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My First Closet Hydro Setup, Round Three: Grapefruit


New Member
Hey there 420 mag forum goers! A friend of mine showed me his grow journal on this site the other day and I was inspired to sign up and get one of my own going. This closet operation has been an ongoing project of mine for about ten months or so now. It has been my first experience with hydroponics and really my first legitimate attempt at growing.


The area I'm working with is about 6 ft long divided into two 3x3x2 (give or take) sections. I've lined the floor and walls with panda plastic. I had purchased a SunSystems 400W switchable MH/HPS lamp with a fan and ducting from my friend for the project but unfortunately I made the decision of letting another friend set it up while I was away on vacation and he put it on the wrong setting, destroying the ballast and almost starting a fire. I don't know how well it would have worked in my closet anyway, the shelf above the grow area is pretty low for that big lamp. So anyway, I've been using fluorescents attached to the wall [image] and a hanging light fixture I've rigged up [image], using fishing line to hold it up and adjust the height. I currently have five lights that I got from wal-mart (two on the walls and three on the fixture) as well as two T5 high output lights attached to the fixture. I'm going to be buying a legitimate four lamp T5 fixture soon to replace my ghetto rig. Also debating if I should try to find the money for a new ballast and move it into a larger closet I have, but I don't know if that will happen..
The system itself is a DWC type deal I put together using tub basins, water pumps and panda plastic cut to cover exposed water around the pots. I was using air stones to oxygenate the water, but three pumps have died on me now so I have the water pump output placed to hit the wall on the tub to capture air as it splashes back down on itself. [image] I have a fan in the bottom right of the grow area for circulation [image] as well as an exhaust fan I rigged up inside of a box attached to the top left. [image]

I currently have the following nutrients and additives: Clonex gel and solution; FoxFarm Grow Big (for veg), Tiger Bloom and Open Sesame (for beginning flowering), Big Bloom and Beastie Bloomz (for flowering finish); and recently added Hygrozyme and Botanicare Sweet Citrus to my arsenal.


A little history:
For the first grow I used bag seeds I'd collected from my days of smoking seedy weed. I germed them in paper towels and put the sprouts into a few different media – rockwool, hydroton and styrofoam in a bubbling res with Clonex solution as well as soaked rockwool outside of the bubbler. They all seemed to work pretty well, but I preferred the cups with hydroton over the rockwool. I vegged them for about two and a half months, encountering some newbie problems on the way – over fertilization, algae from letting light get to the roots, light burns and high temperatures – before putting them on 12/12 and taking clones. Of the eight sprouts I had kept vegging, six made it to flowering and five turned out to be males, just my luck. The buds that she made were pretty strong for the poor genetics it clearly had – it was a really slow grower with unhappy looking curling leaves as well as having hermaphroditic parts that did not mature into full pollen sacs – although I didn't get a lot of weight off of it, maybe 8-12 grams or so.. Her clones didn't take well either, only one of six I cut grew roots and survived to go onto the next round..
My second attempt after that harvest consisted of that clone and a couple grapefruit plants, the seeds for which I found at the bottom of a QP and I started when I took the clones. Four of the six seeds germinated and I put those in hydroton in the bubbler with the clone. I didn't have as much luck this time and only two seedling popped up out of the pebbles. After about 2 months of healthy vegging I started taking clones of the three plants using the bubbler hydroton method. I tried cloning them a few times over the next month with absolutely no success. They were getting too bushy for the enclosure so I decided to just put them into flowering. The clone had grown at a much slower rate than the grapefruit trees and she still had some very ugly foliage as she did the first time compared to the two large bushes next to it. In just under a week of flowering the first hairs appeared on one of the grapefruits and about five days after that the other one began to show her hairs. I was pumped as the two started forming buds over the next week, finally had a good outlook for a nice harvest! That was one month ago.

Then, catastrophe hits:
One friday afternoon (12/4/09) before I was planning on going away for the weekend, about two and a half weeks into 12/12 (clone still hadn't showed her lady parts yet by the way, but that's beside the point..) when the lights came on, I went to check on my babies and was horrified to see bubbles completely filling up the reservoir! My heart sank – see I had a bit of a fly problem [image] in the closet the past few weeks and I had put up sticky paper on the walls as well as a detergent based fly trap I had made and stupidly placed under the plants without securing it to the panda covered hard top which I had cut holes into for the net pots.. Awful decision. The trap had fallen into the res through one of the holes while the plants were sleeping. The leaves on the grapefruit trees were just starting the wilt and the clone's were already looking pretty bad.. The next four or five hours were spent flushing the pots and cleaning out the reservoir with a couple of friends. When they were finally in clean, pH balanced water with some nutrients and hydrogen peroxide, I was already pretty late for my prearranged weekend plans but I waited another couple of hours anyway, checking on the plants and making sure the pH was still good. The plants still weren't looking great but they weren't getting any worse so I decided to head out and hoped for the best..
When I came back sunday night and checked on the plants I was very upset to see the clone totally devastated and the grapefruit plants with barely any living foliage on them besides the tops of some growth shoots. I went to work right away clipping off every clone that looked like it had any chance of survival into rockwool this time and threw them into a humidome seedling tray with a heating mat I'd purchased the week before (after all the failed cloning attempts) but had been too lazy and dumb to take clippings for.. I ended up with eleven viable clones from one and eight from the other. The octuplets were apparently very thirsty and, despite my best efforts to keep a close eye on them, I let the rockwool dry up on them about a week in and only three recovered. After about another week most of clones had been showing new growth and roots were beginning to show. I then moved the three drought survivors and the nine best looking little gals of other eleven into hydroton and put them into water.

So this is where I'm at now:
The twelve clones have been in water now for three weeks. Because the clones were taken almost three weeks into flowering, they continued on flowering for the first week and a half or so [image] before shoots finally started growing above the fan leaves. They're growing pretty rapidly now and so far all is going well. I've been feeding the FoxFarm Grow Big and yesterday I purchased and began adding Botanicare Sweet Citrus. Below are a few more pictures of what's going on, and be sure to check out the photos I've linked to above. I'd love to get some input on the whole thing, I'll be waiting to hear what everyone has to say and any advice on what I can do to improve.




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New Member
Still looking great, man! I'm still so amazed to see how well those clones are doing despite the soapy setback. I can't wait to see how they do when you get that T5 fixture.


New Member
Yeah, I'm really glad they bounced back from that. If I hadn't flushed them as soon as I did they definitely wouldn't have had a fighting chance. Good looks to my friends that helped me out with that, you know who you are. Couldn't have done it without you.


New Member
Damn man props on pulling something out of that soapy disaster. You have had your fair share of trials and tribulations so far. It sounds like you are learning from everything, just make sure to use the experienced gained to improve next time.

I have only done soil before, so I will be spectating for this one, best of luck bro. :popcorn:



New Member
Thanks man, yeah I've definitely learned a lot since starting the project. I've got it pretty down now for the most part, been playing it a little safe on the nutrients because I don't have a PPM meter at the moment but they look like they're loving what they're drinking now. Growth has really exploded over the last few days since I began adding the Hygrozyme and Botanicare Sweet to the reservoir. I also cut the light cycle down to 16/8 from 24 the day before adding those.

I really want to get a new NextGen 400/600W MH/HPS switchable digital ballast and move them into another closet of mine that doesn't have the height restraint and ventilation difficulties of the one I'm using now. I'm also debating on whether or not to put them into buckets with a nutrient drip system or maybe making an ebb & flow setup. I'm undecided right now, hopefully you guys will have some good tips and advice on that.


New Member
Update on the plants – little bit of a situation, looks like one of my girls is succumbing to stem rot :(


Most of them are doing well right now with the exception of this poor girl:


Here's a close up of the base of the stalk:


Is there anything I can do about this or is she a goner?

Also brushed up against one plant and the top snapped but she's looking fine with her little cast made out of a straw [image]
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New Member
Last time I got stem rot I tried saving it but it died cause I noticed it too late. Yours doesnt look as bad as mine did, I would hold on to it for a bit longer to see if you can fix it. Good luck. The rest of the grow is looking great though.


New Member
Lol I try.. I was a little abusive last night though =\ I started setting up the new res but when it came to covering the exposed water it wasn't working well and I got really frustrated and anxious so I gave up and went to sleep.. They'll forgive me tonight though, they're gonna be super pumped when their leaves see on what I've got in store for them...

Last night I changed out the water and put a larger reservoir into the grow area.

I tried using the cover I had used on the smaller one but it wasn't working out very well.

So here I have them in the res without the cover but with some CDs and panda plastic around the base.

I'm not leaving them like this for much longer though, heading out in a few to visit my friend to grab his extra HID lamp which I'm going to hang in a larger closet with duct venting and a carbon filter I've had laying around since the beginning. Also going to hit up the hydro store to snag some equipment to set up either a drip or ebb & flow system.. still haven't decided which yet.

The poor plant I posted about last night that had some stem rot going on still isn't looking too great. I scraped the rot off of her and put her back in the fresh new water but she certainly hasn't begun to bounce back..

Anyway, I'll post more tonight when I get back.


New Member
Oops, guess I didn't post up those pics. Here they are in order:




Just got back home, it's been a long ass day running off two and a half hours of sleep and I'm beat. I'm going to have to set up all the new goodies I picked up today tomorrow. It's gonna be quite a process, this is the mess I have to clean up before I can use the closet:

Yeah, I have some organizational issues, haha..

Some shit I picked up today, going with the nutrient drip setup:



And my babies' new best friend!:

My good friend Pedestrian hooked me up with this bad boy today, makes the four hours I spent behind the wheel today totally worth it (actually it was a few more hours than that, but those hours were unrelated). I grabbed some yo-yo light height adjusters for it too, hope those work well. Pedestrian my man, you have no idea how grateful I am dude, my plants and I can't thank you enough!

Alright, I'm gonna go pass out now, thanks for reading guys. Peace
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New Member
Just got back from Lowe's with a few more supplies – a chain setup to hold up the new lamp (yo-yo's weren't rated for enough weight unfortunately..) and some tubing connectors..

I cleaned up the closet [image] at the expense of the rest of my room [image] for the moment until I get everything taken care of..

Here's a couple pictures of the exhaust fan and supplies I need to set up:


I have the new buckets for the drip system [image] along with some supplies [image] including tubing and connectors, a new air pump, and silicone ready for assembly.

I just hung up the light and it seems to be holding on the bar above it fine, but I have it just above the buckets just in case it gives way. I'm going to reinforce the bar either way though.



I should get back to work.. after a few rips from the bong.
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New Member
Made some more headway on the setup, thought I'd post some pictures. I'm at a stand still while the silicone on the bucket drains dries.



Here's a close up of the drip line distributor and drain connectors without tubing:

Nutrient tank with new air pump and stone as well as exhaust fan with a carbon odor sock:


Bucket shelf held up in style:

I'll have more up later, stay tuned!
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New Member
Looking great buddy! That closet will give those babies muuuuch more room to play :) Glad to see the light being put to good use. I can't wait to see the new setup up and running!


New Member
I'm finally done setting up the new drip system in the other closet! All I need to do is grab another roll of panda plastic to close it off. I'm really happy with how it came out, let me know what you all think!








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New Member
They're looking much better today, they're taking to their home very well!





The pH spiked a bit overnight and the leaves starting turning light green before I rechecked and fixed it today.

The water was draining really slowly from the buckets so I added a flow control piece to the drip line, but that didn't help too much.. I ended up getting thicker, sturdier tubing to attach to the buckets and it's working very well.

That's it for now!

The pH has been stabilized at 5.5 or so for a few hours now and their color is coming back quickly. I also hung some scrap panda paper until I can grab a new roll. I'll post pictures later tonight or tomorrow.
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New Member
My little girls aren't bouncing back so great right now :(





The pH was slightly high again today but it wasn't too bad, around 6-6.2.. I've been keeping a close eye on it all day but the plants haven't started looking any better really. The humidity has been pretty low, around 20 or so. I placed a humidifier facing into the grow area. I also put my second pump into the reservoir to help stir up the nutrient mix.. The temperature got a little high on me and burned up some bits of leaf.. I'm having trouble keeping it below 80. Anybody have any advice on the whole situation? it hurts me seeing my babies struggle..
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New Member
I believe I found the problem, there was a very fine filter in the piece I used to split the water being pumped out of the res into smaller lines that got clogged with a bunch of gunk. I just removed it, hopefully that'll take care of it

Green Utopia

New Member
Man - first I gotta say big props for hanging in the game. All those tough starts would have deterred many. Seems you have done nothing but learn from each one, roll with the punches and get better. Good work.

Lets see if we can help you and your girls a little.

How often are you watering?
Do you have a ppm meter to tell us how much nutes you're using?
How hot does it get if you slow down fans?
Do you have a supplemental A/C and/or what's the temperature outside?

Just looking at the plants, they are demonstrating symptoms that in my room would mean:

Not enough Water - try watering them for a half hour every hour and a half. Its really damn near impossible to over water with clay.

pH might be a little low - I like it about 5.7-6.1 ( combined with any other issue this should be stabilized first ). I get my res to 5.8 after I put in nutes. It will tend to rise a little, and 3 days later I have to top everything off with nutes and lower the pH again. I have a small res in relation to my plants so I have to do it more often than most.

Humidity Low - hard to do anything about this without some real work or money - fix everything else first. You could try hanging wet towels or t-shirts in a bucket of water in front of a fan. The shirt will wick up the water and the fan blows it into the air. Pain in the ass - looks stupid - works like a champ for the short term. Humidifier is only $45 bucks, but it will add heat unless you get a more expensive one.

Not enough Nutes - if you think everything else is right - try upping the Nutes just a hair until you see leaf tip burn - then dial back. That's really the only way to determine the right amount. But MAKE SURE everything else is right first, otherwise even if you find a level you like - it won't mean anything as soon as you correct any other mistake.

too cold at night - if the temp is dropping more than 15 degrees from daytime, or if its getting below 60 you might have issues there.

Too much air across the leaves in the day. If you have a bunch of fans going to fight the heat - they are blowing all the moisture off the plants. This makes them transpire much more. If there are any other issues (like the rotted stem for example) the plant simply can not get enough water fast enough. Point the fans so they are not blowing on the plants. If you have low humidity- you don't need to worry about blowing directly on the plants.

As far as the Sweet goes - that doesn't go in until you have the girls solidly in Veg. If you put it in now and it helps - then that means you're not using enough nutes because all Sweet really does is improve the uptake of the other Nutes, but you have to have a good root system and healthy plant to take advantage of the increase.

If you think there have been crazy fluctuations in your nutes and/or pH then you should flush the res. and the plants. Go buy Clearex - read the directions well - and flush your plants well. Then refill the res with water and nutes you know are right.

And last but not least - keep getting help from the folks here. I gave you a short list - others will be able to give you real expert advice.


New Member
Thank you so much for your reply whiskey! Sorry I haven't replied back yet, I've been busy putting your information to work. First thing I did was rig up a new dripping mechanism around the plants, realizing they probably weren't getting enough water, and changed out the res water. I also bought a class cover for the light and did some more duct work to help with the heat.



The temperature has been slowly moving between 75 and 79 degrees with the mylar up, might try moving the light a little closer now. Humidity is still low, between 20 and 30 percent, even with the humidifier in there. I might try the shirt over the fan thing you recommended but there's not too much you can do with the dry air we've got this time of year..
The babies are looking much better than they were yesterday, though I believe they've been a little stunted by the whole ordeal. Here's some pictures I took earlier






I don't have a ppm meter to measure the nutes but I've been following the fox farm feeding schedule and it was going great up until the switch to the constant drip system. The temperature in the room outside is only a few degrees lower than the closet is now. Thanks again and I'd love to get anymore advice you have to give.
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