Trying out hydro: my first DWC bucket

emrldthumb

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I've always been fairly happy with soil grows in the past, but I'm getting tired of sweeping up soil from the grow room floor, the bugs that hitch a ride in with soil, and having to either pay for top brand soil or gamble on the quality of a local one.

So after some prognostication, I've decided to start my first DWC bucket. I'm starting with a five gallon bucket, single plant, until I get the hang of this whole hydro thing.

The first thing I looked into is my tap water. My water utility pulls water from two local rivers with very different water profiles, and unfortunately their maps show I'm in the region that blends these two at varying ratios throughout the year, so my tap water may vary even more than normal. But, by looking at the analysis reports for both filtration plants I can get an idea of the range of possibilities.

The pH ranges from 7.0 to 7.8 seasonally, with both plants averaging 7.4 over the year. The calcium content is hugely different between the plants, one averages 15 ppm the other over 36 ppm. The numbers for magnesium are 4 and 8, respectively. Their average "hardness" (which I'm guessing is TDS?) readings are 54 and 124 ppm, but range from 36 to 170 as lowest and highest annual readings for either plant. Using an EC meter, I measured the current number as 110 ppm, so I'm guessing I get more from the second plant than the first. This seems slightly high, but I'm going to at least start out just using tap water. Oh, and current pH is between 7.0 and 7.5 (only have testing solution, no meter), so obviously that's going to need adjustment.

For the plant, I'm starting with the stunted mutant from my other grow log, which I thoroughly washed of soil. I know this introduces a major source of problems, but I thought a plant I was considering killing anyhow is a good test subject, and I'll be sanitizing the setup before the next plant anyhow.

For a medium, I'm using clay pebbles/hydroton, and the lights will be CFLs until I have a little disposable income for an HPS and the correspondingly necessary upgrade to my ventilation system. I'm starting with a single 42w until she transitions, then I'll add a few more.

The attached photo is from two days ago, about 12 hours after I washed and transplanted it. She's drooped a little but was already perking back up last night (no photo). She's also been moved into the grow room, I had her out in the workshop for that photo so I could make sure everything was working before it was packed in the cramped grow room. Lights come on in a few hours and I'll update with a new photo then. I used very weak nutes (1/4 strength) and added a little of the root growth stuff to help her make the transition from soil, came to 580ppm. Nutes are a GH starter kit, I'll switch if I'm not happy by the time these run out. Adjusted pH to about 5.75, as best I can tell from the test solution color.

On my to do list: add a second air stone, make a larger tote for future grows, buy a digital pH meter. Any suggestions for that last item?
 

Kraven

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It would be my advice to not handicap yourself at the start, while also trying to learn a new level of plant interaction. I was in soil for the last few decades and now I'm on my first hydro, same as yours, 5 gal DWC one plant that I know well so that I can spot anything quickly and I have a feel for how hardy she is and what nutes she can take. Armed with all that, I have ensured that all the plants needs were take care of....plenty of light, good air flow, proper temps and humidity all that stuff. I hope my grow is successful. The point I'm trying to make is even with the best research if you start off with a sick plant your not doing yourself any favor's. I'll tell you who to contact is THC , she is very knowledgeable and she knows hydro well. (The Hemp Goddess) I think your water is fine, I would get a TDS or E.C meter, you will need a small bottle of pH up and down, other than that sounds like your set when you get the HID lamp. Good luck and the greenest of mojo to you.
 

emrldthumb

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Thanks for stopping by!

I do have a TDS meter and pH up and down. I just realized I didn't actually list everything I have for this, so thanks for reminding me! I have:
* bucket and basket
* air pump/hose/stone
* basic TDS meter, calibrated (and more calibration solution)
* pH testing solution and up/down
* an array of GH nutes
* clay pebble medium

Plus the stuff I already had for soil growing (lights, etc).

Heading down to the grow room now, so photos will be up soon!
 

emrldthumb

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Well the pH had gone all the way up above 6.5, so I adjusted it back down to just above 5.5. Some of her fan leaves are curling down, so I'll back off the nutes even more, unless this could be the pH? In good news, I see the beginnings of roots poking through the bottom of the baskets and they look white and clean. Res temp was 66.

In case you're curious why the plant looks like she's growing sideways, I dropped a light on her yesterday. Sorry, mutant princess!

I'll post a couple photos of the soil plants in the other grow journal now.

View attachment 20150126214127_noexif.jpg
 

emrldthumb

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Poked my head in just before lights out, res temp was up to 72. So it looks like that's my range, mid 60s to low 70s. Didn't have time to test pH or ppm, will check those when the lights go on again tonight.
 

DCKush96

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Looks nice bro :joint: good luck on the grow

green mojo
 

emrldthumb

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Thanks!

I just checked in on the grow room, pH had shifted back up near 6.5, so I adjusted it back down near 5.5. Anyone know what would cause such large spikes in pH over a 24 hour period? The TDS readings have hardly changed, water level was down maybe half an inch at most, perhaps less, so I'm just not sure what to blame it on.

I took a photo with the real camera this time (last one used my phone), you can see the newest growth looks healthier, at least the newest leaves don't appear to be curling and the stems are green instead of purple. I'll be adding another light or two soon, maybe tonight if I get around to it, to minimize the stretch.

Res temp was 64F, TDS showed 810 ppm, which is basically unchanged from yesterday's top-off, when it read 817.

View attachment 2015.01.27 mysterious mutant princess.jpg
 

Joe420Camel

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until I know (through experience/experimentation) how much a certain plant can take, I don't go over 500 ppm in veg or 1200 ppm in flower

looking @ the picture, I would bathe her in some 400 ppm till she gets her legs under her and then ramp up

In extreme cases, I have had a swing/drift of up to 1.2 ph in 24.
usually more like .5
I use a 5-gal tote minus roots so more like 2.5-3 gal res... (bigger res = slower drift)

I believe it is suggested to mix and ph balance your nute and then let it sit (dark) 24 hours and then re ph balance before putting it into use.

View attachment PICT0771.jpg

View attachment PICT0985.jpg
 

emrldthumb

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Thanks! It's OK to put pH up/down directly into the res though right? She's not drinking much yet so I was only topping off every other day, but adjusting pH once a day. I'll mix up some weaker nute solution tonight and do a change tomorrow night.
 

Joe420Camel

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You can just drain "1/2" and add water to dilute

I try not to put the ph +/- on the roots "direct and undiluted".
even if its only 1 cup, I add the ph adjust solution to some water and then pour in.
but as of now you don't have 2 gallons of root mass in the res so (for now) I think your fine to add "direct"
 

emrldthumb

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I have what may be an even better idea. I have a 6.5 gallon brewing bucket I never use anymore and it already has a tap in it for easier res draining. I'll put some reflectant tape on the outside and move the plant to there. That way I have a larger res to minimize pH drift and can use the other bucket for my next seedling.

It's been thoroughly sanitized with food grade sanitizers, so I don't imagine the fact it was used for brewing will cause any problems.
 

emrldthumb

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Hermied. I'm guessing the stress of moving from soil to hydro while also starting flowering was too much. Oh well! I have some more seeds germinating anyhow, I'll pick a couple to start hydro.
 
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Are you sure it hermied? I seriously question this. In fact, I would be totally astounded if this happened this fast. I often move plants from soil to hydro with no problems.

It really looks way way too small and immature to be showing any kind of sex. You do not have any alternating nodes. And you are only talking about a week. Something else was going on. It is highly doubtful (probably impossible) that this plant could have in any way shape or form have sprouted both male and female flowers in a week that could possibly be large enough to determine if it was a hermie. When putting a plant that is not sexually mature into 12/12, it is going to take (at least) several weeks just to get to the sexual maturity stage where it will then just begin to develop flowers. One week is just too fast for all this to have happened to an immature plant.
 

skyhighatrist

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Well this has grabbed my attention.

If anything, moving from soil to hydro shouldn't be that stressful on the plant as hydro uses less energy in the plants root zone giving more energy for recovery and growth. This means less stress is put on the plant then say, repotting a plant so it shouldn't have hermied.

On another note, how are you finding using pH fluid in Hydro? I know using a pH meter is better if you can dial in your system to sit at pH 5.8 but I like to let mine drift from 5.5 to around 6.5 so the plants get a fuller range of nutes over time. I imagine this would be pretty easy to achieve with the fluid no?
 

000StankDank000

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I got a question that goes with noob DWC. So if you sprout a seed in soil in a solo cup. Can you just rinse roots with water and put it into hydro ton in a DWC? Will this cause problems?
 

pcduck

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Aerate water for 24 hrs.
Add nutes and aerate 24 hrs.
Check pH and adjust, aerate for 24 hrs.
Repeat until desired pH is achieved.

Buffers(calcium) in your water supply is raising the pH.
 

Kraven

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Added a couple 32w CFLs to the side.
Hiya's Emrld. I just want to add my two cents. I think you really need to get a good grow area together first. She can be picky about where she lives. I looked at all the pic's and she seems weak and stretched, basically she just does not look well. I took a snap of a seed I germed 21 days ago and this is kind of what your plant should look like @ 3 weeks old. Maybe that will give you and idea of where you are shooting to be. We all would love to help you. THC has very wise words when she says to get set up in this hobby you have to invest in your tools to get a good return. I hope you stick with it, we all had to learn and we all made mistakes along the way, we are just trying to help speed the process up for you, no need to repeat mistakes we have all made. Cheers Dude.
 

emrldthumb

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Yes, definite hermy, the second flower node to appear had both a pistil and nanners. I pulled it when I posted that last post and cleaned out the bucket. I'll stick to soil for the moment and save the dwc until I upgrade the lighting and ventilation in the flower room, hopefully by late summer.

Therefore, I'm discontinuing this journal in favor of my soil one, at least for the moment. Maybe it'll revive when the bucket does.
 
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Trust me on this. IF the plant hermied (and sorry, but I still do not believe it did, as it is almost a physical impossibility for something like this to happen in the time frame that it did with a sexually immature plant), it was not caused by taking the plant from soil and going to hydro. Do not let this discourage you from trying hydro again.

New growth often looks like either nanners or pistils or both. It is a mistake to remove a plant that you believe is male or female or hermie without absolute confirmation, especially when you have room and/or if you do not have a lot of grows under your belt.


There are very few if any nutrients uptaken in hydro at pH levels above 6.0. I let my pH drift too, but start lower, around 5.4 or so and let it drift up to 6.0. Anything higher than that and the plant is not getting much food--only N and Mg are available above 6.
 

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