DWC or ebb & flow for first attempt at hydro?

emrldthumb

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I'm a long time soil grower, and I've had plenty of success with it, but I think I'd like to try my hand at hydro growing. I doubt I'll switch over completely, but I'm building a mother chamber and figured it would be a good opportunity to try it out. If I fall in love with it, then I'll probably eventually switch my whole setup over.

I googled a bit and searched a bit in this sub-forum, but couldn't find a simple discussion of the pros and cons of DWC vs. ebb & flow for someone new to hydro. It seems like DWC might be easier (for example, no water pumps to mess with), but I'm sure there are benefits to an ebb and flow system too (maybe roots like the dry periods and a growing medium better?). In terms of cost, I'm guessing DWC is cheaper to set up?

Any thoughts? I'm leaning toward DWC but could be easily swayed.
 
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I personally find DWC the easiest. I have tried different types of aero, but find I always have problems with the misters clogging up and/or problems with the res getting too warm because of the water pump sitting in there. I did a couple of ebb and flows, but just didn't get the results I get with DWC. Don't know exactly why not. I do do a perpetual harvest type grow though so I always have plants of differing ages and sizes in my flowering tent. Individual DWC buckets allow me to raise and lower pots to keep an even canopy and treat individual plants on an individual basis as far as nutes goes. And it is, as you suspected, quite inexpensive to DIY a couple of buckets. While I gave up keeping mothers a long time ago (I take clones from clones), I found that they do better in soil than hydro. It just seemed too hard to keep them smaller with hydro.

I know that there a some out there that believe just the opposite, so hopefully they will chime in and give you the flip side--the advantages to ebb and flow as they see them.
 

zem

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well, I tried both DWC and ebb and flow, several runs, and they seemed similar in results to me, and I thought of the pros and cons of each, and concluded that DWC is better in very cold temps, as the temps are easier to maintain using a simple water heater. I found growing in DWC in hot temps harder, because of the water chiller complication. I ended up choosing ebb and flow over DWC for its simplicity and foolproof characteristics. DWC requires air pump and airstones and regular changing of the buckets, whereas in ebb and flow, all you need is a submersible pump, and ime, these are very reliable. I yet have to kill a grow because of pump failure. i never had any pump clogged or any problems whatsoever. I actually left several grows with no circulation of the res, that is, I didn't bother raising the water level above the overflow level at all, and even in hot temps, it never caused any root problems. at the end of the grow I only need to clean my growrocks and I have even cleaned them less and less each time, I am currently using a batch that is filled with broken roothairs of my tomato cucumber and veggies crops, I clean up whatever I can, leave whatever is left, and plant in them, and let the H2O2 and chemicals do the rest for me, and again, I never see problems. I think that I will try sometime, only removing the rootball and planting on, to see what happens. I just maintain my control res and the system does the rest for me.
 

Joe420Camel

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I went DWC right off the bat (year+ ago)

I never did well with house plants or gardens so I went with something as different as there was from that.

I'd had little fish tanks before so air pumps/stones, Ph stuff, dealing with 4-10 gallons of water were all stuff I'd done before so that was the direction I headed.

I think I was right on most of my assumptions before I started and anticipated all the issues
+EXCEPT+
a 10 gallon fish tank does not grow a 40+" tall plant out of the top...

ya, you may be able to lift/move the tote/bucket, full, but picture dealing with the plant on top of it.

Full reservoir swaps are (IMO) a must 4-10 times per grow.
others may have better advice I'm only on my 4th grow.

I did 2 grows with test pens, bit the bullet and bought a continuous readout ( pH / ppm / temp ) and will NEVER go back.

flower space is 22" x 26" DIY, Micro Stealth cabinet.
5gal mini-tote, height was in short supply (hehe) these are shorter than 5gal buckets by 6"
:48:

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Lesso

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I have done both as well. I did well with both. Ime, ebb and flow(flood and drain) is far simpler to operate. I lost a crop with dwc because of a power outage where a flood and drain grow would have survived. But, it is cheaper to start with dwc if you are on a small scale. If you are growing more than 5 plants its about the same cost.
 

emrldthumb

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Thank you everyone for the input, your answers were all great. I think I'll start with DWC since this is just one plant, then maybe once I'm more comfortable with the idea of reservoirs and have the equipment for testing them figured out I'll consider an attempt at ebb and flow.

As an aside, I usually only use each "mother" for a couple rounds of clones, then move her under a screen to scrog and replace her with one of her clones. So I am not as concerned about growth rate in hydro for a mother. Of course that would mean making a second DWC bucket at that point and shifting the setup over to DWC throughout, but that's a thought for another day.

I'll start a new thread when I inevitably have questions as I set up the first bucket and start shopping for stuff like pH meters and TDS meters. Thanks again everyone!
 
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