Looking for a step by step guide for hydro

Discussion in 'Hydroponic Growing' started by fred25, Apr 4, 2023.

  1. I am going to try hydro for the first time on my next grow and I am having trouble wrapping my head around what to do.

    So I guess what I need is a beginners guide to hydro that cover the steps.
  2. Try looking in the grow journals.
  3. you tube is your friend ...maybe?
  4. It depends heavily on what nutrients you use. If you get store bought liquid, just follow directions for dosing, change water every 1-2 weeks depending on how plants look. If you need to refill reservoir before that, and you don't have an EC or PH meter, refill with water first, then if you need more liquid, add fertilizer. You want to cycle refills if you aren't checking your parameters. Usually its pretty easy.
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  5. What type of system do you want to do? Flood and drain, dwc, rdwc, nft, drain to waste?
  6. #7 HydroDawg421, Apr 9, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2023
    Do NOT buy a pre-built system. DIY a system for 75% less. Lowe's and Home Depot are your friend. I use a modified Dutch bucket inside a 4x4 flood/drain table that top feeds and gravity drains back to the reservoir. It is SIMPLE and has a limited amount of points of failure. Use Jack's 321 instead of the expensive bottled nutes! Hydroton in an Air Pot produces AMAZING results.

    Pick a strain that is easy to grow, disease/pest resistant, and idiot-proof. You are your own worst enemy! Skunk, Northern Lights, and White Widow would be a GREAT start!

    Treat your grow like an operating room. Cleanliness is next to godliness! Learn about IPM techniques!

    Use a water chiller. RDWC has the potential for a lot of points of failure (leaks). Use quality meters and other equipment! Experiment. Fail miserably. Learn lessons the hard way. Ask dumb questions. READ READ READ! Did I say READ!?! Learn to germinate and clone. Buying teen clones from a reliable source is a shortcut until you learn and even after you're experienced. I like Ben's Nursey on Strainly. Less is more when it comes to nutrient solutions. Understand EC, PPM's, and PH. Listen to those experienced growers when they offer feedback/advice. Learn to control the environment! Temps, Rh, Co2, VPD.

    Plan to spend a whole helluva lot more $$ than you think! The $$ invested initially when starting WILL be recouped on the backend. Cheap, easy shortcuts RARELY work. There is no magic elixir or whiz-bang gizmo that produces amazing results. Don't buy the marketing hype.


    And when it comes to your new hobby . . . "Shut the F*ck UP!!!"

    top-drip-hydroponic-system-diagram.jpg IMG_5658.JPG IMG_3422 2.JPG IMG_3379.JPG
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  7. Could you expand a little on the water chiller?
  8. A water chiller allows you to keep the reservoir cold. I keep mine at 65 degrees. The colder the water, the higher the O2 content. Bacteria will also grow above 70 degrees. This is bad bad bad!

    You'll find a lot of growers who try to get around spending $500 on a chiller by using frozen water bottles, and other gimmicks. They chase their tails, lose a few grows and ultimately bite the bullet and get a water chiller. Buy a chiller that is properly sized (by gallons) for your reservoir. In the system that I have, I have about 12 gallons in my reservoir.
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  9. I've used ice packs for years. It works well, but it becomes tedious? idk, I normally check on my plants regularly so it's not too inconvenient to change, but if I need to leave for a couple days... What i like to use is 2.5L (empty) bleach bottles that I refill with RO water + calmag, I squish the bottle a bit, seal it, and freeze. You need a couple bottles to alternate each day. If you don't squish the bottle, it could burst when frozen.
    I've also been working on using a different type of cooler by modifying a portable fridge/cooler. I also had a TEC system, but want to try the self cooling cooler instead since it uses less power (conventional cooling vs peltier).
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  10. I understand. I used to ride the silly seat of frozen water bottles myself. When I used a pool thermometer and started to record my reservoir temps, I realized just how much my temps were swinging from low to high. It was a constant game that grew tiresome very quickly. I even had DIY reservoirs using old Coleman coolers. When I had 'issues', I couldn't eliminate the temp swings as part of the equation. Is a chiller really necessary? For the average grower . . . probably not. For me it's a must-have! It buys a helluva lot of peace of mind and I can keep my res temps within 1-3 degrees morning, noon, and night. $500 for a chiller and $30-$50 a month in electricity is a small tradeoff for me. I've learned that the more narrowly you can control room temps, Rh, VPD, dew point, humidity, res temps, CO2, etc. . . the better off you are.

    Once you have the environment dialed in and completely controlled, you can focus on other aspects of the grow. The same goes for my other equipment. I can use a cheap dehumidifier from Wal Mart but the Quest 70 also allows me to keep my RH static. Again, it varies only a couple of points. I've used several off-the-shelf devices to measure my room temps and RH. ALL would read differently. So, I spent some serious $$ on a certified hygrometer and thermometer. Now I know EXACTLY what my RH and temps are and I can adjust the electronic controllers on the mini split and dehumidifier to compensate for the inaccuracy and to match the certified hydrometer/thermometer. You wouldn't believe how inaccurate most of these are right out of the box. I look at the bigger picture . . . in and of themselves, these aren't really an issue. But there's a cumulative effect. If you are off a few points on everything, then that starts to be of concern.

    I freely admit to being a turbo-geek. The average hobby grower can't afford to do the things that I do. I have too much spare $$ and time on my hands. I'm also a bit ADHD and can get hyperfocused. I have realized a return on these investments 100-fold. What I experience during a 12-week grow from veg through harvest is vastly different. The growth rates, plant health, and plant problems (very minimal) all the way through the final finished product versus what I was doing about 12+ years ago is a night and day difference. The color, quality, taste, and yields are AMAZING. I'm almost embarrassed by my early efforts.

    Here's another example: I switched to Jack's 321 last year. I used a cheap kitchen scale to measure the dry nutes and had a difficult time hitting the recommended EC/PPM's. So, I purchased a pricey certified scale. You wouldn't believe how inaccurate a $20 kitchen scale is! Now, when I measure 35 grams, I know it's EXACTLY 35 grams. I can hit my PPM's/EC without batting an eye. The same goes for cheap meters. Spend the extra $$ and get a quality meter. And even then I religious calibrate anything that can be calibrated on the 1st of each month. Like clockwork.

    I recently had my first run-in with powdery mildew. It was a small issue that I was able to knock out rather easily. The permanent solution will be here in a couple of weeks. I have an AiroClean420XL air purification system on order.

    My goal is to get this as close to plug-and-play with minimal labor as possible. I'm about as close as I'll ever get. I still have to top/fim/low stress, thin/lollipop, change the res weekly, and adjust the lights but I spend so much less time and effort in the grow as compared to before. Even my harvest is the same. Chop, strip the flower off with a debudder tool, pop it into the Cannatrol for 8 days, and then 7-10 mins in the Twister Batch One Go and into the jars. Easy peasy! LOL

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  11. Yes, a chiller is nice but at $500, that would probably get you two ice-coolers. I need to hook that thing up, maybe when I get back from the city today. I think you would like this approach.
    I also had the TEC going, but it wasn't good enough, or I need to mod it more. I added six new peltiers, but I did not wire them in series and now the power was <300w, which is just ridiculous.
    I like that RH gauge you posted!
    I will post some more info on the cooler I will try next, just gotta go for an appointment right now.
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  13. $$$

    <financially dead lol keeps me creative ;)
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  14. I agree about the $500 chiller most of us can't afford something like that,I myself built my own chiller using a 5 gallon round igloo water cooler,a few connections that I got at my local Ace hardware & 8 foot blue hose(a cooler hose )& a submersible pump all n all cost me under $100 it works really good I just adjust my ice intake whether it bee dry ice or cubed even a block of ice if my temps get out of control durning the crazy hot ass summers. So I say if your limited on funds or love to diy to save more money then this maybe the way to go ( to check out the chiller idea go to Diy Ghetto -Fab Chiller under $20)hope this helps
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  15. Been hydro a long time dont use chiller.
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  16. how do you keep the temps low? My solution can run pretty warm without a chiller. I've gotten away with it in the past, like a bubbler on the concrete floor, but when I try improvising systems, the pumps and tent conditions can really drive the temps up.
  17. I have been growing without a chiller on some of my RDWC systems
    And been using converted a refrigerator as a chiller ... it works good.
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