I am thinking about trying hydroponics after several successful grows in potted soil. My idea was to use a combination of DWC and continues flow. The DWC will allow the roots to bet big but my biggest concern is they will grow into the inlet pipe. Originally I was thinking of using garden hose but I am afraid the roots might block it so 2” PVC was my other idea. This system works on water wanting to be at an even level.
For now I was going to use 4 square 5 gallon buckets for the plants and there will be 1 bucket outside of the tent that will be for mixing / testing the water. I have some programming experience so was going to setup an Arduino or Raspberry Pi (mini computer) to sample the PH, PPM and other concerns every couple minutes. As things get out of normal the mini computer will automatically feed or PH balance the system. In the mixing bucket I also plan to place the air stone to oxygenate the water in this bucket. To make sure the water stays at the appropriate height I will install a float valve (like a toilet) that will add water as needed. This bucket is also where the pump pulls the water from to feed the first plant in line.
Do you think this will work or do you think there will be problems? I am thinking of growing on a larger scale in the future so was wondering if that should work with multiple buckets?
Sorry about the crude drawing but this should help you understand what I am talking about. For the picture everything works left to right. The feed hose is where the water pump moves water to the first bucket in line.
I would first ditch the buckets: not enough volume after you fit with net pot and air space for roots will only hold 3.5 gallons or so. Yellow topped tote, 18 gallon, will hold 12 gallons of solution: a much better choice.
Reservoir can be a tote as well or do like I did and get a free barrel from your local car wash: be sure to get soap and not wax. They rinse out well and accept bulkhead fittings.
You actually need an air stone under each plant as well. Small pump to deliver solution from rez to farthest tote and passive flow back to the rez.
You are going to need a chiller, guaranteed, so plan on that investment.
Before you do any of this look at ‘Autopots’.
Look into ‘Jack’s 3-2-1’ for nutrients: can’t do organic in hydro.
Quality lighting is where you need to start. If you are looking at blurple lights on Amazon you need to do more research. Horticulture Lighting Group (HLG) is the current leader in LED tech but Spyder Farmer, CHILled Logic, California Lighting Concepts all do decent lights too.
A good quantum board setup in 3,000K would grow some killer nugs.
The RDWC feed from one bucket to all the others. My plan feeds from the reservoir to one bucket. That bucket feeds to the next and repeat till the last grow bucket. The last bucket then returns water to the reservoir. For the air pump I was going to use a pump that can do up to 1110 GPH so it will be able to keep up I have been using a 900 watt (400 actual watt) LED grow light to good results in my soil 4x4 tents.I was not aware of the chiller thing so I will start looking into that also.
How many buckets are you trying to aerate with the 1100GPH air pump?
I have 1300GPH air pump for my 7 buckets.
Here’s how my RDWC works
The red lines is the water direction with pump in reservoir bucket.
The blue is the air lines with a 2 inch round air stone at the end of each.
(Plants are a bit droopy because it’s sleepy time)
@Siksr looks like what I found for RDWC were missing the water cycling part, my bad. For now i was looking at having only 4 bucket. I was thinking for the nutrients to reach the roots I wouldn’t be able to just cycle the water at the bottom of the buckets.
Has been working great for me, although i do wish to upgrade to totes later on.
The recirculating of the water has been keeping my nutes mixed up pretty well, the biggest difference in PPM in each buckets has been like 50 max.
I actually came here to see if someone had a system for automatically adding nutrients or adjusting ph On a real time basis. Setting a set ph and ppm and having a pump as needed.
I am interested in your process in doing this.
Larger the drain Pipe the better I have 1” on a 12 bucket system and wish was 2”. If you can go larger totes do it. Water volume becomes an issue later on like others have said when plants get larger and thirstier.
@Mhart02 my plan is to make an auto filling and auto adding nutrients. I found some systems online for adding nutrients and PH automatically but those are over a grand. I’m planning on using an arduino like @Myfriendis410 said and you can find some tips on youtube. I was hoping to find someone here that might have done this but I’m not afraid to be the first… just need to put some cash aside.
@gwizz welcome to the forum. On h2o2 your going to hear a few different answers I think. Ive used it a couple of times when I had some root issues late in flower. Food grade high percentage, not the 3% on the store shelf for cuts. I never tried running it through a grow but I have heard of people running it throughout the grow.
I built my own hygrometers using Arduino - that’s as far as I got with the platform. By the time I was digging into other people were coming out with commercial products based on Arduino tech (i.e. Sonoff devices) and the prices were pretty reasonable. I haven’t ever looked into automating PH balancers or nutrients.
I will say this - I left my house eleven days ago and came back to perfectly healthy, growing plants (that stretched like the buhjeebus). I’ll need to top off my reservoir tonight, but all in all it looks like things maintained stability while I was away. Fortunately my current cycle is only three weeks into flower, so the plants haven’t been big enough to be drinking a ton of water. With a chiller and a big enough reservoir I feel like I can safely ignore my plants for a week with no issues. Any longer and they would require more solution in the reservoir. If I had a 60ga reservoir I think I could go two weeks no problem.