First Hydro Adventure Planning

Im smack in the middle of my first grow but I’m super interested by Hydro. I’m leaning towards trying a 2 plant RDWC grow next. I want to build it myself. My thoughts are 2 square 5-7gallon pots fed from a larger tote reservoir outside the tent. I’m looking at putting together a parts list and collecting pieces bit by bit. I’m open to all suggestions and info all you great growers have.
Rain some knowledge on me!

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Hydroponics is highly technical. If you have an ‘engineering’ mindset it may fit for you but does require thought and good equipment.

Here are a few things to consider: rez size will dictate how the nutrient solution behaves between reservoir changes: the more liquid the more stable PH and PPM’s are. This is a BIG deal as PH swings can kill your plant in just a few hours.

Temperature of rez needs to remain below 70F to increase O in the medium and to reduce (not eliminate) the occurrence of root rot. A chiller is usually necessary. Water bottles full of ice don’t work FYI.

Good instruments for monitoring and adjusting solution concentration and PH are necessary along with good note-taking. This means good quality digital meters and not strips or drops. Along with that is all of the infrastructure needed to maintain and calibrate meters.

Lights: you can’t grow cannabis with crappy lights. Best go to school on that now. I’ll say this: ALL of the blurple lights that come from overseas are junk. If you want to grow weed you’re gonna have to pony up the bucks for gucci lights. Horticulture Lighting Group (HLG), CHILled Logic, California Lighting Concepts are 3 good names. HLG being the reigning king of LED’s.

Before dropping a ton of money, look at ‘Autopots’ and if you search the forum you’ll find a couple of journals. While you’re at it look at ‘Jack’s 3-2-1’ as well.

@peachfuzz @TDubWilly are both hydro growers and may weigh in.

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Thank you for your detailed response. Its not something I’m going to rush into. A chiller is high on my list of priorities. They’re not cheap so I’m going to start putting some cash aside. I like the idea of a monitoring system for ph and ppm as opposed to constantly testing. I love the idea of hydro being highly technical. Im an industrial electrician apprentice so technical is right up my alley. I likely won’t be venturing into hydro until winter or spring so I have plenty of time to plan and prepare.

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If you go the RDWC route, ditch the bucket idea. Yellow-topped totes are ideal and increase root zone reservoir which increases stability. Bulkhead fittings are available and the totes are easy to machine.

Look at the autopots before you jump in though.

You don’t need continuous monitoring (although it’s out there) but do need good equipment to maintain control of your environment.

Lights. Lights. Lights.

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Make sure you buy one that is “salt water compatible” otherwise the nutrient solution can damage the chiller over time

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I have grown a number of different ways.

Soil was easy
Hydro was awesome but technical
But Autopots are the bees knees.

Yields will fall just a tad from deep water culture but they are just so easy to grow in that i don’t care and its not like the yield is crappy… its still great. Dwc just makes so many things available to the plant when all your numbers are right that it’s amazing but everything from pH to water temp swings can be just as swift to negatively affect the plant as good numbers positively affect the plant.

Which ever route you choose, you will be happy with, just don’t over look autopots

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So what makes autopots so good? Looked them up briefly and they seem super inexpensive. Definitely curious

I use auto pots thers worth the 65. Or 75. Dollars if you look on bonanza you may find them with free shipping

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All I have is a tent 600 hps light carbon fan and 2 small fans a 4 water farm bucket from geral hydroponics and I use iguane juice

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Ease of grow like soil is and combined with constant feeding similar to hydro then you can get the best of both worlds in my opinion

@Not2SureYet yet knows of an offbrand autopot that is even cheaper.

Im not sure if they function quite as well

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The one TDub mentions is this one here. It is just as good as the autopot brand. The one up side with the autopot brand is. You can use a 3 gallon soft pot in it and it works well. I am growing 2 plants in 3 gallon pots in one pair of those trays right now. but dollar for dollar. I think the gogrow brand is the better deal at half the cost. Just my o2 there. I have both brand here

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As it’s a bottom feed system it makes water use very efficient. No dumping 20 gallons of used solution. This alone is a big deal. It also allows you to walk away from the grow for a week with no issues when you get back. You can mix and match trays depending on where they are in the grow (a veg rez and flowering rez). If you use Jack’s 3-2-1 you can even eliminate that step. Easy to disconnect and move around.

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I am using a 27 gallon tote right now, IMO even that big is only good for one plant.
I really like it though, and my plant is at least 3x the size of my soil plants. I like it well enough I am designing a new, larger system that will be 2 plants each in 2-55 gallon totes. Pretty excited about it!


Huge difference in size!

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