No luck w/indoor DWC considering switching to organic soil

I’ve spent many $$ and and killed a few plants using rockwool/mesh cups in 3.5gall food grade buckets. pH around 6.8. Temp high with lights on 84-86 w/exhaust fan running when lights are on, 78 when off. Humidity range from 50-60. Input fan runs 24/7 and oscillating fan 4-5 hrs/day. I add 2t H2O2 every 5 days, sterilize buckets and new water every 2 weeks. Light is on 16/8 vege setting 1000w LED full spectrum was at 40" now at 37" no dimmer switch. I’m thinking about switching over to an organic soil grow but having wasted $$ irks me endlessly. Thoughts? I’ve seen some soil recipes that are more complicated than Gordon Ramsey’s beef wellington, definitely not interested! Just a basic organic soil for seedlings would be appreciated.


Pre made soils (I’ve used Fox Farms Ocean Forest Ave Happy Frog) are good options. And I’m no hydro guy but it seems like some of your parameters were a little off. 6.8 I believe is way too high of pH doing hydro. You could make another go at it and tag in some good hydro growers to try and help because you’ll always get fastest growth in hydro.

My plan is to switch to Coco which is an inert medium considered hydro kind of the best of both worlds?

What exactly happened with yours? And at what point did you lose them?


I agree with @Underthestairs ph is way too high 5.8 is the target for any hydro including coco. I wouldn’t switch to soil if already setup for hydro that’s like trading a corvette for a pinto.
You can do the hydro there’s plenty of help here


I’m on my first run with hydro, in a homemade aero system. From the research and feedback I have had, a range from 5.5-6 is ideal, with a variance of .2 up or down from those numbers. Allowing the ph to drift a little up or down, allows different nute absorption rates. I have kept mine around 5.7 as much as I can. Drifted up to 7 after me not checking for a few days, and they show phosphorus Def now, as well as some twisting leaves(ph issue). Also consider that hydro nute levels are usually different than soil because of the direct absorption without soil. Just my 2 cents, it seems to be worth it once you can dial everything in.

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First off; ditch the small buckets. It’s almost impossible to keep everything tuned up. If you use something like a 29 gallon yellow-topped tote you increase the nutrient reservoir which stabilizes the PH much better and maintains correct depth and TDS longer before topping off.

Or, step up to RDWC and add a standing rez plus a check-rez. Then you can run 100 gallons of nutes and not touch em for weeks if you want.

I can almost guarantee that your nutrient solution was too warm and see no mention of air stones used in buckets? Most hydro growers have to come up with a means for keeping nutes at or below about 70F.

Done correctly, hydro will produce the fastest growth rates. Soil is the slowest.


That’s what I meant to say :rofl:


Should I be using nutes for seedlings? Most all plants have 2 sets of true leaves, but are very small and growing EXTREMELY slow. Right now I’m just running “filtered” water from a vending machine and H2O2 every 5 days.

I’m growing 1 plant per 3.5gall bucket. How and how often do you change the water, clean and sterlilize a 29 gall tote? Also I’m using one 5w bubbler per plant/bucket. I’m keeping the water level 2" below the mesh cup and spray the seedlings 2x/day (only water).

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Appreciate the insight, thank you!

Initially I waited to long to change the water so it got slimey. I washed then bleached and rinsed the buckets, lines and stones for 4 hours or so. I used too much H2O2 in the solution and basically just mishandled. The stems were very skinny and and barely grew after moving them into the grow room.

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Get a second tote to change out if you can. Lawn sprinkler works great for quick “pressure washing” all the residue off. This is my setup for washing my resevoir.

I have been changing my reservoir weekly but I’m in aeroponics setup so DWC is probably a bit different.

Keep light leaks out. I had to cover the cover of my tote with a black trash bag because I had algae growing on the bottom side of the cover due to it being yellow and not blocking all the light.

I started by feeding 1/4 strength nutes with cal mag added and root nutes, until they grew more roots, then increased to about 1/2 nutes when they grew a few sets of leaves and showed enough roots to relieve the extra.

@Dorf any pictures of your current setup?

Ph to 5.8 for hydro

Water level 1 to 2 inch below net pot

Water temp 70f or lower

Lots of air from air stones as well.


I don’t hydro yet. So luckily you’ve got some good advice here.

@Myfriendis410 and @peachfuzz both hydro too


Here’s 2 plants on the windowsill at 2" tall since 6/19. Clay pebbles under 3" rockwool and 3" mesh pot. Water is R/O. Sprayed 2x/day.

The window screen is 75% solar screen.

These are 3-1/2" tall and in the grow room(GR) since 5/19. Clay pebbles under/around 3" rockwool and 3" mesh pot using vending machine water. 16/8hr 1000w full spectrum LED 37" high.

The environment: 3.5gall/plant, 16" osc fan 4-5 hrs/day, inline 195cfm inline in/exhaust fans. 750cfm ceiling fan on 9 hrs w/lights on. 4 kills (one not pictured)

Is it dimmable and if so what power setting do you have it on in my experience LEDs can’t be on full power at that wattage for seedlings. The seedlings look like they have light burn or heat, and they look like they may be too wet.

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