Three types of hydro in a small tent on one airpump?

Discussion in 'Hydroponics / Aeroponics' started by Larry3215, Mar 4, 2018.


    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Im looking forward to seeing the details!
    Cold$moke likes this.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Im about ready to start popping some seeds! I just have a few minor things to do to the tent, re-rout some wiring and tidy up some air lines and finish the rez lid cutouts. Then Im going to let it run a few days to be sure no issues pop up, then the seeds will go in to the perlite.

    More pics...

    Insulating around the totes and preparing the lids. I can remove the entire lid in sections to get to any part of any tote if needed.

    Those black and white pipes are filled with perlite. Thats what the seedlings will go into. I drilled a bunch of large holes in the lower sections of the pipes, then wrapped them in one layer of batting. Thats mostly to keep the perlite in. Its too small a grade and falls through the holes other wise. Im hoping the roots will pass right through it.

    0324181748.jpg 0324181749.jpg 0324181850.jpg 0324181933.jpg 0324182157.jpg
    Cold$moke likes this.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Ive been running the setup full time for the last few days and the last 36 hrs with the lights and heaters on in the tent. Temps in the tent are staying in the 75-79 degF range. Room temp is staying right around 66 degF.

    With the tent lights/heaters OFF, my rez temps are staying around 61 degF.

    With the tent lights and heater ON, the rez temps are staying right at 62 degF.

    Apparently, my efforts at insulation have worked just fine and Im getting very little heat transferred to the root zone and the water.

    There must also be some evaporative cooling going on in the rez and the totes because the rez water stays at least 4 deg F below room temp.

    Thats very good news in one way, but now Im wondering of I need to add a heater?

    Also, Ive decided to get clones for this test - if I can actually get someone to sell me some. After reading about the inherent variations between plants grown from seed, it just didnt make sense to call this an experiment unless I used clones. Plus the fem seeds thing didnt work out and I just dont want to mess with culling male plants. It would just add another layer if variables.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    As far as buying clones from someone you dont know - what should I look out for?

    I will of course check to see if they look healthy and the roots are nice and white, but what about bugs?

    Should I plan to dunk them in something before planting them in the perlite?

    If so, what do you guys recommend?

    Should I do roots separate from the upper plant or???

    Thanks for any tips.
    Budley Doright

    Budley Doright Well-Known Member

    Look for bugs, spray for bugs, assume there are bugs :(.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Do you have any product(s) you recommend?
    Budley Doright

    Budley Doright Well-Known Member

    Sorry no, I haven’t bought clones in 20 years, and the last time I brought them in to my room they infested everything and it was like a plague as I proceeded to give them to my partners lol. Clones are not readily available here yet but that may change soon.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Ok, thanks.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Well, after an unreasonable amount of trouble, I have located some Blue Dream clones to try. I'll get them tomorrow. He guarantees no bugs or pathogens, but Im going to treat them with neem oil anyway. Im getting 5 total (minimum order) and I'll stick the best three in the totes and keep the other two in reserve.

    Would you guys recommend starting these out with just PH'ed water in the rez or with a low dose of nutes from the beginning?

    I'll be using Mega Crop.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Well, I got the 5 clones. I almost didnt get them. Three of them were really droopy and some of them had a few questionable leaves as far as color, spots, brown. After looking closer I decided the over all color was not bad and the new growth actually looked very good. The rockwool cubes were drenched and dripping, so I figured the drooping was too much water. The roots all looked very white and healthy. I finally decided to chance it and brought them home.

    First thing I did was take a close look by eyeball, then I got out the USB scope and checked them over again. I couldnt find anything that looked suspicious as far as critters.

    Then I put them on paper towels to dry out the cubes as much as possible. After changing out the towels several times, the leaves had started to perk up again! Thats like in under 2 hours!

    So, then I stressed them by dunking them in a double strength neem oil mix for 10 minutes. I let that dry for a while on more paper towels, then set them up-right on top of some dry perlite to dry out again. They are now in the tent warming up and drying out. Late tonight I will give them a small drink of ph'ed low dose nutes and them wait till tomorrow to see how they look.

    Unless there are some hidden critters down in the rockwool, I think I will be ok. 0331181911a.jpg
    Keesje and Cold$moke like this.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    The last few days have been 'interesting' in a sort of bad way. I decided to treat the new clones with neem oil. I (stupidly) assumed, since it was "organic" and safe for use on food plants, that it wasnt very strong or dangerous to use.


    Well, neem is probably just fine when used per the directions, but Im an idiot and didnt do that. I wanted to be sure to kill off any hidden bugs so I made up a double strength batch and dunked each one of the plants in the solution for like 10 minutes. The entire thing - roots, stem, leaves, everything. Then I placed them on some paper towels to dry off. Dam near killed them! They are all comming back, but its slow and they have been seriously stressed, so Im gong to wait before I put them in the hydro. They are in dixie cups of perlite with small holes poked near the bottom and Im bottom feeding them. Sort of like mini hempy buckets.

    While I wait on them to recover, I have a new issue - PH.

    The rez has been running full time for over a week with nothing but PH'ed nute water - NO plants.

    The problem is, I PH down to around 5.5, then wait till the next day to check and its back up to 6.2 - 6.5. This has been happening from day 1.

    It has to be something in the lava rock or perlite I think. I put some of the nute solution in a separate container to use to feed the clones and that solution has stayed very close to its original PH. It went form 5.5 to 5.6, which could just be an error in the meter.

    Not sure what to do about this. Gonna have to do some reading....

    Thought maybe I would try lowering the PH way down - to maybe 4 - for a day or so to see if that helps.

    Cold$moke Well-Known Member

    I use alcohol and water with soap for bugs works great and doesnt fuck with the plant too much
    Larry3215 likes this.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    The clones are recovering - slooooowly - but steady. Three of them are putting out new roots and all of them have nice green new growth. Just not very much yet.


    This PH issue in the rez is still persisting. Overnight my PH in the rez will go from 5.8 to 6.4. Thats in less than 8 hours and with NO plants. Just water and nutes.

    So....I decided to repeat my earlier tests on everything. This time starting with the water PH'ed down to 5.11 at the start instead of the normal 7+ that my tap water is at. When I did the tests the first time, I just used tap water without PHing it down first and I saw no changes in PH when adding lava rock or perlite that time, but I decided I should check to see what happens when starting at a lower PH.

    First, I checked the calibration on my meter and it was just fine - as it always is. I re-calibrated it anyway as long as I had the reference solutions out.

    Then I split the PH'ed water between several jars and put some lava rock in one jar, some perlite in another jar and some nutes in a third jar. I kept one jar with just the ph'ed water only.

    Im using General Hydro's PH down for this test - not vinegar.

    Its been about 9 hours since I started the test.

    The PH'ed water went from 5.11 to 5.18 = + .07
    The PH'ed water plus lava rock went from 5.38 to 5.84 = + .46
    The PH'ed water plus Perlite went from 5.34 to 5.71 = + .37
    The PH'ed water plus nutes went from 4.93 to 4.97 = + .04

    So - every darn thing in my system is raising my PH!. Actually, the tap water and nute water changes are pretty small and could just be meter errors, but the perlite, and especially the lava rock, are definitely buffering my PH up.

    Im not sure what to do about this. I cant afford to buy new stuff and start over, plus there is no guarantee that the new stuff will be any better.

    The only thing I can think to do is try to neutralize what ever is in the perlite and lava rock thats causing the buffering. To do that I have added 3/4 of a gallon of vinegar, plus a 1/4 cup of PH down to the rez. Its at a PH of 3.3 at the moment ,and Im going to let that circulate for a day or two.

    Anyone have any other ideas?

    Cold$moke Well-Known Member

    Nope sounds right

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    I just noticed some of the perlite does not float?

    My tap water seems to be at least part of the problem. This morning both the ph'ed tap and the nute water have both gone up significantly, but the lava rock and perlite have gone up even more.

    After another 10 hours of soaking, the readings this morning are as follows.

    PH'ed Tap water alone has gone from 5.11 - 5.18 - 5.46 = + .35
    Tap plus lava rock has gone from 5.38 - 5.84 - 6.25 = + .87
    Tap plus perlite has gone from 5.34 - 5.71 - 6.10 = + .76
    Tap plus nutes has gone from 4.93 - 4.97 - 5.62 = + .69

    I guess Im going to have to see about buying some RO water or put this project off until I can afford to install an RO system at home.

    Im bummed.

    Cold$moke Well-Known Member


    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    I decided screw it - Im going ahead full speed as is. The choices were 1) toss the clones and fuck this whole thing until next fall, or 2) buy an RO system or 3) just go for it and make do as needed. I choose door #3.

    I cant be here twice a day to adjust PH all the time and Im going on a week long fishing trip next month, so they may not survive. On the other hand, these clones have survived all my attempts to kill them so far, so maybe they will survive that too :)

    So - I lowered the PH waaaay down and let it run, then drained the whole thing and started over with fresh tap water and nutes. I got the PH to 5.69 late yesterday and this morning it had only risen to 5.94. Thats a big improvement over how much it had been going up over night. I hope the low PH run, and the flush used up or neutralized some of what ever is buffering the PH up so much.

    I picked the best three clones and put them into the totes this morning. The one with the most/longest roots went into the NFT tote. The roots have the furthest to go to reach the water level in that tote. I put the one with the shortest roots into the E/F tote. Those roots only have maybe 3" to go to reach water. The last clone went into the Membrane tote.

    The new growth on all three is looking pretty good.

    Im going to monitor the PH change closely for the next several days and if it doesnt settle down enough, I will start playing with an idea I have for a slow acid delivery system. If that works, I can leave them alone for longer periods.

    On another note, Ive decided to keep the rez temp around 66 deg F for now. The hope being to reduce risk of root issues with the lower temp.

    I had been planning to run a sterile rez using pool shock - mainly for cost reasons and its simplicity.

    BUT - then I read a scientific study on the use of chlorine, chloramine, H2O2, etc to treat and prevent root pathogens. According to that study, if you run high enough levels of chlorine, etc to actually kill the pathogens, it damages the roots and reduces growth. Running at levels that dont hurt the roots doesnt kill the bad stuff. Plus, active chlorine combines almost instantly with nitrogen in the nutes which reduces the availability of both in the system. Over all, that made it sound like a bad idea to go sterile with no up-side at all. Well, the one up-side would be if you went sterile from the beginning at moderate doses of chlorine, you might be able to prevent root pathogen growth from getting started - maybe - but at the cost of some damage to the roots.

    Anyway, I decided to skip the chlorine and just keep temps down as long as possible. I will have some extra funds in a couple of weeks and will order some Hydroguard to use instead.

    Attached Files:

    Cold$moke likes this.

    Cold$moke Well-Known Member

    Whats your ph swing in one whole day

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    A few days ago, it was going from around 5.8 to 6.4 in about 6-8 hours. Early on (before the flush and re-do) I dropped it to 5.1 and it went to almost 7 in about 18-20 hours.

    The swing is slower now for sure, but it would be better if it was a lot slower than it is.

    Cold$moke Well-Known Member

    And how big was the res again sorry trying to work out details in my head

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