What are the 7 Essential Requirements for a Successful Hydroponic System?

Are you ready to grow your own plants in a hydroponic system but unsure of where to start? There are seven major requirements that must be met in order to create a successful hydroponic system. From proper lighting to maintaining the right pH levels, these requirements are essential for healthy plant growth. In this article, we will explore each of these requirements in detail, providing you with the knowledge you need to create a thriving hydroponic garden. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this information is sure to help you achieve your gardening goals. So, let’s get started and explore the seven essential requirements for a successful hydroponic system!

Quick Answer:
A hydroponic system is a method of growing plants without soil, using nutrient-rich water as the growing medium. To ensure a successful hydroponic system, there are seven essential requirements that must be met. First, proper lighting is crucial for plant growth, so choosing the right type of lighting and providing the appropriate intensity and duration of light is important. Second, a consistent and appropriate temperature must be maintained to ensure healthy plant growth. Third, proper nutrient management is necessary to provide plants with the necessary nutrients for growth. Fourth, adequate oxygenation is necessary for plant roots to thrive. Fifth, a proper pH level must be maintained to ensure that plants can absorb nutrients effectively. Sixth, a proper drainage system must be in place to prevent waterlogging and ensure proper nutrient distribution. Finally, regular monitoring and maintenance of the system are necessary to identify and address any issues that may arise. By meeting these seven essential requirements, a successful hydroponic system can be established and maintained.

Understanding Hydroponics

Advantages of Hydroponics

  • Increased crop yield

Hydroponics allows for increased crop yield as compared to traditional soil-based agriculture. The controlled environment and precise nutrient delivery in hydroponic systems enable plants to grow faster and produce more yield per square foot.

  • Water conservation

One of the significant advantages of hydroponics is water conservation. Since the nutrient solution is continuously recirculated and reused, there is minimal water waste. This is particularly important in areas with limited water resources or where water is scarce.

  • Controlled environment

Hydroponic systems provide a controlled environment for plant growth, which is essential for optimal plant health and productivity. The controlled environment allows for regulation of temperature, humidity, light, and nutrient levels, ensuring that plants receive the right conditions for growth.

  • Year-round growth

Hydroponic systems enable year-round growth of plants, regardless of the season or weather conditions. This is possible because plants are grown in a controlled environment, where temperature, humidity, and light can be regulated to optimize plant growth. This is particularly important for plants that require specific temperature or light conditions for growth.

Brief History of Hydroponics

  • Ancient roots
    Hydroponics has been around for centuries, with evidence of its use dating back to the ancient civilizations of Greece, China, and the Mayans. These cultures used simple systems to grow plants in water, without the use of soil.
  • Modern development
    The modern development of hydroponics began in the late 19th century, with the work of Dutch scientist, Dr. H.W.C. van den Berg. He discovered that plants could be grown in a nutrient solution, rather than just in water. This discovery led to the development of the first hydroponic systems for commercial agriculture.
  • Current applications
    Today, hydroponics is used in a wide range of applications, from small-scale home gardening to large-scale commercial agriculture. It is particularly useful in areas where soil is scarce or of poor quality, and for growing crops in controlled environments such as greenhouses or vertical farms.

Basic Components of a Hydroponic System

Key takeaway: The 7 essential requirements for a successful hydroponic system are nutrient solutions, oxygenation, lighting, temperature and humidity control, pest and disease control, support systems, monitoring and maintenance, and nutrient solution. Hydroponics allows for increased crop yield, water conservation, and controlled environment for plant growth, and year-round growth. Hydroponic systems can be classified into different types based on their mode of operation and the type of nutrient solution used. The most common methods used by gardeners and farmers are hydroponics and soil growing, and there are key differences between the two.

Hydroponic vs. Soil Growing

When it comes to growing plants, hydroponics and soil growing are two of the most common methods used by gardeners and farmers. While both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, there are some key differences between the two that are worth noting.

One of the most significant differences between hydroponic and soil growing is the type of nutrient solutions used. In hydroponics, plants are grown in nutrient-rich water solutions that are carefully formulated to provide all the essential nutrients that plants need to grow. In contrast, soil growing relies on the natural nutrients present in the soil, which can vary significantly depending on the type of soil and the location.

Another important difference between the two methods is oxygenation. While soil growing relies on the soil’s natural ability to provide oxygen to plant roots, hydroponic systems require specialized equipment to oxygenate the nutrient solutions. This is because water does not contain oxygen, so specialized pumps and air stones are used to deliver oxygen to the roots of the plants.

Lighting is also a crucial factor in both hydroponic and soil growing. However, the type of lighting required may differ between the two methods. While soil growing can make use of natural sunlight, hydroponic systems require specialized grow lights to provide the necessary light spectrum for plant growth.

Finally, pest and disease control is an essential aspect of both hydroponic and soil growing. However, the methods used to control pests and diseases may differ between the two methods. In hydroponics, the closed environment of the system makes it easier to control pests and diseases, as they can be more easily identified and treated. In contrast, soil growing may require more extensive measures to control pests and diseases, such as crop rotation and the use of natural pest repellents.

Hydroponic Systems Types

Hydroponic systems can be broadly classified into different types based on their mode of operation and the type of nutrient solution used. The following are the main types of hydroponic systems:

Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Deep water culture (DWC) is a type of hydroponic system where plants are grown in large, nutrient-rich reservoirs of water. The roots of the plants are suspended in the water, and air is pumped into the system to provide oxygen to the roots. This system is relatively simple and easy to set up, making it a popular choice for small-scale hydroponic growing.

Wick Systems

Wick systems are another type of hydroponic system that uses a wick to transport nutrients from a reservoir to the plant’s roots. In this system, the wick is saturated with nutrient solution, and the roots of the plants are placed in the nutrient solution. As the nutrients are pulled up the wick by capillary action, they are delivered to the roots of the plants.

Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)

Ebb and flow (flood and drain) systems are characterized by a recirculating nutrient solution that periodically floods the roots of the plants. The plants are grown in a shallow container filled with a growing medium, such as perlite or vermiculite, and the nutrient solution is pumped in and out of the container to provide the plants with the necessary nutrients.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

The nutrient film technique (NFT) is a type of hydroponic system where a continuous flow of nutrient solution is pumped through a channel or tube containing the roots of the plants. The roots of the plants are placed in the channel, and the nutrient solution flows through the channel at a rate that provides the plants with the necessary nutrients.

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Aeroponics

Aeroponics is a type of hydroponic system that uses an aeroponic chamber to grow plants without the use of a growing medium. The roots of the plants are suspended in the chamber, and a fine mist of nutrient solution is sprayed over the roots, providing them with the necessary nutrients. Aeroponics systems are highly efficient and can produce high yields with a relatively small amount of space.

The 7 Major Requirements of a Hydroponic System

1. Nutrient Solutions

Hydroponic systems rely on nutrient solutions to provide plants with the essential nutrients they need to grow. These nutrient solutions are specially formulated to contain all the necessary minerals, vitamins, and trace elements that plants require for optimal growth. The nutrient solution’s pH levels, nutrient ratios, and whether it is organic or synthetic are crucial factors that can affect the success of a hydroponic system.

1.1 Essential Nutrients

Essential nutrients are the nutrients that plants require in large amounts to grow. These include nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), as well as calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). The specific nutrient requirements for plants can vary depending on the type of plant and its growth stage. It is important to choose a nutrient solution that contains the right balance of essential nutrients for the plants being grown.

1.2 pH Levels

The pH level of a nutrient solution is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic environment, with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. If the pH level of the nutrient solution is too high or too low, it can affect the plants’ ability to absorb nutrients and can lead to nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. It is important to regularly test the pH level of the nutrient solution and adjust it as needed to ensure optimal growth.

1.3 Nutrient Ratios

Nutrient ratios refer to the relative amounts of different nutrients in the nutrient solution. The specific nutrient ratios required for plants can vary depending on the type of plant and its growth stage. It is important to choose a nutrient solution that contains the right balance of nutrients for the plants being grown. Some hydroponic systems use the “general-purpose” nutrient solution, which is designed to provide a balanced ratio of nutrients for a wide range of plants.

1.4 Organic vs. Synthetic

Organic nutrient solutions are made from natural sources and are often marketed as being more environmentally friendly. Synthetic nutrient solutions, on the other hand, are made from chemicals and are often more highly concentrated. Both organic and synthetic nutrient solutions can be effective for growing plants in a hydroponic system, but the choice between them may depend on personal preference or growing conditions. Some hydroponic growers prefer organic nutrient solutions because they believe they are more natural and healthy for the plants, while others prefer synthetic nutrient solutions because they are more precise and easier to use.

2. Oxygenation

In a hydroponic system, oxygenation is crucial for plant growth and development. Plants require oxygen for respiration, just like animals do, and without it, they will not be able to grow or produce yields. There are several methods of oxygenating a hydroponic system, including using air stones, air pumps, and bubblers.

  • Plant roots: Plant roots play a critical role in oxygenation, as they are responsible for absorbing oxygen from the nutrient solution. It is important to ensure that the roots have access to oxygen, as they will not be able to absorb nutrients without it. This can be achieved by ensuring that the roots are in constant contact with the nutrient solution, and by using proper water circulation and aeration techniques.
  • Air stones: Air stones are small, porous stones that are placed in the nutrient solution to increase oxygenation. They work by releasing air bubbles into the solution, which increase the amount of oxygen available to the plants. Air stones are an inexpensive and effective way to oxygenate a hydroponic system, and they can be used in a variety of systems, including deep water culture and nutrient film technique.
  • Air pumps: Air pumps are used to power air stones and other oxygenation devices in a hydroponic system. They work by drawing air from the atmosphere and pressurizing it, which creates bubbles in the nutrient solution. Air pumps can be used in conjunction with air stones, or with other oxygenation devices such as bubblers.
  • Bubblers: Bubblers are similar to air stones, but they are larger and more powerful. They work by releasing large amounts of air into the nutrient solution, which increases the amount of oxygen available to the plants. Bubblers can be used in deep water culture systems, and they are especially useful for oxygenating large systems or systems with many plants.

Overall, oxygenation is a critical component of a successful hydroponic system. By ensuring that the roots have access to oxygen, and by using devices such as air stones, air pumps, and bubblers, growers can help their plants thrive and produce healthy yields.

3. Lighting

When it comes to growing plants in a hydroponic system, lighting is one of the most critical factors to consider. Without adequate lighting, plants will not be able to photosynthesize properly, leading to stunted growth and poor yields.

Full spectrum LEDs

One of the most popular types of lighting for hydroponic systems is full spectrum LEDs. These lights are designed to mimic the spectrum of natural sunlight, which is essential for optimal plant growth. They come in a variety of wattages and colors, depending on the type of plant being grown. For example, blue LED lights are ideal for growing leafy greens, while red and blue LED lights are better for flowering plants.

High intensity discharge (HID) lights

Another option for hydroponic lighting is high intensity discharge (HID) lights. These lights are more traditional and have been used for many years in traditional gardening. They come in two main types: metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS). MH lights are best for the vegetative stage of growth, while HPS lights are better for the flowering stage.

Light cycles

The amount of light that plants receive is also critical. Most plants require at least 12 hours of light per day, but the specific light cycle will depend on the type of plant being grown. For example, some plants require a 12-hour light cycle, while others need 18 hours of light per day.

Light intensity

The intensity of the light is also essential. The light intensity should be high enough to allow the plants to photosynthesize efficiently but not so high that it burns the leaves. The recommended light intensity for hydroponic systems is around 1000-1500 umol/m2/s.

In summary, lighting is a critical factor in a successful hydroponic system. The type of lighting used will depend on the specific needs of the plants being grown, including the spectrum, wattage, color, light cycle, and intensity. Full spectrum LEDs, high intensity discharge (HID) lights, and light cycles and intensity all play a significant role in ensuring that plants receive the light they need to grow and thrive.

4. Temperature and Humidity Control

Hydroponic systems thrive in specific temperature and humidity conditions. Optimal temperature ranges are essential for the growth and development of plants in a hydroponic system. Generally, the ideal temperature range for most hydroponic systems is between 68°F to 78°F (20°C to 25°C). The temperature must be monitored closely to ensure that it remains within the optimal range, as fluctuations can negatively affect plant growth.

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In addition to temperature, humidity levels must also be controlled. Most hydroponic systems require a humidity level between 40% to 60%. High humidity levels can lead to issues such as mold and mildew, while low humidity levels can cause plant dehydration. Misting systems can be used to increase humidity levels, while dehumidifiers can be used to lower humidity levels.

It is important to note that the specific temperature and humidity requirements for a hydroponic system can vary depending on the type of plants being grown. Some plants may require higher or lower temperature and humidity levels, and it is important to research the specific needs of the plants being grown in the hydroponic system.

5. Pest and Disease Control

Pest and disease control is a critical aspect of maintaining a successful hydroponic system. It is important to identify potential pests and diseases early on and take preventative measures to avoid any issues. There are organic and chemical control options available, and integrated pest management (IPM) is a popular approach that combines different methods to manage pests and diseases effectively.

Identifying pests and diseases

One of the first steps in pest and disease control is identifying potential issues. This can be done by regularly inspecting the plants and the growing environment for signs of pests or diseases. Some common signs of pests include holes in leaves, yellowing or discoloration of leaves, and a build-up of insects on the plants. Diseases can be identified by discoloration, wilting, or yellowing of the plants, as well as fungal growth or other visible signs.

Preventative measures

Preventative measures are key to avoiding pest and disease issues in a hydroponic system. Some of the most effective preventative measures include:

  • Keeping the growing environment clean and well-ventilated
  • Using high-quality seeds and seedlings
  • Providing adequate nutrients and water
  • Regularly inspecting the plants and the growing environment
  • Quarantining new plants or equipment before introducing them to the system

Organic and chemical control options

There are both organic and chemical control options available for managing pests and diseases in a hydroponic system. Organic options include using natural predators, neem oil, or insecticidal soaps. Chemical options include using synthetic pesticides, but these should be used with caution and only as a last resort.

Integrated pest management (IPM)

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a popular approach to managing pests and diseases in a hydroponic system. IPM combines different methods to manage pests and diseases effectively, including:

  • Monitoring the plants and the growing environment for signs of pests or diseases
  • Identifying and managing the pests or diseases before they become a problem
  • Using a combination of organic and chemical control options as needed
  • Implementing preventative measures to avoid future issues

By following these guidelines and implementing the 7 essential requirements for a successful hydroponic system, growers can achieve high yields and a healthy, thriving system.

6. Support Systems

Trellising

Trellising is a technique used in hydroponics to support the plants as they grow. This method involves training the plants to climb up a vertical structure, such as a trellis or a fence. The plants are secured to the structure using cable ties or plant clips, which allows them to grow in a controlled and organized manner. Trellising is especially useful for crops that have a vining habit, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans. It maximizes the use of space, making it easier to manage the plants and harvest the crops.

Netting

Netting is another support system used in hydroponics. It is a lightweight, mesh material that is used to support the plants as they grow. Netting is usually made of materials such as nylon or polyester, and it is available in a variety of sizes and strengths. It is often used in conjunction with other support systems, such as trellising, to provide additional support for the plants. Netting is useful for crops that have a spreading habit, such as lettuce and herbs. It helps to keep the plants upright and off the ground, making it easier to manage the plants and harvest the crops.

Vertical gardening

Vertical gardening is a method of growing plants in a vertical orientation, rather than horizontally. This method is often used in hydroponics because it allows for maximum use of space. Plants are grown in stacked layers, with each layer having its own hydroponic system. The plants are secured to a support structure, such as a trellis or a mesh netting, which allows them to grow upward. Vertical gardening is useful for crops that have a vining or spreading habit, such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. It is also useful for herbs and leafy greens, which can be grown in a compact and organized manner.

DIY hydroponic systems

DIY (Do-It-Yourself) hydroponic systems are kits or plans that allow individuals to build their own hydroponic systems. These kits often include all the necessary components, such as grow lights, nutrient reservoirs, and hydroponic media. DIY hydroponic systems are a popular option for hobbyists and small-scale farmers who want to experiment with hydroponics without the expense of commercial systems. They are also a useful option for those who want to customize their hydroponic system to meet their specific needs. DIY hydroponic systems can be constructed from a variety of materials, such as plastic, PVC pipes, and other household items. They can be used to grow a wide range of crops, from herbs and leafy greens to tomatoes and peppers.

7. Monitoring and Maintenance

To ensure a successful hydroponic system, regular monitoring and maintenance are crucial. The following are some of the key tasks involved in monitoring and maintaining a hydroponic system:

  • pH and nutrient testing: The pH level of the nutrient solution should be kept within a specific range to ensure optimal plant growth. Nutrient testing is also necessary to ensure that the plants are receiving the correct levels of nutrients.
  • Temperature and humidity monitoring: The temperature and humidity levels in the growing environment should be monitored and maintained within specific ranges to ensure that the plants are growing optimally.
  • Daily system checks: It is important to perform daily checks on the system to ensure that everything is functioning correctly. This includes checking the pump, ensuring that the nutrient solution is circulating correctly, and monitoring the temperature and humidity levels.
  • Documenting observations: It is important to keep detailed records of the plants’ growth and any observations made throughout the growing process. This can help identify any issues early on and make adjustments to the system as needed.

In addition to these tasks, regular cleaning and sanitization of the system are also essential to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. This includes cleaning the roots of the plants, the reservoir, and any other components of the system.

By following these monitoring and maintenance tasks, growers can ensure that their hydroponic system is running smoothly and that their plants are growing optimally.

H3 heading

  • Providing an optimal environment for plant growth:
    • Temperature control:
      • Maintaining a suitable temperature range for the specific plant species.
      • Ensuring consistent temperature levels throughout the growing environment.
    • Lighting:
      • Using appropriate wattage and spectrum for the plants.
      • Adjusting light intensity and duration based on plant needs.
    • Humidity control:
      • Maintaining the correct humidity level for the plants.
      • Adjusting humidity levels to prevent plant stress or disease.
        + pH and nutrient management:
      • Monitoring and adjusting pH levels as needed.
      • Providing the right balance of nutrients for plant growth.
    • Water quality:
      • Using purified water to avoid mineral buildup.
      • Regularly testing and adjusting water quality parameters.
    • Aeration:
      • Providing proper aeration to roots and foliage.
      • Using an air pump or air stones to circulate oxygen.
    • Timely intervention and maintenance:
      • Regularly inspecting the system for any issues.
      • Addressing problems promptly to prevent plant damage or system failure.
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Nutrient Solution

A hydroponic system relies on a nutrient solution to provide plants with the necessary nutrients for growth. The nutrient solution must be properly formulated to meet the specific needs of the plants being grown. This requires a thorough understanding of the nutrient requirements of each plant species, as well as the ability to maintain the correct pH and nutrient levels in the solution.

Lighting

Lighting is a critical component of any hydroponic system. Plants need adequate light to carry out photosynthesis and produce energy. The type and intensity of light required will vary depending on the plant species and growth stage. Hydroponic growers must carefully select and position their light sources to ensure that plants receive the appropriate amount of light for optimal growth.

Oxygenation

Hydroponic plants require oxygen to survive and thrive. The roots of plants must be able to access oxygen in order to absorb nutrients and carry out respiration. In a hydroponic system, oxygenation is typically achieved through the use of air pumps and aeration stones. The pumps force air into the nutrient solution, creating bubbles that rise to the surface and deliver oxygen to the roots.

pH and Electrical Conductivity (EC) Control

The pH and electrical conductivity (EC) of the nutrient solution must be carefully monitored and controlled to ensure that plants receive the correct balance of nutrients. The pH of the solution affects the availability of nutrients to the plants, and the EC measures the concentration of dissolved solids in the solution. Growers must use pH and EC meters to regularly test the nutrient solution and make adjustments as needed to maintain optimal growing conditions.

Temperature Control

Temperature is another critical factor in a hydroponic system. Plants have different temperature requirements depending on their species and growth stage. Hydroponic growers must carefully monitor and control the temperature of the nutrient solution to ensure that it remains within the appropriate range for the plants being grown. This may involve the use of heaters or cooling systems to maintain the desired temperature.

Water Quality

Water quality is also an important consideration in a hydroponic system. The quality of the water used in the system can affect the pH and nutrient levels of the nutrient solution. Growers must use reverse osmosis (RO) or deionized (DI) water to ensure that the water is free of contaminants that could negatively impact plant growth.

System Design and Layout

Finally, the design and layout of the hydroponic system are critical to its success. The system must be designed to accommodate the specific needs of the plants being grown, including the type and intensity of lighting, the location of the roots, and the flow of nutrient solution. The layout of the system must also allow for easy access to the plants and the nutrient solution for monitoring and maintenance.

FAQs

1. What are the 7 essential requirements for a successful hydroponic system?

A hydroponic system requires a number of essential elements to ensure healthy plant growth and optimal yields. The 7 major requirements of a hydroponic system are:
1. Proper lighting: Hydroponic plants require adequate light to photosynthesize and grow. The type and intensity of lighting needed will depend on the specific plants being grown.
2. Nutrient-rich water: Hydroponic plants are grown in nutrient-rich water rather than soil. The water must be regularly tested and replenished with the appropriate nutrients to ensure that the plants are receiving the necessary nutrients for growth.
3. Oxygenation: Hydroponic plants require oxygen to thrive. The system must be designed to provide proper aeration to the roots of the plants.
4. pH and nutrient balance: The pH and nutrient levels in the water must be carefully monitored and maintained to ensure that the plants are receiving the appropriate levels of nutrients.
5. Temperature control: Hydroponic plants are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and require a stable environment. The system must be designed to maintain the appropriate temperature for the specific plants being grown.
6. Root zone management: The roots of hydroponic plants must be properly managed to ensure healthy growth. This includes providing adequate space for root growth, as well as managing the level of water and nutrients in the root zone.
7. Pest and disease control: Hydroponic systems can be vulnerable to pests and diseases, so it is important to take preventative measures to protect the plants. This may include using natural pest control methods, such as beneficial insects or neem oil, as well as keeping the system clean and well-maintained.

2. What is the importance of proper lighting in a hydroponic system?

Proper lighting is essential for hydroponic plant growth. The type and intensity of lighting needed will depend on the specific plants being grown. Some plants, such as leafy greens, require high levels of light to promote growth and prevent etiolation (stretching). Other plants, such as tomatoes, require less light and more direct light to promote fruit production. It is important to choose the appropriate lighting for the specific plants being grown and to position the lights at the correct distance and angle to ensure that the plants receive adequate light for optimal growth.

3. What is the role of nutrient-rich water in a hydroponic system?

Nutrient-rich water is the primary growing medium in a hydroponic system. The water must be regularly tested and replenished with the appropriate nutrients to ensure that the plants are receiving the necessary nutrients for growth. The type and amount of nutrients needed will depend on the specific plants being grown, as well as the stage of growth they are in. It is important to carefully monitor and adjust the nutrient levels in the water to ensure that the plants are receiving the appropriate amounts of nutrients for optimal growth.

4. What is the importance of oxygenation in a hydroponic system?

Hydroponic plants require oxygen to thrive. The system must be designed to provide proper aeration to the roots of the plants. This can be achieved through the use of air pumps, air stones, or other oxygenation devices. It is important to ensure that the roots of the plants are adequately oxygenated to promote healthy growth and prevent root damage or disease.

5. Why is pH and nutrient balance important in a hydroponic system?

The pH and nutrient levels in the water must be carefully monitored and maintained to ensure that the plants are receiving the appropriate levels of nutrients for growth. The pH level of the water should be kept within a specific range, typically between 5.5 and 6.5, to ensure that the plants are able to absorb the nutrients effectively. It is important to test the pH and nutrient levels regularly and make adjustments as needed to ensure that the plants are receiving the appropriate levels of nutrients for optimal growth.

6. Why is temperature control important in a hydroponic system?

Hydroponic plants are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and require a stable environment. The system must be designed to maintain the appropriate temperature for the specific plants being grown. The ideal temperature range for hydroponic plants is typically between 68

Seven types of hydroponic systems

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