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Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed - 2014

Hello 420Magazine! Long time smoker, first time grower (who tends to make things a little more complicated than necessary). I’ve looked around at many other forums and this seems the place and community for me. Since I’ve been lurking around here and gleaming great advice, I figured I should give back a little. I am open to, and appreciate, any and all questions or advice. Because this is my first grow I wanted to document as much as possible. I’ve been working on this journal for a while already so this is going to be a long, multi-post start - if you decide to settle in, you might want to grab a snack and a drink first.

Just the facts:

Strain: Nirvana Seeds Aurora Indica and Green House Seeds Pure Kush
Type: Mostly Indica
# of Plants: 6 (three of each)
Stage: Veg
Where: Indoor (desert region)
Soil or Hydro: Hydro (RDWC)
Bucket Size: System one – five 5 gal buckets (16gal water), System 2 – three 5 gal buckets (12 gal water)
Medium: 5” net pots with Rockwool and hydroton
Light: Two - 4’ 4 bulb HO T5s @6500k for veg, and Two - 300w (278w actual) 11-band LED Grow Light for bloom
Temp of Room: 79-84°F average
RH of Room: 35-40% average
PH of res: 6-6.5 (trying to keep it around 5.7 but it seems the nutrients want it at 6.5)
Type and strength of nutrients used: Dutch Master line Grow/Bloom A/B, Silica, Add.27, and Zone – all used at ¾ strength.

The long and not so short of it; stumbling through my first grow:

I started out thinking, after months of online digging - I was going to grow in DWC. The plan was two 4’x4’ tents in a 12’x10’ room. First tent was going to have two 5 gal buckets for mothers and a smaller tub to veg four plants/clones in a perpetual cycle. The second, flower tent, I was going to hold off on until I learned a few lessons from building the veg tent.


First lesson learned after I read up on ideal water temps for growing, it’s too damn hot (you might have noticed that the water temp says 86°F). Since I live in a desert, and it was heading into summer (avg. outside temps range from 110-115°f), DWC was a non-starter. It costs an arm and a leg just keeping the house at 81°f (central air). I checked out recirculating DWC systems and decided to try it due to the ability to cool the reservoir with frozen bottles instead of each individual bucket (also cheaper – my thinking was - than a water cooler or a separate AC running all summer). So I got me some buckets, some bulkheads, some tubing, etc. and started on my way.

The idea was to build a five bucket system for vegging four plants (fifth bucket being the res/control) and a three bucket system to house two mothers. I was going to jam all of this into a 4’x4’x7’ tent with two 4ft 4-bulb T5 HO 6,500K lamps.

5 Bucket System:
• 5 - Five gallon buckets
• 10 - 3/4” bulkheads
• 50’ Black ¼” tubing
• 1 - Top Fin Air Pump 8000 (would not buy again)
• 1 - Hydrofarm 15 liter air pump (much better than TopFin)
• 5 - 8”x ¾” plastic sprinkler pipes
• 25’ Hydrofarm black ½” tubing
• EcoPlus 396GPH Submersible Pump
• 5 X Med air stones
• Fittings – 3 - ½” uniseals, 3 - ½” elbows, 5 - ¼” elbows, and a ½” T

The three bucket system is the same except less of most everything.

Now that I got it all set up I added water and crossed my fingers. No leaks, not a one (and I barley measured anything, lots of eyeballing). The hand tightened ¾” bulkheads worked perfect, even with the curve of the bucket (although I wouldn’t go any larger).

Now it was time to do some water temp testing while I waited for my seeds.

The 5 bucket system holds 16 gallons and the three bucket 12 gallons. Room temp is 79-84°f (house AC set to 81°f) while 24” below the lights, at the bucket tops in the tent, it is around 91°f with the T5’s on. I turned two lights off on each lamp. I also opened up two sides of the tent and have two small fans blowing air out, and into the tent. The temp now stays at 81-84°f at the top of the buckets. The water in the buckets, after everything is running for two hours, is around 80°f.

First Test:

5 Bucket = System 1 (or S1)
3 Bucket = System 2 (or S2)
All ° in Fahrenheit
Adding 1 gal jug of ice to S1 and one frozen two liter bottle to S2


The results were a bummer, man. There was no way I could keep up with the amount of ice needed to maintain anywhere near the desired 68°f. The good news was I had some seeds to soak. It was time to smoke a bowl and ponder.


Pure Kush seeds in distilled water. 07/06

Maybe, I thought, it was the initial high temps melting the ice so fast. Perhaps once I get the water down to temp, the ice will last longer, and the temps will be easier to maintain. Also a little insulation couldn’t hurt. Time to wrap these buckets up and run another test.

In the pic below you can see the two systems. The S1 (5 bucket system) is on the left, and the S2 (3 bucket mother system) is on the right. S1 res has the submersible 396GPH pump pushing water down a ½” hose to a T at the back. This pushes the water down and through ¾” pipes at the bottom back to the res. S2 res has the same pump but only pushes it to one bucket and back to the res via ¾” hose. Each bucket has its own air stone.








After soaking for 24 hours I gently placed the seeds into 2” Rockwool cubes (at the time having no idea that Rockwool raises your PH). I placed these cubes into a clone dome and put them under the lights.


Gave them a little spritz of PHed water with just a soupçon of Superthrive.


Time for another water temp test:
I decided to add the dome temps of where I was going to start the seeds and clones.
S1 = 1 gal ice
S2 = 2 liter ice


There seemed to be a little hope on the horizon. I didn’t have the insulated tops on during the test, just the plastic tops with the 5” net pots. I figured this meant the temps would maintain even longer with them on. There was only one problem, I started to feel less and less comfortable putting these bottles (right out of my packed freezer I use for food) straight into my res. I also thought of the pain in my ass it would be trying to keep these bottles clean - going in and coming out of my freezer. Another bowl and more pondering ensued.

Meanwhile, seeds are sprouting. Under 24 hour light. 07/08

(I took them out of the inserts because it was a pain figuring out how moist they were without squishing them)



Looks like I didn’t plant them deep enough.


I wet the shells a few times until they slid off.





Kinda screwed the pooch on the first seed that popped. I didn’t remove the seed cover soon enough and it seems to have stunted it a little bit. So far all three Pure Kush Seeds have opened. Just waiting on the Aurora Indica now.

The plants are getting larger and I still can’t decide on what to do about water temps.




You can see the runt above on the right.

And growing….




The roots started to stick out of the bottom of the Rockwool so I just stuck them into the 5” net pots with hydroton (which I rinsed the crap out of but wish I had rinsed it in H2O2 as well) and watered when I thought appropriate (once to twice daily).




The AI seeds still haven’t sprouted yet.




Mixed up a nutrient concoction for the little ladies. I’m using Dutch Masters Grow a, Grow B, Silica, Add .27, Cal-Mag, and Superthrive (which I might stop using because it knocks around my PH too much). Most likely jumping the gun by starting nutrients. Mixed a gallon of ¼ strength nutrients and watered plants.

Two Aurora Indicas decided to show themselves. The Pure Kushes are doing well, except for the runt.






So far so good with watering with ¼ strength nutrients. Got a little freaked out when I noticed white stuff on the hydroton.




After frantically looking online I have come to the conclusion it is just some left over nutrients. I flushed with just PHed water and it went away.

I keep seeing people suggesting that Rockwool should be covered so as not to get algae. I figured it couldn’t hurt.








Last edited by a moderator:
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

The roots are starting to show through the bottom of the net pots, I need to make a decision on what to do about water temps. After a few drinks, I stupidly decide to mix a nutrient solution in both systems to ready them for the plants. I decided on half strength to start.

First I run a strong dose of 35% H202 and water through the system to kill anything from the testing.


Safety First!


Then I drain and rinse with 20 gallons of tap water. I then fill up the system with 15 gal of water and add two 8 quart pots of boiling water evenly distributed throughout the buckets (so the water cools down fast enough not to melt anything). Time to scrub everything down while the water is hot.


Then I mix up the nutrients in the res, PH it to 5.8, cover it up and let it run for the night. (I only use the Dutch Masters line, the Cal-Mag, and the Superthrive)


Also my humidity has been low so I got a cool mist humidifier.


Turns out that mixing up a nutrient solution before figuring out a water cooling solution was a bad idea. When I checked the systems the next day they were both covered in white stuff. I don’t want to say slime because it was more of a film (perhaps on its way to being slimy). The res was also really cloudy. Thankfully I didn’t add the plants yet.










On a side note, these Air Stones suck and I will get better ones.

re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

Clean the crap out of everything again.


So it was time to either go all in with the idea of cooling my water with frozen bottles or putting a water cooler on the credit card. The problem with the latter was I had two (soon to be three) systems to cool. The mother system, the veg system, and soon the flower system. One ($320) chiller wouldn’t cover that and I would really have to crank down the temps on a window AC to get the water temps down if I went that direction. So I decided to continue the path I was on, I figured I could handle it for the short summer period, as long as I did it right (which, of course, is subjective).

I bought a 50’x3/8” stainless steel wart chiller and pulled out my 60 quart cooler (would eventually need a larger one to fit the wart chiller). Time for some more testing!





That will do, at least it will stay cool for long enough to get some sleep!
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

Just found this on my Rockwool:



It was on the one cube that had the AI seed that never opened (on inspection the seed is mushy inside with black goo). Think it might be a natural thing with the Rockwool (read somewhere about some oil buildup in Rockwool); at least that’s my hope.

I started germinating another Aurora Indica seed. I also put the lights on an 18/6 cycle. Have been watering plants with ¼ strength nutrients.

Mixed some nutrient water (1 gal PH: 5.29 PPM:815). Added 10-15ml of mix to plants. Planted new AI seed.

New AI seed opens. Mixed ¼ strength Dutch Master only (Grow A/B, Add.27, Silica, Zone) nutrients into each system. Added plants to system, chilled water to 69°F.

System 1

• Start with 15 gallons of PHed water in buckets. (PPM: 197 PH: 5.27 Temp: 78.5)
• Mix 4 gal of nutrients in a bucket (PPM: 833 PH: 5.72)
• Add mix to system (half to each back bucket)
• Too much water, draining until it reaches 16 gal total
• Run system 3 hours and recheck - PPM: 330 PH: 5.51
• Add Plants (4)
• Let run overnight


• 8am Recheck PPM: 334 PH: 6.5
• Add 6 ml PH Down
• 11:45am PH: 6.6
• Pass out
• 7pm PH: 6.6
• Add 5ml PH Down to reach PH: 6.1
• Water: 72.1° - Canopy: 82°f - Humidity: 38%
• 10pm Water: 73.4°f - Canopy: 81°f - Humidity: 37%

System 2


• Start at 12:30 am with 8 gallons of PHed water in buckets. (PPM: 195 PH: 5.44 Temp: 82°f)
• Mix 3 gal of ¼ nutrients in a bucket (PPM: 743 PH: 5.87)
• Add mix to system
• PPM: 359 PH:5.82
• Add 3 ml PH Down to reach PH: 5.43
• 5am Add Plants (2)
• 10am PH: 6 PPM: 325
• 11:45am PH: 6.3 PPM: 325
• Add 4ml PH Down
• 7pm PH: 6.3
• Add 5 ml PH Down
• TEMPS: Water: 70.5°f - Canopy: 82°f - RH: 38%
• Pure Kush stems are reddish, might have seen a small black dot run across a leaf or might just be overly tired.
• 10pm PH: 5.81 - Water: 71°f - RH: 37%

Final water cooling system:

For S1 (5 bucket system) - I have a 150GPH subsumable pump in the res pumping through 3/8” hose to a 50’ x 3/8” stainless steel wart chiller in a cooler that is half full of water. I add block ice or 2 liter frozen bottles.

For S2 (3 bucket system) - I have a 150GPH subsumable pump in the res pumping through 1/2” hose to 50’ of 1/2” Hydrofarm black tubing in the same cooler as above.

Got a 120 quart cooler and drilled some holes in the top for the tubing to go through. I can only seem to find clear 3/8” tubing and not black. Will have to cover them up for now.








This seems to do the trick. Usually two 2 liter bottles will keep everything around 70°F which at this point is fine by me. If I oversleep and the temps rise to 75° I add a 5lb block of ice (I keep two spares in the freezer) and it brings it right down to 69°. The temps will rise from 70° to 73-74° over about 5 hours, which is when I switch out the ice bottles. At night I put in three bottles and usually wake up to 73-74°.

The Pure Kush plants are stinking up the place, in a good way. Smells like really good hash and surprisingly strong for their age and size.
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014







The late AI starter


Runt PK (I think I splashed it with nutrient water which is why it has yellow spots)



The runt I splashed (I think) with nutrient water is looking worse.



Changed water in both systems. Mixed ¾ strength Dutch Master only (Grow A/B, Add.27, Silica, Zone) nutrients into each system.

System 1

- Drained buckets (leaving maybe 1 liter of water)
- Flushed buckets with 14 gal of PH 6.4 water
- Ran system for 10 min
- Flushed net pots with PHed water
- Drained system
- Added 8 Gal of PH 5. Water PPM: 186
- Add 4 Gal of nutrient soup @ ¾ strength
- (Checked PH and PPM but didn't write them down)
- Topped off with 4 Gal of PH 5. Water
- PH: 6.3 PPM: 695

System 2

- Drained buckets (leaving maybe 1 liter of water)
- Flushed buckets with 8 gal of PH 6.4 water
- Ran system for 10 min
- Flushed net pots with PHed water
- Drained system
- Added 4 Gal of PH 5. Water PPM: 186
- Add 4 Gal of nutrient soup @ ¾ strength
- (Checked PH and PPM but didn't write them down)
- Topped off with 4 Gal of PH 5. Water
- PH: 6.5 PPM: 703

The change took about an hour which seems too long for the plants. Need to figure out how to cool the water quicker after system changes.

NEW plant names:
Pure Kush
PK1 = Mother
PKa = Healthy
PKb = Runt

Aurora Indica
AI1 = Mother
AIa = Larger
AIb = Late comer


Notes: PK1 is doing well, lots of new growth. AI1 has new growth but isn't getting taller. AIa seems to be growing slowly. AIb is chugging along, trying to catch up — just got it's third set of leaves. PKa is kicking ass — might have to take a clone off of it and compare it to the mother I picked (when the time comes). PKb is still a runt and is a bit yellow and is really showing the spots where I think I sprayed (burned) it. Will watch new growth to make sure it isn't something else.


AI1 (above)










re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014


2:00 am

Closed one side of the tent, leaving just the front open. PK1's leaves are pushed up in almost a cupping way (heat stress?). PKa has larger leaves and seems a bit droopy. I had just cranked all the T5's lights on for an hour and it got to 91°f. Turned half the lights back off and temp is hanging around 88°f. Water temps are S1 — 73.9° and S2 — 72.4°

7:00 pm


Notes: Just noticed the tips of two leaves on PK1 have yellowed. Stems also look a little redder than the others. Growth seems to have slowed. Will wait and see. Two hours later PK1 — now more leaf tips are turning yellow/rust color. Nutrient burn? Mag deficiency? I have lots of calcium in my tap water — is that screwing with Mg? I'm going to take it slow and start by taking down the PH and get it closer to 6.0 so it has access to as many micronutrients as possible. If that doesn't help I will add ½ dose of Cal-Mag. My thinking here is I haven't added any cal-mag yet and I did the water change two days ago, if it was nute burn I would think it would have happened that night. If that doesn't work I'll cut back the nutrients by taking out and adding plane PHed water. Just added 5ml PH Down to both reservoirs.

PK1: (below)








re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

3:00 pm

Leaves of AI1 look dark green at the ends. They also appear to be drooping. PKa also looks droopy. PK1 is showing new signs of growth and no more yellowing/rusting of the leaf tips. Maybe the PH adjustment worked? I'm guessing it was at the very edge of acceptable nutrient levels. Water temps are a bit high (S1 = 75° and S2 = 74.5°) and the canopy is at a high of 88° as well (left the lights on full blast for a bit). Going to take a little water out of each system (about 1.5 gallons each) so the net pots aren't sitting in water (going to leave 1" to .5" clearance below net pots).
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

12:30 am

All plants are looking better except, of course, the runt which always seems to look worse. Leaves aren't as droopy, they are now starting to stick straighter out as they should be (Was it too much water? Too hot? Both?)

6:00 am
Fuck me, I think I have the beginning of the totally expected and dreaded root problems. Fer Fuck Sakes!

Now that that is out of the way, lets take a look...

PKa (droopy):



Going to let this sink in and see how it progresses by tonight.

8:00 pm


*Just added 5ml PH Down to each res.

I'm not sure what the deal is with the PPM not moving or going up, will have to deal with that later. For now let's check the roots.



Well-Known Member
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

Everything looks great.

Is there any reason the RH is that low? I hardly even bother with my hygrometer, other than to make sure it isnt too low. I would get an ultrasonic humidifier in there and the leaves will most likely perk up and you can apply more light. 43 is far too low for even flowering. Its a common misconception that you can withhold supplemental humidity during flower as well. You reduce humidity if ventilation is a problem, otherwise humdity needs to be ample until the last phases of flowering.

If the tent isnt 90-100% I wouldnt turn down the humidifier. It matters more how much water is on your leaves in the end. Unless they are drooping with moisture they will love it. Keep ventilation adequate and viola. Reduce humidity last two weeks.

I can see by the leaves that they could benefit from more humidity.


Well-Known Member
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

Im seeing what looks to be root rot or slime starting on your roots.. The brown color. Even with a chiller its almost impossible to do hydroponics without running 1 of 2 things in your setup:
1. Beneficiary bacteria
2. Bleach or H202(Hydrogen peroxide)

The Beneficiary bacteria is the best way to go and there are a lot of products out there. They are good bacteria and eat the bad stuff like algae, slime, and root rot. I personally use Aquashield. There also is a tea that you can make thats a lot stronger than just one product by itself. You can search "Heisenberg tea"

The Bleach or Peroxide method i hear works but the bad thing is it kills the bad and the good bacteria in your setup.

Also my reservoir gets up to 88 degrees and as long as you have the beneficiaries in your reservoir i have saw no problems with temps this high. But i am still a newbie and dont have a lot of hydro grows under my belt. Hope this helps.
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

Hey Cannateer, thanks for the reply - I need all the help I can get. I have humidity problems because I live in a desert and it seems to zap everything I try. I'll crank up my little humidifier right now and see if it helps. I have a larger "house" humidifier but in a little area like my grow room it would make it a swamp in there. As of now I have limited airflow because it is a semi-enclosed space and my windows are covered (it's avg 110F outside - even at night) and I need to come up with a better venting plan (house is starting to stink). I have a couple of 6" fans with filters, which I will post later, that I will vent through the window, just not sure how I want to do it yet.
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

Hello HunterNitro - thanks for stopping by!

I was originally thinking about using Aquashield, read some good things about it but wanted something more basic (read: dummy-proof) until I got my feet wet. I went with Dutch Masters because supposedly the DM Zone should work like bleach or H2O2 (it actually smells a little like chlorine) and I was told it would be better than my original idea of FoxFarm and Aquashield for my high water temps. Next round I will be trying beneficial bacteria since it seems DM Zone isnt doing it. I will have a better idea after the next water change when I use full strength ZONE and 3/4 everything else.


Well-Known Member
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

You got it. Too much smell is a good problem to have. ; )

Good luck and get that humidifier right in the mix. They grow much faster.
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014







At least I'm getting good air in that bucket.



























Well it looks like I'm going to have to do something. I don't want to do a full nutrient change so for now I think I am going to add some Dutch Master Zone. I have 35% H2O2 but I don't want to start messing with that until I have to (also I keep reading that it doesn't do much to help and might cause thick clear slime — which is enough for me to hold off).

Okay, adding a half dose of Zone to each res. If after a few hours the plants don't react badly I am going to flush each net pot with the nutrient solution and add the other half of the suggested amount of Zone.

Full Dose:
S1 (15gal) = 14ml Zone
S2 (11gal) = 10ml Zone
Fingers crossed.

Side Note: The Pure Kush's odor has changed. It went from a real hashy smell to a deeper coffee (and hash) smell.

re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

12:30 am

Roots look like they might be clearing up. Going to give it until later today to do anything else. I keep seeing people misting their plants which I never do, will have to look into that.

Probably going to kill my freezer...




I've done this a few times and started with only two bottles. I say this so you know that I know they won't expand too much and crack the inner walls. They may only blow out the compressor because of lack of air flow, or they might not. Going to find out soon enough.

9:00 pm


All T5 lights are on and the plants seem to enjoy it. So S2 PPM actually went down but S1 went up again. Is it because of the PH locking out nutrients? There isn't any visible water loss, which seems impossible — but if there was at least that would explain the PPM rise. This is why I am leaning towards the PH being too high and the plants not being able to absorb all the nutrients. I'm not going to try and adjust the PH any further since there are only two days until a complete water change and they seem to look alright at the moment.

Thinking the roots might just be died by the nutrients (especially the ADD.27 which is pinkish). I noticed the clear hose to the wart chiller in the cooler is starting to get a pinkish hue to it. When the tube is squeezed the pink stuff unsticks itself and moves along.
re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014

8:00 pm

Plants are looking good. A quick root check shows much less brown/reddish on them. Will take pics when I get a second set of hands, when I hold the lids with one hand to take a picture they bend and I'm worried the net pot will slip through.

One leaf on PKb looks like it is drying out. It was hot today and I had all the lights on (88-91F). Why would only one leave start to shrivel? I looked for bugs and didn't find anything. The stems are getting red, will see if a fresh batch of nutes helps on Sunday.























re: Atavistic Ape Learning RDWC & LED - Pure Kush & Aurora Indica From Seed 2014


Following Cannateer's advice and cranking the humidifier.



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