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Cloudy smelly water

Discussion in 'Hydroponics / Aeroponics' started by SikSol, Nov 25, 2009.


    SikSol Well-Known Member

    So Im running a DWC grow using SH nutes, first few days water was fine, then it got cloudy and smells (kind like a smelly shoe lol). This was using the micro and grow nutes.

    So I changed it out fresh and in a days time it was back to cloudy and smelly. Then I changed it to the micro+ bloom nutes, in a days time same exact thing! PH levels stay fairly stable, plants are doing great just the water gets milky and smells.

    Any ideas????? Im thinking some type bacteria so I've repeatedly cleaned the reservoir but with no luck. Should I go buy some new nutes or is there a fish tank tab than can clean the water up but not kill the plants etc.

    Any advice would be helpful thanks.

    Roseman Elite Rolling Society

    I've done 8 grows with those nutes, never got cloudy water before.

    There evidently has to be something else in the water.

    It'd help to know how long you been in this grow and at what cyle and stage you are in.

    Look at the airstones and see if they are slick and snotty, or still like new.

    Is the water pump still in there after 3 weeks. It has a removable cover on the filter and can harbor all kinds of dead debris and dead junk.

    Are you using to much pH Down?

    is there anything else in the water?

    I bet its the pump. If the roots are in the deep water, remove the water pump and do the 8 step recovery.

    Roseman Elite Rolling Society

    Roseman's Tips, Tricks and Troubleshooting Guide,
    Revised 11-24-09

    Reading the Instructions
    Every time we hear, read or receive a complaint about a problem with the StealthHydro Bubbleponics System, it was because the person did not read and fully understand all of the instructions, or they did not understand what the system is all about. This TIPS, TRICKS and TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE should answer and help you with any problem you might encounter.

    Keeping Size in Perspective
    This system was not designed to grow six 6-foot tall Christmas Trees. (Although we have grown 4 plants, 3, 4 and 5 feet tall in one tank.) We have heard a few growers tell us "I just realized that the 6 plants are going to get very crowded after they get 3 or 4 feet tall". This system was not designed for 6 giant plants. There is a reason that the tank is 21 and a half inches long. When this system was originally designed, many factors went into deciding what size tank and size pumps to use. The main factors were economy, simplicity, stealthness, and making sure the tank would fit into the end of a small closet, out of the way and out of sight. We've heard of a few growers that try to change to a much larger tank, and realize how much more work and trouble is involved in using a larger tank and moving larger quantities of water. Draining and replenishing the water can be a major task in a much larger tank. Not only are more larger and expensive air and water pumps needed for a larger tank, but larger pumps make more noise. Draining and cleaning a larger tank is a ton of work and trouble too. If you want to go with a bigger system, then connect two tanks together. And if you want to grow large plants, then start them in the Bubbleponics System, then transfer them into the Bucketeer Large Bucket DWC system. Or do like most growers do and just grow 2 or 3 large plants in one tank by selecting and keeping the more desirable three plants and disposing of the other three.

    Growing the Stealth Hydro Way
    The StealthHydro Bubbleponics System was designed to be "stealth" and to be very efficient, quiet, small, simple, easy to use, and inexpensive. The designer of this system had the beginner or novice in mind, because it is so simple and easy to use. But as we have continued to grow with the system and grow in experience, we've come to know you can not improve on it. The system is designed to grow six small plants very fast and easy, under the umbrella of two Dual Spectrum lights, in a two square foot space.

    Dirty Water?
    We hear from a few growers having trouble with the water becoming cloudy or brown. Upon asking questions, we learn they did not rinse the hydroton rocks as completely as they should have. You should put the hydroton rocks in a large mixing bowl full of water, and pour them through a colander five or six times until the water pours out crystal clear and clean of hydroton dust. You should also pour water over and through the rocks several times in the colander.

    Algae Prevention
    We also hear from a few growers allowing algae to grow in their tank and becoming a problem. This can happen from several mistakes but can easily be remedied. (see our 8 Step Remedy) You can not allow a dead root or fallen leaf to stay in the tank and decay. You can not allow the lights to shine into the water through the rocks. If the grow cup is full of rocks, the lights can not penetrate through the cups. And most important, you have to start with clean, pure water. You can not use rain water, or water from a stream, river or lake. You should exchange the water after the first ten days, and then every 10 to 14 days as you grow. As the plants get over 12 inches tall, exchanging the water every 7 days is more efficient. Your water should smell like clean green alfalfa sprouts or fresh lettuce. With added GROW nutrients, it has a slightly green tint. If you detect an unpleasant odor, you have waited too long to drain and exchange the water. When you do replenish the water and nutrients, you should look for and remove any dead roots that were accidentally torn from the plant. You can use chlorinated city tap water. Some growers even recommend it for it's purity. The chlorine dissipates fast and is never a problem. You can use RH filtered water, or store bought distilled or spring water. If you use well water or detect algae growing in your tank, you can add 1 Tablespoons of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide per gallon of water to your tank as a preventative or 2 full table spoons as a cure. Never use more than 2 level tablespoons per gallon of water.

    We have seen books that advised allowing chlorinated water to first sit for 24 hours. Not only is this not necessary, this is bad advise, and encourages algae to start growing in your water. We have done tests and the chlorine dissipate within minutes from the tap. Do not use water that sat out uncovered or was stored.
    pH Problems
    If you have a PH problem, you simply did something wrong. You should make sure that the PH of the water going into the tank is very close to 6.0. Pure water will test at 7.0 pH. Impurities or additives will raise or lower the pH of water. Anything between 5.6 and 6.8 is OK for your growing, but 6.0 works best. When you first set up your tank, you should do a PH test on your water before adding the water to the tank, using the enclosed PH test strips. Then adjust the water with PH UP or PH DOWN before it goes into the tank. That way, the PH perfect nutrients will work best. It can be dangerous to adjust the PH in the tank, especially if you overly adjust it. It is also dangerous to adjust it frequently. A very slight adjustment is OK, but if you change it drastically in the tank by using a large amount of PH UP or PH DOWN, you are taking a big risk of seriously harming your plants. If you do a test on your tank's water and it is extremely out of range from 5.8 to 6.8, then it is best to drain it and replenish it with PH corrected water and nutrients. (see the 8 Step Remedy) Let us repeat, you should add the nutrients to PH perfect water to start with. If you insist on adjusting it in the tank slightly, then use no more than 1/2 level teaspoon of PH UP or PH DOWN diluted in a quart of water to the tank, and no more frequently than 4 hours apart. Plants do not adjust well to rapid changes in PH levels. The results can be Nutritional Lockout. Remember, if you make a mistake then you can easily and rapidly correct it, by using the 8 Step Remedy.

    Mixing the Nutrients
    We have had growers tell us "when I throw in a packet of nutrients into my tank, they just settle to the bottom and don't dissolve". That is not the proper way to introduce the nutrients and feed your plants. These nutrients are natural elements and not made to perfectly dissolve in water. For example, seashells and bone meal are not ever going to completely dissolve in water, no matter how much they are pulverized, but are an excellent source of calcium. You should add the packets to a quart jar half full of warm water and stir them rapidly, mixing them as well as possible in the water. Then pour them through a tea strainer or some kind of mesh screen or filter, to filter out the small particles that did not dissolve. Then add the nutrient water mix to the tank.

    Always remember when you first start and set up your system, you should start with 1/4 of a packet of GROW and Micro nutes, if you are starting with seeds, sprouts or baby seedlings. If you started with clones or baby plants, then start with half a packet of Grow nutes. Your plants should be about 3 to 4 inches tall, before you use the nutrients full strength. Then stand back and watch for a growth explosion!

    Nutrient and Water Flow
    We hear concerns from new growers that the water is not flowing rapidly or strongly from the ends of the tubes into the rockwool cubes. A strong flow is not necessary or desirable at all. A slight trickle (bubbling) is all that is needed to keep the rockwool cube moist and the baby roots fed until they reach into the deep water. You do need to occasionally check for crimps and folds in the water tubes, especially when you first set up your system.

    Keeping It Simple
    The biggest mistake that we have seen anyone make starts with "I wonder what will happen if I add miracle nutrients, or cat urine, or molasses" or a dozen other crazy things that we have heard growers try. If you do not know what will happen, don't try it unless you are prepared to start all over because you killed your plants. Experimentation is great, but caution and moderation are the keys to success.

    Oxygen Is the Most Important Aspect of Bubbleponics
    The best tip we can offer from experience is the importance of air or oxygen in the water. It is not required or necessary for good health of plants, but the addition of a 2nd air stone can make a difference in the speed of growth. You can use a plastic T-coupler so you can add a second stone to the one air pump. You can force growth spurts by draining the tank, waiting five or ten minutes to allow the roots to "air out" and then replenishing the water, even if you add back the same water and nutrient mix that you just drained out. Try it!

    There are several ways to drain your tank by the way. One is by adding the drain plug or faucet. Or you can obtain a plastic hose like you can get at the aquarium store to drain your aquarium, and siphon the water out. Another way is to attach the hose to the submersible pump, using your fist as a coupling, and simply allow the pump to pump it out into a bucket.

    Diagnosis and Recuperation Guide

    We'll discuss some signs of illness first, then offer remedies for Recuperation and Recovery.

    Both new leaves and mature leaves are the best indicators to determine how healthy your plants are. Any problem or illness will first manifest itself in the appearance of your leaves. These problems almost always originate from the plant's environment, PH imbalance or over-feeding or under feeding. These problems always result in what is called "nutritional lock-out".

    Nutritional Lockout
    Allow us to GIVE you a simplified definition of NUTRIONAL LOCKOUT.

    Can you imagine sitting a plate before a child at dinner time, with his most favorite food, hot dogs, ketchup and french fries? But also on the plate is a major portion of steamed broccoli, which he is just not fond of and insists on nibbling on. Now imagine telling that child, "you can not eat the hot dog and fries if you do not eat all the broccoli too". NUTRITIONAL LOCKOUT is when the child responds with "well then, I just won't eat!"

    Stealth-Hydro's nutrients are both nutritionally and PH balanced. But after being in your tank for 5 or 6 days, and being eaten from for 5 or 6 days, they become imbalanced. Perhaps you are growing plants that ate all the nitrogen first and just snacked around the iron, magnesium and calcium, or visa versa. The results are discoloration in the leaves, yellowing or rust spots, or curling up of leaf tips. It also becomes apparent when your plants were consuming a half gallon or gallon of water every day, and then suddenly when you check the levels the next day, they did not drink any water at all. This is NUTRITIONAL LOCKOUT.

    Instead of giving lengthy descriptions of indications of overfeeding, underfeeding, ph imbalance, environmental problems and Nutritional Lockout here, it is easier to just give the remedy. Here we will refer to this remedy as THE RECUPERATION AND RECOVERY REMEDY.


    1. Check the roots. If they are discolored, reddish or brown, or present an unpleasant odor, you have a problem. If they are weak, soft or mushy, you have a problem. Also while checking the roots, observe the temperature of the water. If it is warmer than "luke warm" you have a problem. This problem is probably what is referred to as "root rot" or a disease known as PYTHIUM. Remove the dead brown roots by trimming them away with sharp scissors. Do not leave them in the tank.
    2. Check the humidity and temperature of the grow area below the lights in the "growing zone" when the lights are on. A temperature of above 87 degrees or below 67 degrees will slow growth, but it is not a serious problem that will kill your plants. Temperatures below 62 degrees or above 92 degrees will stop growth. An extremely high temperature in the upper 90s or below 58 degrees can slowly result in death of your plants. The most efficient temps for growth are between 72 to 84 degrees. Any Humidity between 40 and 60 percent is acceptable and desirable in GROW Cycle. You want a lower Humidity in BLOOM..
    3. Check the "lights off, nighttime" temperature. Most desirable is ten to 15 degrees cooler than the daytime "lights on" temperature, averaging 66 to 72 degrees.
    4. Check the distance between the tips of the plant and the tip of the light bulb. If you observe yellowing or leaf curling tips, then move the lights one inch further away. A good rule of thumb if you use HID lights, is hold the soft palm of your hand at the leaf tip and see if the bulb is too warm to your hand. If you use Stealth Hydro's compact fluorescent bulbs, we recommend a distance of three inches for the 65 and 85 watt bulbs and 4 inches to five inches for the 105 watt bulbs. More mature plants can handle the bulbs slightly closer.
    5. Check the position of your fans. Air movement is very necessary for the health of your plants, but too strong of a fan can cause wind burn. Direct your fan toward the tops of the plants and toward the lights. Never position the fan blowing strongly downward on the leaves. If oyu have varible speeds, use the SLOW speed.
    6. Add 12 table spoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a quart of water and add it to the tank of six gallons already in the tank. Wait ten minutes and then turn the water and nutrition solution pump off to prepare to drain the tank. Poor at least a cup of clean water through each grow cup, onto each rockwool cube and through the hydroton rocks.
    7.Drain or pump the tank empty as possible without damaging the pump by running it dry. Add two gallons of additional clean water with 1 table spoon of hydrogen peroxide again and then drain it away too. Again, empty the tank as empty as possible without burning up your pump.
    8. Add fresh PH balanced water and nutritional packets as prescribed. PH test it again.

    It is OK to keep one to two tablespoons of peroxide per gallon of water, in the water at all times.

    The above 8 steps should repair and remedy any health problems that your plants experienced within the next two days. Now is the time to try and determine what caused the problem to start with, by investigating and researching typical hydroponics problems and illnesses. Here are a few DIAGNOSIS TIPS.

    Typical Hydroponics Problems and Illnesses

    Underfeeding and Weak Nutrition
    The entire plant, both upper and lower leaves, will show lime or light green in color.
    The plant will not eat, drink or show growth.
    It is time to follow the 8 Step Remedy.

    Overfeeding, Use of Too Strong Nutrients
    The leaves will curl downward. They grow very dark dull flat green and then the tips show signs of burn.
    It is time to follow the 8 Step Remedy.

    Nutritional Lockout
    You know that you have made recent PH adjustments. You might know you may have used too much of the PH Adjustment Solution. You may have failed to test the PH often enough. You notice the plants did not eat or drink because they did not consume the same amount of water they used yesterday. You see rust spots. The large lower leaves are prematurely dying and you are not in the BLOOMING or FLOWERING stage.
    It is time to follow the 8 Step Remedy.

    Wind Burn
    You had the fan blowing downward toward the upper side of the leaves, instead of blowing up through the node spaces or toward the lights. You observe the leaves becoming dry or even crispy, perhaps shriveling, and the tips curling upward. The leaves do not appear glossy, moist and vibrant.
    It is time to follow the 8 Step Remedy.

    Water, Nutrition Solution or Roots Are Discolored Brown Or Have an Unpleasant Odor
    You notice your water is becoming brownish in color, or smells distasteful. Your solution does not smell pleasant and appetizing like fresh lettuce. Your roots are not the same shade of white that they once were a week ago.
    It is time to follow the 8 Step Remedy.
    SmokeyMcPopkinZ likes this.

    SikSol Well-Known Member

    Im only about 10 days in with seedlings, 3 of them, only one root tip even in the water, running 12/12 from seed with a 430w hps. Its a 6 gallon, and I removed the feeder tubes and pump as I dont like to use it. I just put two new 5" or 6" airstones and a new 125 gallon tank twin pump.

    I've never had this problem before with my old systems, I bought this system used from another guy and everything was nasty hydroton rock pump tubes all of it, I tried to clean it all best I could but I believe that may have been the source and now I can get rid of it.

    Roseman Elite Rolling Society


    SikSol Well-Known Member

    Yeah like i said I tried to clean it best I could but obviously not good enough, the plan now is Im going to remove the seedlings from the cups since they dont have roots out the cups really yet. Sit them in a shallow pan of water. Then just soak everything in bleach water and scrub the crap out of it.

    Throw it all back together and see how she does.

    SikSol Well-Known Member

    ........nevermind looked at your guide, out with the bleach and in with the LCR and vinegar

    skunkiefun Active Member

    What medium are you using? If you're using rockwool, did you soak it for the correct amount of time? If you're using hydroton, did you rinse all the pebbles until you were getting clear water?

    Roseman Elite Rolling Society

    I hope you are not asking me, I got two pages in my tutorial showing that.

    blueybong Well-Known Member

    I bought this system used from another guy and everything was nasty hydroton rock pump tubes all of it,[/QUOTE]


    You're almost better off going to Lowes/HD or Ace Hardware and buying new tubing and some new hydroton or clay pebbles.

    Also remove the foam filter from the water pump and soak it in h202.

    New airstones & tubing would be good too.

    Try and get it as new as possible. This will eliminate any future problems.

    Good luck!


    SmokeyMcPopkinZ Active Member

    subscribed to this thread holy shit that was a long read but worth it rosetheman
    Roseman likes this.

    SikSol Well-Known Member

    So i took everything hydroton rocks and all and soaked it all in hot bleach water, rinsed a million times, scrub'd down with LCR and rinsed some more, havnt had a problem since, PH levels staying stable and water is clear as can be with no [email protected]!
    SmokeyMcPopkinZ likes this.

    MrSmithster Member

    dirty rocks will do that, i learned that the hard way. soak them for a day and rinse 50 times min. also, light reaching your tank. make some simple covers for your pots to cover the rocks, make sure your tank is dark colored or paint outside black. dont forget all your air hoses should be black, otherwise you get scum in your lines which pollute tank.

    tom__420 Well-Known Member

    5 months late bro :clap:

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