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

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

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  1.  
    Keesje

    Keesje Active Member

    I use experiments as well, but almost only for finding a system that is...
    - simple (for example growing clones with fogponics)
    - inexpensive once your run it.
    - easy to clean
    - not a lot of work in between grows (for example rinsing hydroton)
    - safe (for example neighbours not seeing you carrying big bags of soil in your house)
    - Not a lot of work during grows (for example not topping off your reservoir every 3 days, but only changing once every 2 weeks)
    - Monkey proof (for example using 2 pomps in case 1 dies while you are not around for a week, and running pumps with low wattage so you can use an UPS if the electricity gets down)


    One of the best and also underrated threads on this forum is from klx.
    https://www.rollitup.org/t/the-klx-way.960314/
    His system is so much easier, less expensive, reliable, low maintenance and with a higher yield then for example the system from StinkBud (harvest a pound every 3 weeks) which everybody is raving about.
    Look it up. You will like it.

    I have seen and experienced so many systems in my many years of growing, and never did I see a system that outnumbered all of them.
    So I rather make the system simpeler, instead of making it more complicated and perhaps have a 5 percent increase on my yield.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  2.  
    bird mcbride

    bird mcbride Well-Known Member


    I never clean the hydroton until I pack it away. Considering all the water going through it. I also use a pump up sprayer to clean the top of the tables, reflective plastic pieces at the base of each snip protecting the roots from the light etc and spray down the plants every so often. Unlike soil, hydroton/lava rock grow pellets can be used for years in a flood and drain table. No need to be lugging stuff in and out and flood and drain uses 1/6 of the amount of fertilizer per gallon of water as out door grows.

    It's a simple matter of a timer, float switch, and a washing machine valve for automatic res top up. Washing machine valves are very reliable. I you don't have water going to the grow, I suspend two five gallon buckets and siphon it to the valve. This gives me ten to fifteen days depending on growth. One bucket can be siphoned to the other so if you're gonna be gone longer, add more buckets and siphon hoses to connect the buckets to the primary bucket that has the hose going to the top up valve.. This only has to be siphoned once if you don't let it go dry. The water in the buckets will all go down simultaneously even though the hoses go through the top of the buckets. be sure the hoses are all the way to the bottom of each bucket. I put a V cut into each hose to keep it from sucking to to bottom of the bucket while activated.

    I take my spent res water for the green room. Moms get fed with spent res water, even new clones. I don't chance the Moms, they get several drip feeder valves that are set on a timer. The Moms get the same shelf bucket system for a res.

    Use screens to protect pumps and valves. Nothing is fool proof but I've pulled off one crop after another using some pretty old and rickety equipment while others were suffering with crop failures. I plant when I pull, when the table is flooded.
     
  3.  
    Keesje

    Keesje Active Member

    You have pics of this set up, because just by reading, I don't get it.
     
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  4.  
    bird mcbride

    bird mcbride Well-Known Member

    It won't let me up load my 2' table.
     
  5.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    Im having trouble picturing this too.

    Are you using an electric float switch to operate the washing machine valve?
     
    bird mcbride likes this.
  6.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    Thanks for that link! I started it last night and will try to finish it later today.

    I had not seen that exact thread, but I recently ran across another thread where they were doing almost the exact same thing - mediumless ebb/flood. I think that is probably what I am going to do with my next grow. Mediums in general seem to offer more problems than they solve. Early in this grow I was thinking that the NFT type thing would be best, but now that my roots dont seem to like the fabric I chose, Im leaning much more towards going mediumless.

    The only thing I need to figure out is how to support the plants well enough to do a scrog. I Like growing fewer plants and training them to spread out. Im worried they wont have enough support for the main stems with a large number of colas.
     
  7.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    I just checked the roots again when the lights came on a while ago. Im running the lights ON during the night time to help with the hi heat issues.

    Anyway, I just noticed that there is at least two or three times as much root mass in the Membrane tote than in the NFT tote. The roots in the Membrane tote also seem to be more willing to grow in and through the fabric than they are in the NFT tote. Im using the same exact fabric in both totes, so this is a bit of a mystery.

    This is another plus for the Membrane technique. That tote was the last one to show roots down at the water level and yet it is doing much better than the NFT tote by far as far as root growth.

    On the other hand, both plants still look pretty much equal as far as size and growth.

    I cant see how the roots are doing in the E/F tote, but they have made it into the auto siphon. I am now realizing I didnt leave quite enough room to get in there to clean them out easily. Another lesson learned for next time [​IMG]
     
  8.  
    Keesje

    Keesje Active Member

    I think that reall Scrogging will not be easy with the KLX system. The stems will just flip over.
    But if you would grow 9 plants on 1 square meter, I guess they will fill easily fill up the space of you let them grow another week under 18/6.
    Also perhaps if you would scrog less vigorously. So just tenderly.
    Another option is to use just small netpots filled with large hydroton. It is not mediumless, but the water can drain easily and it will give enough support to the roots, so the plant will stay upright.
     
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  9.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    Yeah. I was also thinking maybe I would make my own DIY 'net pots' out of something stronger - like a plastic plumbing fitting - that I could mount rigidly for better support.
     
  10.  
    Keesje

    Keesje Active Member

    I think that just the weight of a netpot filled with large hydrotin will have enought weight to keep the plant upright. Especially because the upper part of the plant is attached to the scrognet.
     
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  11.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

  12.  
    Dreddd

    Dreddd Well-Known Member

    Are the roots actually growing through the membrane? if they are then its no longer a meniscus membrane system... the whole point of the membrane is to separate the roots from the nutrient solution below, i guess i'll really have to get my hands on some ripstop fabric.. been talking with Andrew and he seems to think its the best option..
     
  13.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    No, the roots are still above the rip-stop fabric and have not penetrated - at least not yet. They are trying to climb the side walls in a couple of places though - especially at the end where the water enters the tote and flows between the rip-stop and the wall of the tote. That spot in the fabric stays wet where the water drips down. They are able to cling to the fabric, but have not grown through it anywhere I can see.

    Ok, here is another (possible) plus point for the Membrane technique. The plants are starting to show white whiskers and forming buds. The new buds are larger and have more and longer whiskers on the Membrane plant. The NFT plant is second and the E/F plant is in last place.

    Here are the pics of a typical bud site on each one E/F first, then NFT, then Membrane.

    E/F
    0517180800a.jpg


    NFT 0517180801.jpg


    Membrane 0517180801a.jpg
     
  14.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    It just registered with me what you said - you got to talk to Andrew Parker? You did better than I did. I never managed to track him down.

    Did he have any other tips, recomendations or additions?
     
  15.  
    Dreddd

    Dreddd Well-Known Member

    Not much more then what was already in his book, its quite comprehensive as you probably already know, i did inquire if i could replace marine carpeting for the buffer layer with some cheap poly felt, he seems to think it would do just fine, as long as i use ripstop fabric for the membrane as its the most important part.
    Found this felt online: https://www.moodfabrics.com/light-gray-industrial-poly-felt-306135
    should work, its uncoated so water absorbent, 3mm which is just thick enough and synthetic so reusable.

    Tracking down Andrew was a shot in the dark, found an email address on his old website whois lookup, gave that a try and a few days later he wrote back. :-P
    He's seems like a very helpful guy and probably be happy to answer any question you have.


    oh and nice progress on the plants! interesting that the membrane one seems ahead of the pack.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018 at 7:37 PM
  16.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    One thing (of several) that I am doing differently from how Andrew did it, is the water flow trough the sub layer. He is big on sloooooowly dripping the nutes through the sub-layer with just barely enough flow volume to replace what the plants use. I didnt like that part, mostly because of having to fiddle with the drip rates to try to match it to what the plants eat.

    My flow rate is still pretty slow - maybe 2-3 gals/hour or so, but thats many times faster than he was doing.

    I was going to be recirculating in all the other totes, so it made no sense to have a separate rez just to drip into the Membrane tote. So I decided to have the water flow through the sub-layer at a pretty good clip. At least part of my reason was I didnt want to chance any stagnant areas where anerobic crap could grow.

    Thats a long lead up to my decision to not use carpet or other fabrics as a sub-layer. I went with medium sized perlite instead. Its firm enough to support the membrane and the weight of the roots plus it allows a decent flow rate. I dont think the roots give a crap how fast the water is flowing through the sub-layer as long as enough of that water wicks up through the membrane so they can drink. I also did that because I didnt want to search for specialty carpets and I had the perlite on hand. Im lazy :)

    I am a little more impressed with the Membrane thing every day. Even with all the disadvantages it had/has due to my poor choices, its doing great. I might even have to consider doing the Membrane thing next time around if it keeps over performing like this.
     
  17.  
    Dreddd

    Dreddd Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you like it, and i agree that it really doesn't matter at all what the sub layer is made of as long as its inert and porous, perlite should be just fine, in fact i thought about ditching the felt idea and just using perlite as well, i haven't actually ordered the felt yet, and i also have perlite on hand.

    I also think that a super slow drip is not optimal, if this system can really keep its ph/nutrient strength unchanged like Andrew claims it really shouldn't matter at what rate the solution is flowing underneath the roots.
     
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  18.  
    bird mcbride

    bird mcbride Well-Known Member

    With the timer. When the res reaches the level the float switch shuts off the valve...then the timer will disengage at its programmed time and things go on as normal. I just use a cheap 1/2 hour rotary timer for this. These valves are very low amperage, not like a pump. Set this top up cycle in the middle of two water cycles when the watering is not active, so it doesn't interfere with watering.
     
  19.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    Im sorry, Im still not getting it I dont think.

    Is the float an electrical switch type or a mechanical valve that directly shuts off the water flow itself?

    If its an electrical switch, what does the timer do?

    Or does the timer only let the electric float switch and/or the washing machine valve work during lights out?

    Or...

    Is the float a mechanical valve the shuts off the water flow, but the timer keeps the washing machine valve closed except during lights off?
     
  20.  
    Larry3215

    Larry3215 Active Member

    Quick up-date. The lights just came on and the Membrane plant is still winning the bud wars - by a lot.

    The Membrane plant now has buds that are starting to look like small buds. They are almost twice the size of the NFT buds and much more nugget looking. The E/F plant is still in last place on bud formation.

    Curiouser and curiouser...

    Other than that, all three look about equal. Its hard to judge relative growth any more - I started weaving them all into a scrog screen, so no more height/width comparisons.


    At the same time I am really annoyed at the two "extra" clones I have. I took them out of the tent when I started the scrog - no room. I put them in 1/2 gal DIY cheapo hempy buckets filled with perlite, and then stuck them in my bathtub. I mostly ignore them other than an occasional feeding. The lighting is very week in there (maybe 50-60 watts) but it is on almost 24/7. Other than that, they are on their own.

    The humbling, ego busting part of it is - they are doing great!!! They are growing a lot slower than their sisters in the tent, but the darn things look happy and healthy as the ones in the tent!

    It is very discouraging to discover that the two plants growing under the worst conditions and in the cheapest possible "hydro" system, with the least amount of effort - are doing just about as well as the ones you spend hours and hours a day tending in an expensive, complicated hydro system.

    Lucky for me, I think hempy buckets are boring as heck, so Im not giving up my auto siphon yet!! :D
     

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