First time hydro grow questions DWC

Discussion in 'Hydroponic Growing' started by wackpack, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. So ive been growing for a few years with much success in soil for my medium. After some research ive decided to make the switch to hydro for better yields and less watering. I just have a few questions for how im going to go about it.

    First off I have 4 5 gallon buckets with clay pebbles as my setup. My air pump setup is adequate so i dont need any insight on that currently. I have always just used tap water without phing for watering my plants. I plan on using tap water for my reservoirs and after doing some ph testing my water sits around 7.5 without any nutes. My first question is has anyone had success just using tap water? I know a lot of people swear by r/o but i have no interest if its not needed. I have everything ready for ph balancing when the time comes.

    Second what are some of the best options for nutrients? I always used fox farms trio for soil and am aware they make a hydro set as well, just want some opinions on the trio or other options.

    What should my ph/temperature goals be once i have added nutrients to my res? Also since this has so many opinions how often is it necessary to change the water in my res buckets? Anything else i can think of i will add and appreciate any input!
  2. Personally I wouldn't use tap water if its ppm was over 50 (EC=0.1).
    I strongly recommend the cheap, 1-part, solid fertilizer Greenleaf Megacrop. That's all that's needed from seed to harvest.
    The Vapor Pressure Deficit chart gives the best range of humidities. The shorthand version of it is to keep air temp in the mid 70s F, and humidity in the mid 60s. Reservoir should stay under 70 F. Humidifiers, heaters, fans, and meters are needed.
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  3. Appreciate the reply. As far as my water what info do i need from my water report to determine ppm?
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  4. #4 bkarnaze, Mar 6, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
    You need a ppm meter to best do hydro. It can read your tap water ppm. The Bluelab model is indestructible, but expensive. A pH meter is also needed. PH strips and fluids are cheaper alternatives.
    I use an unusual strategy of never doing a complete reservoir change. Instead I empty out 2 gal out of 30 daily, and it gets automatically replaced with fresh fertilizer solution from an external storage reservoir. This strategy also uses 1 drop clorox per gal per day. Since I started doing this I've noticed no difference.
    Oops! That's 2 drops per gallon per day.
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  5. Depending on PPM's of tap water ..

    You want your water to be around 6.5 to 6.0 PH .
    Normally DWC system require more water then soil/compost .
    I use Canna aqua products ..they are expensive .
    My tap water is terrible and I use RO water ..and cannot answer your question if your tap water will work ..
    I have never tried a RDWC system using Tap water .
    get a water quality report from your city water office .
    I know there is a difference is RO water is considered a sterile Hydroponic system ..
    good luck
    What is considered a un sterile system the nutrients are cheap compared to sterile/bottled nutrients ..
    FYI on average my DWC system and my aeroponic systems both use about 4 gallons per day per plant ..
    I dumped the aeroponic system ,,was a bad idea for larger MJ plants ,,, which I grow sativa ,,so normally my plants would be considered large for a indoor grow ..
    Depending on the size of your plants a 5 gallon bucket could or will have to be refilled every day ..
    I run 20 and 30 gallon tubs .
    At times I wish my tote's or plastic tubs was insolated because at 72 Degrees F inside tent temp my tubs run 3 degrees warmer.
    I try to keep my inside tent temp at 70 F , kind of the magic number where the RDWC system run the same temp as the inside tent temp .

    I made a old refrigerator into chiller for my RDWC system Really its more of just big bubblier totes because I like to be able to travel and go fishing for several days and need all the water capacity as possible .
    PPM's a PPM meter tells you where your PPM's are but it doesn't tell you what nutrient/mineral is causing the issue ..

    Not everything will mix in a hydroponic system ,, you can put a small amount of something that doesn't mix at the wrong temp and get root rot in a matter of a hours ..
    In a RDWC system one plant gets root rot then it will spread to all the plants ..

    Attached Files:

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  6. here is a picture of my water report for any insight. The first line is the detected range in the first picture

    Attached Files:

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  7. PH at 5.9 for Hydro.
    69 degrees water temp.
    Use tap unless it kills your plants like mine does, so I'm forced to. The water company uses chloramines here.
    I change water when it smell funny or the plants stop drinking as much or the PPM's start raising and I'm using the same amount of nutes. This is caused by saltz buildup from the nutes inside your res, lines, buckets etc...
    I assume you are using net pots for lids, make sure to fill the lids all the way up with hydroton so no light leaks.
    Use black plastic barrels and black lines.
    I use MB combo for nutes, it's cheaper than anything I've seen and better also.
    If you want to give it a try, I'll give you my feed schedule for hydro.
    In the summer you will have to run a chiller to keep water temps down I think.
    Also make sure the water in your buckets look like the water its boiling from all the air the pump is putting in there, and never turn off the air pump.

    Ph chart.jpg
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  8. On my current grow I TRIED to use my tap water including hard water nutes. Then I tried it using metabisulfite which removes any chlorine AND chloramine from water. My tap is around 280ppm. I tried adding super weak nutes and all I really managed to do was get scraggly seedlings that were not improving. I gave it an honest shot before changing to RO water. My grow is in this thread: Been awhile, setting up a new grow RDWC style

    To cut to the chase: buy an RO filter ASAP. Do not even bother with anything else. If you can't install one permanently or just don't want to, get one that will screw onto a faucet like I and others have . They're cheap enough (under $100) and it will be the BEST investment.
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  9. you mind sharing a link to one? only ones i cant find are $150+ which i dont have to spend atm on just that
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  10. I ran my rdwc for 2 days with just straight tap well water to make sure my system didn’t leak and I ended up with some sort of slippery residue/ slimy shit in my hoses from the two water. RO is a must in hydro.

    If you’re doing hydro, I’d suggest a large tote like Headhunterpipes uses or build your own rdwc with a large reservoir. Great way to keep the system stable and less chance of running dry. At the end of flower they’ll drink a 5 gallon bucket real quick.
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  11. Not all RO systems are equal … when I am changing water in my tents I need at least 40 gallons .
    The wrong RO system will take a couple of days to make 40 gallons ..
    Even my system will take a half a day to make 40 gallons .. which is allot for a home ..
    If your water pressure going to your house is close to 40 psi you will be all day making RO water ..

    Really you need to say how many gallons you plan on using at one time ..
    Then you need a pressure tank that will hold that much water ..or you will have to start storing jugs or containers of water for when you change out you reservoirs ..
    I have low water pressure so my RO system has a electric charge pump ..
    Same pump you see in RV's but charges my RO system to 80 psi , plus I have permeator pump on the discharge side of the RO machine ..
    After I got my shit together ( the right filters to get maximum output of RO water ) and getting the charge pump .
    that will keep up with my RO water needs I ended up with a commercial restaurant coffee/drinking water RO system with a 40 gallon Fiberglass pressure tank .
    I have about 700.00 plus into this system .

    I wasted 200.00 on a system that wouldn't keep up .. Packing RO water from the grocery store sucks ass.
    these people have done me good ..
    Neo-Pure RO-4300RX Pharmacy Trusted Residential RO System - Basic System
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  12. RO is drinking water and normally ranges 6.0 to 7.2 PH .. the more stages the RO system has the higher the PH is ..
    A 5 stage RO system has a higher PH then a 3 stage system .
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  13. I plan on using 4-5 5 gallon buckets and with my research there would be around 4-4.5 gallons in each since you need to leave some space. For my first dwc just to get the hang of the nutes and the change it will just be a basic setup and ill fill extra jugs with water for when i want to change or add water. Maybe in the future i will do all of the bells and whistles but i want to keep it simple currently. Here's a pic of my setup

    Attached Files:

  14. For what this worth ,,, I read that any water that is over 50 PPM is not good for MJ plants in a hydroponic systems ..
    I got this info out of MJ grow book … I know some of you will disagree with this and that's fine ..
    But just the same that that's what says .
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  15. My hydro system uses only around 15 gallons. I have a couple of 5 gallon buckets, a 10 gallon empty tote, plus gallon jugs. So I keep around 15 gallons on hand at all times really. At my apartment, it takes 28 minutes to make 1 gallon of RO from the sink faucet, which also makes ~3 gallons of waste. I save the waste water up to about 6 gallons and do laundry with it. I also have shut off valves on my grow totes and res. This lets me close some while draining the others etc. So I guess I'm saying it's small enough to be manageable in these ways.
    Even with potential pitfalls I'd still say an RO filter is a must for hydro unless you are blessed with amazingly low PPM water out of the tap.
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  16. For me and I tried to keep the cost down and do the plastic storage water containers and it didn't work ..
    Wouldn't come close to meeting my RO water needs ..
    If I keep my water changing rotation on schedule my plain jane most economical RO system was a total waste of money ..
    I have 700.00 into this system alone … then throw away 200.00 plus the money for the RO system and all the water jugs .

    Now I have a 50 foot expandable garden hose hooked my 40 gallon fiberglass pressure tank ..
    Fuck packing 5 gallon plastic jugs of water.
    I am disabled and the water containers was a pain in the ass.
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  17. So i guess the next question is what do you initially add to ro water for newer plants or when you first get it? Just cal-mag or something else? Excluding whatever nutes i will be using as thats a given
  18. So i guess the next question is what do you initially add to ro water for newer plants or when you first get it? Just cal-mag or something else? Excluding whatever nutes i will be using as thats a given

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