubble cloner has a fifty clone capacity. the first step for us here is to make the clone plugs.
Making the clone plugs
Cut fifty 3cm long bits from the pool noodle (see pic below)
Next put a 10 cent coin in the middle of each plug and mark out a circle. Then a one cm mark down from the top and cut out what was not needed to make a mushroom shaped clone plug. The stem of the mushroom shape plug goes into the hole in the lid (if you want you could just cut a 2cm wide and 3cm high cylinder shape)
See pics below to aid your understanding!!
From left to right 1 is what you start with 2 is the coin I marked it out with 3 is with the lines marked and ready to cut…4 is in the process of being cut to shape and 5 is the finished clone plug.
Then drill a 5mm wide hole in the center of each plug (this is where the cutting goes)you want a 5-9mm wide hole depending on the thickness of the cuttings you take.
The next step was to cut half way through the plug so that it can be opened to insert and remove the clones)
A black mark where the opening is can be helpful when inserting and removing the clones)
It is recommended having your hole approximately 20—25mm(one inch) wide so that is easy to remove the clone without damaging the roots…the roots can get quite long..here's a pic of some Northern Lights clones and what they looked like after two weeks in the previous bubble cloner I made)
Making the lid
Mark out where you want the clone plugs to go on the lid of the plastic container, then very carefully drill a hole in the lid in the center of each. If you are not careful you may split the plastic when drilling. mad.gif This hole is so you can fit the the jigsaw blade in.
Now carefully cut out each hole.
Now sandpaper the edges of the holes so they are nice and smooth.
Ok..now we lightproof the lid if necessary using duct tape..( some people use transparent containers and they still get great results---the light proofing is to minimize the risk of slime/algae/root rot)
Making the rest of the bubble cloner
Put your lid on and then drill 5mm wide holes into the base of the container just below the top of the lid for your air-hose/s
Cut a wedge about 5mm deep into the top of the container (this is for the cord from the digital thermometer)
Now cut two 50mm long pieces of air-hose and connect them onto the airpump.
Then stick the check valves onto the other end of these 50mm long air-hoses ensuring that they are on the right way(you can blow through them to check since they are one way only…you want them to let air flow from the air pump to the bubble cloner )
And now if you need to install the splitters so that you have more outlets from the airpump.
You can see in the above pic how it turned a two outlet airpump into a four outlet airpump…
Now put the airstones in the container (wash them in water first)
Now push the air-hose through the hole you drilled earlier…(cutting the end at a 45degree angle will make it easier to push through the 5mm wide holes ensuring a nice tight fit)
After pushing the air hose through the holes you previously drilled connect the other end of the air-hose to the airstone.
Now put the remote probe of the digital thermometer inside the cloner and under where the water level will be and attach the other end of the thermometer to the outside of the container.
This next pic shows what it looks inside once completed and helps explain the previous set of instructions.
You can see the four
air-hoses coming in and the black cord is from the digital
thermometer.There are four air-hoses since the airstones are 60cm
(2feet) long and they need an air-hose at each end..smaller airstones
only require a single air-hose but hey..this is a fifty capacity bubble
This is an outside picture of the finished cloner…
And here is a birdseye view..
and with some cuttings in it...
This bubble cloner was made for a mate…and here's a couple of pics of it on its first run..
Some Helpful information
For a bubble cloner are 24-28 degrees Celsius. At higher temperatures the cuttings will root quicker but you run the risk of slime,algae and root rot. At lower temperatures the cuttings will root slower. If the water temperature gets too low you can buy a 25watt aquarium heater for $20 from the petshop/aquarium If the water temperature gets too high you can put a 600ml bottle of ice in it to bring the water temperature back down.
Clones only require a small amount of light since all their energy is being directed into growing roots. 10w/sq ft is plenty. Most bubble cloners would go fine under a single 18watt fluorescent light. You could probably even just leave it on the windowsill if you want.
this needs to be close to the top of the container..about 20-40mm from the top. You can have the water level so that the ends of the cuttings are underwater or you can have them just above the water so that you get the water droplets splashing up onto the stem, both methods work.
40-60% is fine since the stems are immersed in water.
20-30C is ideal just like for growing cannabis.
You only need water for the cuttings. Once they have roots you can put in ¼ strength vegging nutes to speed up their root development for a few days before putting them into your veg setup. You could also add the ¼ strength nutes from the very beginning so they have access to food as soon as they have roots.
Bubble Cloner Frequently asked Questions
What is a bubble cloner?
A bubble cloner is a plastic container with a lid filled with water and aerated by an air-pump.
Are they any good?
Yes!!. 95-100% is an achievable strike rate…with little to no input from the grower!!
Are they easy to use?
Once you have put your cuttings in the cloner you can leave it totally
alone for a week or two and then come back and take the rooted clones
out and put them into your veg system...it doesn’t get much easier than
Are they easy to make?
Will my cuttings wilt and look like they are dying?
No!! they will always look just as fresh and alive as they looked on the mother plant.
Are they noisy?
the main noise is from the airpump and that can be muffled if
necessary. If you have it in a wardrobe in a bedroom you will not be
able to hear it from outside the room.
Are they expensive to build?
No!! they can be built for as little as $20!!...although $30-$40 will build you a better cloner.
At its most basic a bubble cloner only requires four things:
1) a plastic container with a lid.
2) an airpump.
You do not need rooting gels like clonex.
You do not need to use a humidity dome.
You do not need rockwool.
How do I make one?
just connect the airpump to some air-hose and connect the other end of
the air-hose to an airstone and plonk it in your container…cut some
holes in the lid for your clones and your done….easy peasy lemon
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