DWC Root Slime Cure aka How to Breed Beneficial Microbes

Discussion in 'DWC/ Bubbleponics' started by Heisenberg, Aug 26, 2010.


    Terry385 Well-Known Member

    i use this line up http://www.skunklabshc.com/shop.html easy to follow feed chart set up for DWC plants seem to like it tea work on the root rot also

    Brandon0228 New Member

    I know this original post is about 5 years old.. but i have just a few questions about this..
    I have recently started my third attempt at a DWC hydro system. The passed two grows, i have been having trouble with root rot and rather than going through the trouble of sanitation and fighting the uphill battle of getting rid of the pythium, i just scrapped the system, bought new equipment and sanitized the existing bubble bars and tubing. I am using a 10 gallon container, now with 4 bubble bars (it was 2) in there, and a 600w MH/HPS light (using MH for veg). In this grow, i have added a microbe tea to the solution to help in the prevention of pythium. The tea was made using the recipe from this post. If anyone has any experience with bennies, Is it normal to have a foam on the top of the res and around the netted pots?

    A little background:

    I'm running a PH of around 5.3 and a TDS of ~800ppm, and using Dynagro Foliage pro for veg so far.

    The seeds were sprouted in rock wool and added to the netted pots with hydroton clay pebbles. They sprouted three days ago so they are still very young, but up and coming.

    I have not run into any issues yet, but any advice would be appreciated as i would like to catch it early if i am doing something wrong. This has all been a learning experience and i'm always open to suggestions.

    blackstang Member

    Man I hate to make you type more than you did, but what was the exact recipe for the tea...there are several versions...how many gallons of tea did you make?...was it distilled or tap water. if tap does it have chlorine /chloramine(sp)? did you use unsulfred molases? how many hours did you brew the batch? what is your water res temp?. about how cold or warm was the water you used to brew the tea with?.....about your grow, why 5.3 ph?...that seems way low to me, unless that is what is called for on the nute bottle..........as you can see, any question about tea or slime, is not just a cut and dry simple answer.....but if you were a patient and were gonna die...and i HAD to make a guess...Id say that you added to much molasses to your tea or else didnt brew the tea long enough for the microbes to eat up the molasses....or went bat shit crazy and added molasses directly to your res. .....however you didnt say you had slime, you said you are trying to PREVENT pythium.... the foaming we usually see is a result of bad bacteria (slime) being gobbled up by good bacteria, or bad bacteria being fed by organic matter or (in your case) the molasses.... so the bigger question that I would have is, if you dont even have slime OR pythium....what the hell is wrong with your water that it foams when tea (undercooked or not) is added.?...

    gand3r Member

    Blackstang, your reply to brandon0228 is spot on.

    You listed on the vairables that can cause issues in DWC. Brandon0228 u must not add anything organic, check the nutrients to ensure they are synthetic.

    I'm having some issue, few failed attempts with bennies. I wasn't using the tea, just bennie powder and I think I add led too much as the roots were rotted leaving the hydrogen then a little slimey when in the water.

    The tea is simple to brew, just ensure the tea is brewed St room temps and do not add too much molasses. If the tea is brewed less than room temps it takes longer for them to consume the molasses. So if it's not brewed at the correct temps u end up dumping molasses into the Res causing slime.

    Keep us informed.

    Brandon0228 New Member

    Alright, I followed the instructions given by Heisenberg at the very very beginning of this thread... here it is:


    Start with non-chlorinated water. I make 2 gallons at a time, but you can easily adjust the additives for whatever amount you wish to make. Now put the water into a bucket and throw in a couple air stones. The more air the better. You want the water to be almost turbulent from the bubbles. Now, add 15-30ml of aquashield and about 1/4-1/2 scoop of the ZHO powder. You will be breeding these into the billions so it doesn't really matter how much you start with, just don't overdo it. Now take an old sock or pantyhose and fill it with about 2 handfuls of EWC or Ancient Forest. Tie off the sock and place it in the water above an air stone, or better yet, feed an air stone down into the sock itself. If you want, you can just throw the EWC directly into the water and strain it out later with cheesecloth or even an aquarium net. Next, add about a tablespoon of molasses to wake up the microbes and give them something to eat. We will only be feeding the microbes in this tea; never add food for the microbes to the res itself. It's okay if the bennies in the res starve. You will be replacing them every few days. Now let the tea bubble at room tempeture for 48 hours. It can be used after 24, but will be more active and diverse at 48. If you use EWC you will probably notice a foam eventually, this is normal. After 48 hours you can store the tea in the fridge where it will stay fresh for about 10 days. Once it starts to go bad it will develop an odor. If you ever detect an odor from your tea, throw it out and make a new batch. Fresh tea can have a range of smells from earthy to mossy to shroomy. Bad tea smells like gym socks, fecal matter, or decay.

    Initially, add about 1 cup to your res for every gallon of water, and then add 1 cup total every 3 days after. If you can, pour a little over the base of the stalk to inoculate the root crown. Your water might get a little cloudy but your roots will stay white and stimulated. When you use tea and practice proper res maintenance you can feel confident your roots will be healthy. By multiplying the microbes this way your products should last a great deal longer. Once you have eradicated slime and simply want protection from future outbreaks, adjust the tea dosage to 1 cup per 10 gallons about once per week..


    This is the recipe i used.To start, i got 2 gallons of tap water, boiled it to get rid of the chlorine. After it boiled for about 20 minutes, i put it in the bucket, added slightly less than what is called for in the above recipe, about 1/4 of a scoop of ZHO powder, roughly 15 ml of hydroguard, and 2 handfuls of EWC in a sock added to the mix over the bubble bars. Next i added about 3/4 of a tablespoon of unsulphured molasses and let it bubble for 48 hours. Like mentioned in the recipe, there was a foam on the top of the tea, which i though to be okay.. The tea was brewed at around 77 or 78 F and there was a little over 1 gallon produced after boiling the water and allowing the mixture to bubble for 48 hours.
    There is one thing wrong with my system that i think is questionable.. Using a MH light, my res temperature has been a little higher than i would like, when i checked it about 20 minutes ago, the res temp was about 83 F with a PH of 5.5 which is about where I want it as opposed to the original 5.3 i listed before, correct me if i'm wrong, i've been told the optimal PH range for cannabis was between 5.2 and 5.9.
    Seeing this high res temperature, I just now decided to raise my light a little higher over the plants (it is now about 2' over the plants and i figure this is okay since the intensity from a MH light is so high). Also, note that I have had the light on 24 hours a day for the passed few days.. Finding this high res temperature, I am going to go back to my 18/6 light schedule. Hopefully this well help the high res temperatures.

    Dynagro foliage pro is not organic.
    As for what the hell is wrong with my res and the reason for the foam on the top, This is what I THINK after reading your response: I think that my res is running a little bit warm and pythium is beginning to show up in the res, however, since I am running bennies, the pythium is being consumed, hence the foam.
    This is strictly speculation, and i could be totally wrong.

    Also, is there a cheap solution to chill a 10 gallon res? many of the options i see online are hundreds of dollars
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015

    gand3r Member

    Hi Brandon,

    Please excuse me if i am giving you any info you dont need, i am unsure on your experience so ill just cover all areas.

    The way you brewed the tea sounds fine, the key is temps, lots of oxygen and not too much mollases. All of which you adhered too,....

    The PH for hydro is best around 5.8, keep it as close to 5.8 is the best method, slowly allowing the ph to rise to around 6.1 then bringing back down to around 5.6 and allowing to rise again. This gives the plant all areas of nutrient availability.

    PH goes UP = the plants need a light increase in nutrients
    PH goes down = nutrients too strong
    you want a slight change in PH as this allows you the plant to absorb all available nutrients.

    Large jumps in PH either down or up are normally related to bad pathogens that you dont want. ie, from 5.8 to 4.8 in a few hours, or 5.8 to 7.8 in a few hours or overnight.

    The best way to determine nutrient use and add back this is is to take the initial reading once you first add the nutrients, make a line in the res where you fill the water, this is your reference point for your entire grow. Normally around 1" below the netpot. Make a note of the EC/PH, then next day take a reading of the PH/EC again before adding anything back into the Res. Then add water back into the system up into the reference point. this will give you some figures to determine what is going on, ie how much water is being consumed, too much nutrients and how much to add back.

    The temps are critical, they are make or break in DWC. You can run slightly warmer in DWC as the bennies become active and fight off any issues but the reduction in available Dissolved oxygen (DO) reduces the warmer things get. I have tested with a DO meter and the difference between 68oF and 75oF is enough to cause concern, i don't want to go too scientific but for anyone else reading this your aiming for around 8-9mg/l DO, lower DO around 5-6mg/l can become problematic and anaerobic pathogens can overtake a system. The rule of thumb is to keep res temps around 68oF, this provides good levels of DO.

    To cool a Res, you can freeze bottles of water and add to the res (this is ok but need to add every few hours). put the res and buckets direct onto a concrete floor. Insulate the buckets using foiled bubble wrap to protect from ambient/light head, raise the light, more airflow between the buckets and use a chiller.

    I hope some of this can be of use.


    blackstang Member


    Brandon0228 New Member

    Thanks for then post, The info you went over is actually very useful. I was unaware of what a PH change up or down means. Well you said around 68of, I am way over that, I added a frozen water bottle and raised the light, and also plan to cover the lid of the tub in foil in hopes that it will reflect some of that heat. A chiller for a 10 gallon res? I can't seem to find anything online under 2-500$ so it seems a chiller is out of the question. I may add more fans as well.

    Since I'm running higher res temperatures and the DO capability is diminished, do you think me having 2 8" bars and 2 4" bars are enough to supply enough oxygen to the system? or is the water not chemically able to hold enough oxygen? I'm going to be religiously putting in frozen water bottles until i can find a more permanent fix.

    On an unrelated note, Ive been under the impression that the water level should be about 1/2" over the bottom of the netting pots, is this not accurate? the plants are in rock wool and are not sitting in the water, i have pellets covering the water surface, but the bubbling still reaches the rock wool. This is how i thought it was supposed to be done, correct me if i'm mistaken.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015

    Heisenberg Well-Known Member

    The most important factor is smell and roots. A little foam is not concerning to me as long as it doesn't smell bad and I can see new growth on the roots. Check the root tips. If they are growing, you're on the right track.

    Heisenberg Well-Known Member

    Have you guys seen that hydrophobic spray you can apply to clothes or electronics that make them waterproof? I wonder what would happen if we sprayed our airstones with it. Hypothetically water would never touch them, and so they should never get any gunk on them.


    Brandon0228 New Member

    Thats fascinating. But if it is creating some kind of coating on the surface this could not work, the material still needs to be porous, and if this filled in the bubble bars, they would no longer be bubble bars. Air wouldn't have any way out. However, if they were allowed to soak, and instead of the pores filling, the stuff was able to soak into and coat the material at a microscopic level, then remove and blow away the stuff still in the pores (you need the pores to be clear), you're right and that could be a very good idea.

    gand3r Member


    S1ingblade Member

    Glad this thread is still active. I have some low ppm well water that when used really messes up my root mass. Here's where it gets confusing when I make your tea it gets worse? Sorry I should've already mentioned that I run a recirculating reservoir that top feeds rockwool mini cubes. If I use just the 84 ppm well water by 30 days in veg the roots are shriveled up and brown, if I make tea with that same water the roots are even worse. Some kind of bad bacteria that's in the water gets stronger with something in the tea. Have you ever seen or heard of anything so strange? It took me for a long ride before I figured out its the well.

    So now I am spending quarters like I did in the 80s when ms. Pac man hit the burger shops lol. Did a transplant recently and I am back to healthy white roots and want even healthier specimens so I'm back to the recipe and hope the white roots will be fuzzy again.
    I've never had a chance until now to say Thank You sir for your time.

    Brandon0228 New Member

    Boil it for like 20 min man, let it cool then proceed. Boiling your water beforehand just makes sure that you have a clean base free of bacteria for you to build on. It's a good habit

    Flipisruff New Member

    I've stumble upon an aquaponics video and the guy in the video said that the filter in his system does wonders. I did some researching on aquaponics / aquaculture and I found that those who use this system always have a filter. Mechanical filter (captures debris) and Biological filter (let's bacteria grow). These 2 filters turns green murky pond water into clear water.

    I have a theory and please chime in your thoughts or research you have done. Why not have those filter for our hydroponic / aeroponic? Pour the beneficial tea into our biological filter and let the biological filter colonize the bacteria. So in theory; the water goes through the mechanical filter, which will catch slimes, gunks, roots, leaves, and cloudy sh*t, and then goes through the biological filter, which has beneficials bacterias that eats up any bad bacterias and etc.. Would this be a better way of adding tea to fight and prevent root rot?

    Has anyone tried this? I know some people use these filter for small herbs but I'm not sure if this would work with plants that have larger root mass.

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