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

    Rez is a 17 gal tote, but Im only filling to about 14-15 gals total in the system.
    Cold$moke likes this.

    Cold$moke Well-Known Member

    Yea thats definitely rising a lil fast
    Ill give it some thought

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Ok, its been almost 24 hours and the rez has gone from a PH of 5.69 up to 6.34. Thats a big improvement from before, so I have hope it will get even better over time.

    Oh - and the clones have been in the system for over 12 hours and they are not dead yet, so Im not screwing it up toooo badly - so far ;)

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Its been another 18 hours and the PH has only risen to 6.49, so there seems to be an upper limit to the buffering - which is very very good news. Its been going up slower and slower as time went on and it slows down a lot as it gets above 6.3.

    The question now is, how soon should I ph back down to 5.5 or 5.8?

    The roots are not in any direct contact with the water yet - they are still getting top fed by me once a day plus what ever wicking is going on.

    I think I will go ahead and try some of the battery acid mix I made to see how much it takes to drop the PH back down so I know that for future reference. It will be safer to do that now before the roots get into the water directly.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    I decided to drop the PH back down to 5.5 last night using the sulfuric acid mix I made up. I dont know if its the sulfuric acid or if Im finally neutralizing what ever is buffering the PH up, or more likely some of both, but the PH is going up a lot slower now. In the last 24 hours, its only gone up from 5.51 to 5.92.

    Im liking this trend. I hope it continues.....

    thccbdhealth Well-Known Member

    Very interested in seeing these results

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    I will be happy if I have any results to show! :)

    The PH thing is getting better and better. Since last night, the PH has only gone from 5.92 to 5.98 over about the last 10 hours. I dont think any of the roots have made it down to where they have actual direct contact with the water yet. It will be interesting to see how it goes when that happens.

    My EC, TDS and salinity have all gone up, but Im sure thats mostly due to me adding HydroGuard and CalMag to the rez.

    The clones are looking pretty happy, but the a few of the leaves are looking a little pale. Thats why I added the Cal Mag. Might need to up the nutes a bit too. Ive been wanting to keep the dosage down while the clones were young, but Leafly says this Blue Dream strain is a heavy feeder. Im going to wait another day or two and see if the PH goes back up some more though.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Its been 12 days since I put the clones in the system, so time for an up-date and some observations.

    1) The PH issue is now a non-issue. Still dont know if its because I switched to using sulfuric acid instead of GH PH Down, or if I just finally neutralized what ever was in the lava rock and perlite. I suspect some of both, but Im happy now. PH is very stable over several days with just a very slow rise.

    2) The clones are growing and looking pretty good - but - it is going much slooooower than I had hoped or anticipated. Im sure its due to me nuking them almost to death with the Neam oil treatment. The new growth looks good but the older leaves that got the neam treatment still have signs of the trauma.

    3) I am finally starting to see some roots growing down towards the water in each tote. The EF tote has the shortest distance to go and one root is almost touching the hi water level. The other two still have 4" or 5" to go.

    I think thats a screw up on my part. I should have changed things around so that the rockwool cubes were much closer to the water level in all the totes - so the roots had less distance to go, or at least it was more equal. In other words, the Membrane and NFT totes should have been shorter. Too late to change now though.

    4) The water level in the rez drops about 1 gallon every three days. That seems manageable to me. At this point, I think thats mostly due to evaporation. I doubt these small clones are using that much water.

    5) I just realized another screw up I made - I have no way to tie anything down to do LST. Im a big fan of bending stems sideways while the plants are young, but I have no way to tie them down. The entire top of the grow area is removable foam pieces, so I can get into the root zone if I need to clean out drains etc. Im going to have to get creative somehow. This strain is mostly sativa and grows to over 6 ft tall and my tent is only 4ft tall! I was planning to do a scrog. I may have to do some more stressful topping or super cropping.

    Here is what the clones looked like when I put them in the system and how they look now.





    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Im on day 20 since putting the clones in the system so time for an up-date.

    The short version of the report is that I cant tell any significant difference - so far - between the three types of hydro. All three clones are growing at pretty much exactly the same (sloooooow) rate. Even the two "extra" clones that I stuck in crappy "hempy buckets", and mostly ignore, are doing just fine and growing at exactly the same rates.

    Ive been worried about being able to control temps in the tent from the beginning. Thats why I was wanting to get started before it got too warm, but things didnt go as planned. I waited for seeds that were slow to arrive, then tried to kill my clones with Neem oil. Those two things put me at least a month behind schedule. The clones have recovered fairly well, but are growing sloooooooowly.

    Last week the outside temps jumped 10 degs to the low 80's and it was bad. I dont have house AC or even a window AC in the grow room, and room temps went up into the upper 70's and temps in the tent went up to the upper 80's. I had to remove the door to the tent and put some extra fans in the room just to keep temps in the tent in the low 80's. Surprisingly, the rez temps stayed just fine at no more than 72.

    All five plants are getting very bushy, but are not growing taller to any real degree. The fan leaves are getting huge, but almost no stretch or vertical growth. I can only assume the Neem torture I did early on is the reason. This strain - Blue Dream - is supposed to grow to over 6ft in height, but it sure doesnt look like these babies will do that unless maybe I veg them for another 6 months - which is not going to work.

    The weather is going to be getting hotter, so I have decided to go ahead and change to 12/12 and hope they finish before it gets too hot. Im afraid if I try to wait for them to start growing more, I will loose them all to heat stress before they mature. I wanted to do some LST, SCROG, etc, but it doesnt look like thats going to happen. At this point, I will be happy to get them to any kind of harvest.

    The root growth has also been slow. At least I was expecting it to be much faster than it has been. Again, I assume its the Neem Death curse. It has been interesting watching the roots make there way out of the perlite they are growing in and working their way into the hydro systems.

    So far, the Ebb/Flood tote was the fastest for showing root growth, but I think thats just because the roots had the shortest distance to travel.

    One surprising thing to me is in the NFT and Membrane totes, one single root made it out of the perlite - through a hole in the side of the tower - and down to the batting/fabric. Why that one root chose to grow like crazy while a dozen others stayed short and continue to grow slooooowly I have no clue.

    In both cases though, that one long root hit the batting/fabric on the bottom of the tote and just stopped dead! They did not and have not grown down into the fabric. Instead, they keep getting longer, but the root just loops around in the air - above the fabric - while the end that hit the fabric stays exactly where it hit without growing into the fabric or moving at all. They both then started to send out dozens of side roots which are doing the same thing. They grow down to the fabric and stop. As they get longer, they just lift the main root higher above the fabric.

    I even moved the root ends around and finally covered the roots with another piece of fabric to see what would happen, but so far, they dont seem to want to grow IN to the fabric.

    This is not how it went in those videos.

    Here are some root and plant pics of the progress so far.

    Keesje Well-Known Member

    Very interesting subject.

    The whole ph rising is a bitch and it is a mystery.
    Read so many explanations on different fora.
    I think if you want a good answer, you have to search on fora for aquariums and koi-fish.

    You could have done the test mediumless.
    So only using a neoprene collar, and no perlite, rockwool, stones, whatever.
    But perhaps next time :razz:

    Keep up the good work
    Larry3215 likes this.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I have made a few mistakes as far as how this is set up. Mediumless would have been a better option, but most important would have been making sure all the roots had a more equal and shorter distance to go to get to the water. Im not at all sure this is really a good experiment as far as comparing the three different types of hydro, but...... Next time!!

    Ok, time for another up-date. Short version:

    #1 is the E/F clone. Its growing the bushiest and tied for tallest.
    #2 is the Membrane clone. Its almost as tall as the E/F clone but not quite as bushy. It does seem to be growing slightly faster though.
    #3 is the NFT clone. Its not far behind the other two, but is definitely in 3rd place. It had been in 1st place as the fastest and tallest just a few days ago, but is now falling behind.

    Wow! What a difference two days makes! My last report from last Tuesday was all gloom and doom, but the very next day, they all suddenly started to grow and bush out much faster! They still are not very tall, and they seem to be getting bushier faster than taller, but its a big improvement. More importantly, they have started to drink a lot more water every day. So far they have gone from about 5.5" tall to 8.5" at the tallest.

    I have been top feeding them by hand until the roots get established at the water level. The E/F tote got there first and it is growing the bushiest by a significant margin. The NFT is lagging behind the other two a bit. Interestingly, the Membrane tote is growing vertically just as fast as the E/F tote, but is not quite as bushy or big around. It also finally started to drink all the excess water that is left in the bottom of the tote on top of the membrane after I top feed. I make a point ot scoop out as much as possible, but that always leaves maybe a 1/4 cup sitting on top of the membrane. The last two days, all that water has been sucked up in roughly 3 hours. Just a few days ago I could not tell if any had been used at all.

    All three must be drinking now because the rez level has been dropping much faster the last two days - its up to maybe 1 gal a day from maybe a couple of cups per day last week.

    The roots are still growing noticeably every time I check them, which is every 3 or 4 hours lately. However, it still feels like the root growth is pretty slow and anemic compared to pics Ive seen of other grows. They also still dont seem to want to grow into the fabric matting.

    I see I forgot to post pics above. I will try to do that tomorrow.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Oh - I picked up a webcam and installed it in the tent. Ive been using it to take pics every 1/2 hour or so and making time lapse videos. Very cool stuff to play with!

    I made a GIF od my first SCROG grow using pics I took with my cell phone, but this is much better. Its impossible to get the cell phone in the exact same place each time, so the GIF jumps around a lot more than the webcam videos do.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Oh, one other thing that seems odd to me - all 5 clones have a bunch of 3 finger leaves and several 5 finger leaves and the rest 7 finger leaves. Several of the fan leaves are also getting HUGE. None of that seem necessarily bad, but interesting. I have no clue if the odd numbers of fingers is due to the neem nuclear waste treatment thing or what?

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Another up-date.

    Im leaving for a 5 day fishing trip in the morning, so tonight is the last servicing/checking they will get for 5 days. Im hoping I have everything running smoothly enough to last that long. My fingers are crossed!!

    The PH and EC are both pretty stable with only a slow climb over time as the water level drops. From what I have read, that indicates that I am a little hi on nute concentration, but the plants look happy. Im just adding tap water when I top off the rez and then dropping the PH back down to where I want it. The airlift pump and auto siphon are working great and there are no issues with the mechanics or functioning of the system.

    Progress so far:
    The E/F clone is still winning the race. It is the tallest by a small margin and the bushiest by far. But, the other two are catching up slowly. All look very happy and have good color.

    The E/F and Membrane clones have both grown 2” in the last 4 days, but the NFT has grown 2.5”. I am measuring to the tallest node point rather than the tips of the leaves. They go up/down too much to measure accurately.

    E/F is 10 1/4” = bushiest
    NFT is 10 1/8” least bushy, but growing the fastest.
    Membrane 9 ¼” in the middle

    They were looking a bit pale and un-even in color last week, but are much better now. I was keeping the PH in the 6.0-6.4 range. Now Im keeping it between 5.5 and 5.8 and they seem much happier and have better color. I also added extra CalMag and that seemed to help too. The stems had been on the purple side, but now the new growth is not showing purple any more.
    The roots are still a concern. Over all root growth in the NFT and Membrane totes is far below what I was expecting. They still seem reluctant to grow into the fabric. Im also seeing browning of the roots in both totes above the “water line”.
    The fabric/batting I bought doesn’t seem to wick very well. That added to my use of deep totes means the roots that poke out of the pipes and are hanging in the air are drying out. The roots that are further down look great – other than being smaller than hoped for.

    I really should have used shorter totes/containers to the roots didn’t have so far to go to the water. That distance seems to be fine in a DWC or aero type setup where they are constantly being sprayed with water, but not with my setup.
    I decided to stop top feeding today. They wont be getting any top feeding while Im gone, so may as well see how it goes. I hope the roots that dry out are not too big an issue. The ones that are drying out seem to stop growing, but the others are doing fine.

    I will know in 5 days!

    Some pics - finally [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    Dreddd likes this.

    Cold$moke Well-Known Member

    I lost the thread ill have to go catch up later lol
    Larry3215 likes this.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Ha! I am loosing things more often these days too. Ive been telling myself it has nothing to do with getting older or with the amount of pot Ive been consuming. I recommend you do the same ;)

    Im back after a 5 day fishing trip (dont ask how it went) with an up-date.

    For starters, I am very happy with how things went while I was gone, and feeling a just bit cocky about how well my first time hydro experiment thing is going - BUT - I am also feeling kind of humbled and put in my place at the same time.

    Turns out my plants grow better when Im not even around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That darn LITFA (Leave It The Fuck Alone) stuff I bought on sale sure works good for the plants but its hard on the ego!!!! [​IMG]


    1) They didnt die! In fact, they are doing great!

    2) Every thing in the hydro system is still functioning perfectly. The water level is down lower than I was anticipating, but still just fine. Looks like they used about 9 gals while I was gone. They could have gone another two days or a bit more before the water got too low to pump properly, so now I know. I will have some detailed questions later on how my PH. EC etc are doing, but I think its close enough for now.

    3) The two extra clones in my hempy buckets are looking very very thirsty, and droopy, and they didnt grow nearly as much, but they survived too. I hate to toss them out, so Im going to try to re-veg them and see if they survive. By re-veg, I mean Im going to just stick them in my bathroom and feed them once in a while when I remember. If they survive that, maybe I will have them for future clones - if they can make it trough the summer with almost no care [​IMG]

    The race results so far:

    1 - The E/F tote is still winning. They are all still very similar in height (17", 17", 16.5") but the E/F clone is much wider and bushier.
    2 and #3 - The NFT clone and Membrane clones are more or less tied. The NFT is a 1/2" taller but the Membrane clone is bushier by a bit and a little wider. There is not enough difference to call it either way.

    The roots in the NFT and Membrane totes are not doing nearly as well as I had hoped. They continue to grow but slowly. They also do NOT like the fabric I chose fro some reason. They are willing to grow through it or over it or under it, but not IN it the way I was expecting. Also, the roots still up in the air are turning brown since I stopped top feeding, while the roots down close to the water level are looking great.

    Ive been debating if I should start top feeding again, but that would just kill any value the experiment might still have as far as which works better. On the other hand, I consider this experiment a bust anyway because of my not thinking th design through better. I think Im going to leave it as is for now and not top feed any more.

    This is how they looked 2 weeks ago, then one week ago then today.

    Attached Files:


    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    Quick question - It's been 10 days since I switched over to 12/12.

    Is it too late to still do a scrog screen and some LST type training? I am worried these 'babies' are turning into monsters that are going to grow up and eat my lights and then come for me.

    I put the screen in place, but I can take it out if need be. If nothing else, I will probably leave it for support. This sativa dominant strain is supposed to grow very tall and I have a short tent. They started off sloooooow, but it looks like the brakes are off now.

    Any advice or suggestions welcome.
    Cold$moke likes this.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    It occurred to me that maybe this experiment isnt all for nothing after all. The plants in all three totes have great color, huge fan leaves, are super bushy and - finally - are growing like weeds.

    The E/F plant is doing the best, but it got its roots in the water the soonest. I think that if I had not had the other two plants so far above the water level in the beginning, that they would be doing just as well as the E/F plant.

    Here is the interesting thing to me.

    The NFT plant has roots that stay very wet. They are growing in sopping wet fabric and have lots of excess water.

    However, the Membrane plant is doing just as well even though its roots are barely damp. When I touch the fabric in the bottom of the NFT tote, it is dripping like a sponge full of water. The fabric on the bottom of the Membrane tote feels almost dry - and yet that plant is doing great.

    So I have one plant getting flooded and its doing the best - but not by much.

    Then one plant that gets lots of water and is doing great and one that gets very little water and it is also doing great.

    Im starting to think it doesnt make any difference how much water they get as long as it is some minimum amount - which isnt very much at all from what I can see.

    The better test of course, will be to see how the yields turn out. About 5 or 6 more weeks to go....
    Cold$moke and Keesje like this.

    Keesje Well-Known Member

    I really like your experiment, and hatts of to all the people who try things like this.
    But because of the really small scale of your setups, it is not really a good experiment.

    I also did some side-to-side tests with cloning.
    The clones with fogponics did best. Better then the ones with bubbleponics.
    But it was with such small numbers that the possibility that other factors were more important, could have easily infuenced the result.
    Perhaps the clones in fogponics were allready better at the moment they were cut.
    Perhaps the fogponics-setup was in a better position in the room, less draft for example, or better light for clones.

    So to really decide which works best, you must do it on a larger scale.
    Do it also several times and change some of the circumstances also.

    Still, I am following your topic with great interest.
    Larry3215 likes this.

    Larry3215 Well-Known Member

    I agree. Even if I had not made so many mistakes, the "results" would still not be definitive.

    However, there are still things to be learned and I have come to a couple of conclusions so far.

    1) The Meniscus Membrane idea does actually work pretty darn well, and even with my mistakes, the plant sure seems to like it.

    2) The Meniscus Membrane idea is too much trouble for me to do in the future. Unless it works a LOT better than the other options, I dont think its worth the trouble to find the specialized materials and go through all the nit picky setup details to get everything "just right".

    3) I like hydro a lot better than soil growing :)

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