Post By OGEvilgenius
Trying to decide on a new system, please help! in the
The Grow Room forums; I am having the hardest time deciding on which system I should use. I am currently growing horizontally using aeroponics ...
Trying to decide on a new system, please help!
I am having the hardest time deciding on which system I should use. I am currently growing horizontally using aeroponics with great results. Reading about the efficiency of growing vertical has got me very interested in trying this. I am stuck on a few things and I really hope someone can help me figure this out.
I have looked into a lot of different vertical systems but have yet to find one that I love. I worry that stationary units will give me trouble. If the system is the same size, it seems that the plants will either be too far from the light in the beginning or too close in the end. I only have three grows under my belt and I have had issues with plants being too big for systems in the past. Is this a valid concern? I see a lot of people having success with these systems, do I just need to be more careful with my plant sizing? I keep planning poorly and plants end up being in the cloner too long before going to veg, or spending a few more weeks in veg than I planned. It's a pain, but I can deal with this in my current setup. I think I would have a lot more difficulty if I were vertical in a system that was not able to expand out.
I have been considering building my own vertical aero systems with individual towers consisting of 3" pvc y fittings that I could move around a bit as plants grow. The headaches of building my current aero setup still haunt me. I have had to redesign and modify my system SO MANY times to get it where it is and it is still not perfect!
I am curious if I could enjoy the benefits of vertical growing with a much simpler set up. If I hung a HPS sodium light vertically and just placed RDWC or UCRDWC buckets around it would i have similar benefits of any other vertical setup? This seems like such an easy idea that I am almost certain there is some catch I am failing to see right now.
To sum it up, I have two questions.
1. Should I not be so concerned abotu systems that do not have the ability to expand? So many people are using systems that do not offer the ability to expand with great results. Maybe I should not worry about this as much and focus on timing my plants better so they do not outgrow my system.
2. To try out vertical growing, can I be lazy and try my bucket method and expect those astronomical gram to watt ratios that you vertical growers see?
Thank you so much for any help or advice you can offer. I have been reading forums, books, magazines and anything else I can get my hands on and not sure which direction to go.
Can you give us some specs on your room, equipment, strain, etc. This would help us help you out a lot.
I have two flower rooms, they are both about 12'x12'. I have a bunch of equipment, 4 600 watt hps ballast, reflectors, and bulbs. I also have a few cool tubes that I thought I may be able to use on this too. I have tons of black 5 gallon buckets, air stones, and air pumps. I know I will have to get more equipment once I decide upon a system. I have a few 60 gallon containers to act as reservoirs but I don't have any of the controllers needed for a RDWC setup. I will be running a completely sealed room with CO2.
I got clones from a friend, he says they are white widow and NYC diesel. I plan on ordering some new strains when I start this project though. I want a higher yielding plant witha shorter flower time <don't we all!>. I am looking at a few now, northern lights, lowryder, skunk #1, and a few others.
This system is definitely a project. I am not focusing on what equipment I have, just what I will need. I know I will have to get a few things to put all this together. Thanks for your help
If there is anything else that I can share that would help, let me know.
Last edited by Asmith82; 08-14-2012 at 11:15 AM.
Yes, you can get the benefits just putting DWC buckets and growing the plants like the christmas trees they tend to want to be. Heath Robinson has journals with a kick ass DWC setup doing just that. One of them he pulled 5lbs off a plant in a 25 gallon recirculating DWC setup he built himself (1000gph pump for 1 plant, no airstones). He used 3x600w but he didn't run each 600w full time so it worked out to be a bit less power.
I did something kind of similar last go in a 4x4 tent using coco hand watered in regular pots. I hit the 1gpw mark rather easily and was growing from seed various different strains. From clone in a 5x5 more dialed in and I will go much higher. Even just a bigger space and with the plants being more dialed in I will do better.
You could do some neat Aero buckets maybe since you already have the misters.
Also, don't use cooltubes. They aren't necessary and just add heat and cost and head ache. The only way they might be worthwhile is if you're using CO2. I don't like em. They block UV and I think exchanging your air 2x a minute most people aren't dialed in enough for their plants to take advantage (truly) of the CO2. This is of course just my opinion and they arel ike assholes. All I know is Heath rarely ran CO2 and got results I haven't seen others get in terms of plant size, bud size, growth rate etc. Of course there are confounding variables here, each plant gets more than 1 light etc.
If you're running CO2 and purely pushing yields to the max I can see why you'd use them. If you want quality though I think they hurt more than help and they definitely add a decent amount of cost all around.
If you're worried about plants growing into lights you can setup a trellis or just tie them up. I know Heath had a cage on his roof that he would tie his plants up with because they tended to get so big and heavy branches would snap off. He was growing Critical Mass variants so that didn't help.
And last but not least, this may not be an issue for you, but why black buckets? They just trap heat. Go white IMO. May not make any difference for you but it could probably save you a bit of electricity at worst and possibly improve your results at best.
Last edited by OGEvilgenius; 08-15-2012 at 01:17 PM.
There is so much information on the web! Your last two posts have left me searching for more. I have never heard of DWC without an airstone until now. That makes this whole project seem much more appealing. I have seen a lot of people have root issues with DWC and from what I read using air pumps could be a big part of that.
I have been looking at a lot of different bucket systems, aero, ebb and flow, rdwc, and finding it to be a difficult decision to make. It's a toss up between rdwc and aero at this point. I am having a tough time finding good examples of either system with flexible supply and return lines to allow teh buckets to move. One of the big reasons I wanted buckets was to have a non stationary system.
I don't understand why you said not to use cool tubes. If I use outside air to push through the cool tubes and blow the exhaust into my attic, how could that not help keep temperatures down? I am trying to keep my electrical costs down, it is my main limiting factor. I thought cool tubes in the summer to remove heat and a cage around a bare bulb with a fan underneath it when it cools down to keep the heat inside. I do use CO2 but I do not fully understand how this relates. My system is FAR from dialed in, I still have tons to learn, but I still thought I would benefit from CO2. I used to run it at 1500ppm but my budget has tightened up so I am running 1200ppm at the moment. Also, I have a completely sealed room so I have to use CO2, right?
I choose black buckets because I thought I had to have them. i thought they blocked out UV light to help prevent algae growth. I was planning on covering them with mylar but since you mentioned that it made me rethink this. With the vertical light hanging so much closer now I think I will have more of an issue with resivoir temperatures. I will have a chiller, but I want to make its workload as light as possible. I want to use f gallon sport coolers, the tall cylindrical ones. I am not sure how easy it will be to plumb fittings through one though. Worst case scenario I can insulate a regular five gallon bucket with the stuff people put around their hot water heaters, that should help a bit.
Thank you for your thoughts, you gave me a new perspective on a lot. Any other comments or tips are much appreciated.
Your other option and this is probably superior, is to use water coolers as your buckets. Ultimate insulation. Also they usually have some plumbing done already.
Might be able to avoid using a water chiller all together depending on the temperature of the room your water is in and how you do your res. It takes a long time for well insulated water to rise and the closer the temperature gets to ambient the longer it takes.
Airstones do introduce a lot of potential issues. I honestly think that most of those can be avoided with good water temps, flow and a little H2O2 regularly though.
The cooltubes tend to not help that much because they themselves absorb some of the ambient heat that would otherwise just rise and be exhausted. All reflectors do this to some degree. It won't be as noticeable in a vertically hung cooltube but it will still happen due to how close the light is to the metal pieces. Good ventilation can make up for it completely, but since you're already running a sealed room, run with the cooltubes. They won't be a major problem, you will just lack UV light for your plants and might have to run your fans a bit more and under higher stress. The bends in the ducting usually necessary do nothing to help airflow either.
And my point about CO2 was that most guys haven't dialed in without it so adding it will help minimally until that situation is resolved. It's one of those things I feel like should usually be done last after you have your setup running perfectly because integrating it makes room design more challenging. But, you're already past that stage! So game on brother.
I think we are talking about the same type of container. I just found an old five gallon insulated water cooler. The push valve is busted on it but I will have to replace it anyway. I have plumbed bulk head fittings into regular five gallon buckets before but I am not sure what I will use with this yet. The side wall is much thicker. I have not decided between aero buckets and rdwc yet. Once I do, I will know how many holes I need in the water cooler and I can start experimenting.
I am almost set on using aero buckets, but I have a few things holding me up. If I use aero, I will have to raise the buckets up and put a reservoir underneath so the buckets can drain. Building a platform should not be too hard, it's just another step. To keep my buckets mobile, I will have to use a hose or some type of line to connect the drain to the reservoir and the spray line in the buckets to the sub pump in the reservoir. The drain won't be an issue. I have always used PVC when constructing spray lines and just drilling out holes to screw in my sprayer nozzles. It'll take a bit of research to come up with something that works and allows me to sleep at night without fearing a flood from a ruptured line. I am not a "true aero" guy, I run a simple 1200gph submersible pump now in my main flowering system. I am not sure at what PSI, I may need to look into that more before building my next system.
It would be great to go without a water chiller, one less thing to plug in. If I have insulated aero buckets and an insulated reservoir, I may be ok with placing a few freezer packs in my reservoir twice a day. Anything to save electricity.
I think I will stick with the cool tubes. I am going to start with one system of 4-5 buckets around 1 600watt hps super enhanced hortilux bulb. Once I get that one system dialed in a bit I will add two more identical setups in that room. I am not sure how I will run all that duct work. I am trying to picture it in my mind and i see it being a mess! I have a horizontal system with 4 600watt lights using cool tubes and I tried hard to minimize the amount of turns I made with the duct work. I think I will have to deal with a lot more 90 degree bends with this set up. I will have to get a stronger fan or run multiple ones inline.
Setting up CO2 was very easy for me. I bought a sentinel chhc 4 and it was a breeze to set up. The new room I am working on is three times as big as what I have now. I am not fully sure what to do about my CO2 needs yet. If I stick with CO2 bottles I think I will need another tank and monitor set up in my grow space. Right now, I have two rooms. The larger flower room has the CHHC4 giving it 1200ppm while the lights are on. The smaller veg room has a tank that opens up slightly with my aeroponic pump, 45 seconds every 5 minutes.
I will begin working on my new room very soon and I want to plan as much as I can. Once again, I really appreciate your help with all this.
Happy to do it. Sounds like you have what is going to be a nice setup.