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To DWC or not to DWC, this is the question....

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I've been giving serious consideration to building a DWC system for the next indoor grow.... I've had a look around, and there are a few questions I wonder if anyone here can answer.


Firstly, if all else is equal like light and temp, strain and so on, then is there any appreciable difference in yeild, potency or otherwise between growing with DWC and growing in a well managed, sterile medium (be it perlite, grow rocks, or anything else like that that goes in a pot...) with an airpump in the res? I mean, if the point of dwc is that you get more oxygen because the roots are in a highly oxygenated solution, wouldn't that also apply if you watered with a highly oxygenated solution regularly to a media based grow? And if DWC can supply more oxygen to the roots, how much more is there in comparison, and what effect does it have?


Secondly, one of the reasons I haven't dived in is that I've read and been told that DWC can be very difficult to manage with a very small margin for error. ;) If the air pump dies for any reason and there's no backup, you can drown your roots, and kill your plant, ;) for instance. Now, any automated hydro system is prone to failure if one of those sytems should fail and not be noticed, but I guess I want to know if there's more hassle involved with a DWC grow. Have any of you gone to DWC and returned to more conventional media based hydro because of the difficulties associated?


And I guess finally, I have a most excellent hydro supplier, and they said that DWC is difficult to run because you need to check the roots too often to make sure things are okay with the solution. And because of this monitoring, you end up pulling up the lid and straining the roots as they come out of the solution and have to support themselves. They told me of doing these checks and ending up with severely damaged root systems because they have broken under their own weight when the grower has gone to check on them! Has anyone here had this experience? ;) If so, did you manage to work a way around it?


I hope that someone out there can help here, I'm pretty close to having to start the next indoor grow, (the seasons wait for no man, unless he grows inside!) so I've got to get off my arse and choose. Any help or advice on DWC either in relation to the questions above or any other little tips you guys may have, will be greatly and most sincerely appreciated....


Thanks again guys....



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your grow shop just wants you to buy their shitty expensive systems instead of spending $50 on a bubbler setup. I've tried a few systems, and bubblers were the best by far, bubblers are so easy, I dunno if your growshop was serious or just trying to rip you off, but I'd think if you don't wanna hurt the roots take the lid off instead of just taking the netpot out.


airpumps last a long time, I've got a 5 yr old one, that has hardly had a day off in its life, and its still buzzing along, and another 2 that are 3 yrs old, They have good warranties, and they have to work so peoples fish don't die.


On the airpump aerating your resevoir, you should be doing that anyway, the main reason is to keep it from going stagnant, then secondly, it can provide a bit of air to the roots, but nothing like DWC does, you get your air in most hydroponics from gaps in the medium and the medium drying out. I think the main reason the plants like the bubblers is their roots get to wiggle around and be free.


But on the same kinda thing, I've had some successful crops by making a cover for a flood and drain tray, and running the pump non stop and having 4 airstones in the tray, using clayballs in netpots.

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uhhhm, I didn't read your post right, about the roots getting strained bit, I've never had that problem, only when the roots wrap around the airstone, but also you don't need to do these checks, I know I don't really bother, especially during flower cos the plants are too big and it is to awkward to reach underneath them and grab the bucket, real awkward, and also the roots do wrap around the airstone, and you don't wanna rip them off, basically, I'm sure you don't take your plant out of its pot to check its roots, If you have set your system up right and everything is light proof, and you change your water frequently, then you have nothing to worry about, when you change the water the plants have to support themselves.
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Whitecluster, I'm just wondering how well the plants roots manage to support themselves when your draining and refilling the bubbler, changing the airstone, or disentangling the roots from the airstone, etc.... Do you get any growth slowing as a result of this process, or is it pretty smooth and simple to do? Also can you automate the refilling of the buckets using a float valve? So that when the plants drain the water in the bucket the level stays the same because a float switch feeds fresh, ph water to the buckets whenever the level drops.... Or do you just hand refill?


Also, how about if I got something like a flour bag or nylon stocking so that the water can penetrate to the roots and so can the dissolved air and nutes, but the roots aren't able to escape and wrap themselves around airstones, drainage lines, etc.... What do you think?


Oh, and just on the issue of my hydro store, I've been to garden centres, hydro shops, mail order and of every single one, this shop has been the best. Ever. Excellent advice, honest, experienced staff and no-bullshit explainations of what you need for what you want to do.... They (And by this I mean the owner.... I'm trying to be discrete here....how am I doing? ;) ) have helped me from the first day in advice and information, and I've never had a shop discount so regularly to any customer, bar one, and that was a bong shop! So please, I would ask you not to diss this person, as they are one of the very few out there who is genuinely there to help and advice from a position of experience, and they deserve the highest praise for doing so....;) I hope that didn't come out to harsh man.... because I know you were just saying it as you saw....


Thanks for the advice man, and I'll talk to you soon eh?




p.s. Did you notice any diff in yeild, turnover or anything else between the two crops, (DWC & Media-Based) that you could definitely attribute to the method? If so, what was it? ;) Thanks again mate....


p.p.s Anyone else use DWC or have done in the past? Post away!!

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yeah, I use a float valve, not a float switch a float valve, its all easy, you just hook all the buckets together and then hook em to another bucket with the float valve in it, and have a resevoir above that. It is a very easy system to use. You need the water level pretty low once you get started with sum roots, but after you put your clones in you need to keep it up pretty high, say have the netpot 2" deep in the water, but then have your float valve keep the water pretty much flat on the bottom of the pot, so the rocks are fairly dry except the bottom bits that are getting bubbles up in them.


I wasn't dissing your hydro shop, but aquarium supply shops have what you need to set up a bubbler crop much cheaper, I don't live in the city and all the hydro shops around here don't know shit.


Also I wouldn't worry about the stocking idea, it doesn't really matter if the roots get around the airstone, because they will, and you will have a cunt of a time getting the roots out for the next crop, I attack the roots with a knife when I'm getting rid of the plants, cos they always wrap themselves around the airline.


If your gonna be checking your plants roots, be careful that they aren't wrapped around the airline, cos you can fuck your pump if the roots bring it out of the water.


I dont notice any difference in the plants when the water has been changed and I doubt you would, the weight of the roots can't hurt, the roots are getting wriggled about a fair bit anyway, and the roots don't float anyway, if you think about NFT which is supposedbly the best method for growing, they are having there roots dragged along, stretching them more than their weight would.


and on the yield thing, I gotta say its pretty equal, depends how you go about it, I've never grown big plants in media based hydro just buds on sticks, and I have only used a couple of strains more than once so I can't give much fact, but I think I probably had my best yield in a dripper setup that was also DWC and had 16 plants per m2, I used clay balls and only had the outlet of the tray working, so the water level was always about 1 & 1/2 inches or so and I aerated that with 2 9500cc air pumps, but I guess that isn't media based.

I think Flood and Drain is a useless method, and drippers take to long to get them right, and require to much changing around.

But I think the yield is better with a 16plant per metre SOG than 4 big plants, I grow 4 big plants per 400w because I have alot of mums, and I have to keep under 50 plants, but if I wasn't paranoid, I would be planting denser.

But DWC definately has the fast growth and the big buds. you can cut the usual media based hydropnics veg time by 1/2. Growth is really incredible, once you see em growing you'll love it. and with bigger plants its easy to grow a variety of plants as the even height isn't an issue.

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