New to growing, looking for guidance

I’m thinking about setting up a hydroponic grow room in my basement. I’m been reading everything I can find on the internet. So far this is my plan. I’m going hydroponic because I have multiple freshwater aquariums with perfectly balanced ph levels and I have lots of extra water and air pumps. I’m leaning towards ebb and flow because I’ve seen a few of those systems and already have plenty of parts. I’ll be running Led lights running on 220v. I think I like the bucket system better because it allows me to move things easier.
Here are my questions… Is it better to run a couple smaller lights instead of one large one? I also like the concept of running supplemental side lights. I read that I should be running about 1250 watts but isn’t a little more better? I’m not against adding co2 (those bags seem pretty interesting). How many plants should I put in there? This is where I get lots of conflicting information. I don’t want any smell getting out so can I run multiple carbon scrubbers outside my tent? I live in Michigan so it’s not that I’m worried about the legality, I just don’t want my house to stink all the time. My background is in maintenance and fabrication so building the system isn’t a problem neither is the plumbing or electrical.

Thanks for any help.

I’ll try to get you steered in the right direction.

Hydroponics requires a few things to be successful:

First: water temps need to be below 70F. This is to prevent root rot and to increase dissolved O in water.

You would be better off to run high purity water: R/O system for example. The reason is that in hydroponics you add salts to solution to a specific PPM i.e. 750 ppm. If you start with water that is alreayd 500 ppm (like I have), you can only add salts to bring up to 750 which means less nutrients for the plant. If you start with pure water, ALL of the contents are directed to plant.

If you don’t already, you need a good TDS and PH meter: not one of those 3 in 1 meters but a good digital device you can calibrate. Strips and drops do not give best accuracy for cannabis.

In general if you are using China lights then yes for coverage.

The metric for blurple lights is 50 watts per square foot, from the wall. Not what the manufacturer tells you (likely they are lying).

Complete waste of money. They don’t generate anything like enough CO2 and they are stinky and messy. You need a sealed system with full environmental controls, lighting WAY beyond what you have now and HIGH partial pressures of CO2 (think tank and regulator).

Doesn’t really help: plants also do not absorb photons from the bottoms of leaves; just the top.

Need to know the square footage of your space to tell you.

Bucket hydro without a rez is a mistake due to the lack of space in the buckets. If doing DWC you will be mixing nutes and refilling buckets daily: a huge PITA. Adding a standing rez allows a larger nutrient solution which maintains PH and TDS more stable than without. Huge PH swings occur in late flower with bucket hydro. If doing this type grow, a yellow top tote of 27 gallon would do a much better job.

You really should look at decent lights (Horticulture Lighting Group is the leader in lighting and at least should give you ideas) and you really need a chiller.

This is perhaps the best thread on the forum: you may want to do a diy light build: I did.

More light beyond a certain point doesn’t help: it’s mostly wasted. Having correct amount of light is key.

Look up terms like: Daily Light Interval, Vapor Pressure Deficit, and for nutrients look at “Jack’s 3-2-1”.


Starting with a 5x5 tent so 25 sq ft. If all goes well I have a completely empty basement so I’m looking for equipment that is more versatile. I was trying to figure out how an ebb and flow bucket system drains back to the res tank I was guessing a 2nd pump. The tray system looks cleaner and has less places to fail or leak. I plan on buying the best lights (and equipment) I can find. I shouldn’t have a problem with res temps but it I do i have an aquarium chiller and heaters if necessary. I also have a few battery backup systems I could use for this in case I’m not home during a power outage to fire up the generator. I did read that co2 is useless unless you get it to the right levels. So I’ll scrap the co2 idea for now. I have a ph lvl tester and refractometer for checking salt lvls. I’m trying to think of everything before I start my build.

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I’m trying to keep my budget for lights, tent and scrubbers around 2000 (big stuff) . Being my first grow I don’t want to get too deep into it. So I’ll have to go with Chinese lights. I know they’re wattage ratings are Bs and all those “Best Led grow lights of 2020” articles are fake. My friend is upgrading his lights and has 4 Kingled 1000w that he’d let me have pretty cheap. Which leaves me with more cash for everything else. I’m pretty interested in those wifi ph, temp testers that links to my phone.

I dont know if you got the lights yet but i bought this one from alibaba. it is a SF-4000 clone and i can tell you it works great. I have a mars ts 3000 and this Koray and i couldnt tell the difference in plants at all. Mine does not have the dimmable function as it is new but i only paid 200 plus shipping. All in for 275.
Also this is my first grow using hydro and i decided to go with a ebb and flow system. I built a 5x10 room in my garage. I sourced parts from amazon, ebay and craigslist. the reservoir from craigslist for 20. the pots from amazon and i got a great deal for the controller from ebay. All told for that plus a couple of bags of hydroton i was under 500. I tried both tap and rainwater plus RO. I would get it from the fish store. I found that my tap water is about 225 ppm. I added a whole house filter and now its at about 110. I can live with that as much of it is the calcium in the water. Since it is gets in the 90s here during summer I did add a cooler. Its really a must for me as my garage can get into the 100s. Oh yea i did add a portable ac I got from craigslist. My temps with 900 watts of led stays at 80 going down to 70 at night. here are a few pics of my setup. I hope it helps. Ps. The plants grown in hydro get huge! These are Autoflowers and the all are between 4 and 6 feet tall .