To DWC or not DWC - that is my question

So Im still waiting on some stuff to arrrive before I can set up my first grow - I plan on going with a 4x4 tent and 600 w MH/HPS lights with a dimmable ballast. I have seen people have a lot of success with simple DWC and planned to make 2 DIY buckets (5 gal) and grow 2 plants - start to finish - in that tent.
The more I see people growing in soil and soiless mixes and the like, I wonder if this would be easier for a beginner? Like using FFOF - It would be mainly watering with ph water until flower - giving me time to get comfortable with the whole process.
I am very concerned about pests though - I will be growing in my unfinished basement - and Im scared to lose my whole crop to bugs! Thats one of the reasons I thought a simple DWC would be best because of the lower risk and easier control compared to organics.
Any opinions?
@Donaldj @kabongster
Im tagging you guys because from what I understand you have done different mediums and therefor might have an opinion. @Donaldj I believe you switched to DWC and are happy with it but would you suggest it for someone new to growing?

I would suggest getting a couple of grows under your belt using ffof in 5 gallon cloth pots first and see how that go’s for you… :wink:
Then maybe step up to dwc… :wink:
With the ffof you will more then likely be able to have a full grow , start to finish…
Dwc isn’t very forgiving and if your not sure what your plants telling you , you could end up with dead plants fast… :wink:

Good vibes with whatever you choose…
And welcome to ILGM… :wink:

:v: :sunglasses:


I love hydroponics in all forms but am also OCD and do enjoy learning new things and love the control hydro gives first mistakes people make in hydro are quite universal cheap or overly exaggerated nutrient lines thinking that the schedule they provide is perfect. Not having proper meters then over and under adjusting every ph change :wink: panic when it changes overnight after res change unrealistic expectations of plants growing light speed.

First and foremost in hydro roots make fruits so that is where your growth explodes before the top starts to show big gains

Second over nute this I blame on youtube if your plant is 4’x4’ and 6 months old 2000+ ppm is fine but for most in a 5 Gal bucket which holds 2 1/2-3 gal nutrient solution this is just asking for trouble

Start slow and what I suggest to most is a side by side soil and DWC
which is simplest system to master
As a first timer I also suggest General Hydro flora series Cal-magic and Florakleen and Silicate avoid additives until you master essentials

Some myths about soil being easier first I use 2 1/2 gal per plant to water every 3-4 days in hydro I use 10 gal every 10-14 days less water
I only mix nutrients for hydro every 10-14 days and adjust ph maybe twice in same time in soil I mix nutrient 2-3 times during same timeline and have no clue how my ph in soil changes within 24hr’s after watering/feeding in hydro I readjust after first 24 and can pretty much forget it for 5-6 days honestly sometimes I don’t check again until next res change if plants look happy.
In soil plants can be left unattended longer? nope 3-4 days and they could dry right out once my ph is stable I can basically forget my hydro plants for next week :wink:
So lets see I use less water less nutrients what else ph correction oh yeah that’s right! little ph± done no prolonged flushing testing runoff so next water helps hopefully adjust?
Bugs well yes they can affect both systems but honestly atleast they don’t come in with the damn dirt I buy



So you think doing a two plant DWC grow (each in their own 5 gal bucket) would be ok for a beginner? I mean, a true first timer, I havent grown anything.
All the points you made are great though, they all make me lean back towards DWC. I was honestly getting scared about how fast things can go bad - but you’re giving me my confidence back :sunglasses:

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I think @Donaldj brings up some very valid points. Soil is often referred to as easier, but that’s not the whole story. Outside of what he mentioned, in hydro when you make a mistake you see it immediately. The good news is, you can also fix it immediately. When you make a mistake in soil, you often don’t notice until it’s too late. And any adjustments will take time.

I do think growing in soil is cheaper, but that’s a personal opinion. It really depends on how thought out your setup is. Keeping res temps in check can get mighty expensive if your environmental temps aren’t on point. Buying and running a chiller can get expensive quick. So can water treatment if you’re tap water has any issues.

I think both methods have their ups and downs, like everything else. I would weigh them out over the long term and see what you think will fit you the best. Trying a plant in each is probably pretty good advice, before jumping balls deep one way or the other.


Buy a box of freezies :wink: res chillers are for people fully invested in hydro I have 150 jumbo freezies in my deep freeze and only had to add a couple once this summer threw them back in freezer. But fact is temp issues can cause same havoc and need to be addressed reguardless of medium


What do you mean by “freezies”? LoL
Do u just mean those square things you throw in the freezer and then in a cooler to keep your beer cold?
I live in MA and it can get kind of cold in the winter months but nothing crazy. I think I’ll be more concerned with warming my res up than cooling it down, no?
I’m going to be nervous, no matter which medium I choose… from everything I’ve watched, read, and from talking with people I know that are growing DWC, I’ve been strongly leaning that way since the beginning. Worst case scenario, I kill a plant.
With all the great advice I get on here, I think I can do it. I’m actually very excited and optimistic! Don’t go anywhere without internet access @Donaldj, I’m gonna need your help, I’m sure!

I don’t currently grow in hydro, but I have been picking up odds and ends to try it eventually. I will definitely keep the tip in mind though, thanks! I was more or less just giving that info based off the struggles I’ve seen with dwc grows. It seems like nearly everyone has temp issues when they first get started.


Freezies are popsicles and no worries I live in Northern BC Canada I already have frozen puddles every morning our temps can be pretty similar and with 5 gal res your lights will likely keep temps warm enough


I loved my hydro DWC grow, my first indoor grow…you need a system for reservoir changes, a wet/dry vac is a good solution…water temps can get warm in the light, sometimes too much…and start to cool off as soon as lights are out, sometimes too much…running water and a drain is helpful near the grow area, the buckets are awkward to carry and a lot of us have bad backs…buy the best air pump you can and air stones…the relative humidity might need watching…my first set up was in my cellar against an outside wall and it got too cold at lights out time in the winter so it got moved to a warmer more interior spot…summers turned out too warm and the dehumidifier raised the temps a few degrees, Spring and Fall will be the time for my best shot at DWC…it grew pretty good buds

I loved my soilless grow (Sungro Sunshine Mix or Pro Mix both with mycorrhizae helps stimulate a healthy root environment…very similar to hydro in ways, you provide all nutrients without the water changes, but like soil, issues show up slower and get resolved slower…it can be used from seedling to harvest…the grow media is lightweight when dry…it grew great buds

I loved my soil grow (Fox Farm Ocean Forest)…the nutrients are in there, just add pH’ed water till they are gone, about flowering time…it grew great buds

My DWC grows both have had root problems…my Pro Mix grow tended toward a low pH…my FFOF grow was confusing about when the supplied nutes ran out, I watched ppm in the run off though some folks use additional nutrients right after seedling stage with regular flushing, and some people report high ppm right out of the bag needing a flush before using.

keep it simple in the beginning, a basic 3 part nutrient system, some cal mag only as needed per plant and a silica supplement for hydro/soiless…add things as you get more familiar with what you have

there can be pests in all three types, the bugs smell food, that’s what they do…keep the environment as clean and clear as possible, don’t bring pests in with you.


Would the GH Armor Si be the appropriate silica supplement in their line of products @Donaldj?


Yes Armor Si and florakleen is flushing agent mainly to keep entire system clean I do brief flushes 1-2hr’s monthly gets salts out of medium buildups off my buckets etc…

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So for a DWC system does this mean emptying the bucket, putting in a PHd solution with FloraKleen, letting it sit for 1-2 hours, then siphoning it out and putting back in PH/PPM appropriate water?

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yes but it is most common say for a flowing system to keep pumps misters and lines clear


So would i need to do that for individual bucket dwc? Flushing, I mean… or would i just be using the FloraKleen as an additive to my solution normally to keep roots from rotting, etc?

individual and only periodically depending how long you veg and flower for could be twice per grow or more very simple don’t worry

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Isn’t there something I’m supposed to be adding to my nutrients solution, that keeps the root rot away? Or is that were flushing with FloraKleen does? I heard of something called ResClear?

Enough oxygen will prevent root rot pretty effectively.


a good nutrient line like GH is sterile and keeps root rot away with just good oxygen I live in Canada we can’t get hydroguard or many of the so called innoculents yet somehow we manage without them? Root rot is a failure to control temps add enough air or introducing additives which bacteria likes to eat.


Dont make the mistake i made by starting multiple plants in the same bucket. I now have 3 stuck in the same bucket. They are growing fine but the roots are all tangled and im not about to start cutting them so i can move them to there own bucket. I now pretty much have 1 plant with 3 bases lol.