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Making the switch from soil to DWC

Gimik

Active Member
Hi everybody!

I'm fairly new to growing cannabis, currently on my 2nd grow ever! Both have been soil grows and I've loved every second of it. It was a great starting off point but now I think I'm ready to step up my game and give this DWC method a try. I've been fascinated with DWC since I started researching it last week, however, I'm a little overwhelmed with all the information out there. To start off though, the reason I'm interested in trying out DWC I've always been told to give hydro a try and that the results are on another level. Also, I liked looking at all the pictures of people's massive root balls when they open the reservoir and not having to water every two days would be a plus.

I think I get the jist of it... You create a reservoir, get an air pump, fill it with RO water and 1/4 strength nutes to start off, pH @ 5.8ish, germinate a seed in some sort of cube medium, get a mesh basket type thing, fill with those rocks and wait for the roots to reach down into the water. This is the main idea for the most part correct?

The parts that I'm lost at are the actual growing process... changing the reservoir, monitoring the PPM and EC, whether or not to go sterile or use beneficial bacteria, h202 etc....

Can anybody help point me in the right direction that can possibly break down the DWC growing process and what to expect, perhaps some informative grow journals or youtube videos? I need to find some good DIY videos/journals too in regards to making the reservoir and the best nutes/method etc.

Thank you in advanced to this amazing community!!
 

Chris Scorpio

Member of the Month: July 2018
It is easy, but not simple ..lol

I say dont start in a tub, start in single 3gal or 5gal buckets, get the system down, the go to RDWC if u choose
I still run individual buckets, just easier for multiple strains and different growth and feeding

Ppm isn't that important. I only use it to see if my DWC girls are feeding, but I never adjust my nutes by it, I go by the % of nutes I'm using, but that's me

H202 goes away over time, so not really the way to go, hydroguard and z7 do the work for u, get those

Rezz changes weekly is a good practice
 

Gimik

Active Member
Yeah I read your post in another thread that warned against the use of larger reservoirs when first starting out. Less volume the better sounds good to me haha.

As far as the feeding goes, you don't measure by PPM but by %. Can you expand on that? From what I've read so far I gathered that people use ppm to tell how much nutrients are left in the water in between reservoir changes. Also, what nutrients are most people using these days? Advanced Nutrients and General Hydro? Are compost teas used in DWC?

As far as H2O2, isn't that just hydrogen peroxide? I understand this is used for its dissolved oxygen to help the roots breathe but wouldn't that kill any beneficial bacteria in the reservoir? Who makes z9? I did a google search and it came up with cars and software stuff lol.

What is the consensus on whether or not to use beneficial bacteria or a sterile reservoir? Is it better to use them as a way to prevent harmful bacteria from moving in and causing problems? Or is it more problematic to have any sort of bacteria in there and better to just go sterile instead?

I apologize for all the questions haha I know it's a lot but I'm trying to tie all the stuff I'm reading online together and I learn best by asking questions!
 

Chris Scorpio

Member of the Month: July 2018
you'll be doing it every day during bloom in a 5gal dwc bucket. :19:
Isn't that the truth

Lol


By % I mean, 1/4 strength nutes to start, then I'll go 1/2 strength till harvest, maybe upping a bit if she asks for it

I use ppm to test what is in there, yes, but don't mix my nutes by ppm, just % of nute strength

Since I change rezz every 7-10days ppm will tell me she is eating but I'll be changing anyway so kind is not an issue

Many only go by ppm, but my ppm will be way different than yers because of the nutes, water, additives, etc

I use GH GH Flora Trio, works well

Z9 is by Flying skull, if yer in Kanuckistan no hydroguard is available

Read @Rifleman thread, great info there
 

Gimik

Active Member
Ya I will most likely start off in the same bucket as you. I really enjoyed reading your DWC "Tutorial" it was very insightful reading your notes and understand the process of topping off water with plain water. If I understand correctly, you fill with 16qt + desired strength nutrients. Each day you measure how much water was consumed, note it, and top off with plain water to bring back to 16 total quarts. You repeat this process until the plant has drank ~16qt -- or the entire original amount of nutrient solution -- then you do a complete reservoir change?
 

Rifleman

Member of the Month: Mar 2016 - Plant of the Month: Nov 2015
Ya I will most likely start off in the same bucket as you. I really enjoyed reading your DWC "Tutorial" it was very insightful reading your notes and understand the process of topping off water with plain water. If I understand correctly, you fill with 16qt + desired strength nutrients. Each day you measure how much water was consumed, note it, and top off with plain water to bring back to 16 total quarts. You repeat this process until the plant has drank ~16qt -- or the entire original amount of nutrient solution -- then you do a complete reservoir change?
That's pretty much it. The top off water is pH adjusted to 6.0-ish. I use both ppm/pH readings & water consumption to decide when to change water. I just posted today's notes from a four bucket water change this morning if you need more hands/eyes on help.

My system might not work for everyone, but it's the laziest way I've found to make it simple, and keep track when so much is going on with the different plants.

EDIT: 16qts should be the max used before changing water. Preferably between 12 and 16qts depending on how fast they drink.
 

Goodseed

Member
Good questions gimik, I am in the exact stage you are, was going to go sterile dwc but did more research and found out its not as easy as I thought.
I have a few thing I hope can be clarified, if I have this correct hydrogaurd is beneficial bacteria that helps the roots zone thrive? I'm also unsure about z7, is it "water cleanser" that stops the water getting sloppy and stale but won't harm the beneficial bacteria like h202?
 

Goodseed

Member
Ok thanks good info in your tutorial to haha, so basically the same product except one is better then? would dutch master zone be an good alternative for any of these?
 

Gimik

Active Member
Z7 is a mix of different bacteria and citrus. It helps keep the buckets cleaner and roots healthier the same way as Hydroguard. I use both, but mainly use the Z7 for it's ability to keep the buckets clean after the first couple of weeks.
Thank you for the clarification!

Ok thanks good info in your tutorial to haha, so basically the same product except one is better then? would dutch master zone be an good alternative for any of these?
Feel free to continue to ask questions here, be a good way to consolidate some information -- I'm learning too!
 

Goodseed

Member
So am I, and yeah didn't mean to take over your thread haha as I said we were in the same stages and I didn't want to start a new thread as well :/
Good luck with your Dwc
 

Gimik

Active Member
That's why I said feel free to ask away! I know people on this forum can be a little weird about posting in other people's threads but I don't mind. I really enjoy reading and learning and id prefer to not have to visit 50 different places to get the same information.
I'm already planning my DWC grow in my head. I want to run a couple soil plants and just one dwc (at least at the start, don't want to overwhelm myself). I'm thinking I'm going to have to do some sort of suspended scrog frame because of how often you need to take the plant off the bucket to change res. Is scrog even worth the hassle with DWC?
 

Rifleman

Member of the Month: Mar 2016 - Plant of the Month: Nov 2015
Ok thanks good info in your tutorial to haha, so basically the same product except one is better then? would dutch master zone be an good alternative for any of these?
Z7 doesn't list ingredients but you can smell the citrus, HG just lists the type of bacteria. Basically any product designed to establish beneficial bacteria in hydroponics will work though. I use Hydroguard because it was the first brand recommended by my local store. It served me very well when I ran an HPS and had reservoir temps 76° and higher, so I keep buying it.

Z7 was talked about so much that I decided to give it a try. After the first couple of weeks I noticed the buckets were easier to clean. I just wipe them out with a paper towel. I don't know how to explain it other than it's kind of like the buckets get slicker on the inside and there is less debris.

I have no experience with any other bacteria solutions so I can't say what else may or may not work, but I will endorse both Z7 & HG.
 

Rifleman

Member of the Month: Mar 2016 - Plant of the Month: Nov 2015
@Gimik just buy an extra five gallon bucket. When I do water changes I set the plant into an empty bucket and secure it tight, then set it out of the way in another room. Mix water and nutrients in another bucket and pour it into the working bucket after I've cleaned it out.

I've got a total of 8 buckets for growing, and when they are all active I'll have 8 extra buckets of water sitting around to top off from, and use for water changes. I also keep another bucket just to carry tools like my mixing spoon, towel, stick pump, etc.
 

Goodseed

Member
Sweet thanks guys, buckets you got that right, I need 2 for each grow. I have them connected by a hose at the bottom, makes for easy nutes changes and because you have to mix twice as much up I figure I'll be changing half the time, maybe the occasional top up and PH adjust.
The idea was to have one bucket slightly higher than the other so the water drains into one bucket only kinda like a drip system and when the roots are long enough place them both on level surface and the water will level even between the two thus giving me a DWC system.
2 for 1:D
 
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